Basics in Black and White

Thank you to So Sew English for providing the materials for this post.

I'm back with a few more basics for my RTW fast! As you probably already know I love Grana for their great basics--silk camis, jeans, tees--and they are basically the one place I've missed so far this year as I fast. One of my favorite items from them is a cute blush pink tee, which I wore as a pajama top on the blog here and with a simple skirt here. I love the slightly boxy yet still flattering shape and the cuffed sleeves. When the Jeanne pattern came out, I was immediate tempted to buy it, since it looked so similar... but I thought I'd start out by simply tracing my Grana tee and see how it went before I spent the $10.

So Sew English offered to send some knits my way and jumpstarted this project. I think they are more well known for their prints but I really needed a few basic tees rather than pretty florals, so I went with a plain black and plain white in two different substrates so that I could show you all the difference the fabric makes in sewing the same pattern (sort of a theme here I guess).

The first is their viscose from bamboo knit in black:

This is a super luxe-feeling, drapey, soft knit that makes a pretty slinky teeshirt. This is definitely a little sexy in black!

The second is their micro viscose cotton spandex which is (I think) basically the "micromodal" that MeUndies etc. are made of.

It is also very soft and cosy, and has nice stretch and recovery due to the spandex, but is a little bit less drapey and more solid. I think you can see in the comparison photos that this one is more a the classic tee shirt weight, and in white it is, I think, the ultimate tee shirt fabric. I'll definitely be returning to get more of this particular fabric in different colors.

As far as my "pattern" goes, the fit on this tee could be better, I think. I'm not worried about it all that much--I'll be wearing the black one tomorrow, because I really like them--but there's certainly room for improvement! The cuffed sleeves are perfect and although I'm still not super confident sewing with knits, I do think I'm getting better! The more I practice the better I will get, just like anything--and I have a little of each of these fabrics left over, so I see more practice in my future :)


ps: i don't see these two particular colors on their site at the moment but they are constantly restocking!

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My second and Third Bras (Orange Lingerie Berkeley)

Since bras only take a few hours to make I'm back already with bras 2 and 3! I mention in my first post about the Berkeley that the fit was pretty close but that I would be sizing up and making a few tweaks, and here they are. First, bra number two in purple lace (left over from a Bella panties kit) and white leftovers from the first pink and white Berkeley kit (and some random stash).

This is the 32C, which is one cup size up from the modified 30C I made in the white and pink. The fit is soooo gooood y'all!! Not only is this a bra that really fits nicely, I think (and this could just be the post-sewing high talking) that this might be the best bra I've ever had. I love the look of the lace (although the purple and white is a sort of strange combination), the power bar does great things for my shape, and I'm generally just very. into. it. Yes! (I do think that it makes my boobs look slightly smaller since my usual bra has a foam lining. If that matters to you keep that in mind.)

Having worn it all day for the first time, it was clear to me that something was up with the underwire, though--it was digging in painfully at the gore. I consulted with literally anyone who would listen and replaced the wires (a regular 34 wire) with a pair of RTW wires (significantly shorter!) and now it really is the best bra ever.
Berkeley number three is in black lace left over from... I honestly don't know what, and two of them, since I realized half way through that the scraps of lace I was using didn't actually match. For this version, I kept the 32C size and the narrow gore, and made one slight modification that you probably can't even see: I moved the front strap attachments in by 3/8". The purple version (number 2) doesn't dig into my armpits but it's a close call, so I thought I'd try it out and see if I preferred the straps moved in some. (to do this I modified the upper cup and power bar pattern pieces slightly--I'm not confident about bra alterations but it wasn't too hard.)

I also changed the strap style some so that the sliders are in the back. I know that having the sliders in the front is the cool thing but mine end right on top of my shoulders and it's weird! I just cut the elastic short in back and attached a ring there as well as in the front. It's a tiny bit more work but I do think I prefer it.

This time, I used a standard 34 wire and clipped the outer edges about 5/8" shorter. It is better... but I still get some digging in at the gore! I have ordered some of Arte Crafts' "demi" wires (since I think I'd like to use those for the Fenway anyway) and I'll try out those next. I haven't put the little black bow in the center because I think there will be some seam ripping and wire replacement in my future for this one.

I now have two Berkeley bras in my drawer that fit as well, if not better, than my go-to rtw bras. Although my bra drawer is overflowing, I only wear 2 or 3 of them regularly, so I've basically doubled my wardrobe! Bra sewing is so fun--and quick! How many bras is too many?


ps: back to regularly scheduled programming soon! :)

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My first bra (Orange Lingerie Berkeley)

One of the reasons I signed up for the RTW Fast this year was to challenge myself to just sew a bra already! No, bras and underwear are not included in the official pledge, but I wanted to really challenge myself and included lingerie in my own personal pledge, as well as the regular no-clothing-purchasing ban. It may be halfway through the year but I finally did it!

This is the Berkeley bra from Orange Lingerie and it may be the prettiest thing I've ever made. I used a kit from Tailor Made (now sold out) to achieve the exact look as the sample, which I just thought was so lovely it finally convinced me to take the plunge (not really, it's a half-cup! haha) and do some sewing! I went back and forth between purchasing the Berkeley or the Harriet (from Cloth Habit) but finally decided on the Berkeley because I preferred the cross-cup seam as opposed to the more scoop cup seam on the Harriet--can you tell I don't know the technical language for this hobby yet? I have a RTW bra with seaming similar to the Harriet and it doesn't fit nicely. Plus, the lace edging on the Berkeley is just to die for, don't you think? (The main reason for leaning towards the Harriet was that my normal bra size is a 28D or 28DD, and the Berkeley starts at a 30 band.)

I went with the closest match available to my RTW size, a 30C, ignoring the sizing information for the pattern. I also shortened the back strap to the equivalent of a 28. Big mistake! The band on this bra is sadly much too short--the sizing information points out that they are using they add 4/5" method for sizing. However, with a bra strap extender adding to the back... y'all! It fits!! My biggest fear was that I would blow through all my supplies just to get a bra that fits decently--I'm thrilled.

My favorite details of this bra are on the center gore, where there is a little arch and pretty crisscrossed elastic that leads visually into the cup seam. It's really thoughtfully designed! The all-over lace is gorgeous and the fact that it's stretch lace means that I can use any little scraps to decorate coordinating underwear.

I have enough lace and lining left over to make a second bra and I think I should have enough elastic in my stash if I dig. This time, I'm sizing up one all over from a 28/30C to a 32C, which will give me more wiggle room in the band and a cup size larger in the bust. I'm hoping this second one will be near perfect and then I can make allll the lace bras. I'm so excited!! I also need to find a great tee-shirt bra pattern if I want to have a whole bra wardrobe--this one is really only designed for lace and I'm not skilled enough to start playing around with fabrics. I have the MakeBra DL03 (boring name but isn't it so cute made up?) which seems like a great contender and I want to try out the Fenway which could be really versatile in lace or jersey... off to buy more supplies!


ps: eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee so excited!!!

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Sweet Dreams in Seersucker (McCall's 7832 part 2)

Can you believe this is the same pattern as my last dress? I can't! I mentioned in my last post that I really wanted to stretch the limits of this "brunch coat" pattern and I think I succeeded... even though both dresses are made from the same pattern and they're both blue, the overall look is so different!

Fabric Finders has the nicest seersucker I've found and as I mentioned Monday I have made a million things with it. This may be my new favorite--I think I will wear it a ton this summer! This was my first time working with their terry and I was a little bit surprised that it was a stretch knit--I don't know why I assumed it would be woven (like a towel) but it's stable enough to use with the seersucker and wasn't hard to work with at all. It's also 100% cotton, so the combination of lightweight 100% cotton french terry and seersucker will be cool, soft, and wear well.

As far as fit, the only change I made from the navy dress was to eliminate the back shoulder darts, back waist darts on bodice and skirt, front skirt darts, and make the bodice waist darts a bit more narrow, with the overall effect leaving a bit of extra room in the waist as compared to the dress version. This is the best-fitting robe I've ever owned and works perfectly over a slip or light nightgown, but if you're looking to use a vintage house coat pattern to make a robe to wear over your baggy pjs, you should probably size up. Obviously since it is designed to fit like a dress (see Monday's post), it's not a robe for slouching around in; even with waist darts minimized it's still fitted through the shoulders and bust. I think you can also see in these photos that the waistline, while perfectly acceptable for a robe, is really too low on me. For the navy dress version, I raised it by a whole inch and I think the fit on that dress is much improved just by that simple change.

In order to fully line this dress with the terrycloth, I left off all the facing pieces and cut two of everything else, one in terrycloth and one in seersucker. I basically constructed two dresses, one in terrycloth and one in seersucker, and then bagged the terrycloth lining. Then just cuff the sleeves and tie on a wrap belt for a cute summer robe. It was much easier than it seems! My favorite aspect of this robe version of the dress is the short sleeves, which you don't often find on a robe. They are perfect for summer and the little terrycloth cuffs look so nice with the collar, don't you agree? The texture is so cosy but since it's all cotton it's still cool for summer!

I now have 5 (I think) robes and it's time to destash. This is my only handmade one and it's definitely staying, but 5 robes is really too many! Do you wear robes or no? There are so many cute vintage robe patterns that I don't want to say I'll never make another but a girl really only needs one or two, right?


ps: it's the perfect thing to wear while sewing since i can try on my projects a million times (just me?) but still look put together!

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Nautical in Navy (McCall's 7832 part 1)

I have a fun set of posts planned for this week and next! I often remake patterns, but I rarely try to drastically change the style--I am (or was, I guess) a "buy it in every color" kind of girl. Recently, though, I purchased a vintage "Brunch Coat," which is a short housecoat that's basically halfway between a dress and a robe. I wanted to test the boundaries of this 1965 pattern and show the versatility of a pattern originally intended for a pretty obscure article of clothing, so this week you'll see it both as a robe and a proper dress!

Today is the dress version! Although I was inspired to purchase this pattern during my research for my Gal Meets Glam Collection post, I didn't love the mid-size floral she chose for her collared wrap dress. I took inspiration from the notched collar and "double-breasted" buttons and went nautical for mine, and I love it!

I know it's hard shopping for fabric online so I thought I'd pass along this find to you: all three of these fabrics for the two dresses (the twill for today's dress and the seersucker and terrycloth for Wednesday's robe) are by Fabric Finders. A few years ago, I was on the hunt for seersucker in 100% cotton and it was nearly impossible to find! A lot of it was poly/cotton blend and like... if I'm wearing seersucker, it's hot outside, if it's hot outside, why would I want polyester? Fabric Finders is sold at my local upscale sewing store (specializing in heirloom sewing and Berninas! also warning, worst webstore ever) and I got totally hooked on their fabrics. I've purchased their seersuckers in stores and online (you can find lots on etsy!) and used them to make a lot of things, most recently this yellow set, and also perhaps the most worn dress in my closet come summer. Since it's sold by a bunch of different sellers usually I can find a sale or shop around, and still know that the fabric I get will be high-quality. I had never purchased their terry or twill before and y'all, it's just as nice. The twill was especially surprising, I think--it's super soft and has the perfect perfect perfect amount of body and drape. (ps: if you like me have also spent hours of your life searching for the elusive 100% cotton gingham they have that too.)

It's been a while since I've sewn with a vintage pattern and making this dress really reminded me how much I love doing so. The fit is so good! This dress bodice has 8 darts: back shoulder, back and front waist, and side bust, and they help the dress lay so nicely over the body. The lines are lengthening and all the proportions are just so. The only thing I changed for fit was to shorten the bodice by one whole inch (using the nice measuring system printed onto the pattern pieces) and were I to make this again, make a slight small bust adjustment (I think it fits nicely but it looks a bit large in the bust when the wrap shifts around). Sadly, this exact pattern is no longer available on etsy (ya'll snapped it up when i linked to it on instagram) but there are lots of other collared wrap dresses/robes from the same era still available! Obviously I can't attest to how every pattern will fit but if you've never tried a vintage pattern I really suggest you try one out--they are so well designed and no harder to use than a modern big 4 pattern.

Check back next week for my new summer robe!


ps: fabric finders also has the most adorable embroidered fabric--can i pull off critter embroidery? hmm...

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His and Hers Pajamas (Closet Case Carolyn & Vogue 8964)

His: Vogue 8964
Hers: Closet Case Carolyn

Nice pajama sets are something that I love to wear but go back and forth on making. It seems silly to spend so much time doing a lot of fiddly sewing that really, no one is going to see (um, if you don't have a sewing blog). Once I'm done, of course, I love the results and practically live in them--precisely because no one sees them, you end up wearing your pjs more frequently than other clothes!

I've had these flamingo pajamas cut out for literally years; you've probably seen them hanging in a little ziplock bag taped to my sewing studio wall in some of my instagram stories! The time finally arrived for me to, you know, actually sew them. And since pjs for Alex were on my #menswearmakenine why not knock out two pairs at once?

Not much to say about the Carolyns that hasn't already been said. Had I not already had these all cut out, I will admit I probably would have made a pair of Evie la Luve Lexi Boxers instead of the Carolyn shorts--those are much simpler and although they wouldn't be a perfect match... it's pajamas. Since the Carolyn shorts were cut out though, I went with them! I have a bit of the flamingo fabric left over that I'm going to use to make an Ogden cami. Ogden + sleep shorts (as seen here) is my favorite hot-weather pj combo, so having a cami to swap out for the sleep shirt will be a great option!

I also want to take a minute to sing the praises of Harts Fabric. No, this is not a sponsored post! When I originally bought the flamingo fabric with the plan of making Carolyns, I thought I'd use black piping. However, when Tilly and the Buttons released their Rosa shirtdress and one of the samples used a similar flamingo print with a black piping, I decided I didn't love it, and then had to find a matching piping... I called Harts and they managed to scrounge up a scrap of this (by then, sold out) fabric and scoured the store for a coordinating fabric in the same weight that they thought would look good as piping. They were accommodating and friendly and really went the extra mile. They have also done the same for me when I needed help choosing stretch denims and other coordinating fabric! It's extra helpful that they always know what's going on in the online sewing world; I can ask "would this be appropriate for a pair of Ginger jeans?" and they know exactly what I'm talking about and have an informed opinion. Honestly I'm a millennial and I haaate talking on the phone, but I make an exception for Harts, I'm always happy to chat with them! Harts infomercial: done! Back to regularly scheduled programming.

Vogue 8964 is a very similar pattern with a lot of the same construction techniques as Carolyn. One thing I loved was the contrast piping application: it's only on the easy parts! You can see on the model that it is only on the center front and does not go all the way around the collar. I feel like it's kind of cheating but it is Vogue approved so I don't feel guilty! I used self fabric bias strips to do the little bit of piping on the top. There's no piping on the shorts at all, and I actually skipped the button fly, too (Alex's favorite MeUndies don't have a fly, so why bother), so these are basically sewing 101... very simple and a nice present! I made the 38 in both the top and shorts and ended up opening the shorts back up to add some bias at the side seams since they were too small. In the end I like the little added detail.

I always want to make more pajamas with all the cute cotton prints I find, but my pajama drawer is basically overflowing at this point. Perhaps it's time to purge all rtw pjs? How do you feel about handmade pjs? Worth it or no?


ps: seriously i lovvvvve harts. they are not always the least expensive option but they are always the best option.

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All handmade outfit for him! (Thread Theory Jedediah and Comox, Liesl & Co. All Day Shirt)


Well y'all, I am making good progress with my #menswearmakenine challenge and checking off boxes like nobody's business... all the easy boxes!! I've already made a lot of Jedediah shorts for Alex and one All Day shirt, so those two items are repeats, but it does mean I can check off the Jedediahs off my make nine square. I decided to throw in some underwear in this post because then this could be an all handmade outfit, inside and out. Pretty cool!

There are no changes to the shorts or shirt patterns from the last time I've made them, but I did try out some new fabrics. The shorts are made in a stretch twill I picked up last year from JoAnn to make myself a pair of Chi Town Chinos that never happened since I really don't wear shorts often. The shirt is a nice blush linen that Alex picked out himself. I think it's really lovely, and will get worn often. I wanted to make it super durable so I did all flat fell seams on the inside and everything. I had issues with the interfacing bubbling on the last shirt's collar and sleeves, so this time I tried something new and just added a layer of white fabric (a random white cotton shirting from my stash) as "sew-in interfacing" to collar, cuffs, placket, and collar stand. We'll see how it wears. He's had the shorts for a month or so and been wearing them a lot since the weather has been nice outside!

Regarding the underwear, I had put the Japanese pattern book boxers on my to do list (and actually, I have made a pair of those as well, which he's been wearing as pajama shorts) but Alex has a meundies subscription that he loves and the Comox briefs are very similar to those, so I'm sort of checking off the pattern book boxers as well as the Comox briefs as one "generic underwear" square. I made the 36 and they are definitely a size too big, maybe even two. It's hard to tell because all the knit fabrics will behave differently! He hasn't complained but the next pair I make will be a bit smaller, after all, you can always adjust the waist elastic at the last minute.

Although the Comox trunks come with a vent/fly, the meundies do not, and I wanted to mimic those for this first pair. (Also, I didn't want to fuss with knit binding, shh.) Thread Theory has a super handy post on customizing your trunks and a vent-less version is one of the customizations available, so it was very easy to change. If you do the vent-less version, you can use the burrito method to enclose the front seams, as well as the crotch gusset (neither of these are sewn using the burrito method in the instructions but it's easy enough to do). The Comox shorts are a very simple and easy project for the brief-wearer in your life... although I doubt I'll be able to keep up with the one-a-month meundies subscription he loves!


ps: pajamas are next on my check-off list and i have the fabric for that hoodie...

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