Sweet Mint Dress (Introducing Measure Fabric)

Thank you to Measure Fabric for providing the materials for this post.

You know how sometimes you have the perfect pattern, and just need to find the perfect fabric? This was a case of having some perfect fabric and not being able to find the exact pattern to do it justice!

This pique-style woven fabric is from Measure Fabric, a small boutique with a brick-and-mortar shop in Savannah GA and a new webshop. They specialize in unique fabrics and they have a lot of really interesting fabrics that you haven't seen every other sewing blogger wearing already. This fabric isn't up on the website yet but go check out the rest of their inventory. It's super spongy and bouncy and feels almost like a technical polo fabric--like Lacoste's sport polos--but it's a stretchy woven, not a knit. It instantly brought to mind tennis and I thought I'd do a little play on a tennis dress, not that I, you know, play tennis.

The bodice of this dress is my tried and true vintage favorite, Simplicity 4475. The stretch fabric gives it a slightly less fitted silhouette than it's meant to have, which I love. I finally (after three other versions) made a slight small bust adjustment, but other than that, I left it the same. The skirt, on the other hand, took some hacking! This is the slim mini view of another of my tried and true patterns, the Sewaholic Rae. It generally has six panels, but I spliced the center front/back panel together with the side panel (disclaimer: not in a very official way) and then added a shaped facing to the hem for that little shirttail-style hem. It's just a subtle change but I'm obsessed with the difference it makes! This is a trendy detail in sewing patterns right now, and it's so easy to add to any pattern. I made a little mini tutorial on how to do it on my story highlights, or here's a blog post from colette that shows basically the same technique, just a different shape. I topstitched the neckline and hem facings and the sleeves to add to the casual, "sporty" look.

Measure also sent me a gorgeous large-scale black lace--that will be posted next month, but I'm so excited I might start sewing today! I may even use this same bodice pattern... we'll have to wait and see. What is the most times you've repeated one pattern? This S4475/Rae combo brings together what I believe are now my two most repeated patterns!

xoxo,
allie

ps: i did take like, six tennis lessons, ten years ago.



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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 :)

xoxo,
allie

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?

xoxo,
allie

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!

xoxo,
allie

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?

xoxo,
allie

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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