End of Summer Sudley #2 (Harts Fabric)


Thank you Harts Fabric for providing the fabric and thread for this post. If you haven't shopped online with Harts Fabric before, they have a thread matching program that is the besssst. Just check "Matching Gutermann Thread" when you add yardage to your cart and they will pick the best match thread color and send it with your fabric. Genius.
A couple of weeks ago I showed you a button-back Sudley dress in olive green and today I'm back with part two! These two dresses are the same exact pattern but I think they have very distinct feels since even though both fabrics are rayons, they are totally different! For dress number one in olive, I used a gorgeous Tencel twill, a drapey, medium weight woven. For this one, I used this pretty coral pink viscose, which is a little less densely woven for a floatier lightweight feel.

The skirt on this coral version is, you can probably see, a bit fuller than the olive version. For the olive dress, I used one width of fabric: 60", or about 1.5 times the circumference of the bodice. Because the tencel twill is heavier and has a bit more body, a fuller skirt would make the dress pretty heavy--this would be okay with a fitted, structured bodice, but with this silhouette it would potentially hang weirdly.

The coral rayon is a lighter weight, so the gathered skirt is about twice as wide as the bodice. The difference from 1.5x to 2x may not seem like a lot but it can make a big difference visually! I also added some elastic to the waist for a more fit and flare silhouette. You can do this simply by zig zagging some 1/2" elastic to your waistline seam allowances; it's really easy but makes a big impact. Between the slightly increased fullness and the elasticated waist, the skirt here feels much swishier, which I love. I quickly made a sash but I think I might add some thread loops on the side seams for a proper belt.

Both this dress and the olive version are easy to wear, comfortable, and will transition nicely from late summer into fall here in North Carolina--I can totally picture either with black tights and boots and a cute jacket.

Overall, I really enjoyed sewing and wearing both the viscose and the tencel twill, and it's fun to have a few different variations of rayon in my repertoire. If you are a beginner to drapey fabrics, I recommend the tencel twill, as it is a bit sturdier and less shifty on the cutting table--but both are definitely doable even for an adventurous beginner, and a great way to "level up" your sewing from cottons!

xoxo,
allie

ps: 



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Candy Striper (Sewaholic Oakridge Dress)

After two successful shirtdress hacks of the Sewaholic Granville, I'm back with a dress version of the Granville's sister pattern, the Oakridge. While the Granville has all the styling details of a traditional men's shirt, the Oakridge turns the femininity up some with a lowered neckline, an optional bow, a plain rather than yoked back, and bound placket cuffs rather than tower plackets. I've been wearing my Granville shirtdresses all the time, and recently, a patron stopped me in the library and said "that's a beautiful everyday dress!" which was lovely since I designed that hack to be just that--my ultimate everyday dress, super wearable and functional as well as pretty.

I used the shape of the Oakridge pattern once before to extend the Carolyn pajama top to a shirtdress, so I knew it was possible, would fit over my hips, etc. However, I had never made the Oakridge before! I was really winging it by making a bunch of changes to an untested pattern right off the bat--but this is the kind of thing that a trusted pattern brand allows you to do. I felt confident that the Oakridge would fit well since I love the Sewaholic block on me. To extend the length, I used my hip curve ruler and followed the curve of the shirt, extending the shirt by about 16 inches. The bottom hem is straight across, although you could also retrace the original hem to maintain the shaped shirt hem.

I wanted this to be a wash-and-wear dress so I made a few changes with that in mind. First, I cut the sleeves shorter and gave them a little sewn-down cuff (a cute cuff detail but no ironing/fiddling). I also topstitched the whole bow neck. For ease of cutting/construction, I attached the button band to the front of the dress. The pockets are topstitched to the front of the dress so they don't flap around, which is my new favorite casual dress detail. Finally, the waistband is elasticated so there's no belt or tie to keep track of. It's nice to make these changes and know that I can make a pretty dress as functional as possible!

Once I had it all sewn up I did have to make one modification. When I extended the side seams down, I kept following the hip curve of the shirt, and the hips ended up being way too wide. Tragically, I had already added the pockets and everything, so there was a decent amount of unpicking to be done.  It took me only a few hours to make the dress from altering the pattern to nearly complete, besides buttons--and another hour or so to unpick and resew the side seams and pockets!

Overall, I'm happy with the way the dress turned out, I like the fit, and thanks to my functional modifications I do think I will wear it frequently, however, I'm not sure if I love the Oakridge neckline. I like the low neck + bow combo in theory but I think I would prefer a more traditional pussy bow right up at the neck. I have one more length of fabric with which I may make a hybrid Granville/Oakridge dress with a bow neck on the Granville body. I think between Vogue 8772 and the Granville I can mash up a cuter pussy bow for my next foray into that style.

xoxo,
allie

ps: i missed the season for this dress this year but expect to see it again next year!



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End of Summer Sudley #1 (Harts Fabric)

Thank you Harts Fabric for providing the fabric and thread for this post. If you haven't shopped online with Harts Fabric before, they have a thread matching program that is the besssst. Just check "Matching Gutermann Thread" when you add yardage to your cart and they will pick the best match thread color and send it with your fabric. Genius.
Last fall I made my first version of the Megan Nielsen Sudley dress, in a black rayon challis. Despite it definitely looking like a mini in the sample photos, for some reason I was surprised that it was a mini on me. (I'll never learn.) Although it's definitely too short for work, I do wear it regularly out nights, and the loose silhouette has really grown on me. It's a great transitional piece since it's easy to layer with tights and sweaters in the winter and wear on it's own with sandals in the summer. The time was perfect to make a couple more for early fall. Harts Fabric very generously provided me two lengths of fabric to play around with--hopefully it will interesting to see the difference substrate makes to the same pattern!

For a while, it felt like the only rayon option widely available was rayon challis, but recently there have been a lot of different options popping up. Both of my dresses are made of rayon--the general term--but this one is Tencel, and the next is viscose. I'm not a textiles expert, but my understanding is that "viscose" and "rayon" can be used interchangeably, but viscose can also refer to a specific type of rayon. I think I see British shops using "viscose" more often and Americans using "rayon," but that's just my hunch. Tencel is a brand name of lyocell, another type of rayon. Although the process used to create all types of rayon fabrics involves some serious chemicals, there's a real range represented by seemingly-similar fabrics (they're all "rayon" after all), both in final product and in sustainability. The Tencel twill I used today is Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certified, which means it meets certain sustainability criteria.

This substrate is heavier than a rayon challis, with a satisfying weight and drape. I lovvvve the olive green. It's a perfect transition color and will look great with black tights and maybe my leather jacket when it's cool enough. This particular twill has a great range of projects it would be good for--it's sturdy enough to make a pair of culottes out of but certainly light enough to make this type of floaty dress or a swingy blouse.

I made a few changes to the pattern to take advantage of the fact that it's reversible. I'm not super into the keyhole neckline it has, and on my first one I just made a little slit in the back instead. This time I tried something new and added a button back (or front!). I once again cut the back in two pieces instead of on the fold and extended each side by 1/2". I drafted a facing for the back neck and button opening, so it's nice and neat inside, and the facing is topstitched down so it's easy to wear without ironing if you catch if from the dryer within a reasonable time frame. I think I'll mostly wear the buttons in the back but it's a cute detail and a nice option to have.

To solve the length issue I had with my first version I added length to both the bodice and the skirt pieces. The bodice has three lengths--empire, cropped, and blouse lengths. I cut pretty much right between the empire and cropped length so it hits roughly at my natural waist. I'm actually not sure how long the skirt pieces are supposed to be since I chucked those pattern pieces--they're just rectangles and it's easier just to figure out skirt width and length as I sew in that case. This skirt panel is the width of the fabric--I wanted it to be 1.5x the width of the waist and it just ended up that the waist is about 40" and the fabric about 60".

My next version (which you'll see soon!) has a fuller skirt for a totally different look! This is my third Sudley and it's such a quick make--it's a nice, simple pattern and I'm happy to have it in my repertoire.

xoxo,
allie

ps: keep an eye out for version 2 in pink (of course)



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My favorite woven top (Megan Nielsen River)


Recently I was struck by the all-consuming "need" to track down and purchase The Ultimate Woven Tee pattern. For a long time, the online sewing community was allll about the Grainline Scout, but recently, there haven't been a lot of woven tee patterns that take over the blogosphere in the same way that one did. I don't know if it's because people are getting into knits, or less interested in woven tops in general, or some other reason (I'd love to hear your guesses as to why). But for someone as knit-averse as I am, a simple woven tee pattern sounded like the perfect way to use up some stash materials and broaden my handmade wardrobe.

After looking at a bunch of woven tee patterns, I realize I already had one that I like in my stash--the River from Megan Nielsen. I was actually a tester for this pattern, approximately 100 years ago, so I have made the top in both a knit and woven. The knit one never made it to the blog--I wore it a ton but it was still in testing when I spilled on it and stained it. RIP white knit River tee! The woven one you can read about here. For this third one, I pulled a piece of rayon/linen from my stash, left over from this dress. The tee version requires 1 1/4" of 60" fabric, but I squeezed this out of under a yard by cutting the back piece in two and shortening the sleeve pattern piece--the short sleeve pattern pieces are really long as drafted so that you can cuff them.

The other change I made is to draft a facing for the neckline finish instead of using the bias bound finish. It is hard to get that point in the V neckline sewn crisply, and with a v-neck there is a lot of bias cut edge that is prone to stretch out if not properly stabilized, so I think a facing is a bit easier to deal with. In this case, a topstitched facing is no more casual than the original bias finish, so it doesn't much affect the dressiness of the top, and is easier to sew.

The next tweak I'd like to make is to put a  little dart in the top of the sleeve to allow the sleeve to lay better from the neckline to the em. Currently it sticks out, and I think I should be able to add a dart somewhere to smooth it over the shoulder (like in many other raglan pattterns). You can see in the photo the fold in the sleeve that I could rotate into the neckline... I haven't quite figured out this alteration yet, though, so you may or may not see it on my next River!

xoxo,
allie

ps: i have a few more piece in my stash that may turn into rivers as well--it's such a simple pattern to knock out!



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Fall Sewing/Style Plans

My fall/winter color scheme. Three out of four of this stack are in fact already sewn! 

Black twill jeans. I have some black stretch twill from Theory that I'd like to make I've actually already made another pair of jeans out of. I love my black denim Gingers (although they are a bit worse for the wear) and my black distressed Ashes and I've worn both items tons and tons since I made them, so I may as well have another pair considering I already have the fabric and two patterns I like!

Coated denim jeans. This is my most exciting project for fall! I ordered some amaaazing coated denim from the Fabric Store (all the way in Australia) and shipping was a fortune so I absolutely HAVE to make some black leather-look jeans out of this. It is just in the stretch range for the Ash or Ginger pattern so now I just have to decide which I want to make! I'm thinking Ginger, for the pocket stay. This will be a tricky project since I've never used this type of fabric before... I think it will be a no-unpicking zone, yikes!

Something with the leftover black sweatshirt fabric/ribbing I have. I don't know what, I'll have to measure it. I could just make another sweatshirt, maybe cropped this time?

Megan Nielsen River tops. I loved my white knit River (never pictured here because it was during a looong testing phase, during which time I stained it) and I also love my black linen River. The shape is everything I want in a slouchy top. I haven't made any more than that because I dislike doing the neckline binding--give me a facing every time! I want to make a couple more of these tops for fall in something drapey, but I have a few changes to make first; I want to raise the back neckline (the round one; it's meant to be reversible but I only wear it one way) and draft a facing! (I already made a blush linen blend one you may have seen in my instagram stories, and I have couple more stash fabrics I may use.)

Black eyelet top. I made this black eyelet dress a few years ago and wore it a ton and now I sort of feel like off the shoulder is done and I should rework this into something I'll wear a ton again. This is a gorgeous eyelet from Mulberry Silks and there isn't any more so this will definitely be a pretty minimal refashion. This may also end up a River top!

Megan Nielsen Sudley dresses. I made a black Sudley last winter and wore it frequently although it's a bit too short for work. I had originally elasticated the waist, but I recently unpicked the elastic and I think I like it a lot better in its originally swingy silhouette. I'd like to make a couple more in a work-appropriate length, and maybe play around with the closures some to take advantage of it's reversibility. It would be cool to have a dress that closes with, say, buttons you can either button up in the front or back. Since I already have a black mini version, I'm thinking olive green and pink would look cute with black tights and boots for winter.

That's a lot of black! I've been making black stuff all summer, I'm totally on a black/neutrals kick, so I apologize if this isn't as colorful of a space as it has been in the past! But of course, I have to have that pink in there somewhere... :)

xoxo,
allie

ps: several of these should be coming up shortly! 



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A Wilder Roscoe (True Bias Roscoe Dress)


 
A few weeks ago, I finally came around on the True Bias Roscoe dress, which I hadn't much liked when it first made its debut. I promptly bought the pattern, made a dress (which I have been wearing constantly! and which you won't see here for another few months), and then like a week later, casually checked instagram to see that the Wilder gown from Friday Patterns had dropped. I was immediately smitten with the tiered gathers and loved the neckline tie. Since I had Roscoe on my mind, though, I could also see all the similarities: same gathered neckline, loose, swingy bodice, front slit... so instead of purchasing the Wilder I decided I'd try and hack it from the Roscoe.

As far as changes go, the neckline is the most distinctive feature of the Wilder and just involved adding about 3" to the neckline of the Roscoe front, back, and sleeve pieces, in a rectangle, straight up from the seam allowance. This is a pretty hack-y alteration, and not how it "should be done" but it works fine because the pieces are pretty flat up top and it all gets gathered into the neckline anyway. Then you just folded it under a scant .5" and 1.5" again, and topstiched it down at .75" and 1.5" from the top for the ruffle and the casing. The Roscoe's gathers are a bit fuller than the Wilder's so it's a LOT of ruffle--I'm in love. The neckline tie is .75" wide and as long as the fabric is wide (like, 55"ish completed). As far as the front opening goes, I swapped out the neckline V for a placket in my first Roscoe, and for this one I skipped the V again in favor of cutting the front in two pieces and leaving a little gap up top. I didn't muslin the whole dress after making these mods but I did cut out just the top chunk of each pattern piece to double check and make sure my changes sort of worked, at least.

I used the longer Roscoe body, and then used rectangles that I just eyeballed for the two tiers. I thought about just making a waist tie but with the tie neck, I decided to make an elastic casing waistband instead. The casing is on the interior of the dress. The biggest remaining difference between my Wilder/Roscoe and the true Wilder are the sleeves--I really loved the sleeves on my blush Roscoe and didn't want to mess with them, so I kept the volume and elasticated cuff. I thought about adding a cuff ruffle to match that but decided against it since this dress is pretty fussy already.

Scoping out all the inspo on the #wildergown hashtag I was super into the solid ones--especially this one in black and this one in white, and once I decided on black, linen was calling my name. Perfectly glam and spooky for NC's hot summer and fall. The linen is the midweight softened linen from fabrics-store.com. This store doesn't seem all that popular with apparel sewing bloggers but they have everrrrything when it comes to linen. I should have gone with the lightweight linen--or maybe I'll just have to wash and wear this dress a lot! Paired with my black sandals and straw hat, I'm feeling very glam--and very well protected from the sun.

xoxo,
allie



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Black Swing Dress (Simplicity 4977)

Last year I spent quite a lot of time adjusting the fit on this early 60s pattern, Simplicity 4977. I ended up making this lovely tropical dress and deciding after all that that I really prefer my old standby vintage swing dress pattern, Simplicity 6820. The two patterns are very similar, except that 6820 has raglan sleeves and is slightly fuller, where 4977 is slightly less swingy--more a-line than trapeze--and has grown-on sleeves. Recently, however, I was caught up in the modeled shots of the Wiksten Shift and even thought about buying it (based on the cute cute black and white stripe version, ugh so cute) before I realized oh! I actually already have basically that exact pattern. This little vintage number was sitting in my stash just waiting to be rediscovered. The Wiksten Shift has a sweet back yoke detail that this pattern is missing but other than that it is very similar in shape! In fact, I think I prefer this vintage pattern to the Wiksten Shift for me personally--the slight a-line is more in my comfort zone than the Wiksten, which appears to be straight up-and-down according to the line art.

The other wonderful thing about this pattern is that it's very economical with fabric--more so than 6820. The front and back don't quite fit side-by-side on a 60" width fabric but you only need to stagger them slightly and since the sleeves are cut as part of the dress it's just front, back, and neck facings--that's it! I used the leftover Atelier Brunette rayon crepe from another recent black dress, because you can never have enough swishy black dresses, right? With this stash pattern and leftover fabric, this is practically a "free" dress!

If I end up returning to this pattern a third time, the only major change I would make it to alter the neckline slightly, making it a little bit narrower and a little bit deeper in the front. This time, I sewed the neckline with a 3/8" seam allowance instead of 5/8" just to get a little extra coverage on either side but if I ever plan on making multiples of this, it's easy enough to make that change permanently.

Whenever a new pattern catches my eye, its so so tempting to click purchase and be part of the cool new pattern club--but it's so much better for your wallet to double check your stash first! I've found that for me, with my extensive stash and passable pattern-hacking skills, I can cobble together just about anything without a new pattern purchase. Of course, that doesn't mean I never buy patterns... but I've definitely been trying to be good about buying fewer!

xoxo,
allie

ps: just wait, I'll be back with a bunch of new patterns like, tomorrow haha



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Blushing Beauty (Emerald Erin Black Beauty)

One of my 2019 #makenine goals was a great t-shirt bra, and I had picked out the Orange Lingerie Fenway as my bra of choice. However, I have a new bra that has taken up residence in that #makenine spot--the Emerald Erin Black Beauty. The name is from the original bra she designed for herself, in black bra tulle, way back in 2015 for her Bra-a-Week challenge. 

View A is a cool, almost sporty design that uses fold-over elastic to finish the cup edges and form the strap. I love the cool double strap--it is a unique detail I haven't seen on other bra patterns! View B is a dream in lace, with more traditional straps and finishing (perfect if you own a generic lace bra kit and want to use it for this pattern, like I do). Since the lace view only has lace on the front, and only needs lace edges for the top of the bra cup, it's a perfect scrap-buster pattern for those lace pieces with only a little bit of edge left over! Both views can have added foam lining on the cups for extra coverage, which is nice, and both views are absolutely gorgeous and have all the details you find on expensive designer bras. 

My view, you may have already noticed, uses elements from both views! I had a lace kit (that Erin provided) but I was dying to try the double straps, so I mixed and matched pieces from both views: the straps and back are from the sporty FOE view and the lace edges in the front are from the lace view. I added the bra foam lining as well, since my Berkeley bras are all unlined and... I wish they had foam.

This is the best fitting handmade bra I own now, and the one I most enjoy wearing, since I really like foam lining in my bras. The thing I've struggled with the most in past bras is the underwire digging in at my sternum. Since this bra was designed with a specific wire in mind, has eliminated my underwire discomfort almost entirely. Unlike the other bra patterns I've bought, this one has a specific wire recommendation which you can pick up from Erin's shop when you download the pattern. If you still aren't sure, Erin is one of the most helpful people I've interacted with in the sewing world--she's so generous with her time and knowledge and will totally help answer all your pressing bra questions. 

I've already picked up a second bra kit from the Emerald Erin store--with embroidered bees I seriously can't wait--and I want to make a third, more casual version using some jersey scraps I have in my "underwear-to-be" drawer.

xoxo,
allie

ps: her shop is in CAD not USD, fyi



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Klum House Fremont Tote (& RAICES auction)

Knocking out another one of my 2019 #MakeNine items! I bought this kit during Klum House's Black Friday/Small Business Saturday sale last year so I had everrrrything I needed just ready and waiting for me to put it together. Plus, it only took about an afternoon to sew, something which can not be said about several of my other #makenine items--I'm looking at you, future quilt and LBD!

The Fremont is a zip-top tote with two exterior pockets, one interior pocket, handles, and a shoulder strap. The kit comes with the fabric and lining, leather strapping, and all the hardware you need to make it! The only things you'll need to provide on your own are a sewing machine and thread and a couple of tools: an awl and a fabric/leather punch. When I made my Woodland Dopp Kit, I was able to use my awl to do all the rivets, but for this bag, there are rivets AND a sturdier screw thing that hold the strap on to the corners of the bag, and try as I might I could not get my awl to create a large enough hole. Luckily, my city has this incredible resource called the Scrap Exchange--a wonderful and weird "Creative Reuse Arts Center" where you can purchase, for example, a bucket of CD jewel cases, or test tubes, or a barrel of egg cartons, or a telescope, or fabric, or bricks, or... (here's a list of items the accept via donations. It's basically everything.) Scrap Exchange also has a Wednesday night open-sewing night where you can come and use their sergers and sewing machines and they have loads of tools including leather tools! They had a rotating leather awl on hand that was exactly what I needed to finish my project.

The best part about Klum House bag maker kit projects is that they are so so quick. Since everything is already cut and marked and ready to go, it really is a weekend project, and you end up with a bag that looks very professional--I don't think anyone would guess that I made this bag. I'm really happy with how it turned out, but I do wish it were bigger; it is a true tote bag size. It's still roomy enough to fit all my daily necessities (and with the zip top and multiple handles it would be great for travel) but it's definitely not large enough for, say, an overnight trip, which is one thing I was hoping to use it for. (What I should do is multiply all the dimensions by like, 1.5, and then remake it larger overall.) This is my fault as the dimensions are clearly listed on the website, but as it is, I'm just not sure if I will use it all that much. It would make a perfect project bag though!

Therefore... I'm actually auctioning this bag off. Between now and this Friday, July 12th, at 6:00 pm EST, I'll be accepting bids on this bag on the dedicated instagram post, which you can see here. You can bid on the bag there and the winner will receive the bag (and, perhaps, some bonus goodies!) in exchange for a RAICES donation in the amount of the winning bid. (You'll just make the donation and then forward me the thank you email as proof.) Head on over to my instagram to bid!

xoxo,
allie

ps: if you live in the triangle area and haven't been to the scrap exchange, you should definitely plan on going--and swing by Freeman's Creative, in the same shopping mall, while you're there!



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