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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Black Linen Shirtdress (Sewaholic Granville)

I promised to show you the original black version of my Granville shirtdress in the post for the blush version, and here I am delivering on that promise, at the risk of making this blog a Granvilles-only blog. By the way, although Harts did provide the fabric for the blush dress, I bought this fabric myself.

The two differences between the blush and black versions are the waistband and the gathers. For the blush version, I raised the waistband slightly. This one is just a touch below my natural waist. The blush one is just a touch above my natural waist, although not empire. I thought I would prefer the slightly raised waist in version two but in fact I think I like them about the same. The black one is a little bit looser than the blush, as well. I didn't write down the measurements for the waistband between versions so they aren't exactly the same.  This is how I make skirts--I just measure my waist every time.

The second change I made was to redistribute the bodice waistline gathers. In this version, all the excess bodice material was just gathered to center back. This gives the front a sleeker look than the underbust gathers seen on the pink but the side seams do tilt backwards a bit. It doesn't bother me but it might if you a fit fanatic!

This black fabric is the same as the blush one, just a different color (obviously). Having used it for two dresses I can say with confidence that I really like it. I saw a similar rayon/linen blend sold elsewhere as "silky noil" and I agree that it does have a texture reminiscent of a silk noil, but it's under $10 a yard, so... you can expect to see more of this fabric in the future!

xoxo,
allie

ps: yes, this is practically the exact same outfit as the blush dress but in all black. it's a winning combination, what can i say?



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