Spring Showers Social Sew Round Up!

First, I'd like to take a second to thank everyone who participated in my first Social Sew!! I'm so excited you joined me and everyone's makes are just lovely. This was just the push I needed to make something a bit out of my comfort zone, and I'm glad you seemed to like it too!

Tonya from Sew So Petite made a classic trench coat using McCall's 5525 (which you might remember was my other trench pattern option) and it looks ahhhmazing. The details are so professional and that Burberry-esque lining is perfect! Plus, she DIYed her boots for an added spring-y bonus... so cute!

Beautiful new mama (and fellow retro/vintage sewing enthusiast) Sara Jolie linked up a very pretty floral kimono dress perfect for wearing post partum or lounging about. She used this free pattern from SewBon so you can make one too! (psst: don't you agree that a handmade robe would be a lovely me made basic? aaand, conveniently enough, that's our next theme!)

Carmen at See Carmen Sew whipped up a very on-trend crop top and culottes set in an awesome Marc Jacobs poly floral. Crop top. Scallops. Marc Jacobs. And y'all know how I feel about crop tops and matching sets... I don't think I have to discuss how rad this outfit is.

Nathalie linked up a tres cool dress from a new-to-me pattern house, La Maison Victor. I love florals for spring (duh) but her graphic black and white print along with the cut-out back adds a bit of edge!

Mahlica Designs made a simple mini skirt a standout by using a cool quilted knit and adding an exposed zipper.

Burda stuck another innocent garment--but Nilla at Purple Pleats persevered and ended up with a very cozy-looking striped cardigan, perfect for these last few cold and rainy dreary spring days.

Erin from F is for Flamingo sewed a lovely dress out of a raindrop print fabric, how great is that!! I had never heard of the pattern company she used--Sew House Seven--but it the Mississippi Ave dress seems like a really practical dress pattern for spring!

Be sure to click through to check out everyone's great creations and maybe discover a new style mentor!

Again, thank you for joining me!

Up next, May's theme is Me Made Basics!

Is it time for me to finally get around to making that navy blazer? Or will I procrastinate some more? Should I suck it up and make a pair of jeans? Only time will tell... 


ps: there's still time to sneak in--if you add a creation to the link up today, i'll add you in to our round up above ;)

allie J.

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Friday Favorites

konmaried my closet and I'm really so surprised how much of my wardrobe is me mades (even after retiring a bunch of older makes, yikes!)

messing around with my camera settings, working on a post for y'all 

weekly trades with my #instagramhusband: blog photography in exchange for beers at ponysaurus (rough deal huh?)

got this gorgeous little thing in my mailbox from Bosom Buddy Bags (heart eyes emoji)

prepping for #MMMay16... get ready!!


ps: have a great weekend, and thanks, y'all, so much for reading!

allie J.

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Spring Showers Trench Coat (Burda 12/2011 #118)

shoes | pants: j brand (sold out), similar | bag: kate spade, similar here and here

Hey y'all! As part of my first Social Sew, I challenged myself to make that most springy of wardrobe builders--the trench coat. I picked (with the help of instagram!) Burda 12/2011 #118. I liked its clean, minimalist lines: no topstitching, no million buttons, but still definitely recognizable as a trench coat.

Instead of buttons, it closes with snaps--I used some of the leftover gold snaps from my pink coat. I am all about the snaps for two reasons: 1. no buttons to make the front of your garment look too busy means I can add bows, and 2. no making buttonholes.

The pattern has a half-lining and I was planning on doing that and then binding my seams with this pretty bubblegum pink binding, but I had forgotten that the wrong side of this fabric is like, swamp green. A full lining (in lavender, with a peek of that pink bias tape) was an easy alteration. 

I definitely needed the constraints of the Social Sew to inspire me to finish this... I don't often use burda patterns because the instructions can be confusing. Most of the trench construction was fairly straightforward, but the collar instructions gave me some trouble, I ended up reinserting the collar twice! Also, I couldn't find any completed pictures of the back of the coat, so I wasn't sure what was going on back there either. It basically has a deep pleat down the center, the top of which is covered by the flap at the shoulders. Although the front of the trench is flat, the volume of the pleat will allow me to wear my full skirts underneath.    

Finally, I sewed my first set of welt pockets--they are far from perfect from the inside, but they do look great on the outside! I'm pretty pleased with myself for tackling them even if they won't be winning any awards.

I'm hoping to spray this coat down, not to make it entirely waterproof, but to add at least a bit of water resistance. Have any of y'all ever scotchguarded or otherwise waterproofed something you've made? How did it go?

There's still time to join the very first Social Sew
The theme is "Spring Showers" and we would love to have you... 
Not sure what to make? Check out my inspiration post.


shopstyle goes here!

ps: the next social sew begins may 1--the theme is "me made basics"... just in time for #mmmay16! :)

allie J.

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Retro Gathered Wrap Skirt (+ Tutorial!)

top | shoes | bag: kate spade, similar

I made a few elastic waist skirts a few years ago, but I never feel all that "me" in them like I do in fuller skirts. That's why when Skillshare asked me to make a fashion sewing class, I chose a 50s style skirt with a zipper and and hook and eye closure. It's not that much more difficult than an elastic skirt and it's much more polished.

But also sometimes I want to eat a whole pizza, you know? Full 50s-style skirts are not super amenable to gorging yourself--there's a reason they wore girdles back in the day.

If your weight fluctuates, or you feel restricted by an inelastic waistband, but you love that tiny waist, full skirt silhouette, today's tutorial is for you! (Or if you just want to try something new, it's for you too!)

We'll be making a gathered skirt with a wrap waistband, rather than a zipper and button/hook and eye or an elastic waistband. It's basically a really wide apron, one that wraps allll the way around your body--if you've ever made a ruffly 50s apron, this will feel familiar (but huge). Hop down below the jump for the tutorial!

Spring Showers Trench Coat in Progress

When I posted my pink bow coat, I asked if y'all wanted mostly styled shots, or if you were interested in the "guts" of my projects--so for those of you who like them, here's some progress shots!  

I knew I wanted to make a trench coat for the Spring Showers Social Sew, but I couldn't decide which, so I posted two trench coat options--this minimalist Burda and the classic McCalls 5525 (OOP)--on my instagram and y'all overwhelmingly agreed on the sleeker Burda. Burda 12/2011 #118 is from the Sherlock Holmes collection. It's pared down, but still retains enough of the classic elements to be recognizable as a "trench": shoulder flap, shaped pockets, tie belt, etc. It's double breasted, but has interior snaps instead of buttons, which I though was a cool touch (and I have a bunch left over from my pink bow coat, so that's a bonus).

My main sticking point for this one was that it's a Burda pattern. At this point in my sewing career, I don't need hand holding for most things, but the idea of making something (basically) totally unknown, (basically) without instructions, was nerve wracking. I had to install this collar like three times. And... it has welt pockets! What?!
I mean, what?!

All the flap pocket tutorials I found were this type, and my pocket pieces were a totally different shape, more like an in-seam pocket. I briefly thought maybe I was just supposed to make inseam pockets and then have a decorative flap but a quick glance back at the instructions informed me that was (sadly?) not the case. I finally found this tutorial from Iconic Patterns with pattern pieces that looked similar to mine!

I'm very pleased with how they look. It's still a bit wonky on the inside because my pattern pieces (which I did not add seam allowances too, fyi) are the same size--one should be longer. It's easily remedied, but my pocket will be a bit shorter than it ought to be.

The other tricky part for me was deciphering the back pleat. Unfortunately, none of the versions I could find online showed the back, and the instructions were lacking. I winged it using a bit of trial and error folding, attempting to get the top of my back to match up with the shape of the back neck facing. In the end, I have no clue if this is correct, but it should be functional!

Still to do: attach the sleeves, cut, sew, and attach the lining, hem, belt loops... lots! Hopefully I'll get to show it off here next week... 


ps: i still plan to make McCalls 5525; i think it would great in a statement color (um, pink anyone?) or in a creamy, lighter color like this one. perhaps this fall or next spring!

allie J.

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Another Peplum Top, Another Gingham Piece

white cords, j. crew (similar) | shoes | hat, chi o creations ;)

Concluding my trio of gingham garments--that's what happens when you buy five yards!--I made a peplum top out of Simplicity 1353, view A, a Leanne Marshall sundress pattern. I have always loved the colors the sample is in, but I generally don't do sweetheart necklines. The pattern did seem perfect for the fabric I had left though! I left off the skirt and instead made a gathered peplum.

This is a straight size 10. If I make it again, I'll make an eight, and I'll move the straps out from center on the front slightly. I changed the strap construction slightly, leaving the back of the straps free and serging the ends so that I could change the length as needed. Then you can just hand sew them in with a few stitches. I see this in ready to wear often.

Check out my label! Nominette sent them over (thank you, Nominette!!) and they are so lovely--I've been sewing them into my clothes and it really makes me feel like I have something to live up to, like, is this worth putting my name on? These are the 25 mm custom logo label, white with gold thread. They look so professional and the gold is so luxe!

I did leave off the trim along the top of the neckline. I prepared it and even pinned it on, ready to sew, but at the last minute I decided to leave it off--it seemed a bit bulky and I want to be able to layer this top. I'll probably almost always wear a thin cardigan over it.

If you were curious about the construction of that trim (I was!) it is two layers of fabric turned in a tube, pressed in half lengthwise, and top stitched along the very top of the bodice. Nothing fancy, definitely replicable on your favorite bodice pattern! I think you could do the same thing for a slightly hacky version of Gertie's significantly more complex Butterick 6019.

Do y'all have a suggestion for sewing hook and eyes at the top of zips? I feel like mine all look weird and lumpy, not invisible at all. Any tips?

One thing I enjoy about sewing matching separates is an endless opportunity for pairing them together. It's like those math problems where Allie has three tops, three pairs of shorts, and three pairs of socks--how many unique outfits can she wear? Oh wait--did I just describe the weirdest Capsule Wardrobe ever?

Do you ever make more than one garment out of the same fabric? Sometimes I feel like it could look a little weird to be wearing the same fabric all the time, even if it's different pieces--I think I'll stick to a max of one blue gingham outfit per week...


ps: how much gingham is too much gingham?

allie J.

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Inspiration: The Spring Showers Social Sew

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. Today's post addresses the former category! If you're a bit stumped on what to make for this month's theme--Spring Showers!!--let me suggest...

A Trench Coat. Whether in a classic tan cotton twill with brown buttons, or a streamlined, minimalist take in of-the-moment blush roze quartz, what could be better for a drizzly spring day?

Patterns: The Isla trench is calf-length but could be cropped shorter for a really traditional look, while the Robson is a bit more modern with a slightly flared skirt. There's also several Burda options--I'm making this one!

A Feminine Dress. I don't know about you, but I have about 700 bridal showers (see, showers), engagement parties, and weddings coming up in the next few months. A girls-only bridal or baby shower is the perfect occasion for that dress that's just a bit too much--let's see that gorgeous lace or floral fabric you've been stashing, or that vintage pattern with the super full skirt.

Patterns: whatever your heart desires--I suggest 50s or 60s vintage, but an Emery, a Cambie, or one of Gertie's Butterick patterns would work!

A Transitional Layering Piece. Here in North Carolina, it's getting warmer, but the weather is so unpredictable from day to day. We get some 80 degree days and some that are 50 and drizzly, and I've just been living in my endless supply of ancient J Crew Jackie cardigans. Maybe you prefer a blazer, though, or a kimono?

Patterns: I just picked up a few patterns with cardigan-type jackets at the last Joann's sale (namely, Simplicity 8093 and McCalls 6844), but anything that will layer well over spring tops and dresses.

I mentioned above I'll be making Burda 118, a minimalist trench. I generally don't sew with Burda patterns--especially not for something as complex as a coat--so wish me luck! What are you going to make? I can't wait to see!


ps: i have been really loving all the blush pink everywhere recently--thanks, pantone! maybe i've been reading too much gal meets glam (love her) but can you go wrong with pink and neutrals? no.

allie J.

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Social Sew #1: Spring Showers

Welcome to a new series here on allie J. I'm calling the Social Sew!

This will be a monthly link party (I hate that term, don't you?) for apparel sewing. Each month, we'll have a theme--one that is specific enough to hopefully provide some motivation, and yet flexible enough that you can make it your own. 

April's theme will be Spring Showers! 

I'm hoping to make that trench coat I've been meaning to get around to, but you could make a dress in a springy print, a rain coat, a snuggy for when the drizzle really gets to you (totally counts as apparel sewing, right?), an outfit for a baby shower, really anything you can think of that is in some way related to the theme.

The link up will be open from the 1st of the month (at about 8 am est) and will last until the next one opens. 

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 in the month the link up is for. Remember, the theme and the link up are there to inspire you! 
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 love a appreciate you linking to the Social Sew--the more people who discover it, the more participation we'll have, the more inspiration! 

Upcoming themes:
April (this month) | Spring Showers
May | Me Made Basics
June | Sun Dressing
July | Vintage

If you have any problems linking up, etc., let me know and I'll try and sort it out right away.


ps: i'm starting with four months and we'll see how it goes. can't wait to see what you make!

allie J.

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