Date Night Social Sew Round Up!

Lara's Primrose Peplum is a perfect date night top with those adorable (and on-trend!) sleeves! She's since made a second version of this pattern and I love her concept of "make and replace" where she makes a similar item to one in her closet and donates the rtw one. Something to strive for!

More dramatic sleeves fresh from the Dress Bakery: half-circle bell sleeves really add a extra something to a simple, wearable dress (as well as some sweet embroidery)!

Laura of Petite Passions made a lovely frock for #thelittlereddressproject that works equally well for Christmas and Valentine'd Day. Despite some sizing issues the final result looks great! 

I really love Ashley's DGAF style and the photo of her drinking wine in her gorgeous velvet dress made me laugh out loud! Flora looks amazing on her (and she's so funny).

Five(!!!) date night looks from Tenille's Thread: an origami-inspired pencil skirt, a sweet cowl-neck teea newly released a-line skirt (perfect for colorblocking), a sweet bow-neck blouse, and a dartless cropped 90s jacket with lots of interesting construction. A lot of thought went into drafting that deceptively simple design! 

This one-shouldered dress by PeterSilie & Co is so cute in an abstract multicolor leopard (and a perfectly invisible zipper). 

New Look 6490 caught my eye when I saw it released so I was excited to See Carmen Sew it (ha), and her top, in Anna Sui fabric, really shines. Such a flirty, springy top!

Liz participated in the Moneta party and dressed up her version with a sweet heart applique. This looks like such a wardrobe staple pattern!

I've been looking forward to seeing some Esplanade bras--I love a good longline--and Rachel's strapless pink version is adorable as well as super practical. (All you capsule sewers, also check out her "Wearable Wardrobe" project.)

Lara Liz's Lilly Pulitzer-esque tank top is so cute and beachy with that coral print! She used liberty bias binding for the arms and omg liberty bias binding.

Don't forget--next month will be the last Social Sew, at least for now, and the theme is "Anything Goes!" If you are looking for a new monthly linkup to replace the Social Sew,  may I suggest the #wardrobebuilder project from frequent Social Sew participant Petite Passions? I'll be joining in as well, at least some months! March is tees and jeans--a perfect reason to try your hand at a challenging pants project (or crank out some simple knit tops). 


ps: i hope y'all's date nights went well in your new clothes :)

allie J.

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Early Spring (Ginger Jeans)

This post is brought to you as part of the Indiesew Blogger network. Thank you to Indiesew for providing the fabric!

Last fall I did something super scary to me: I made jeans! Indiesew was stocking some amazing denim, and the Birkin Flares were already in my cart, and then they also had a jeans hardware kit, and ... it just happened. Overall, it really wasn't as scary as I thought it would be (besides the part--luckily fixable--where I made them a size too small and couldn't get them over my hips let alone zipped). So when Indiesew brought in a new collection of denim this spring, I knew I'd have to make another pair of jeans! 

These are the high waisted Closet Case Gingers in Indiesew's 10 oz Stretch Denim Dark Indigo (now sold out but they do have a lovely 9 oz slub denim with similar stretch). I love the high waist on my Birkin Flares and my Gertie stretch pants; there's no fear of your pants creeping down when you bend over. I actually wish they were about 1" taller--they don't quite cover my navel, which is where they are supposed to hit, according to Heather Lou. Next pair I'll lengthen the rise so that I can wear them with my little crop tops. I might also hack together the high rise with the slim, not skinny, legs--I actually didn't even realize there were two leg options! 

Even though I love them the same, I predict these skinny gingers are going to get a lot more wear than my Birkins--firstly because they are much stretchier, and secondly because they don't need heels. We've had a series of gorgeous days here in Durham and I've been making the most of it by spending time in the lovely outdoors soaking up the warmth of the sun, visiting the dog park, and opening up all our windows. I've been living in these come the weekend, paired either with this mariniere or layered up a bit more with a collared shirt and cotton sweater when it gets cooler in the evenings (it is February, after all!). Little boat shoes, an L. L. Bean tote, and a scarf from my small collection of vintage Vera complete the (rather summery) look! 

A few more sewing/fitting notes for y'all:
  • This is the pocket placement suggested by the pattern, I like it. The subtle curve on the pocket pattern is really flattering--Heather Lou knows what she's doing.
  • I love the pocket stay! I now want to add a front stay into all my pants sewing projects.
  • Next time I'll make a swayback adjustment or grade to a six in the waist, I haven't decided. As I said, I am a 4/6 in Closet Case with a 26/27 waist but I think based on previous sewing that I am thinner in the back waist than in the front(? ugh, sewing problems) so an 8 plus a swayback adjustment might be best. What would you do?
  • These jeans are drafted for someone 5'5". I'm 5'7" and took about an inch off the bottom for this slightly-cropped length. Something to keep in mind. 
  • I made a 8 waist graded to a ten in the hips, and then I took in the waist about an additional inch just by easing the back into the waistband (although I'm not sure if my fabric stretched out, or...). A note for my fellow pear shaped ladies: I don't feel like I am as aggressive a pear as the Closet Case measurement chart seems to believe: measuring about 33.5/26.5/38 I'm a 4/6 in the bust and waist and a 10 in the hips, and for my Sophie Bikini I actually made a 0 top. Sewaholic this is not; you are forewarned! 
  • Although I had a leftover button from my Indiesew jeans kit, I went ahead and purchased the hardware kit from Closet Case Patterns since they had this pretty gold I couldn't resist! They also have a copper kit that was out of stock when I purchased my kit but is so so pretty. Overall, though, I do think that I prefer bar tacks to rivets.
It took me a while to get over my fear of jeans sewing, but I'll say it again: you can sew jeans! Like any pattern, you follow the instructions, step by step--jeans just have a lot of steps!

I also just ordered a pair of high-waisted jeans from Grana (my go-to for classic, quality basics--like everlane but less trendy) that are described in the same way as the Gingers: natural waist, skinny leg. I'm hoping to do a post when they arrive comparing my Gingers and my Granas, if that sounds interesting to you... what do you think? 


ps: a few 70 degrees days in February can be nice, but are also symptomatic of climate change as we continue to have the warmest years on record, year after year. consider donating to an organization like the Union of Concerned Scientists that lobbies to keep science a part of policy.

allie J.

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Girl Gang Style (McCall's 7549)

Thank you to McCall Pattern Company for providing the pattern and material for this post.

I recently took you through a whole long ordeal re: my personal style and how I was going to try and stick to a palette of creams and blushes and lavender and go for a "ladylike" and "polished" look now I'm back with a black leather jacket, of all things. What I may have failed to mention during my New Year, New Wardrobe style search is that I have an alternate persona (with it's own dedicated pinterest board and everything) that occasionally comes out at night time. If your wardrobe consists of ballet flats and full-skirted dresses, it can be hard to pick out appropriate "going out clothes," you know?  Somewhere along the line, (right around when Carolyn started dating Buzz to get back at her mother--I love this style on her) I decided to just embrace black-after-dark and shoot for a 60s girl gang style that merges my love of wholesome, retro preppiness with an edgier motorcycle-jacket clad look.

This leather jacket straddles the line between my day look and my night look a little bit. McCall's 7549 is quite a classic little quilted jacket that would look lovely in a more traditional fabric (and I know for a fact sews up a dream in silk) but it's really a chameleon in that I think it looks amazing in leather as well!

I spent a lot of hours working on this jacket (and many more fretting over it!) and I love the way it turned out. The fit is great and I think the length is perrrrfect with high-waisted pants. The leather is thick and lovely and will get softer and more broken in as I wear it. Even though my "quilting" is more like decorative topstitching, I think it adds a luxurious, expensive-looking touch--when really all it cost was a few spools of black thread and about a bazillion hours. This definitely lives up to my inspirational photos!

Overall, I have had such a wonderful experience sewing up this pattern, even when I was setting in leather sleeves and cursing the first cavewoman to stitch together a couple of hides I knew it would be worth it, and I don't believe I was wrong.

Have you worked with leather or faux leather before? Would you ever make an all-leather jacket, or do you stick to accent details? Do you have a different "party" style than your day-to-day look? Want to join my girl gang?

photography by colleen pesci


ps: why yes, these are a pair of unblogged ginger jeans i'm wearing... stay tuned for tomorrow's post! ;)

allie J.

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Quilting Leather and Construction Details/Changes (McCall's 7549)

Since I'm taking on a big project with two new-to-me skills--quilting and sewing leather--I thought I'd share a bit of my learning process with y'all. I rarely publish whole posts about works-in-progress--it's not as pretty or glamorous as completed outfits--but it's nice to do so every once in a while, especially when it's something a bit tricky! I also changed a lot when it comes to the construction of this pattern--so much that it would totally take over another post.

Below the cut, there is a very long, very wordy post with lots of in-progress pictures, so if you're just here for the outfits, you've been forewarned! I'll post my finished jacket next Monday, or subscribe to my newsletter for a sneak peek Friday!!

Inspiration: Quilted Leather Jacket (McCall's 7549)

Have y'all seen the latest McCall's release? It is so spot-on--as soon as I saw it I bought myself thisthis, and for some reason I totally had to have these, I don't know why. (Will I make that last one? We'll see.) But my heart practically stopped when I saw their little quilted jacket, 7549. I have always like the aesthetics of Grainline's Tamarack jacket, but although an oversized cotton jacket looks great on my mom, it's just not quite "me". This little shrunken one has the same silhouette that I love from my Mimi G blazer, and a bunch of gorgeous quilting really makes view A stand out.

My mind (and my heart) immediately went "leather!" I've been so inspired by all the quilted jackets I've seen on pinterest ever since laying eyes on Cara Delevigne's icon-status model off-duty leather biker jacket with amazing quilting on the sleeves. I'm totally in love with my Olga Road (r.i.p.) recycled leather jacket with all the classic motorcycle styling (seen here) but sometimes those 84 zippers are a bit much.

Remember when I said last month that I wasn't going to be putting out a new project every week? Yeah, this is the type of thing I was talking about. If you notice a slight lack of sewing here on the blog for the next little while, know that it is because I'm working on this. First things first, though: I'm breaking out all the stops and... making a muslin. Actually, I already made a muslin of just the pattern pieces basted together, but I wanted to go back and work on my quilting--I am not a quilter so I need the practice!--so I've decided to make myself a silky, snuggly bed jacket (possibly the most 60s of nightwear). You'll see this soon too!

Next week, I'll show you how I'm adapting this pattern to work with my leather (I've been memorizing this post), and the week after that I'll show you the finished item! Meanwhile... McCall Pattern Company has agreed to give three lucky American allie J. readers a copy of this pattern--just enter the rafflecopter below and I'll be in touch!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!!


ps: i also picked up a copy of vogue 9100--i rarely buy or make vogue patterns but everyone looks amazing in this dress.

allie J.

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Inspiration: The Date Night Social Sew

I'm always so impressed by y'all's fancy dress looks, so I've been looking forward to this theme! As I mentioned in the link-up post, you don't haaaaave to make a Valentine's dress--I just had a very nice board-games-in-jeans-and-a-hoodie date myself! Then again, I always feel like I need a reason to make a nice dress, so if you're looking for an excuse to splurge on some nice fabric or use that too-fancy-for-everyday pattern that's been gathering dust in your stash... here it is!

Remember, 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. If you're a bit stumped on what to make for this month's theme let me suggest...

A silky (or snuggly) robe: Whether you're slipping into something more comfortable or cuddling up on the couch with a box of chocolates, there's nothing better than a cozy robe!
Patterns: Seamwork's Almada and Named's Asaka are lovely kimono-style robes (which you can also make with a simple tutorial). Purl Soho has a more traditional style robe as well!

An ultra-feminine dress: Maybe you, like me, feel your best in a slightly-frou-frou cupcake of a vintage dress, or maybe you feel amazing in a body-con sheath. You do you, but do it up one hundred percent on v-day, okay?
Patterns: Whatever makes you feel like a knockout: I suggest Georgia or Flora for some cleavage (and I will live vicariously through you) or Nettie for a body-con option.

Something lacy: No explanation needed! (And if it feels like I've recommended lingerie in a few of these inspiration posts recently, It's because I'm working up the courage to dive into some bra sewing of my own!)
Patterns: Oh my gosh, y'all, have you seeeeeen the new Harriet bra pattern by Cloth Habit? It is gorgeous and I need it (despite my utter lack of bra-sewing experience). Her Watson set is a blogger favorite as well. Ohh Lulu has alll the bralette patterns you could ever need.

I hope you have some pretty sewing in your queue! There's a time and place for basics, and Valentine's Day is decidedly not. it. in my opinion. Do you agree?


ps: ...or maybe you want to sew something for your valentine? this is official permission to do some unselfish sewing for the link-up:)

allie J.

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Social Sew #11: Date Night

February is possibly my least favorite month of the year. Last year, I combated February's dreariness with an aggressively pink coat and a pink dress, and this year, I encourage you all to do the same and sew up something cheerful and lovely, because... 

February's Social Sew theme is Date Night!

Whether you are married, dating, or just plan on eating chocolate with your girlfriends, having a special date night is so important, especially in gloomy February. I suggest something pink (of course) but a little black dress would also be appropriate, son't you think?

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 or blogged in the month the link up is for. Remember, the theme and the link up are there to inspire you to create something new!
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 appreciate you linking to the Social Sew--the more people who discover it, the more participation we'll have, the more inspiration! Thanks, y'all.

Upcoming themes:
January (this month): New Year, New Wardrobe
February: Date Night
March: Anything Goes!

And an important Social Sew update: March will be the last Social Sew--for now! There are so many themed sewing opportunities available, I don't feel too too guilty about bringing my own little contribution to the genre to an end. I might bring it back at some point in the future, but I think now is a good time to bring it to a close: I started this project last April, and I'd like to round out the year. March's theme is Anything Goes, so if you've been wanting to link up but haven't gotten around to the themes, you have a last chance!


ps: if your date night is more netflix and chill than dinner and drinks, i love that, and pajamas are of course valid submissions.

allie J.

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