Anything Goes Social Sew Round Up!

I can tell springtime is here--y'all used some gorgeous colors this month! The final Social Sew round up is here at last!

Coral Bunny Jess used a summery Rifle Paper Co. fabric to make a cold-shoulder "vacation" dress and has a great, comprehensive review of the pattern she used, the Lily Sage and Co. Chloe dress. She also made a great floral version of the new McCall's off-shoulder top 7543, which I passed on last trip to JoAnn and need to go back and get, obviously.

This Belle-inspired yellow Emery dress is my favorite thing SaraJolie has ever made--it's absolutely perfect and doesn't she look just like a princess? *heart eyes emoji x100*

German-language blog PeterSilie&Co made a great mix-and-match set of zebra print retro separates.

Lara Liz is back with more perfectly practical separates, this time, a nautical anchor-print Bonn shirt. She's been sewing the whole Indiesew Fall collection which I think is so smart--Allie over at Indiesew puts so much thought and love into those collections to make sure they're like a pre-fab capsule.

Mahlica Designs's maxi kimono-sleeve dress looks so comfortable--you could make a whole closet full of this pattern and wear it for everything from a beach cover-up to a dinner date. She also made a super-cute pajamas set with short and long sleeves and shorts and pants. Smart!

Tenille's Thread contributed several makes again this month--she's a quick sew! I can never tell if Named's Sointu kimono top would look good on me but it looks great on her in a simple black ponte knit,  She also made another kimono-sleeve tunic dress using a different version than the one Melissa used for a totally different look!

Diane's mint green "secret pajamas" dress has me swooning--perfect fit, a unique hem, and statement sleeves, all plus perfect stitching?? Ah-mazing.

Lara made her fourth Dove blouse (my favorite one so far, I think) in a pretty navy floral and those glam bell sleeves... love them.

This gingham shirt refashion from Crafty Disaster Lindsay is so cute! I always love a peplum. Her McCall's mix-and-match set has allll the flounces--perfect for spring and so on trend.

Stevie of BeeBee's Handmade Dress made a gorgeous cobalt blue bra and undies set using the new Harriet bra from Cloth Habit. So lovely--even if the fit isn't quite there yet!

Liz-o-matic made her second (but not final) Moneta dress in a navy and kelly green combination that I love.

Hoopes Park Studio made a sweet summer pattern-hack dress in a navy floral that she designed herself. Um, so cool.

Seamracer linked up a soon-to-be-blogged 60s dress in an amazing border print rayon... I can't wait to see more of it! She also has a clever rag curl tutorial on her blog and you will never guess what she uses to make perfect curls.

Emily made a cool retro zip front dress in a beautiful bright aqua using a pattern from Gertie's casual book.

Thank you all so, so much for participating in the past year of the Social Sew with me. I really appreciate every who linked up their projects, from the simplest tee shirt to the amazing dresses. I really hope I introduced you to some new favorites... I know I found some myself! And don't forget about these other sewalongs/monthly sewing challenges to fill that Social Sew-sized gap. I'll see you in the links!


ps: again, thaaaaaank yoooooou

allie J.

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Inspiration: Gertie's Sundress Sewalong (Butterick 6453)

I normally don't participate in all that many sewalongs (besides #vintagepledge) but this spring the stars aligned and I'm doing several! I'm extra excited about Gretchen's Butterick 6453 sewalong; it's such a classic shape and it will be perfect for all those summer picnics I attend (in my dreams). I'm making it in a pretty navy eyelet and it's getting my so ready for warm temperatures... or maybe a vacation! What's your favorite spring getaway? Bonus points if it's in the Southeastern US!


ps: follow me on instagram stories for lots of behind-the-scenes progress shots!

allie J.

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How to buy your first vintage pattern (+ #VintagePledge & Giveaway!)

Recently I've gotten a few questions like "where do you find your vintage patterns?" and "how much should you pay for a vintage pattern?" so I thought I'd do a little post on how I add to my (ever-growing) collection. Take a peek into my closet and my pattern stash and you'll find I love love love sewing with vintage patterns, almost as much as I love buying them ;) I buy my vintage patterns almost exclusively on etsy as I find it easy to search once you know what to type in the search bar (eBay is another option but it's a bit more confusing for me).

This is a longer post, but keep reading for five tips on buying your first (or fiftieth!) vintage pattern... plus, an etsy giveaway, my new destash account, and #VintagePledge 2017!

Spring in Bloom (Simplicity 4468)

More pretty in pink florals...

Thank you to ThredUp for partnering on this post.

If you're ever in Durham, a spot I really insist you visit is Duke Gardens. I'm not one to recommend a Duke basketball game or a trip to campus as a half-hearted tar heel personally, but the 55 acres of gorgeously landscaped lawns, arboretums, and flower beds are a can't miss spot. There's lots to see year-round but it's especially lovely in the spring, when all the trees are in bloom and the daffodils are popping up everywhere. Pack a picnic (I won't tell if you sneak some wine) and lunch on the lawn--ladylike dresses required!

The dress pattern is an early 60s one, to which I've made just one slight alteration, raising the back neckline from a V. I used the back neckline from Simplicity 4475 since I assumed they were using the same block to make the two patterns, since the numbers are so close! It's made in this Gertie fabric, a verrrry lightweight cotton sateen--perfect for this pattern since it requires some drape in the cowl neck and some body in the skirt.

I also wore a new malco modes petticoat, their Zooey--I love the extra poof it gives to a full skirt! You may remember I have another, even fluffier one (the Jennifer) that I wore with my blue seersucker dress; that one is gorgeously full but it's not particularly practical for every day. Gretchen (aka Gertie, the designer of the fabric!) has this one that is less full, and I ordered this more modest one in hopes of wearing it beyond photoshoots! I really love the slight effect it has--you can see a difference but it's not immediately obvious that I'm wearing it.

My bag is from ThredUp. I think many of us sewing bloggers sew at least in some part due to concerns about ethical clothing production, so I love that there are more companies creatively tackling secondhand shopping. I've consigned clothing with ThredUp before, as part of my effort to move towards a handmade wardrobe, and I've also purchased accessories there. (It's also a great place to look for trendier pieces that you might not want to invest a lot in, but wouldn't feel good about buying from a cheap fast-fashion store.) This bag is from Marshall Fields (remember Marshall Fields?) and praaaactically brand new and it was nine dollars. If you've never shopped ThredUp before they have a promo for 50% off handbags (up to $50) using the code HANDBAGS50Also, if you don't see anything you like, check back in a day, as they add new stuff constantly, and on the other hand, don't procrastinate if you do see something you like, as it will get snapped up! I had some fabric left over from my seersucker nightgown and I made this little scarf to tie on my purse or my ponytail. At this point I have so many pink scraps I could make a few to mix and match with my other pink dresses (I mean, I have a few, so...).

How do you feel about such aggressively girly, pink dresses? I love them, but I know they aren't to everyone's taste. Today is the Equinox, so happy Spring! How are you celebrating?


ps: i'm a bit early to participate but if you have a spring dress in your sewing queue why not submit it for Judith and Akram's Spring Dress Sewalong?

allie J.

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DIY vs RTW: High-waisted Skinny Jeans (Closet Case Gingers and Grana High Rise Skinnies + Waterfall Raglan)

I'm not sponsored by Grana, I just love them.
I do, however, receive points towards store credit if you purchase something as a new customer.

I recently shared with you my Closet Case Gingers, my second ever pair of handmade jeans (after my Birkin Flares). I'm a bit surprised at myself, since after making my Birkins I thought "I'm not 100% sure if I really need to make alllll my clothing." Not that they were overly hard to make (as I've said over and over, there are just a lot of steps, but none of them are particularly difficult), but just... if I can just buy something that is 1. affordable, 2. decently fitting, and 3. thoughtfully made with regards to sustainability/humanity, I'd rather just buy it. And y'all, this goes double for knits.

Then again, it's pretty neat to have made something that I feel is comparable to ready to wear--I wore my Ginger jeans to a party recently at which people knew about my sewing, and no one said "did you make your jeans?" which as we all know is the mark of having made it in the sewing world, right?

Today I wanted to do a little comparison between two pairs of jeans, one handmade and one purchased! The two pairs are very similar styles: both the DIY Closet Case Ginger Jeans and the RTW Grana High Rise Skinny Jeans are high waisted zip-fly jeans with skinny legs. I also want to show off my new tee (remember when I said I'd rather buy it, especially for knits?? Who am I?), the Chalk and Notch Waterfall Raglan. Not much to say about it except that although I didn't enjoy making it (such a drapey rayon knit makes me want to tear my hair out), I lovvvve wearing it and have been doing so basically as much as possible (I've even slept in it, it's so comfortable). You'll notice it isn't hemmed: I couldn't get my twin needle tension right and it looked awful. I think what I need is that wonder hem tape that washes out. Are you a knits expert? What do you suggest?

Back to denim! Here's all the nitty gritty details... and for reference: I am 5'7" and have a natural waist measurement of 26-27" and a full hip measurement of about 38".

Waist: If you remember from my Ginger post fit details, I graded from an 8 in the waist to a 10 in the hips of my Ginger jeans, and I would go down another size in the waist in my next pair (Heather Lou does not draft for pears!). The Grana jeans, on the other hand, fits a lot better without any of the (preemptive) alterations made on the Ginger jeans. However, I might want to shave a tiny amount (like, half an inch) off the waist of the Granas next time I make them... oh, wait. I could (I guess) do a bit of tailoring, but it's so slight I probably won't bother.

Rise: The rise on the Grana High Rise Skinny Jeans is 11.2" for the 28, and the rise on the View B (high-rise) Gingers, size 10, is 10", so a full inch lower. The Grana jeans come just to my navel (but don't cover it) and I prefer that higher rise.

Legs: The leg openings in the Grana high-waisted skinny jeans are skinny--like, point your toes to wiggle your foot through skinny. I think if they made a High Rise Slim Straight jean, it would be my holy grail denim. On the other hand, they look great tucked into boots! I cut about an inch off the bottom of the Gingers for a slight crop. Grana's denim all come in regular and tall lengths with inseams of 29.1" and 31.1 inches, respectively (mine are regular). They do not come in petite sizes.

Fabric: The fabric for the two pairs of jeans feel similar, with similar stretch and weight. Grana's denim is made in Japan, home of the best denim in the world. I purchased my Indiesew denim from Allie Olson, entrepreneur and all-around awesome woman I admire.

Pockets: I love the pocket stay in the high-waist view of the Gingers, y'all. Your pockets never flip out when you're pulling on your jeans (you know what I'm talking about). The Ginger pockets are also slightly deeper than the pockets on the Grana pair, if you, unlike me, actually put things in your front jeans pockets. I also quite like the subtle shaping on the Gingers's back pockets, but as far as pocket placement, the rear views of the two pairs of jeans are very similar other than that tiny difference.

Cost: Neither pair of pants is very expensive (in my view). The Grana skinnies cost $49 (and free shipping if you spend $26 more--I suggest something silky). I ordered two sizes planning to return one for store credit, that way I'll get free shipping and free returns (and I know that I can find something to spend those $49 on). The Ginger pattern will cost you $14 for a PDF or $18 for the printed pattern, plus fabric. An Indiesew jeans hardware kit costs $7, and my denim (also from Indiesew) cost me about $30 for two yards, which brings the total (not including denim needles and thread from my stash, my Bernina, or my time) to $55. About the same! Psst: if you're new to Grana you can get 10% by using my link, bringing your cost down to about $44.

Sizing: Ginger sizing goes from 0 (a 24" waist and 33" hip) to 20 (39" waist and 48" hip) and I fall in a 4/6 waist and 10 hip. Grana sizing goes from a size 24 to 32 (no body measurements available, but the finished garment waist measurement goes from 23.2" to 32.7"). As I said in the waist section, The 28 fits my waist and hips (a 10-ish" difference) so might be better for curvier ladies than the straight-up-and-down Gingers if you don't feel up to making some pattern adjustments.

Conclusion: The Grana High Rise Skinny Jeans fit me all around slightly--slightly--better than my first iteration of the Closet Case Ginger Jeans, view B (high waist, skinny leg). However, I know that I can tweak future pairs of Gingers to improve the fit on each one, whereas the the Grana jeans remain the same, unless I do some serious seam ripping (not likely).

I think if I made two more pairs of Gingers, I would definitely have a pair of pants that would be noticeably better-fitting than the Grana skinnies--but I'd also have 4 near-identical pairs of jeans, and that's really not necessary. For now, I'm really happy with my two new pairs of jeans, and will wear them interchangeably. For me, the biggest difference is the slightly higher rise on the Grana jeans. Overall, two high-quality pairs of jeans that fit really well.

When it comes to jeans, which do you prefer, DIY or the RTW? Comparing the two, are you more likely to break out the credit card or the topstitching thread? I'd love to hear your thoughts, and If you'd like to see more posts like this in future (tee shirts perhaps? outerwear? anything you'd love to see?).


ps: a few more grana favorites--this tee shirt is the nicest one i've ever owned, a breezy tank dress i'd wear as a slip or a date-night dress, and a pretty, silky pajama set complete with coordinating mask! plus, alex has these pants (both nicer and cheaper than his go-to j. crew chinos) and a cashmere sweater and loves both; that cashmere is so soft.

allie J.

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Dreaming in Pink (McCall's 7549 & Simplicity 7957)

I knew when I set out to make my leather jacket that I wanted to make a full practice garment (in addition to a muslin). I'm not a quilter, and so I wanted to be able to practice quilting before I started in on leather, which shows every hole--no room for error! I wasn't sure what I should make, though, because a quilted cotton jacket is a little too handcraft-y for me generally and I couldn't think of a fabric I would love (besides leather, or course). I then stumbled across the idea of making a quilted bed jacket while re-watching a few beloved episodes of the Dick Van Dyke show in honor of Mary Tyler Moore's death. She always looks so put together in her little twin bed, and maybe, just maybe, I would look like that (minus, you know, the perfect hair, perfect makeup, and perfect comedic timing) if I had a sweet little jacket to slip on over my frilly nightgown... aaand all of a sudden I needed a nightgown pattern too!

My bed jacket is made with ballet slipper pink silk/cotton, the remnants from my wedding dress. You really only need about a yard and a half of fabric for this project (don't be fooled by the yardage on the envelope) and all the pieces are small because of the piecing, so I was able to squeeze it out of my larger scraps. I used the same construction order as I did for my leather jacket (details here) and learned how to use the seam guide for even quilting during this project, (knowledge which I used extensively in constructing my leather version). The only change to the pattern itself between this one and the leather one is the addition of two simple bow ties in front. Just goes to show what a difference fabric can make! (I'm wearing it with a vintage nightgown I picked up at a local shop, not my handmade nightgown--because it really matches perfectly.)

Of all the sweet little 60s nightgowns on etsy, I chose Simplicity 5001 for two reasons: first, it seemed very easy to make (essential when you're thinking of making multiples). I love my menswear-style Carolyn pajamas but they are a real project. A simple a-line nightgown with a little bit of lace is an easy--and pretty!--alternative. Second, it has a few options, included sleeved and sleeveless versions of the nightgown and short or 3/4 options for the robe (which looks a LOT like the pattern for my pink bow coat, don't you think?).

Unfortunately, when it came in, the nightgown pieces were all missing! In all my years of purchasing patterns on etsy, this is the first time that has happened. (ps: I'm working on a "how to buy vintage patterns post" that I hope to publish this month or in April.) The seller refunded me quickly, so it wasn't a big deal, but then I had to pick another pattern. I went with the very similar pattern Simplicity 7957; although 5001 is definitely early or mid 60s, and 7957 is from 1968, they're both v-neck, a-line nightgowns with lace trim. I actually love the robe that comes with this second one, it has a self-fabric or wide lace ruffle along the front and I'd love to make it if I have enough fabric, I have to check. I actually ordered this seersucker to make a day dress, but wasn't 100% on the color--it's a bit dark/cool. Not exactly what I was looking for, but perfect for pajamas! So in the end, a second choice pattern and not-quite-perfect fabric, put together to make a lovely nightgown!

Do you order patterns on etsy? If so, has this ever happened to you? I think it must be pretty rare since I've ordered so many patterns and never had an issue until now! Have you ever made a pattern with two totally different fabrics, like leather and silk, or do you stick to the suggested materials list? :)


ps: i really did wear my little jacket and vintage nightgown to bed and my husband said "you look so pretty!" a reaction which, i have to say, gigantic sorority tee shirts do not elicit. 

allie J.

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Inspiration: The Love Witch

the love witch eye makeup

I don't watch a lot of movies. I generally prefer to spend my evening sewing than heading to the movie theater for the latest new release, with few exceptions. What I really look for in a movie is a sense of style, so I love auteurs like Wes Anderson or Sofia Coppola. Bonus for wonderful costumes!

Recently I went to see The Love Witch, which totally falls into that category. Since seeing the trailer, I've been waiting for this movie to come to Durham, and I was so excited to see it was going to be a part of our local theater's horror film festival. It's the story of a young woman who, after the death of her husband, moves to a new town to find love. Unfortunately for her--and the men she seduces--her love potions and sex magic are a bit too strong for the psyches of her lovers and she leaves a string of bodies in her wake.

Anna Biller, who directed and produced the movie, also designed the sets and costumes and even sewed some of the costumes herself, from vintage patterns. Although the movie is set in the present, the main character, Elaine, is constantly in these amazing late 60s/70s dresses. I was so inspired by the gorgeous costuming and styling, especially the high-necked 70s-does-Edwardian ruffled blouses that the main character wears. Samantha Robinson as Elaine is gorgeous in every color-saturated shot and has a gaze that makes you wilt, whether she's cooing over a lover or sneering at him behind his back. I'm totally copying her makeup (coral pink lips and cat eyes? um yesss please), and I just bought myself a 1978 dress pattern so I can make myself a little Love Witch-inspired dress. I've picked out few more patterns (including some of the exact same ones from the movie!) and vintage items for a real Love Witch vibe here.

Besides the sheer beauty of the movie, it was so refreshing to see a blatantly female, feminine movie, horror or otherwise. There are lots of scenes that make you laugh out loud and several scenes that make you shiver, and the whole thing will make you consider what it is to be a woman. My friend and I had a great conversation on the way home about whether Elaine is an innocent, or on a rampage. Anna Biller has some wonderful blog posts on the creation on the movie, if your're interested--she's a super thoughtful woman and it's wonderful to have her in our little vintage sewing girl gang, if you ask me. You should definitely read this New York Magazine article about the Love Witch costumes and Biller's thoughts on making them--and look through the slideshow. Can believe she even hooked a whole rug after she couldn't find one she liked?? That is dedication to your craft.

Are you feeling these crazy Edwardian ruffles as much as I am? I feel like they are a natural extension of the giant, off-the-shoulder ruffle look that's been so popular lately (and more modest, if that's your thing). Have you seen The Love Witch? It's coming out on DVD March 14th and I've already preordered it from Amazon, I can't wait to watch it again.


ps: her little Kelly bags she carries in the movie (the red one is pictured above but she also has a black one too, and there may be others I don't remember) solidify my need of a Mansur Gavriel elegant bag (or, since those are like $700, maybe a vintage version).

allie J.

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Sewing Challenges & Sew-Alongs

As the Social Sew winds down (this is the last month to link up and you can do so here!), I wanted to give a quick shout out to some of the other amazing sewing challenges and sew-alongs out there. It seems like there are more than ever, and this is totally not an exhaustive list, but I thought I'd point you in a few different directions post-Social Sew. I intend to participate in a few of these, myself...

The Wardrobe Builder Project: Frequent Social Sew participant Laura of the Petite Passions blog has perhaps my favorite monthly wardrobe challenge this year. The Wardrobe Builder project encourages participants to sew one garment each month, with themed months like "Jeans and Tees" (that would be this month, March!) and "Coats and Jackets" (November) with the idea of having a well-rounded wardrobe by 2018! Link up your projects on her monthly post (Social Sew style) for occasional prizes (this month it's a copy of the Closet Case Pattern Morgan Jeans--I hope I win! haha). Vintage month is coming up in October and I'll be all over it.
hashtag: #wardrobebuilder // pinterest board // introduction post

Vintage Pledge: On the topic of vintage, this is my other favorite year-long project, in which I have participated for the past three(!) years. This is a self-directed project, in which you make a pledge to sew a certain number of vintage patterns (generally, although you could pledge to make three garments from one pattern, or every piece of a multi-garment pattern, or whatever your heart's desire) and then complete your pledge during the year. The past two years there have been end-of-year judges and prizes, and last year the whole month of July was dedicated to vintage sewing. So far, it's unclear what exactly is happening this year beyond the pledges and social sharing, but even that much is super fun and worth participating in for the inspiration alone--not to mention motivation to whip up some fun vintage looks!
hashtag: #vintagepledge // pinterest board

Project Sew My Style: Although it's too late to officially sign up for Project Sew my Style, you can still sew along as participants sew a specific pattern each month. This is the least flexible of the challenges, and ionically the patterns selected are not exactly my style, so I probably won't be participating in this one, but if your style skews a bit more minimalistic than mine, check this one out; pattern brands include blogger favorites Named, By Hand London, and Cali Faye, among others.
hashtag: #sewmystyle // introduction post

Je Couds ma Garde-robe Capsule: for French-language sewing bloggers and Francophiles! This project, which translates (roughly, my french isn't as fluent as it once was) to "Sewing my Capsule Wardrobe" operates similarly to the Wardrobe Builder Project. Choose 12 garments in specific categories like dress, shorts, sleepwear, jacket, etc., then sew one garment of your choice from your list each month.
hashtag: #jecoudsmagarderobecapsule2017 // introduction post

Dressmaking Blogging Network Challenges: The Dressmaking Blogger Network facebook group is very active, with almost 4000 members, and holds monthly themed sew-alongs for members, generally based around a loose theme. This month's challenge is "Spring" and I have a lovely pink vintage dress in the works (I might use this and double dip for Akram and Judith Dee's Easter Spring Dress challenge)!
hashtag: #dressmakingbloggerchallenge // facebook page

And that's just five of what seems like a million sewing challenges that have cropped up this year, not to mention more self-directed challenges like Wardrobe Architect and the like. Will you be participating in any of these challenges, or do you prefer to totally do your own thing?


ps: i don't know, maybe i should bring back my weekender wardrobe challenge of a few years back? would anyone be interested in sewing vintage wardrobe patterns together?

allie J.

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Social Sew #12: Anything Goes!

It's been a whole year of Social sewing, ya'll, and right off the top I want to say thank you so much for participating and making this year-long experiment such a success! We had an average of 12 paricipants a month (woohoo!) and an average of 1,300 post views on each round up (at least according to only semi-reliable blogger stats haha)--that's a lot of eyeballs on your makes! 

For our last round up, go nuts and link up whatever you've been working on, no worries about a theme...

March's Social Sew theme is Anything Goes!

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.

And an important Social Sew reminder: This 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. If you've been wanting to link up but haven't gotten around to the themes, you have a last chance!

ps: instead of my usual inspo post, i'll be doing a round-up of monthly sewing projects (if you need a replacement for the social sew), so keep an eye out for that soon!

allie J.

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