Black to Basics (Closet Case Ginger Jeans)

I know, I know... that's two "basic" titles in a month, and bad puns at that! But my Girlsack-inspired classic capsule combined with my pledge to not buy any clothing during 2018 has me sewing all the practical pieces, like oxford shirts, navy skirts, and these black jeans!

This is the third version of the Closet Case Ginger Jeans I've made in the past year and I now have a whole Ginger wardrobe: classic blue denim, white, and now black. If you've followed me in my Ginger making adventures, you may remember that I thought the first pair (in blue denim) wasn't quite high-rise enough--view B is supposed to be natural waist, but that first pair hit just below my belly button which I didn't love. (Does anyone else feel dumb writing belly button? But navel seems just as bad? Ugh, the things we type for sewing blogs!) For the white pair, I added two whole inches to the rise, and while I think they look cute they feel just slightly too high. For this pair, I added one inch to the original pattern, so halfway between versions one and two, and, like Goldilocks, it's just right. I also shaved a little bit out of the lower back, and I think the fit in these is the best to date. Unfortunately, I think this pair has the worst waistband yet (although nothing egregious) with some flaws at the fly and I somehow managed to sew my back pockets on totally crooked despite having double and triple checked. Luckily these issues don't stand out in black, no one besides sewing people will even notice, and Alex says anyone who is looking at my butt will be distracted by how nice it looks in these jeans and will definitely not notice the pocket placement. (Isn't he sweet! haha)

This fabric is from Hart's and I was pretty worried while sewing that it wouldn't have enough recovery--my pattern pieces were stretching all over the place and curling up like crazy. I was so relieved when I tried them on and they not only fit perfectly, but stayed snug throughout the whole day. This fabric is really great--a nice weight with a hefty stretch and a deep black color (I called the store to make sure it was black black before ordering). Unfortunately, it's all sold out! You may be able to find it at a different store since Telio fabrics are sold elsewhere.



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Couple Shirts (Liesl & Co. All Day Shirt)

Another week another blue oxford shirt... I made this shirt and my Granville at the same time--assembly line sewing! This one is the Liesl & Co All Day Shirt, which I bought as soon as it came out. I rarely buy a brand new pattern, but this one I had to have, since men's patterns are tricky and this one looked like exactly what I wanted for Alex: simple enough to make multiples of, with details that could add a little differentiation between versions but still remain pretty neutral. This is a straight size medium, which is his usual size in Ralph Lauren shirts, but one size up from where his measurements put him on the size chart. I think in truth he's between a small and medium, but this very slightly oversized shirt is comfortable and looks good, so I'm not about to go trace between sizes. Shirts have a lot of pieces to trace!

Unfortunately, because I made this one and my Granville simultaneously, they both have the bubbly interfacing issue. Other than that, though, I think it's pretty much indistinguishable from Alex's ready to wear shirts, which is what I was going for. This is the first of my #menswearmakenine plans for the year and I'm pretty excited about it; I feel like it's really starting the year right! I can't really claim to be "looking forward to" making another one since selfless shirt sewing isn't really my favorite thing to do, but I do anticipate making a few more over the course of the year, at least.

Since I asked for fit advice last week, I might as well beg the same of you today: any suggestions to make this the best fitting shirt ever?


ps: just wait until a rainy day in fall when Alex and I both get dressed in jeans, blue oxford, duck boots and Barbour coats by accident and don't realize we're matching until we both come home. this happens more than I'd like to admit.

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DIY vs RTW: Buttoned Up Basics (Sewaholic Granville)

It's been months since the first (and only) installation of "DIY vs RTW" but I think having signed up for #RTWFast2018 I might do a few of these this year, as I replace any worn out rtw with handmade items! This also serves as a new entry in my winter mini-capsule, along with my plaid skirt and knit blazer.

I made the Sewaholic Granville once before, in a navy and white gingham with short cuffed sleeves. This time I tackled my first tower plackets! If I'm going to sewing menswear this year, it's about time for me to learn to do a tower placket, right? I used a combination of the instructions from this pattern and the Liesl & Co. men's shirt which I made at the same time for Alex (in a slightly darker blue, yes we match) and it was much easier than I thought it would be. Cutting a hole into your nice fabric is always a bit scary but with accurate marking and crisp pressing the placket construction wasn't bad at all. I won't be attempting plackets in poly chiffon any time soon, but in shirting cotton they were entirely doable, so if you haven't tried one, give it a shot!

Unfortunately, the woven interfacing I used on collars and cuffs got super bubbly in the wash--I didn't prewash it, I didn't know I should, but apparently... ugh. I think my RTW shirt has sew-in, which I've never used, but I guess I'll be picking some up for my future Granvilles.

I'm wearing it here with another Sewaholic pattern and another little piece of my winter capsule, a navy twill Rae skirt. There isn't much to say about my flat-waistband Rae at this point that hasn't already been said here or here. This is officially a go-to pattern and I feel like I could basically just wear a combination of Rae, Granville, Ginger, and Ogden at all times and be set for most everyday occasions. Also, I love the way the Rae and the Deer and Doe Luzerne look together and repeated that pairing, previously seen here. (RE: this capsule, I have a pair of black Gingers all cut out and ready to sew and then that's all of my core items for that little capsule. Other than that it's just a classic khaki trench and I don't really want to buy all that fabric at the moment when I have other fabric to sew! I'll order some swatches first and take my time.)

Now for the comparison! I love the fit of the Granville--I'm sure it's not perfect but it's so much nicer than my rtw shirt, shown in pink. For reference, this is a Granville with no adjustments in a size 6, and the pink shirt is a Ralph Lauren slim fit oxford in size 2 (I think it's this, mine is about 10 years old so I'm not entirely sure).

Overall, I have some of the same drag lines on both shirts, but they are lessened greatly on the Granville. From top down: although my shoulders are likely slightly crooked, I think the slight pulling on the shoulders of the Granville is from a slightly off buttonhole--you can see it points right at it. The shoulders overall are much improved on the Granville compared to the really bad wrinkles on the shoulders of the Ralph Lauren. I'm not sure if it's a forward shoulder issue or if it's more of an issue of the neckline being too far back. The drag lines from lower back to bust likely have something to do with a combination swayback and FBA on both; the RTW shirt doesn't have bust darts which doesn't help. I'm not really sure if I should do an FBA on the Granville or if it's just swayback or... what do you think? The sleeves of the Granville are a bit long, I'll shorten them by about 1/5" next time. I'll also make a small change to the cuffs, rounding the edges slightly to match my RTW shirt (and the Liesl & Co men's shirt).

A few years ago Sarah (host of the aforementioned RTW Fast) did a whole series on sewing the perfect shirt, so it seems fitting to start my year in this way. Although I'm not going for perfect I know this fit can be improved, so I'm definitely interested in any or all suggestions y'all have for fitting this pattern! Let me know in the comments :)


ps: i also made a little rae skirt (bc ofc i did) with the left over bits for a faux shirtdress... it's a bit chilly for that now but you'll see it in the spring for sure!

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New Year's Two-Piece Dress (Vogue 9291)

Thank you to McCall Pattern Company for sponsoring this post. Photography by Alex Craig.

Happy New Year! On this first day of 2018, I'll share one of my last projects of 2017--and one of my favorites! This year I wanted to do a modern homage to 50s designer Ceil Chapman, and took inspiration from the gorgeous portrait necklines and figure-flattering draping... but in the form of a two piece dress, a skirt and a crop top made with Vogue 9291! I've worn this to a few outings already and had so much fun wearing it; it's easy to wear and makes me feel super super glam!

The skirt I used is a simple dirndl skirt, the type you make with a few rectangles gathered together. I had pulled out a few more skirt patterns as possibilities but they were all based on circle skirts and required more yardage than I had. My favorite part of these skirts is that they are very efficient to make as far as fabric usage--I won't call it economical since one as full as this requires yards and yards but they use every single square inch.  This type of skirt is a classic 50s style and looks great with a petticoat like the one I'm wearing here! Ps: The poofier the skirt, the smaller your waist looks in comparison! ;)

The top here is the star of the show! It's made using Vogue 9291, which is actually on of Vogue's "accessories" pattern and includes three other scarf/wrap patterns. I believe this wrap is meant to be worn over a strapless dress to provide a little more coverage, and it would be gorgeous serving this purpose--I imagine it with a coordinating floor length gown (hello M7281)but it would be amazing with a wiggle dress too! Y'all know that I'm sort of obsessed with crop tops, though (also have you ever seen anything strapless on this blog? no.) so I had to go with the top and a separate skirt! When I'm standing still, it mostly looks like one piece, but when I move, the top and skirt move independently and you can see little glimpses of skin--nothing too wild though!

Although this is a designer Vogue pattern, I found it simple to make, especially given how complex it looks sewn up. The pattern calls for satin and "contrast" poly organza (for seam bindings--I went with my serger instead ;), but it looks great in this shirting for a crisper look or even novelty quilting cotton for a rockabilly look (calling all Viva Las Vegas attendees--imagine this in a great print with a high-waisted wiggle skirt). I made a straight size small with no adjustments.

Before embarking on this version, I made a "wearable muslin" of this skirt/top combo in yellow seersucker (with a more casual skirt) and immediately fell in love. Changing up the skirt style and fabric take this from a glamorous Old Hollywood frock to the perfect retro beach look, but you'll have to wait for that version: I'm going on a cruise in March and I think I'll wait to photograph it in warm weather--and with a tropical background! I also want to hack this into a proper dress, and I'm scheming how to do that--I think if I sew the pleated wraps into the opposing side seams I can add a skirt and insert a side invisible zipper...

One last plug for this new favorite pattern--if you serge your seams instead of making organza binding, this is a quick sew! Wondering what you should wear for a Valentine's Day night out? Not any more you aren't--plus, if you're catching this on January 1st, there's a $5.99 sale on the Vogue website...


ps: this looks SO CUTE with a swimsuit too as a little cover up! and now i'm pondering how to make it into a bikini top for glamorously lounging by the pool...

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