Memento Mori (Clothes for All Seasons)

Thank you to Nick of Time for providing the fabric for this project, and thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog. For 15% off your order from Nick of Time fabrics, use code ALLIE15.

It's not October without one spooky make, right? I got the idea for this memento mori sweatshirt from Madeline, who recently made an awesome Brooklyn sweatshirt. I immediately wanted to copy her (#sorrynotsorry) but I am much less cool and do not live in Brooklyn. Since I knew I wanted a black sweatshirt with black text, a seasonally-appropriate phrase seemed to fit the style and the month!

I was honestly surprised at how difficult it was to find a good RTW-style sweatshirt material--I looked in all my usual places and read a bunch of reviews and it seemed like most of the sweatshirt fabric available was going to be stretchier and/or lighter than I wanted. After a lot of searching I tracked down some actual RTW-sweatshirting (from Champion!) at a new-to-me fabric store, Nick of Time. They even had the matching Champion ribbing, too, so my sweatshirt is, like, super professional. I think the number one thing home sewers can do to make their garments look handmade, not homemade (aka Becky Home-Ecky) is appropriate fabric selection. Knowing that this is exactly what a certain brand is using for your chosen application makes that a bit easier, don't you think? Obviously if you know that Wrangler uses this denim for jeans, it's a safe bet that you, too, can use it for jeans. (They have a ton of fabric from J. Crew too!! omg)

The pattern is the men's sweatshirt from Clothes for All Seasons in a size small, with a whole bunch of modifications changing the style--adding a split hem, lengthening cuffs--but you could use whatever sweatshirt pattern you have on hand (I like the Grainline Linden a lot too). By the way--there are a bunch of patterns out with this hem recently, but it's so so easy to add to a pattern you already have; I wouldn't recommend buying a new pattern just for this small detail.

To make the appliques, I used leather scraps left over from this jacket--it's pretty thin, so it stitches on easily. After cutting them out, I laid them down how I wanted them, and then lifted them up one at a time, sprayed the back lightly with spray adhesive, and replaced them on the sweatshirt. After they were all nicely stuck I just topstitched around the outsides! My topstitching is not perfect but it's passable.

Don't forget--use code ALLIE15 for 15% off of your next purchase from Nick of Time!


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Altering the Rae for a Flat Waistband (Measure Fabric)

Thank you to Measure Fabric for providing the chambray for this tutorial! 

Since I've made about a hundred Rae skirts with this modification, and I'm clearly obsessed, I thought I might as well make a little tutorial for it! It's a simple change that I love; it dresses the skirt up a little bit but maintains the original flirty silhouette. I used a denim-colored chambray from Measure Fabric for a casual look but you can dress this silhouette up or down--basically all of my skirts are some variation of the Rae at this point! This tutorial is for literally the exact way I make this version of the Rae, so it's not necessarily the exact right way to do it, just how I personally do it, lazy shortcuts and all. You've been warned!

By the way, you don't need the Rae skirt pattern for this tutorial, you could use any number of similar elastic waist skirts patterns that are designed like the Rae with an attached casing. (Although, I haven't used any others personally so no guarantees there.)

Tutorial below the cut!

Spoonflower’s Quick-Sew Project Book (Review + Tutorial)

Hello! I have mentioned before that Spoonflower is right around the corner from me (like, less than 10 minutes from my house) so I always enjoy partnering with them--we're neighbors! Today I'm here to help launch their new Quick-Sew Project Book.

The Quick-Sew Project Book contains tutorial-style instructions for 34 different projects of varying skill levels and the book is divided up by amount of fabric needed--from a swatch (8" x 8") to a few yards. I've never seen a similar arrangement and I think it's so smart--we all have those smaller scraps of fabric we can't let go of or one-yard pieces that we're not sure what to do with.

Everyone participating in this blog hop is personalizing the Two-Swatch Sunglasses Case--it's such a clever design, utilizing a pair of 8" by 8" Spoonflower swatches to make a cute pouch. I made mine with two coordinating prints from the same designer. On the outside is this glam velvet. On the inside, the same pattern, in a neutral, monochrome colorway.

The full tutorial for the pouch is available on the Spoonflower blog here--it's super easy!--but today I'll just show you how I added a cute scallop trim to the top of mine. First cut two 8" lengths of trim. If you only have a little bit, you could also cut one and put in on one side of your pouch only.

Pattern Comparison (Megan Nielsen Ash & Closet Case Ginger)

If you didn't see these photos--first start at my post for Harts Fabric!

For this post, I'm comparing the Megan Nielsen Ash Jeans and the Closet Case Gingers, both made out of the same fabric--the Telio Allego stretch denim in black. These are my third or fourth pair of Gingers, so they are starting with a bit of an advantage--I've tweaked the fit each time I've made them, improving it slightly each go.

The Gingers are view B, the high-waisted skinny, and the Ash are view 2, the skinny leg (all views have the same rise). Gingers on the right (slightly faded), Ash on the left (distressed)--you can click to see extra big versions:

Here are the technical details!

Closet Case Ginger
Price: $18 USD
Views: a low-rise slim leg, and a high-rise skinny are included in the pattern, plus a flare expansion ($7 extra) and a separate mid-rise pattern ($12).
Size range: waist 24-39"

Megan Nielsen Ash
Prince: $20 USD
Four views included, all with the same mid-rise: skinny, straight, flare, and wide leg. Three lengths: crop, regular, and tall.
Size range: waist 24-36"

My sizing: I am 5'7" and my measurements are a 26/27" waist and a 38/39" hip. I grade between an eight and a ten in the Gingers and then take the waist in a little extra bit. For the Ash, I originally graded between the 27 and 28, and took the waist in to about the 26. I ended up sizing up to the 28 waistband and squeezing an extra half inch out of the side seams (3/8" seam allowance instead of 5/8"). The only style change I made to the Ash was to cut the waistband along the stretch of the fabric (as suggested by Lara) and to add 3/4" to the rise, to match the rise I like in the Gingers. (The Gingers' rise as written (for the high waist) is 9 1/2" and I prefer it with an inch added, and the Ash is 9 3/4", so I just added 3/4" here for the same rise overall--although they still ended up a little shorter, not sure why).

- The Ash jeans fit really well out of the envelope--I really like the shape--but were quite small all over!
- The Gingers have those genius pockets that go into the zip and suck everything in. Lovvvve those.
- The Ash jeans have a great way of applying belt loops that I will steal in the future.
- The Ash jeans have a better fit through the small of the back for me--I usually have to scoop a little out of the yoke of the Gingers (vertically and horizontally). Could be just because they are tighter overall.
- Something is weird with the Ash sizing--especially the waistband, I'm not the only one who thinks it is really wildly tight.
- I prefer the zipper installation for the Gingers. I have heard a lot of people prefer the Ash instructions though, so it might just be that I am accustomed to the Ginger method.

Which should I buy?
Although the Ash Jeans are slightly more expensive, you get more leg views for the price, so if you aren't going to be disappointed to find yourself in a larger-than-RTW size, and a mid-rise works for you, go for the Ash. If you anticipate fitting into the largest size, be warned: cut large seam allowances for the outseam or you risk not fitting into the size range. If you really want a low and high-rise and don't anticipate making flares or wide leg jeans (or don't mind paying extra for a flare leg), go for Gingers, which also have a slightly larger size range.

When I make my next pair of jeans, which pattern will I use?
Wait and see! aka I don't know. It's a close call, but I'm leaning toward Ash to try and nail the fit.


ps: there will be another pair of jeans soon but then... no more jeans for a while. 

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DIY Raw Denim (aka Higher Standards part 1)

Raw denim jeans before and after wearing, from this great article about the history of raw denim.

I used to have this pair of A.P.C. Petit Standards. They were raw denim, zero stretch, mid-rise straight leg jeans, actually unisex. I wore them a ton and loved them. Now, however, they don't pass my fit test! When A.P.C. launched women's denim (with stretch, even, omg what) I was verrrry tempted to make a purchase but then I thought of my amazing handmade jeans collection and decided to do some experimenting instead of online ordering.

The High Standards, the new higher-waisted women's raw denim, are 98% cotton, 2% polyurethane (presumably the stretch) and just look like dark-wash jeans, you know? The magic, of course, is that the fabric is not pre-washed, and then you go as long as humanly possible without washing (like, 6 plus months) and when you finally do, you wash very carefully, and eventually, you get all these beautiful (to some) natural fade marks that are perfectly suited to your body and the way you wear the jeans. People go wild for this stuff. I recommend not getting involved.

It was absolutely perfect timing that Fashion Fabrics Club (of all places) had a nice selection of Japansese selvedge denims. I picked a heavier one (11.5 oz) described as such:

11.5 oz. Cotton Dark Wash Selvedge Denim
-Made in Japan
-Weight: Heavy
-Transparency: Opaque
-Hand: Dry
-Stretch: Slight Horizontal Stretch
-Drape: Stiff
-Luster: Matte

They things that suggested this fabric to me were the keywords "dry" (raw denim is often described as such) and "stiff" as well as the deep indigo color, all of which seemed promising. 4 yards (since it's only about 30" wide) come to less than $50 with shipping--definitely cheaper than A.P.C.!

Even though this fabric is not prewashed (gulp) and not very stretchy, I'm not planning making any pattern changes--my expectations are that they will be very tight when I first put them on, they will loosen up gradually as I wear them (without washing, for as long as I can stand it), and then after the first wash they were be very tight again--also, likely a decent bit shorter.

I haven't started sewing yet, but I wanted to put down some thoughts since I think there are probably some other people out there on the internet who are trying to do the same thing. I'll update y'all when they are all sewn up (assuming they fit okay) and again after the magical First Wash. First step: decide which pattern to use: Ash or Ginger? I think I'm leaning towards Ash, and using the slim, rather than skinny leg, maybe with some modifications since it seems a shame to cut off those pretty selvedges...


ps: is it 2011? because this blog seems like its 2011.

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