Simplicity 8040

Now, I just said a few posts ago that I was trying to document a few projects quickly, and I’m already flagging. A lot of that comes from my dissatisfaction with my photography, but I’m going to plunge a head regardless. So without further ado, a1940’s era make: Simplicity 8040.DSCN5386

Overall, I’m thrilled with how this dress turned out. I made it of a nice cotton print. It wasn’t with the other quilting cottons in the store, but it’s about that weight, and I think it works well for a day dress. In keeping with the idea of a day dress, I made a few changes to the pattern. I chose not to interface the collar and I shorted the sleeves.DSCN5387

In retrospect, I would make a few more alterations. The dress is a little loose in the waist, and given the desire for a trim waist in the 1940’s, I’d grade the pattern down a size from the bust to the waist. Also, this pattern is infamous for a very pointy seaming detail that’s hard to sew. I ended up actually hand sewing the points, as I couldn’t get them to lay properly with machine sewing. However, due to the small, busy pattern, you can’t even see the detail! So it was a lot of toil for nothing! I’d straighten out the seam line to eliminate the point if making this again in a print.DSCN5394 The final issue I had was the neckline. I should have anticipated this, as I saw it noted on several pattern reviews, but the neckline is very low. I ended up adding two buttons, but after I had almost finished the dress, so they’re not really supported properly and cause the neckline to warp a bit. Not enough that the casual observer would notice anything, but I noticed…

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On a side note, aren’t the buttons lovely! I salvaged them off a thrifted garment!

Overall, though, I was very happy with how this dress turned out, and wore it to a dance at a local WWII weekend. Thanks to the cotton, this dress was lovely to swing dance in, despite the heat. I will probably make another one next year for the same event, making the changes noted above, and perhaps choosing a dressier fabric!

DSCN4991And now excuse me, as I ride off into the sunset!

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Blue Re-do

Recently I went thrifting, looking for materials for a few upcoming events. I found what I needed, and I’ll share that later. But I also found this out-dated dress for 50 cents! I fell in love with the color, and the fact that it was made of rayon, and not some sort of poly-blend.DSCN5377

I did not fall in love with the large sleeves, unfitted waist, scalloped hem, skirt-top combo look, etc. I wasn’t even sure how I felt about the soutache braiding. But again, 50 cents.DSCN5375

I had a free morning, and started to play around. I was originally thinking of separating the top and bottom and making the skirt portion into, well, a skirt. I figured the sleeves would have enough fabric to make make a narrow waistband. But something happened once I removed the sleeves: I started to really like the top half. So I cut off the scalloped edge, and sewed the skirt on the top. DSCN5379For the back, I eliminated the button placket (I forgot to photograph the back before, but it was closed with self-fabric covered buttons) and inserted a new zipper starting around mid-back. DSCN5382I chopped off nearly a foot of fabric from the bottom of the skirt to bring it up to knee length and hemmed it by hand. I added some bust darts into the bodice to help with shaping. Finally, I managed to cut some bias tape from the discarded sleeves to bind the armholes. DSCN5384

I’m so so happy with the results! The Blue Re-do, as I’ve dubbed it, makes me smile and is very different from anything in my wardrobe. Now I just need a party or fancy shindig to wear it to!

McCall’s M7093

Today I have a shirt to share that I absolutely love to wear. goodRhymes aside, I hate how it photographs. It’s a breezy, unfitted top made of a cotton gauze, and I feel good when I wear it, but I took pictures on breezy day and apparently it fills out like a sail. Not a good look.

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Ready to set sail! (This isn’t even the worst shot…)

But I like wearing it a lot, and I like the extra work I put into the construction.

See, the pattern suggest contrasting colors for parts of the shirt, which I liked. But I couldn’t find two fabrics that complemented each other and spoke to me. Instead, after cutting the side panels and sleeves, I used the end of an unsharpened pencil to stamp gold polka-dots on the fabric.DSCN5356 It’s very subtle, especially from a distance, but feels so special when worn. I also took the time to finish all the seams properly, with french seams and double-folded hems.

Bottom line, I still quite like this pattern, even if it’s not the most flattering thing I’ve ever worn. I cut a a size 22, but it has a lot of ease, so I think I’ll downsize to a 20 the next time I make it, to reduce sail potential. I might also try view D, which is a tunic and therefore beltable…good2

Simplicity 1614

I have a new favorite summer top!DSCN5358

This is Simplicity 1614 version B. I made this once years ago out of quilting cotton, and it was just a little stiff. I mean, I wear it sometimes, but didn’t love it. This one, however, is made of a light and breezy printed rayon and is wonderful and drapey. I actually bought the fabric for a different project, but changed my mind. So I rummaged through my patterns and decided to revisit. So glad I did! I sewed up a size 20, and found the fit good, except the back strap. DSCN5360I think I’ll shorten it by about an inch next time I make this baby. (And believe me, there will be a next time!)DSCN5362

Very quick and easy to sew, even with making my own bias tape.

My favorite part of this top is that I took time to sew little straps and snaps inside the shoulders.

This way I can snap my bra straps in place! I tend to stay away from tanks because I don’t like my bra showing, but these snaps have worked like an absolute dream. I think I may need to go through my wardrobe and sew them on everything I own!

Tiny Foxes

Recently I sewed a basic t-shirt with some remnant fabric from Jo-Ann fabrics. It’s a fun shirt, and I’ve gotten a lot of joy out of wearing it.

fox shirt

(sorry for the poor quality shot…)

But I’ve gotten even more joy out of what I made with the scraps: Tiny stuffed foxes 🙂DSCN4758

They are super easy to make, and would work with any fabric that has cute animals on it. The how-to for these cuties is pretty straight forward, but just in case you want to make your own, here goes!

  1. Cut out two of the animals, leaving a generous border.
  2. Face the pieces together, right side in.
  3. Sew around the outside, leaving an opening.
  4. Turn right side out (use something pointy like a dull pencil or chopstick to help!)
  5. Stuff with other smaller scraps or poly-fil, and neatly stitch closed.DSCN4754
  6. (optional) Have far too much fun placing them in your herb garden 🙂DSCN4753

A few tips and ideas:

  • If using a stretch fabric, like my foxes, make sure the pieces you cut out have the stretch going in the same direction.
  • If there are a lot of curves, clip the fabric outside the seams carefully (don’t cut through your stitches!) to make for smoother turning.
  • Stitch or glue your finished tiny creatures to a pin and wear for a dash of whimsy =^.^=

Why I Take My Glasses Off…

When I started this post, it was supposed to be about my new dress, yet another simplicity 1620. However, looking at the pics I snapped, it’s just a reminder to take off glasses when taking pictures.

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I guess it kinda looks like I’m from the future, walking around with an HUD embedded in my specs!

To be honest, I never really like pictures I take of myself (and really, who does like pics of themselves?!), and I don’t like taking pictures of me, but I do really like documenting the things I make.

So I am going sharing the bleh pictures, because it beats going back out to my tiny apartment balcony wondering if the neighbors are peering out from across the parking lot wondering what the heck I’m doing, which is what retaking them would entail!

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Look at the usual print! Ignore my glowing glasses!

And of course the one picture where my glasses haven’t censored my eyes is the one where I said, “Whatever. I’ll just act goofy ’cause I already feel like an idiot!”DSCN4763

Oh, and I do love my new dress! This pattern is a go-to favorite, and at this point only takes me about 2-3 hours to turn out, hemmed and everything! And this fabric is a simply silky knit from Jo-Ann fabrics and is a kind-of-dated, kind-of-steampunk paisley print that I kind-of-love, and which I look forward to rocking for a while 🙂

And another one!

I may have to find a new go-to dress pattern. Three of the same may be excessive. But I can’t help myself! I love my Simplicity 1620. And each time I’ve made it (4 total, as I gifted one) it comes out different, as I keep using very different fabrics.dress

This time I made it with some steeply discounted silky fabric from Jo-Ann’s. I tend to avoid their simply silky prints, as they’re tricky to sew, but I couldn’t resist this print. But I knew it’d have to be a simply make with such a fiddly fabric, and, well, another 1620.dress-back

I love how it turned out 🙂

Just Zip and Swish!

A little while I ago, I shared a circle skirt I made out of an old sheet and thrifted zipper. After I posted it, a reader asked for a tutorial on putting a zipper in a circle skirt.DSCN4488

Now, what I’m about to share is neither revolutionary, nor is it even perhaps the best method. But it works for me! So without further ado, here’s how I do it!

Supplies:

  1. fabric, cut to be a circle skirt
  2. scissors
  3. a zipper – I use a 7 inch zipper, but a longer one will work.
  4. thread and sewing machine
  5. zipper foot
  6. seam ripper
  7. iron

Directions:

  1. Cut into your lovely circle, from hem to waist. Try your best to keep it a straight line.dscn4563
    1. Note: You can either attach a waist band using your favorite method before you cut, or after. You can even attach it after you’ve sewn in the zipper, and add a button closure, like you see in the photo up top.
  2. Now sew it back up!dscn4569 With right sides together, use your machine’s longest stitch from the waist down to where the zipper will stop, about seven inches, and then sew the rest of the way to the hem at a regular stitch length.
  3. Press the seam open.dscn4564-copy
  4. Now pin the zipper along the pressed seam.dscn4567-copy The key is to make sure the center of the zipper teeth line up perfectly with the pressed-open seam. If you’re off, then the zipper will be slightly wonky.dscn4565-copy
    1. In the interest of full disclosure, my zippers may sometimes be slightly wonky…
  5. Now hand baste the zipper. dscn4566-copyWhile you can technically skip this step, I highly recommend it. I always get a much better finish, and the hand basting gives you a chance to double check that the zipper is aligned with the seam. It also keeps the zipper in place even better than pins for the next step.
  6. Now, using the zipper foot attachment on your machine, sew the zipper in place. dscn4560Make sure to sew over the bottom end a few times so it’s secure.
  7. Once you’ve sewn both sides of the zipper, remove the basting stitches.dscn4559
  8. Finally, the magic happens. Turn your skirt right side out and grab your seam ripper. Carefully undo the top part of your seam, the bit that’s hiding the zipper.dscn4562 Don’t rip out any stitches from the bottom of the zipper down to the hem – only rip from the bottom of the zipper up to the waist!
  9. And Ta-Dah! Your circle skirt now has a zipper!dscn4557
    1. If you already attached the waistband, you’re good to go! Otherwise, attach the band and then add a button closure above the zipper.

Hopefully you find the tutorial helpful! If you have any questions, let me know. Good luck with your circle skirts!

 

Make Shorts While the Sun Shines

How many times are you allowed to make the same pattern in row, before being considered obsessed?DSCN4499

‘Cause just a few days ago, I raved about Purl Soho’s City Gym Shorts, and now I have three more pairs.

Yeah. 4 pairs of shorts in a week. All the same thing. But! I love them! And I finally have the perfect excuse to buy cute quilting prints. Like foxes and flowers!

fabric haul

Pardon the blurry phone pic. Also, mystery fabric on the bottom will soon be…well, you’ll have to come back and see 🙂

 

Of course, now I have to go the gym, as I can no longer use the excuse of lack of work-out wear…

DSCN4500On two pairs, I appliqued a scrap of the printed fabric onto the back of the shorts. While constructing the fox pair, I accidentally snipped a hole in my fabric, so the fox was a cover-up patch. But I loved it so much, I added a bit of flowers to my other pair.

DSCN4503The third pair (on top) is fun and zany and made from stash fabric I got for free and had long since given up on, as it was so over the top. Not sure I’ll wear them in public, but they’ll make for wonderful and comfy lounge pants.

Anyone else ever fall so deeply head-over-heels for a pattern?

Purl Soho’s City Gym Shorts

Another re-used bed sheets post here!DSCN4493I pinned this project by Purl Soho ages ago, and every time I scrolled through pinterest, it jumped out. I liked the ease of the shorts, and the cute bias trim. They looked so comfortable and the assembly directions were clear and straightforward. I never actually made the shorts, though, because you have to print out the pattern. It’s a free pattern, and I have access to a printer, but I’m also lazy.

However, I’m a very peculiar brand of lazy. This week, in a fit of sewing inspiration, I looked closely at the pictures of the City Gym Shorts tutorial, took some measurements, made some calculations, and drafted my own pattern. Because I’m too lazy to print and tape. Yeah…

And my first attempt didn’t work. I mis-drafted the back of the shorts pattern, so badly that I couldn’t really get the shorts on and off. But I went right back the drafting board and my second attempt worked perfectly!

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Triumph!

I sewed the shorts up out of the scraps of three different sheets, so all different fibers and what not. But the front is light purple, the back is darker purple, with florals, and the trim has flowers, so it kind of works. And they’re perfect for lounging around the house, and I’m confident they’ll work at the gym that I’m totally going to join. DSCN4491Now that I have the pattern, I’m planning to whip up a few pairs, after I get some better fabric. I would also like to do a proper thick waistband like Purl Soho calls for; for this go, I just used the elastic in my stash. But I think the shorts will be even more comfy, and definitely more flattering if I follow their directions on the waist.

Here’s to practical sewing that will hopefully get my butt in gear and to the gym 🙂DSCN4492