Monday, February 19

Sewing For Men - Newcastle Cardigan

Most of my sewing friends don't sew for the men in their lives. I seem to be a rare case, but my husband actually puts in requests. I haven't done a ton but it appears that most of my manly sewing has been outer wear (see his William vest here). I've made him a base layer for skiing using the mens metro tee from Leisl and Co and the Finlayson sweater from Thread Theory. I've actually made my dad two Finlayson sweaters as well! I have a couple other Thread Theory patterns I need to get around to making him, but for now, he put in one of his requests.

On the 13th, he reminded me that I haven't made him anything in a while and he felt like it was his turn. I asked him what he wanted and was pretty quick to answer. He used to have a cardigan from Old Navy in French terry with a shawl collar that was casual enough to pair with jeans but could be nice enough to wear to work with a dress shirt and slacks. I showed him the Newcastle Cardigan from  Thread Theory and he approved. He wanted navy (he's as predictable as me) so I paired it with favorite cotton spandex French Terry from Raspberry Creek Fabrics.
I then decided to make it for him for Valentines Day (the very next day!) because we had no plans and I hadn't really done anything. Granted, his 30th birthday was the 12th and I surprised him with a night away and tons of other surprises and we returned the afternoon of the 13th so that kind of felt like our Valentines experience too...but anyway I digress. 

I printed, assembled, cut, added length, and made it all that day. It took a trip after work with him to pick out buttons he liked but still. A win! and He seriously loves it guys! He wore it the next day to work (and is wearing it to work again today) and wore it to church, AND requested another because he wants to wear it all the time. So I couldn't be happier.

I did make a few adjustments. First, I sized down, as I always do for him. In the Finlayson sweater I size down two sizes to make it a slim fit, but the Newcastle Cardigan is already called slim fit, so I sized down only 1 size. He likes a very slim fit...can you tell? I also added 2 inches to the body (he's almost 6' 3") and 2 inches to she sleeves but they ended up a little long and I removed 1 inch. I also slimmed the sleeve about the elbow down quite a bit and made the cuff way smaller. It was huge.

I added the yoke pieces but in the same fabric and I am so glad I did! I'm not big on contrast so I'm loving this look. The buttons are too contrasting for me but hey! He picked them and he wears it all the time so whatevs. I like the extra thickness and stability you get around the shoulders, (the yoke, collar, button band and facings are interfaced) not to mention the added appeal from the top stitching. I think it just looks so more finished and masculine with those touches.

He's happy, (and in all honesty he's a tough customer and will you have me redo things and alter if he doesn't love it. case in point this is the first time I have ever unpicked a button hole!) so I'm happy and I quite enjoy sewing for him occasionally.

Do you have any menswear patterns?Are you afraid to sew for men? Its not so bad I promise I give it a try and show me what you make!

Monday, February 5

29 Questions on my 29th Birthday

1. How long have you been sewing? 
My mom taught me as a little girl and I did it on and off through high school. In college, maxi skirts got really popular and I decided I could just make them, so I got back into sewing drafting my own skirts. Then my brother started dating his now wife, and she was studying clothing construction, and taught me how to make patterns off my clothes I had and liked, and how to find decent fabric at thrift stores. We would meet weekly and sew together and she ignited the passion! I started an etsy business in 2015 for kids clothes but still wasn't sewing for myself using patterns, just copying my clothes. In late 2015 I discovered pdf patterns and now here I am!

2. You do lots of alterations, where did you learn how to them?

Youtube mostly, or other sewing bloggers/instagramers, really. I have never taken a proper sewing class or read a sewing book. Just sewn for myself a lot and realized what problems I am having and then I look up what adjustment I need.

3. How do you know if you need a specific adjustment?

The more you sew, the more you learn about your body. You realize what it is that is uncomfortable about your clothes. Shirt falling back and choking you? Google that problem and learn you need a forward shoulder adjustment. Shirt too restricting when reaching your arms forward? Need a broad back adjustment. Getting a camel toe in your jeans? Need a round pubis adjustment. Lots of extra fabric above you bum in your favorite knit tee? Ask on facebook and learn you need a sway back. Yep. Thats how I learned. I only started making proper adjustments to my clothes beginning of last year. You can do it!

4. What types of fabric are your favorite to sew with?

For tops, drapey wovens with some weight behind them. I love rayon twill, rayon challis, and poly crepe.

I'm not huge into knit tees but I prefer tri blend jersey (cotton poly rayon) or very occasionally brushed poly as its drapey but not clingy like rayon spandex. I have heard merino wool jersey is incredible but I have never tried it because like i said, I don't do many knit tops.

For bottoms I like brushed twill, and cone mills s-gene denim

5. Good places to buy patterns for kids, tween, teens?
Best tween pattern designer is hands down Hey June Handmade! They have an entire juniors line of knit tees, woven dresses, rompers, jackets, etc.

Most designers have an XS or XXS size which converts easily to teens who have outgrown the junior sizes but aren't fully in women's sizes.

 Love Notions is another great place to look because they have a ton of variety and every size from 2T on up to 3XL, so you'll probably find something you like.

6. Go-to fabric stores?
Raspberry Creek Fabrics has been a favorite for years. Most people know them for their affordable custom knits, but I love them or their crazy affordable woven fashion fabrics. Solid rayon challis is usually $6.50, Robert Kaufman Mammoth plaid flannel is $7.99. They also carry Art Gallery, Birch, Rifle Paper co, etc., ALWAYS for the best price around. I promise. They also carry stretch twill, denim, you name it. Plus their amazing cotton spandex french terry that so many love.

Other shops I love:

Blackbird Fabrics has every luxury fabric you can imagine and even though they are in Canada they ship USPS so shipping is affordable. I will say their fabrics cost quite a bit. So I haven't bought tons, but my new favorite fabric, poly crepe, comes from them. I want it in every solid color!

Imagine Gnats has flipping amazing sweat shirting. They have lots of other stuff too obviously but they've been the first place I've found that sells high quality stretch sweatshirtings.

Fabric Genie is my favorite for rayon twill (probably my all time favorite fabric). Its super cheap from here, but shipping costs more, so it comes out to like $8.50 a yard which is still great.

7. What do you take pictures with?
A canon Rebel t3i that my husband got me or my birthday 5 years ago, with a portrait lens he got me 2 years later that I can't remember the name of..haha. My husband takes my photos, sometimes I use a tripod, or one of my local sewing friends!

8. How do you sew with kids?
 My son naps for about 2 hours while my daughter has some sort of quiet, independent time so I sew then, and after they go to bed at 7.

9. How do you take photos with kids?
Its chaos. Pandemonium. I'll be honest. But they are cute photo bombers:) When I meet up with sewing friends we get all our kids to play together while we photograph.

10. Do you plan your sewing or wing it?
Mostly wing it, but I have a plan sometimes. Like with the coat making party I planned on making Lola and Clare, and then added in the Sarah shirt in January as well because it was shirt month at Indie sew.

11. I only have a basic machine, can I sew what you sew? 
YES! I sew on a cheap basic Brother XR1300. And I've sewn jeans and wool coats and buttons up and slinky slippery fabrics and done zippers and a billion button holes. You can do it!

12. Favorite thing you've ever made?
Its like a four way tie. My ginger jeans, my sarah shirt, my modal chambray cheyenne, and my clare coat. And right now I'm working on the new, about to be released Joy Jacket, and I think it might make my favorite makes list too...

13. I'm afraid of sewing knits, where should I start?
I started sewing knits before I knew I should been afraid of it and it was no problem! Just go slow, don't pull on your fabric, and you can do it on a regular machine! I have a serger now and I'll admit it makes is a cinch. I have the Brother 1034D.  I got it 3 or 4 years ago on Amazon for $150. I used for two years of an etsy shop sewing like a crazy person and for all my own sewing. Never had 1 issue. Its a work horse.

A good pattern to start with would be the Hey June Union St Tee or Lane raglan. Great knit tee patterns!

14. I only sew knits, wovens intimidate me, how do I get past that? 
Just go for it! I was actually afraid of wovens too, after sewing exclusively knits for so long. I thought the fit would be a lot more challenging but I actually don't really find it much harder and I like my woven garments so much more! My favorite woven tops are the cheyenne tunic, the Hadley top, and the sarah shirt.

15. PDF or paper?
PDF cause I love having the digital copy. If all paper patterns came with the digital form too I'd probably buy that. But my kids ruin my paper patterns when they find them so that doesn't work for me.

16. What other hobbies do you have?
I love to read (more like listen to audio books) and exercise. My gym time is precious and I let almost nothing interrupt it. The kids like the Kid care so I go even morning for 90 minutes. My favorite things to do there are swim laps, high fitness and run. I spin twice a week too but I don't really enjoy that one haha. Side note-I used to coach a swim team and run cross country way back in the day.

17. Go-to designer?
My favorite designers are Hey June and Grainline Studio (granted I find GS patterns very pricey and wait for sales.) I actually only have 3 of GS patterns (Hadley and Farrow dress and the cascade duffle which I haven't made yet,) but I wear farrow and hadley all the time.

18. Sew in day or night?
Both. I guess I kind of answered this above about sewing with kids.

19. What to do you do while you sew?
Usually listen to Harry Potter, another book or a podcast. I actually have a long list of other books I want to listen to so I'm going to reserve the audio though Overdrive.

20. Favorite podcasts?
Love to Sew, Happier, Bold New Mom, and Young House Love.

21. Do you watch netflix while sewing? Have a show to recommend? 
Rarely. I prefer listening to something. But I started watching Blue Bloods occasionally with my husband and I'm liking that.

22. Sewing snacks?
I don't have any. Just usually a glass of water that gets shared between me and the iron hahaha

23. What machines do you have?
My aforementioned machine and serger and also a Brother 2340CV

24. What do I actually need in order to start sewing?
A machine (yours, or a borrowed one) some pins and scissors! Then just the materials for your project -thread fabric etc!

25. How did you meet sewing friends, I don't people who sew.
I got really lucky. I live in Utah and there are a lot of us here. I met my first sewing friend through finding Rasperry creek Fabrics. I didn't realize at first that they were local to me but I figured it out pretty quickly and met the lovely owner Diana that way. Then she schedules a few meet up each year for local sewists at the park. We bring our kids and lunch and get to talk sewing!

Then honestly, I met my bff Rachel of Hello.littlefish at the park! I was there with another friend (that I also met at the park!) and she happened to kind of recognize rachel, and so they started talking. Then we realized we were both pregnant with boys and she sewed and I sewed and we were basically neighbors. And the rest is history.

Then I just had a bunch of instagram friends, until last year in April a bunch of us got together when tons of people came into town for SNAP conference and I met so many others. Sewing friends really are the best, but there is no formula for how to meet them...I mean I met Rachel at the park...

26. Do you clean up after every project?
I try but I'm not perfect. WE just moved from Arizona and there I had my own sewing room so I was bad at cleaning up. Now I share an office with my husband so I am a lot better now.

27. How big is your pattern stash?
120 patterns. But I will say I have been a pattern tester for almost 2 years so I have lots from that and tons are kid patterns. I have sewn 70% of my patterns.

28. How big is your fabric stash?
Big. Ok I had plans of counting but since a bunch of it is big totes because of our move and the smaller space I haven't ....

29. A random fact we don't know about you?
I used to be a nerdy matching band kid who played the flute for 7 years. I quit junior year cause it conflicted so bad with cross country and other activities I was involved in but I still get nostalgic sometimes in the fall for a marching band competition. #nerd

My husband was actually in it too, just because I was .... ;)

Thursday, February 1


Happy February! Is it too late to make 2018 sewing resolutions? Lets hope not! It may be a bit late, but considering we moved on the 5th of January, were sort of homeless for 2 weeks, and only moved in on the 20th, I'm calling this a win. Especially considering I was co-hosting the the #coatmakingparty on Instagram, sewed two coats and participated in #shirtmonth with my Sarah Shirt. Whew! I'm exhausted.

On to my goals.

My sewing goals may look quite different from many of yours and thats ok. 2016 and 2017 were amazing sewing years, and just years in general, for me. But 2018 has started out the roughest I've ever had. Its given me real anxiety for the first time ever and its made my moods unpredictable and my desire to sew disappear. As I try to clear the fog and feel like myself again I've been analyzing how I spend my time and resources on sewing. And its actually been quite wasteful.

First I am a mother, and sewing is my hobby. For some reason it seems for me to be harder to balance motherhood and sewing than it was for me to balance teaching and sewing. You can't get sidetracked when your teaching anatomy and physiology by fabric in the other room and decide to take a minute to print a pattern and assemble it. But as a full time mother and homemaker the fabric is nearby, and when kids are playing peacefully its easy to get distracted. My hobby has brought me happiness and connection in the places where motherhood has left gaps. Because of that I let sewing take up a huge portion of my time last year which leads me feeling out of balance and discontent, instead of feeling balance, peace and happiness in my life.

Also, like the rest of you, I get the itch to sew every new pattern. Ok, obviously not every new pattern but its easy to get caught up in the hype of what everyone else is sewing and I have, on occasion, convinced myself to sew something that I knew I didn't love and wouldn't suit me simply because I wanted to be a part of the club. For example, when the whole world was sewing Mcalls 7542, (above) I eventually couldn't help but jump on the bandwagon, and ended up with several of the most ill fitting blouses that never get worn. This type of sewing has turned into donating a lot clothing that I has taken time away from family to make, and money down the drain that was spent on fabric. Additionally, many of the garments I have made have not been as good of quality as I would like them to be considering my experience, simply because I rush through things so that I can be done, feel accomplished and not spend as much time away from family duties.

So this year, I want to sew...


As I was listening to the lovely ladies on the Love to Sew podcast about increasing sewing output I just laughed out loud. I remember when that was me and I was working full time with no kids and I just wanted to sew more. Now I'm on the other side of that with young kids who aren't in school or a thousand activities yet, one of the few people who needs no help increasing their output.

This year I am slowing down, analyzing each make, and seeing how useful it is in my wardrobe. Its time for me now to accept to that I have no "gaps in my wardrobe." I have no desire to sew lingerie, underwear, or learn to make shoes. As those are essentially the only store bought items in my closet I need to make a lot less. My closet is full, I have plenty of clothes and I need to be a lot more intentional about what I am doing and why.

It took me ages to create my Make Nine for this year because, although there are a thousand beautiful things I could make, I decided if I am going to keep sewing and be less wasteful about it I should also sew the patterns and fabric that I have. So thats my second goal. Which goes right along with less.


Reduce my amount of unused patterns, reduce the size of my fabric collection. The amount of fabric I own actually doesn't bring me stress, shame or guilt because I have sold off pretty much all the fabric I owned that I didn't love anymore or for which I didn't have a use. So I am left with fabric I love, but I do think fabric that beautiful deserves to fulfill the measure of its creation and become something, and something really useful that isn't going to be immediately given away. It also doesn't hurt that we are living in a smaller home here in Utah than we had in Arizona so there's not tons of room for fabrics, patterns, or clothes anyway.

My last goal has to do with slowing down, taking time to read all the instructions, make a muslin, and  really analyze the fit and construction  (I've made three things from my make nine already and didn't make a muslin on any them...#fail). If I am sewing less, I should be able to really make those pieces high quality and with great fit. I've learned a lot about standard adjustments I need to make to patterns from different designers and I don't want to skip them. As I am someone who loves comfort, but doesn't love joggers, leggings or knit tees - correct fit is essential. If you're going to wear woven blouses and jeans a lot, those jeans better fit great and you better not have skipped the broad back or forward shoulder adjustment or you'll hate the tops you have. So this year I'll be...


Patient with myself, my sewing and my skills. I'll remember that its better (for me at this stage of my sewing) to have something that I love and fits well than it is to be finished. I'll remember that its better to have fewer garments that get worn frequently, are high quality and will last a long time, than a closet full of ill fitting, low quality garments that are rarely worn.

So there you have it. My 2018 resolutions. To sew less. To reduce my fabric and pattern stash. And to be patient. The clothes I plan on making this year are garments that help me in these goals. More bottoms to help me slow down and focus on fit. Button down shirts and shirt dresses to focus on shoulder and back fit issues, coats because thats one area of apparel sewing I haven't tackled, and a few last items that I just really need, all while making items that will get lots of wear and using patterns I have never made but owned for ages.

I am excited for where this will take me and to see where my skills lie when we hit 2019.

Cheers and happy very belated new year!

Monday, January 29

My Pink Lola Coat

For years and years and years my favorite color was pink. I was the little girl who took ballet, wore dresses every day, loved playing dress up and house, and inevitably was always the mom. Girly girl to my core. After which I sadly had a weird identity crisis where I just wish I could forget everything I wore from age 14 to about 21. Please tell me I am not alone in this...?

 I finally figured myself out and found my perfect balance of practical and feminine but not necessarily 'girly' then fell back in love with pink in small doses. I have loved it in prints but not usually solids and especially not for a large garment. But over the last year or two its been making quite the come back in my wardrobe and I decided this year that I wanted something a little more fun - and a pink coat fit the bill perfectly!

So when we planned the coat making party for January I was really hopeful I could find some pink wool. So off I went to source the perfect materials and pattern. The pattern was easy peasy. I have had the Lola Coat pattern by Sew Over It  ever since the City Break Capsule Wardrobe e-Book released and knew it would be the perfect shape, but fabric was trickier. Everywhere that sells wool sells it in the typical (practical) colors. As mostly a practical person myself that would have been fine for any project except this one. Camel, navy, and olive may be some of my favorite colors but they weren't going to cut it this for this. Enter Riley Blake Designs!

They have just released a line of washable - yes washable- wool and it comes in fun vibrant colors. (Note* I wouldn't recommend washing it, but you can wash a sample piece and see what you like. I found the washed piece became much more itchy.) I ordered the color 'carnation'  and actually thought it was too pink at first, as I wanted something more mauve or blush, but I actually have kind of fallen for it. It works well with quite a few dresses I have made and its fun to wear such a saturated color in the winter!

Because I made it in wool, I opted to line it. My lining fabric is some random poly I picked up at a thrift store back in college. Its just been hanging out forever and this seemed the like perfect time to use it. The pattern does not come with lining pieces or instructions but it was incredibly easy, and thats coming from someone who has never made a coat, done a coat lining or bagged a lining. So if I can do it you can, too. I just used the same pieces (you have to overlap the side panel and the pocket piece to form a lining piece there) but other than that, easy peasy! There is a great tutorial online here for how to bag a lining, but honestly it was pretty intuitive except for the sleeves. I did that wrong at first and had to figure it out but I got it right the second time.

I am excited to wear this with so many different outfits to brighten up winter and its a great transitional piece into Spring since its not a traditional heavy coat. You'll be seeing this one a lot!

If you want a lot of great coat inspiration check out the #coatmakingparty on instagram and see what people have been sewing this month!

Tuesday, January 2

2017 Top FiveSewing Hits

Now that we have got my Top Five Sewing Misses out of the way, we can do my Top Five Sewing Hits! I am so excited. I learned so much about my style this year. So much that its actually kind of embarrassing. I always thought I had a decent grasp on what I liked and didn't like but sewing this year brought a lot of surprises (good surprises) and I am so happy with how the clothes in my closet have changed to match my style.

So without further ado - here are my top 5 faves!

5. William Vest - Laela Jayne

I'm so happy this made the cut because it wasn't even sewn for me - but for my husband! I made it back in January and my husband wore it all the time and just recently started wearing it again. It has tons of options but I made the simplest version. It was my first time with welt pockets and even though they aren't perfect, I am pretty pleased considering I used this slippery quilted nylon and faux leather. My zipper is also 2 inches too short but whatever - I think it kind of looks intentional...? It was also my first foray into outerwear!

4. Highlands Wrap Dress -Allie Olson

I just barely made this for my Christmas dress but I still can't get over how good the fit is and how fabulously flattering is. I love everything about it. I was drawn to it when it came out and thought that it would be a good fit for me - but I was still also drawn to the elasticated wast, blousy feel of other dresses. After making a few which I hated,  I finally accepted that I like the idea of that but not the reality,  and bought this pattern hoping the straight fit would be perfect for me - and it was!!

3. Cheyenne Tunic/Top - Hey June Handmade

I made my first Cheyenne in October. Its view A made in Robert Kauffman Mammoth plaid flannel and amazing. I quickly made up another in view B in rayon crepe and then another view A in modal chambray. Its amazing!! It actually has some issues - apparently its the first top ever in which I need a broad back adjustment - but I am going to make the adjustments and make another asap. Its fits my style perfectly, and other than the back issue I'm having, its perfect. This is a pattern I could make a thousand different ways and wear to absolutely anything.

2. Ginger Jeans -Closet Case Patterns 

I made jeans this year! Obviously I still need photos of them on (this is a recurring problem I'm noticing - most of my favorite things I never pause to get photos of!) It wasn't even a goal for this year. I wanted to just make pants. Any kind of simple pull on style pants would do. But I made jeans! And I love them! I am so grateful that my bff Rachel convinced me to sew jeans. And thanks to all of you who joined in our Ginger Jeans Party in October! They are so much less intimidating than I thought. I have more jeans planned in 2018 and I can't wait to get  working on them!

1. Hadley Top -Grainline Studios

I know jeans are more exciting than the Hadley top - but this pattern has been the best staple ever. Not a week goes by where I don't wear one (or four) and and they go with everything - high waisted pencil skirts, jeans, stretchy pencil skirts, and lets be honest I even lounge around the house in them with leggings. So yeah. Cheers Hadley. What would I do without you?

So now that were already into 2018 its time for my new sewing goals and my plan of makes for the year - so stay tuned!

What was the best thing you made this year? Bonus points if its the Hadley top ;)

Friday, December 29

2017 Top Five Sewing Misses

Just like anything in life, sewing is a learning process. If you were to go shopping, you would try styles on and see how they look. We do that a little virtually as we search hashtags to see how a pattern looks on other people, but sometimes we just get sucked into the "new pattern" black hole and have to make something because "its just so pretty." Sadly, a lot of those things turn into fails.

This year was a huge learning curve for me. The first 6 months especially were full of pattern testing styles that just don't work for me and sewing patterns I absolutely adored on others but just have no place in my closet. I actually had so many failed projects this year that it was hard to narrow it down to the top 5. I've already donated several items I made this year or given them to people who liked them, or threw some in the garbage in a fit of rage.

So here we go!

5. Waterfall Raglan

This was a sad one because the girls version is a favorite of my daughter and this women's version is a beautiful top on so many people! I just love Gabriela's patterns, they're fashionable and fun to wear but sadly this one just isn't flattering on me at all - but seriously looks incredible on others! I decided to use it as a base to make a regular knit peplum tee out of but I don't even wear that top. It turned out to be just too big and long with the gathers hitting me at the wrong spot.

This one was a good learning experience for me though because this year the most revealing thing I learned about my style is that I just don't wear knit tees. I like the idea of them and pin photos of a lot of other people wearing them on Pinterest, but when it comes down to it, I prefer woven tops. They are lot more flattering on me and with the right pattern and fabric can be just as comfortable. While analyzing my wardrobe and outfit choices recently, I realized the only times I wear knit tees consistently is to bed.

So I think I'm pretty much done making them.

4. Vogue 9251

I was absolutely 100% sure I was going to be smitten with this dress! I fell in love with it on Emily and all her lovely versions here and here. And then I chose this fabric for it, which ended up being the same fabric that Brittany used for her version of this same dress - you can see it here.

It looks amazing on these ladies but mine just fell flat. I had a ton of fit issues that no one else seemed to have on their bodies, and it was really low - which admittedly is pretty common place with wrap dresses so it wasn't really surprising. I sewed in a snap to keep it closed higher up but every time I moved, it just came unsnapped anyway so it was pretty useless. The midi length also turned out almost ankle length. I shortened it to midi length and found it incredibly unflattering so I chopped it to knee length.

When I sit, the wrap skirt falls open super easily, the inside tie closure doesn't stay together very well and is a little bulky, add to that the annoying snap that won't stay shut - I wore it once and then never again. But the fabric is J Crew overstock and absolutely amazing. I want to take it apart and see if I can make something else out of it to salvage that fabric.

3. Leschi Blouse

I already wrote a post on Instagram here about this pattern so if you're interested in the full details, head there. The short of it is - really poor fit, very unflattering on my body. I have talked to several people who had all the same problems as me and after I came out with my review of it on Instagram, several testers of the pattern messaged me and confirmed these problems were brought up in testing but not addressed. It was my first pattern by Straight Stich Designs but I've heard her other patterns are better so maybe I'll try others in the future - I don't know.

2. Scarlett Moto Skinnies

Let me preface this one by saying I've seen some really cute versions of this pattern on other people with the moto stiching, so for me its on the miss list because of fit, discomfort, and style on me.

The idea behind these pants is sort of a faux, cheater jean style that can give you a jeans look without all of the effort of making real ones. But my problem with them on me is that they have no fly, and not even a faux fly. Add to that no front pockets and they seem like dress pants to me.

With a dress pant style trouser in mind, I made them in stretch twill with 20% stretch. The pattern is made for fabrics with some stretch but no more than 10%. And thats not really enough to have a comfortable pair of fitted skinny pants. I had to size down a little with the fabric I used but not enough to change the integrity of the pattern.

It has two options for closures: either no closures, just a knit waistband sewn onto the pants for a pull on style (which I was not okay with because I only wear pants like that when I am pregnant) or a side zip with a woven waistband. I went with this option which also contributed to it feeling like a dress pant. It calls for an invisible zip which is my main problem with these. That pants fit ok - not great (after I added 2 inches to the rise and removed a five inch wedge out of the back to keep it from gaping) but the zip broke as soon I put them on and then when I re did the zipper it wouldn't even zip. I started unpicking it (in these photos the pants are just pinned closed) and then threw them in a bin for 9 months until I tried them on again and decided to just throw them out.

They don't really match anything I have, I don't wear pocketless pants, and as fitted as these are they could use a tiny bit of vertical stretch.

1. Mcalls 7542

This was McCalls most popular Spring pattern this year. If you're a sewist anywhere chances are you saw or sewed this. It has so many sleeve options and had the potential to be an amazing staple - just leave off the fancy sleeve frills and you'd have a basic woven tee in two lengths, then add al the sleeve options and you could make anything with this.

It was everywhere and people were looking so cute in it and I never read a negative word about it so I finally talked myself into it. I made one and loved the idea of it (hadn't worn it out yet or really analyzed the fit other than knowing it was too big) and instantly made two more with different sleeves in a smaller size.

You may notice you've never seen photos of me in these tops on instagram...That's because I never posted any! This is the most ill fitting garment I have made in my life, including items I made as a kid and teen still learning to sew. My first one was too big and so I sized down for the next two and can hardly move in them! The armscye is really weird and goes too low, massively restricting arm movement. Its also super short so even with my pencil skirts it can't be tucked in and can't be worn with my high wasted jeans without everything still being revealed.

I've already donated one and the other two are still in my closet only because the fabric and sleeves are so beautiful that I occasionally suffer through the discomfort to wear them for a few hours at church.

So - what were you misses this year? Did you learn anything surprising about your style? Are you a woven fan girl or team knits? Let me know!

Thursday, December 21

Highlands Wrap Dress - Little Red Dress Project

Its time once again for the Little Red Dress Project...there's just one little problem, I'm not a huge red fan. I mean it looks incredible on others but just not on me. I love, and I do mean looooove, a good burgundy/wine color, but I couldn't find a good rayon with a print that was dominantly burgundy. I wear mostly solids but didn't want to go that route for this dress since the dress pattern I chose gave plenty of room for a good large scale print.

And then of course, Raspberry Creek Fabrics came to the rescue with this jaw-dropping rayon challis print. Its actually something I would typically not look at twice but for some reason it grabbed my whole self and I fell for it hard. The poppies are definitely red but muted just a bit somehow by the blues, purples and greens around it but still bold and just loud enough to be a little exciting. (Yes I know should apply to be a fabric description writer haha.)

This is a print that was designed and printed by and for Raspberry Creek Fabrics. Depressingly, its no  longer in stock but if enough of you guys want it we could maybe petition Diana to reprint because - duh - we need to flood the world with it. But don't worry, there is a large selection of other beautiful rayon challis prints in stock here that would be amazing in this pattern. 

I used the Highlands Wrap Dress by Allie Olson of IndieSew for my dress. I knew I wanted to use this pattern for a Christmas Dress basically since I saw the pattern, even though it was released last Spring. And huge shout out to Allie because this is the best constructed wrap dress I've ever had the pleasure of sewing. It is secured on each side with a button so that it doesn't flop open and isn't bulky like hidden ties often are. The elastic in the back waist gives fabulous fit, shaping and comfort because of the stretch. I also love that the ties don't go around back, just across the front. And its not too low for me which is a rarity. Can you tell I'm a fan?

The Highlands comes with short sleeve or sleeveless options and even though here in Arizona I could easily get away with short sleeves in December, I really wanted a full dramatic sleeve for the fun of it and also to make it feel a little more wintery. So I mashed she short sleeve with the sleeve from view D of Mcalls M7534. I just made a new sleeve piece that used the sleeve cap shape of the highlands wrap dress but the rest of the sleeve shape from M7534. And I'm pretty thrilled with the outcome!

I made just a couple other tiny adjustments. I lengthened the dress two inches so that it would be long enough to wear with heels. And I also lowered the side slits so that instead of starting mid thigh, they start at the knee. Its so fun to walk in while the wind catches it and blows around all the fabric below the knee, and I am so pleased that although its meant to be this dreamy beachy summer dress, it works wonderfully in other seasons just as well, especially with that long sleeve and in a wintery floral.

So, I don't know if this counts as a little red dress as its technically blue with red flowers but who cares?! I just sewed my dream maxi dress and couldn't be happier. I know I tend to sew patterns way after they come out, but if you need a push to try the Highlands Wrap Dress or try a fabric that might regularly be out of your comfort zone, this is your sewing dare!! Just go for it, cause you never know, you may be as pleased as me with the outcome:)