Archive | completed projects – new RSS feed for this section

Completed: Cozy Organic Sweatshirt (+ discount code!)

16 Feb

Nothing very exciting on the blog here today, I’m afraid. I spent my Valentine’s Day with whatever cold bug is currently being passed around (and, ugh, I’ve never been so tired in all my life MAKE IT STOP), and I don’t really feel like doing much of anything now, which is a huge bummer because we have been blessed with a pretty awesome snow day this morning (for real, my street is a literal sheet of ice and my gate is frozen shut. Couldn’t leave even if I wanted to). Still, have a small project that I finished before I came down with the Evil.

Undercover Sweatshirt + Ooh La Leggings

Yep, I made a sweatshirt (and ponte Ooh La Leggings, although the post isn’t focused on those. But I did make them, so there’s that!)! How boring! But, you know, when you make everything you wear (and have been doing so for more than a couple of years), you will end up sewing boring staple pieces. For the current me, that means cozy long-sleeved tops that I can wear with pants. This is a big gap in my wardrobe, as past me never wore pants quite as much as current me (probably something to do with the office job that I quit; I had a space heater under my desk! I MISS THAT!), but, it is what it is. And now I need some tops, dammit. The thin jersey ones I have just aren’t cutting it, no matter how many I layer.

I used the Undercover Hood pattern from Papercut Patterns as my base, size XS, just taking in the side seams ever so slightly to make it a little more fitted. I obviously omitted the hood and added a ~self drafted~ neckband (I use the term “self drafted” very loosely, as it’s really just a rectangle… but, whatever.). I also left off the bottom hem band; mainly because I ran out of ribbing, but I think the simple turned under and topstitched hem actually makes this sweatshirt look a little less casual, so that’s a win. I can’t decide if wearing it with a collared shirt (that’s another B5526 underneath, fyi) looks classy, or if that’s just the 80s child in me trying desperately to emerge. Thoughts?

Undercover Sweatshirt + Ooh La Leggings

The main fabric is some lovely brushed sweatshirting fabric from Only Organic, a company based out of France (let me tell you, I felt REALLY cool picking up that box at the post office when it arrive. No, seriously!). I was offered a meter of fabric to try out, and I immediately zeroed in on this stuff because it seemed like the perfect blank canvas to customize for my needs.

You’ll notice that I did no customizing whatsoever. This is a plain, cream-colored sweatshirt we have here. I will admit that I considered adding something to the front – a stenciled phrase, some gold pyramid studs, something – to give it a little more ~pizazz, but I ultimately realized that I’m not really one for wearing graphic tshirts (or sweatshirts), and it seemed kind of stupid to fancy up something just for blogging purposes. So, boring sweatshirt. Sorry, not sorry. At least I know it’s something I’ll actually wear now.

Undercover Sweatshirt + Ooh La Leggings

Anyway, half-asses apologies aside – this is a great marriage of pattern and fabric! I’ve made the Undercover Hood before a few times – but usually with a drapier fabric, and never as a straight up sweatshirt. I like the way this one fits; it’s comfortable and fitted but it’s not skin tight. The fabric is LUXURIOUSLY soft and fleecy – I’m actually wearing it as I type this, and it’s doing a damn fine job of keeping me warm in my cold ass, snowed-in house, so there’s that. I do question whether or not it’s a good idea to wear a white sweatshirt, knowing how clumsy I am – but, eh, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. At least I know it’s dyeable :)

Undercover Sweatshirt + Ooh La Leggings

Undercover Sweatshirt + Ooh La Leggings

You can see the fleecy goodness of the fabric better here. For ribbing, I used some cream ribbing that I had in my stash – it’s not a perfect match, but it’s close enough, and I love the subtle color changes.

Undercover Sweatshirt + Ooh La Leggings

If you’ve managed to stick it to the end of the post, I have a fabric discount code for ya! Use the code “lladybird” for 10% off your order at Only Organic. Like I mentioned, this company is based out of France, so all my organic-lovin’ pals on the other side of the pond – rejoice! Woot woot!

Now, answer me this – I know sweatshirts have recently had their moment in the spotlight for being ~cool~ and ~luxe~, but does a plain white sweatshirt even pretend to portray that or do I look I belong in a Kmart circa 1995? Also, who wants to take bets on how soon I spill coffee down the front of this thing? I’ve worn it three times since completion and at this point, I feel like I’m flirting with disaster.

** Note: I was given 1 meter of the cotton sweatshirt fleece from Only Organic, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Bra-Making with Madalynne

9 Feb

As you no doubt already know by now (mostly because I’ve talked about it to death by this point ahaha), I recently spent a long weekend in Philadelphia with Maddie, to help her set up for her bra making workshop – as well as attend the damn thing myself! I was obviously really excited for this adventure – for the hangs, to explore a new city (truth: the only time I’d been to Philly prior was for a one-way flight back to Nashville after helping my friend move to NYC when I was 22. A 14 year old boy hit on me while we were waiting for the plane to take off. I think he was the most traumatized between the two of us, though), and of course, because of boobs. And now you guys get to hear/see a recap! Yay!

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I won’t bore y’all with a full weekend recap – I flew in on Thursday afternoon, and spent nearly the entire time up until Saturday morning with Maddie to help her prepare for the workshop. We ran errands, we prepped handouts and the (adorable) little kits, and helped with getting the machines set up in the space the night before. I was able to sneak away for a few hours with Andrea, who took me to the Mütter Museum (my request – and also this is your head’s up of knowing that Andrea is an amazing sport when it comes to visiting weird places with an almost total stranger haha) and her favorite yarn shop (where I bought sock yarn. It’s red. That’s about all that’s worth knowing :P).

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No, what we are here to discuss is a recap of the workshop! Actually, I don’t think this post warrants too much typing – you can get a good sense of how things went just based by the photos alone (and yes, those were professionally taken. OBVIOUSLY my hands didn’t go anywhere near the camera that weekend, ha!).

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Honestly, the entire day was more of an event and less of a workshop. I knew Maddie had something special planned when we were cahooting about this shit months ago (well, my side of the cahooting was just being a personal cheerleader. I love cheerleading my friends while they are doing amazing things :) ), but I was surprised when I started seeing things coming together. Of course, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised – anyone who’s lurked up Maddie’s blog knows that that woman is all about turning everything around her into beautiful art (y’all should see her condo. I couldn’t even DEAL) – but yeah, it was all lovely. The production for the workshop, as well as all the styling and catering, was handled by The New Old Fashioned, and the event took place in the Love Me Do Photography studio. There was beautiful vintage furniture everywhere, fresh flowers, a never-ending supply of coffee (and later, prosecco. Yay!), a catered lunch, a light breakfast, adorable cakes, a photo booth – even a freaking spot to get your make-up professionally touched up. I’m telling you, this shit was an EVENT. It was amazing and there was obviously a lot of love and attention that went into every detail. Definitely not the kind of half-assed workshop that I’d throw together – but that’s what you get when you are dealing with Maddie. You get something that’s just as beautiful as it is useful.

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To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting to learn a whole lot at the workshop itself – I’ve already made a couple of bras at this point, and I have an ok handle on how they come together. I knew I’d be hitting Maddie up for fitting advice outside of the classroom, and I knew that the environment itself would be amazing and fun. I’m happy to report that I was wrong, at least in the subject of “learning new things.” I definitely learned a whole bunch of new tips and trips – a more effective way of cutting the fabric and lace, when to use certain zigzag stitches and widths, a way to beautifully finish the top of the bridge, amongst other things. And duh, of course the class was fun as HELL! I had such a great time meeting everyone, talking boobs, and making bras together. My kind of awesome day!

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(I am sharing this photo because I have no idea why I’m making that expression! At least my hair color doesn’t look like swamp sludge haha)

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Oh yeah – and the food was fucking fantastic!

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Here are some more photos so that you can be good & jealous of our fabulous day. Our take-home goodie bags included those beautiful cookies, a tiny bottle of prosecco (again – yay!) and a fresh bouquet with a handmade medal.

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We also had temporary sewing-themed tattoos – which, by the way, who else thinks Maddie should get a pair of shears tattooed on her neck? Amirite?!

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I was REALLY excited to see that Carolina and Jen were also part of the class! I met both of these ladies last time I was in NY – Jen was one of my students in the Pants Making Intensive at WORKROOM SOCIAL, and Carolina randomly asked me for coffee (which clearly ended up being a match made in heaven – I mean, we make a pretty adorable prom couple). It was great to be able to see both of them – in a completely different city than before, even.

I know that my friendship with Maddie does make me a bit biased, but this workshop was seriously fabulous. I’ve never felt so pampered while in a class – it’s kind of a nice feeling (I might be kind of spoiled now! Ha!)! And, hey, the bra didn’t turn out so bad, either :) Want to see?

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If you recognize the fabric, it’s because I used it before on a Bambi bra; it was originally given to me from Maddie. Let me just say – the kits that we got with this workshop were seriously nice. Everything was included – all the fabric, notions, hardware, even a tiny rotary cutter and a really nice marking pen – and it was all super high quality stuff. I think most of it came from Bra Maker’s Supply – which, if you’ve ever ordered from them before, you know how nice their products area. No cheap plastic sliders or questionable elastic here! I would have found this very helpful had I been making my first bra – it gives you a good idea of what the good-quality stuff feels like, so you know what to shop for (plus, it’s easier to sew!).

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We used the Marlborough pattern for our bras; I brought my own copy (everyone got a copy with their kits) since I already had some fitting tweaks done. The lace we used is really stretchy, so everything is backed with power mesh to make it more stable. It still has more stretch than the duoplex I get from Bra Maker’s Supply, but the resulting bra actually fits pretty nicely! I’ve spared y’all the floating ghost bra photos for this post (mostly because I’m feeling lazy haha sorry), but, just trust me.

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Our tableware at the workshop was tied with this cute twill tape that looks like a measuring tape – I saved a little piece to make a bow for my bra. Love it :) And check out that pretty gold hardware! Honestly, that’s my favorite part of the whole damn bra. Looks so luxe.

Let’s see, what else? Sunday, Carolina & I walked all over Philly (ok, seriously, maybe 5 miles, tops. haha) and it was cold but also really fun! I really enjoyed getting to spend some time with her and get some bonding done. We visited Andrea at Butcher’s Sewing Shop, where she was teaching a class. Actually, we crashed that shit and drank their mimosas, but everyone was really friendly and the shop is just adorable. No ragrets. Finally, I made it home just before the next snow storm – and I’m happy to report that I wasn’t hit on by a 14 year old this time. Also, the Philadelphia airport is WAY nicer than I remember.

I had an amazing time – the workshop obviously being the highlight of the trip, but it was so wonderful getting to hang with everyone and meet some great new people (and reunite with people I know I already love :) ). If you were interested in taking the workshop, but were put off by the price or didn’t know what to expect – hopefully this revs your engine a little :) It’s definitely an experience! For a more in-depth recap, with lots more photos (as well as a run down of all the vendors who contributed to all the pretty that you see), check out Maddie’s blog.

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I am just gonna leave this picture here, because I think it really illustrates the class well. There is alcohol and cookies on that table – and we can’t tear ourselves away from the machines. TYPICAL.

Disclaimer: I was given a free ticket to the Bra Making Workshop, in exchange helping with prep, set up, and trouble shooting – as well as keeping Maddie’s nerves calmed for her first class (I shit you not, she started VACUUMING her condo like 30 minutes before we had to leave that morning hahaha). I paid for all my travel and food expenses, but my workshop ticket was gratis! This review is just cos I think the class was awesome, and I wanted to talk about it.

Completed: Floral Butterick 5526

4 Feb

What’s that, you say? This is Butterick 5526 overkill?

deal with it
noragrets

~I DO WHAT I WANT~

B5526 Floral

In all seriousness, though, I did have a small internal debate about posting yet another shirt of the pattern I’ve talked about to death, but ultimately – I mainly use this blog as a sort of digital diary of my projects (truth: the entire purpose behind my tagging system & the Lurk My Closet pages are specifically so I can quickly find old projects without having to spend a lot of time searching haha), and I think this particular shirt has earned a spot in the archives. I’m really pleased with the resulting fit and finish, and I feel really good about the particular fabric I used (print aside – although, I gotta say, it’s pretty gorgeous!).

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

Unfortunately, that means I have less to talk about as I think I’ve pretty much milked this shit for all it’s worth. Fortunately, I feel really really confident in my shirtmaking skillz. I’ve pretty much got my construction down to a science, I know what fabrics are best suited for this style + the way I like it to look, and, dammit, I just really really love shirtmaking. So precise! So clean! So wearable every day basics!

B5526 Floral

As I mentioned, this is Butterick 5526, sewn up in a beautiful cotton shirting that I bought on Goldhawk Road in London. A lot of people have pointed out that the print resembles a Liberty print – and, while I agree, I also am pretttty sure it’s not the real deal. For one, I don’t remember exactly how much I paid for it, but I know it was less than the £25 they charge per meter at the Liberty store. Also, the selvedge is blank, if not missing entirely. That being said, it’s a very fine, soft shirting cotton – so maybe it fell off the truck? Maybe it’s an end bolt? An ~inspired~ knock-off? I dunno.

At any rate, it’s gorgeous. I just love the colors – the florals are a little less girly here, a little more of that 60s groovy that I’m really drawn to lately. The fabric itself is soft and has just enough drape to really make the shirt hang nicely. I’ve learned that I don’t care for true cotton shirtings in this pattern – when they’re stiff, I don’t think they look right on me. Give me something softer with a little bit of drape, like a cotton voile!

B5526 Floral

I don’t have any ~special tips~ for working with this fabric. Same as it ever was – just use a new needle, take your time with cutting and sewing, enjoy the ride, etc etc.

B5526 Floral

Oh, I think I nailed down a good sleeve length! Butterick 5526 in polka dot chambray (that’s my favorite one and I wear it ALL THE TIME. I have to hide it from myself so I don’t have too much of a good thing, ha) started out with sleeves too long, and I debated shortening them – but after a conversation with Landon, he brilliantly pointed out that they might shrink up a little after a couple of washes (even with prewashing, this can happen – which is always something I consider with pants, but never shirts. Which is why all my flannels have sleeves that are too short now haha). So I decided to leave the sleeves long and wait – and I’m so glad I did, because that’s exactly what happened. They shrank and are the perfect length now. So for this shirt, I used the same sleeve length and I think it’ll shrink up just right. The placket fits and it’s the right length (unlike my silk georgette B5526, wah), which is pretty prime if you ask me.

B5526 Floral

The only change I made to this version was to remove a few inches of length. I’ve always felt that my collared shirts were a little too long, at least when worn over my higher-waisted pants (and no matter what I do, they look weird tucked in. Half tuck, full tuck, no tuck, doesn’t matter. I get this weird tuck gut and, ugh), so I copied the length from my Liberty button up and transferred it to this pattern. I am MUCH happier with the length now; I think it works better with my proportions.

B5526 Floral

The shirt is constructed entirely with flat-felled seams. Here is a flat-felled boob for your perusal.

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

I also added sleeve tabs, so I could roll up the sleeves when the weather decides to warm up. Didn’t want to choose between long or short sleeves, so I chose both! Also, bonus background cat. I think she was screaming for me to feed her at that point (I’m sure you can tell just by looking at my portly feline that she is indeed not starving, but she would lead you to believe otherwise).

B5526 Floral

Here it is with the sleeves rolled up. I love these tabs because I think the rolled up sleeves look neater when buttoned into place. Of course, that means there is a visible button and some stitching on the outside of the sleeve, but I can deal with that. I was curious as to whether I’d find the tab annoying when it’s not being used (aka rubbing against my arm on the inside of my sleeve), but I have some pajamas that use the same concept and they don’t bother me at all.

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

Did you notice the buttons? Here’s a close-up:

B5526 Floral

Haha! I always save the buttons from Landon’s shirts when they are getting thrown away (we are talking super worn out to the point of not being worthy of donated), since I tend to be pretty conservative with my button choices and, hey, free buttons. I almost didn’t want to go with these because I’m not crazy about the branding on them, but, whatever. They match the print really well. Can’t argue with that. And I do love American Eagle – or, at least I did when I was a teen (yes, this is the same teen/same time when I was wearing black vinyl pants. What can I say, I like their take on the classics haha), I haven’t been in there recently enough to form an judgement opinion.

B5526 Floral

That’s all I got! Kind of a boring post, but quite a useful garment. I am really enjoying making the same pattern over and over – no need to reinvent the wheel with my fitting, and it’s kind of fun to see the obvious improvements with each make. I’ve had a few people ask me if I have plants to make the new Sewaholic Granville Shirt, and while the pattern looks beautiful, I think I’m just going to stick with what I know I already love and has been fitted to my liking. Again, not trying to reinvent the wheel here! Although, I’ve been watching the shirtmaking posts with great interest. There’s always so much to learn, I love it!

As a side note – those are my Ginger jeans I’m wearing in these photos. I’ve been wearing them off and on for about 2 weeks, and they’ve held up their shape really nicely. I’m actually pretty surprised – most of my handmade pants need to be washed after about 2 wears because they stretch out all crazy and don’t recover until they hit the dryer. The denim I used for these jeans is nowhere near the quality of my I+W jeans, but I don’t have any complaints (except for that I didn’t consider shrinkage when drying, and now they are a tiny bit short. On the flip side – this might be the first time pants have ever had too short of an inseam on me, which is sort of exciting it’s in own way). Now if only I had more… Heather, will you pls go denim shopping with me again? Thnx.

Completed: Ooh La Leather Leggings

26 Jan

Ok, so, the title of this post is a tiny bit misleading – these aren’t leather leggings so much as they just have a panel of faux stretch pleather. BUT, it sounded catchy (as long as I ignore all the weird Google search terms that will likely lead people straight to this post, aiee), so it stays.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

Anyway, like, ~Ooh La La Leather~ or some shit, amirite?

Leggings & Ensis Tee

In all seriousness, I’ve mentioned before that this is my favorite leggings pattern. I have a couple more patterns in my stash that I haven’t even bothered to try because I JUST CANNOT QUIT me some Ooh La Leggings. I love the way they fit and I love the seaming detail. Made up in a thicker ponte, they almost pass for actual pants. Made up in a thinner material, they are great for lounging and sleepwear. Made up in some crazy lycra, they make amazing workout/yoga pants. Basically, they are my dream leggings and you will have to pry this pattern out of my cold, dead hands.

Because I love this pattern so so much, it goes without saying that I’ve made a metric Shit Ton of these leggings over the past two years. Obviously most of them haven’t made it to the blog – after sharing a couple pairs, they kind of get redundant. And y’all know how much I hate redundancy, at least when it comes to my own blog. So while you might occasionally see a pair pop up in a post (without needing to be the center of attention), they spend much more time in the real world than they do the blog world. And I do wear the shit out of all my pairs, so there’s that.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

With that being said, I think it’s ok/non-redundant to post about this pattern if I’ve done something ~unique with it. Which is exactly what I did. Check out my (faux)(p)leather (paneled) leggings, y’all!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

I found this stretch pleather on Goldhawk Rd while fabric shopping in London. It was one of the very few things I had on my list to buy, as I knew I’d need to be able to actually touch the fabric to make sure it stretched enough and wasn’t toooo shiny. Not that I’m against shiny pleather pants – I had a pair when I was in high school, back when I worked at Hot Topic and thought I was sOoOoOo punk rock (and no, I have no idea why my mom didn’t veto those things! HAHA! I must have looked like such a little baby hooker!) – but, being nearly 30 now, I’m an adult and I have to tone things down just the tiniest bit, at least when it comes to my pants. ANYWAY, this pleather is pretty good, I think – as far as pleather goes. It’s very stretchy, it’s not too shiny, and the wrong side has a nice fabric backing so it’s actually quite comfortable against the skin. Or, rather, as comfortable as pleather leggings can get.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

Since my pattern was nice enough to already have all the piecing done for me, I just cut the side panels in the stretch pleather, and the remaining pieces (front and back legs, as well as the yokes) in this black polyester Ponte de Roma. The Ponte de Roma was pretty shiny on one side – like, way more shiny than I was expecting – so I sewed it with the wrong side facing out, which looks a bit more polished. I sewed everything on my serger, as I do, and omitted the topstitching as I was afraid that piercing the pleather would cause it to wear holes that would eventually tear.

As far as actually sewing the pleather, that part was surprisingly easy! Keep in mind that stretch pleather (as well as non-stretch, as well as leather, etc) does show pin holes, so you need to be reeeeeally mindful of your pin usage (aka, don’t use ‘em if you can’t pin inside the seam allowance!). I traced my side panel piece with a Chaco liner before cutting on a single layer. I did not pin my pieces together, except for one part at the hem just to hold it in place while I topstitched (I usually don’t pin my hems for knits, just press them – but you can’t press pleather! One little pin hole at the hem is ok with me, anyway). The sewing part did not require any special forethought or tools – due to the fabric backing of this material, it went through my machine just fine without the need for a Teflon foot. I used a regular stretch needle. Et voila!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

While I’ve got your attention, I guess I’ll also talk about my shirt – because y’all know I made that shit too!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

The pattern is the Ensis Tee, also from Papercut Patterns (ooh, I just heart me some Papercut!). I’ve made this before, albeit in a thicker/less drapey knit, so I think this version deserves a little bit of spotlight :) It’s amazing how different it looks with a drapier fabric, yeah? Honestly, I like this version a lot better – I think it’s a lot more flattering (plus, it’s wool, so it’s pretty snuggly!). The top yoke is a piece of wool knit I bought in Paris, and the bottom is this cool steel grey sweater knit. I bought that knit on a whim, and it’s pretty cool – it has a lot of dimension to the color, and you can really see the knit stitches due to the somewhat loose gauge. It’s also wide and VERY stretchy in both directions – I might use the rest to make a pair of tights. Also, I need some kind of grey knit intervention. I keep buying pieces and this shit is getting out of handddd. Like, I really want that pewter grey but I’m gonna resist. I must resist.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

This is basically the same picture as above, just without my head.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

This tee whipped up fast! I had it cut and sewn within a couple of hours – and honestly, it took that long because of all the topstitching I added. I topstitched the colorblocking at the yokes and sleeves, as well as the neckline, using my stretch twin need and wooly nylon in the bobbin. I think it adds a little extra to an otherwise plain tshirt. Oh, and that yellow tab at the neckline is my laundry reminder not to wash this in the machine – because it’s wool :)

Leggings & Ensis Tee

I kept the curved hem, left off the hem band, but added cuffs to the sleeves. Happy sweater-hybrid-tshirt-thing!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

And here are my leggings again, because I know you’re just dying to see them one more time. As a side note – I used a different method to attach the elastic waistband (rather than feed it through a hole like the pattern instructs). I took some pictures while I was doing this, which I’m hoping to make into a tutorial at some point later this week.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

Anyway, that’s mah new threads! Basics with a lil’ twist! What do you think? Am I going to burn someone’s eyes out with my leather leggings? Should my mom have not let me leave the house in those pleather pants? Man, I wish I had pictures of that ensemble. Sooo glad the only social media platform we had back then was makeoutclub.com HAHAHA.

As a side note – if you think my hair looks green, it’s because it is! It was due for a redye, and I decided to go green :) I’m using a new dye that I bought in London, at the suggestion of Nicole – we’ll see how it holds up! I gotta say, I’m not looking forward to the fading… green always fades so ugly. Also, these pictures are REALLY deceiving. It’s much brighter and more emerald in real life. I took these pictures on a grey and overcast day, so the color is kind of sludgy here. I don’t know how to color correct my photos, so this is what you get. Sorry, not sorry :)

Completed: The Portside Travel Set

22 Jan

For the past couple months, I’ve been planning to up my luggage game. Over the years, I’ve made do with a fairly old suitcase (handed down from my parents – I’m not sure exactly it’s age, but I know there are receipts in the pocket from when we went to Disney World in 1994, so at least 20 years!) and a really ratty/cheap duffel bag. My travel schedule is starting to ramp up this year, and one thing I don’t have is a duffel bag that is suitable for a weekend getaway. The aforementioned ratty bag was pretty small and difficult to carry comfortably. Also, I broke the zipper while I was in Paris – rather than repair it (it was really REALLY cheap – even down to the hardware, which I also threw away with the bag haha), I decided to make a new set, courtesy of Mood Fabrics.

Portside Travel Set

The Portside Travel Set is the perfect pattern for my casual luggage needs – a roomy duffel bag, plus a matching dopp kit and a small zippered pouch. The pattern is designed so you can really play with color blocking and fabric options, and it’s not difficult at all to put together. The duffel bag is nice and big (20″ x 11.5″ x 12″), and includes both hand and shoulder straps (the shoulder is adjustable, as well as removable!), a zippered top, and two exterior pockets. The dopp kit has both a zippered top and a zippered exterior pocket, plus a small handle. The little zippered pouch is one of the most basic things ever – like the kind of pouch you’d make in a ‘learn to sew zippers’ class – but I can see it being very useful. And it all matches! Yay!

Anyway, let me also point out that making this set gave me an excuse to peruse the home decor section of Mood Fabrics. I rarely sew with home decor fabrics (I know some people love them for clothing, but I’m not much of a fan, unless it’s for a very specific purpose), but I totally jumped at the opportunity! There are SO many cool designs, it was really hard to narrow it down to just 3! I started with this cool turquoise geometric print, matched it to a charcoal grey faux suede, and lined the inside with grey and white polka dots (I’ve been eyeballing that polka dot fabric for over a year now – so glad to finally have an excuse to buy it!).

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

I went over all this briefly in my post for the Mood Sewing Network; here I’d like to talk a little more about the pattern itself. Overall, it’s a great little pattern – good instructions, the pieces fit together, and I think the end result is really nice. There were a few points in the pattern that I found a bit confusing, though. For one – I completely mixed up the main and contrast fabrics when I was planning my fabrics! I assumed the contrast was the bottom half – i.e., the part I’ve made out of suede. That’s actually the main fabric, as far as the pattern is concerned. The contrast is the top part. This isn’t marked anywhere on the pattern except on the pieces themselves, which meant I ultimately ended up marking the line drawing with a map of what piece was what before I knew what piece to cut from which fabric. The contrast and self changes for the dopp kit and pouch, so I would really recommend at least mapping out the design before you start cutting. I know I would have been PISSED if my bag had ended up with the suede being the top sections, ha.

Speaking of the suede, that wasn’t difficult to sew at all. I used a standard 80/12 needle and my normal machine feet (no need for a special Teflon foot or anything), and since my iron has a shoe, I was even able to press it and fuse interfacing to it. The bag is lightly interfaced – more so to keep the cotton from wrinkling, less for structure. It’s pretty floppy when it’s empty.

Portside Travel Set

The instructions, like I said, are pretty good. The only part that really confused me was assembling the shoulder strap for the duffel bag. I have made plenty of stuff with sliders – hell, even all my bras have adjustable straps with sliders – but this bag uses D-rings for the sliders. I could not figure out how Jen did this, and even googling didn’t really help (turns out everyone else uses sliders too, who woulda thought?). I just ended up playing around with the straps and rings until it worked. Couldn’t tell ya what I did to get to that point, sorry! At least they look good now!

Portside Travel Set

Also, sewing up the little dopp kit was… interesting. Not all the pieces matched up perfectly (I read this in a random google review of the pattern as well – so either we cut it wrong, which is possible, or there’s a minor drafting error. I know Jen is really precise with her drafting so I hesitate to believe that it’s an error on her part, but I thought I would point that out), but I just trimmed off the excess. We are talking about rectangles that form a bag, after all – no crazy fitting or anything. I really struggled to get the bottom sewn on square – it’s passable as it is, but it’s not my best work.

Then again, it’s a dopp kit. I’m not unpicking that shit hahaha.

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

I love all the neat details in this tiny bag, though! The front zippered pocket is a personal favorite – also love that little leather zipper pull! And check out that print-matching at the top zipper! That was actually unintentional, but it worked out amazingly well. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super impressed with myself haha.

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Like I said, the pouch was really easy – like, sewn up in under 20 minutes easy. Since it’s unlined, I serged the inside with matching aqua thread (it was almost navy because I didn’t feel like re-threading the serger, until I reminded myself that I paid for this serger specifically because it self-threads haha). The zipper pull – as well as the pulls for the dopp kit – is loosely based on the pattern included in the travel kit. I had to change it up a bit to get it to fit my smaller-than-normal zippers.

Portside Travel Set

One thing I did not anticipate when I started this project was how much all the materials were going to cost me – and how difficult they’d be to source. The fabric wasn’t terribly expensive (and since it’s a project for the Mood Sewing Network, it was free for me), but all those little extras add up! I found my swivel hooks and D-rings at Joann’s – not in the sewing section, but in the… dog-leash making section? Joann’s, keepin’ it weird as usual. I bought my cotton webbing from A Graff Supplies on Etsy. This was after shopping around quite a bit – Joann’s didn’t have the right colors and widths, Mood was sold out of most everything, and any other supplier I found only carried one of the two widths I needed. A Graff Supplies had both widths, with a great selection of colors – and while I did spend $15 on JUST WEBBING, I can’t imagine it being that much cheaper anywhere else. I would have loved to find nylon webbing, but cotton was much more prominent in my searches. All my zippers are from my stash – the black zip on the duffel bag is new (I bought it for a dress, which I obviously never made haha), the rest are vintage. Been looking for a use for those turquoise zippers :) Oh, and the little leather scrap for the pulls is from a shop on Goldhawk Road in London. I bought it because I loved the color, bonus that it matches my bag!

Portside Travel Set

The bag is REALLY floppy when it’s empty (to get these photos, it’s stuffed with every pillow from my couch, plus a couple of blankets), so it was hard to get an inside lining shot! The lining is all polka dots – the self fabric at the bottom is actually a fabric-covered removable piece of thin plastic, to keep the bottom from sagging open.

Portside Travel Set

This isn’t in the instructions (hence why it’s self-fabric – I ran out of lining!), but it’s a trick I learned when I made one of those Amy Butler Weekender bags years ago (which I still have, and yes, it’s too small for a weekend! More like an overnight bag haha). You cut the plastic the same size as your bottom, remove the seam allowances, and make a fitted sleeve to cover it. I like that it’s removable because now I can roll the duffel up if I need to. As far as sourcing plastic – I ended up buying it on Amazon. The EZ Quilting Template Plastic is 18″ x 24″, which I needed (anything sold at a craft store is usually 12×12) for the base. It’s quite a bit flimsier than what I wanted – I doubled up and bought two, but it’s still not as rigid as my Weekender. Still, it’s better than nothing. Plus, I have quite a bit left that I can use for bra pattern templates, yay!

So, in case you couldn’t tell – this bag is pretty big. Like, I could probably squish myself into it if I tried hard enough:

Portside Travel Set

But, like I said – it folds down pretty flat for storage (or putting in a suitcase, which is what I usually do – then I have a bag for all the fabric I buy hahahahaha):

Portside Travel Set

Anyway, I’m happy to check this off my to-do list – and I can’t wait to put it to good use! It’ll definitely come in handy for my trip to Philly at the end of this month. Now I guess I just need to start looking for a new suitcase – mine is starting to give signs of wearing out (wires poking out, the zipper is struggling, corners are threadbare – I told you it was old! And very well-used ;) ).

Portside Travel Set

Just look at that unintentional print-matching. If that doesn’t make you want to run out and SEW ALL THE DUFFLES, then I don’t even know who you are anymore.

** Note: All fabrics for this project were provided to be as per my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network. Notions and pattern were purchased by me!

Completed: The Watson Bra & Bikini Set

19 Jan

Hey look! I made another bra! And matching undies!!

Watson Bra

I’m loving my Marlborough bras so so much (yes, plural. I actually have two now, but I’ll save #2 for another post – this post is all about Watson), but I was really intrigued by the new Watson Bra pattern from Cloth Habit. Instead of a low movement fabric, this baby is sewn up in a fabric with lots of stretch. The cups are higher and more modest and there is no underwire. What really got my attention was the longline option, as well as the included bikini bottom pattern. SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

Watson Bra

Since I’m still pretty new to this whole new world of lingerie, I let the pattern hold my hand when choosing a size and following the instructions. I measured to a 30D (to recap, in case there is anyone new here, I usually wear a 28DD), which fits pretty spot-on. Which is good, because other than hold the little cups up to my boobs while I was sewing them – I wasn’t able to actually try the thing on until I was completely finished with it. Talk about a bummer if that hadn’t worked out! Thankfully, the fit is pretty good. One cup has a tiny bit of sideboob action going on – but that breast is also slightly bigger, so I’m at the point now where I’m trying to decide if it’s worth tweaking the fit for a really custom bra. I’m pretty happy with the fit of the band – it’s nice and tight, like I like it, but it’s also very comfortable.

Watson Bra

The pattern has you cut the cups and cradle in a stretch fabric, the band in power mesh, and then the cradle is lined with a non-stretch to stabilize. Lining that section was obviously a little difficult for me – and I ended up getting quite a few folds as a result. Wah. For my next make, I am going to try fusing my stabilizer to see if that helps. It’s not the end of the world with these folds – but of course I’m always looking to improve.

Watson Bra

The bra includes standard bra hardware – hooks and eyes, adjustable straps, and decorative elastic. I do like that about the pattern, because it makes it look a lot less like some kind of soft training bra that a pre-teen would wear, and more like… a cute bra without underwires, I guess.

Watson Bra

Because of the needed stretch fabric, this bra doesn’t require the same sort of fitting that a structured bra would command (such as the Marlborough). It’s very soft and forgiving. The pattern is rated as being pretty easy and a great way to introduce beginners to bra-making. That being said – while I didn’t find the bra necessarily difficult to make, I do think that the Marlborough was easier to sew! Mostly because that lycra was stretching and sliding all over the place, and getting the cups in just so required quite a bit of precision. Still, it only took me a couple of hours to make, so that should count for something.

The instructions are pretty good! I might be biased – because I’ve already made two bras, I have my copy of Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction on stand-by, and I’ve had enough bra-making conversations to know at least a little of what I’m talking about – but I found them very easy to follow along with. One part that was missing was determining strap length, but it’s my understanding that the pattern was updated with directions on how to do this (I personally just cut two 18″ straps. Worked perfectly! They are adjustable, after all). There were a few minor parts of the pattern that I changed based on preference – such as trimming the excess fabric before topstitching the elastic to the wrong side – but what’s included with the pattern is great as-is. There’s a lot of helpful info for choosing fabrics and trims, and tips for stitch settings when choosing your zigzag stitch. Also, there is currently an entire Watson Bra sewalong happening at Cloth Habit right now, so there’s that if you need even MORE hand-holding!

Watson Bra

Here’s an inside shot. As you can see, I did not finish my seams – just left ‘em raw. It seems to work fine for my other bras, anyway. In the future, I’d love to learn how to properly finish my seams – or even line the whole thing – but I really want to nail down fit and technique before I start going too far down the deep end.

Watson Bra

Watson Bra

Rather than try to source all the materials and notions myself, I decided to splurge on a Watson kit from Blackbird Fabrics. The kit includes everything you need – 4 way stretch lycra, matching powermesh, elastics and trims, metal strap rings and sliders (stupidly, that was my favorite part haha. THEY LOOK SO GOOD), even the aforementioned cradle stabilizer and cotton knit for the crotch lining (for the undies, obviously). There’s enough in the kit to make both the bra and the matching bikini, and you can choose if you want a kit for the standard band or the longline. Since my boobs run on the small side, I’d reckon I could probably make 2 or even 3 bras with how much fabric I have left over (and maybe even a little bit of trim!). This color set is sapphire blue with black trims – and it’s soo beautiful! I can’t wait to see what other color combos Caroline comes up with.

Watson Bra

Watson Bra

Here’s the matching underwear – sorry it looks so unimpressive haha. I cut the XS based on my hip measurement (I was very apprehensive about this, as I normally wear a small), and the fit is pretty good. I think the butt area needs… something. Maybe I didn’t stretch the elastic enough. I feel like it makes my butt look flat, but Landon tells me I’m being ridiculous. Either way, they’re pretty comfy. I wore them all day yesterday and didn’t get a wedgie, which is awesome haha.

Since these posts are somewhat useless to me without a live model wearing the goods (if you want THAT, go holler at Heather Lou), here’s another floating bra photo for your consideration:

Watson Bra

For a non-underwired bra, it’s surprisingly supportive! I also wore this all day yesterday (with the matching bikini, bc, duh), and it’s really really comfortable. Way more comfortable than those Bambi bras I made. And it’s REALLY cute on – I am thinking that with a couple minor tweaks to the strapping and back hook, this would make a fabulous bathing suit pattern. I just need to figure out how to stabilize that cradle – it has to stay rigid, and I think the stuff I’m using isn’t really water-friendly (and definitely wouldn’t hold up in chlorine or salt water). Any suggestions or ideas?

Also, it’s not lost on me that I would consider making a bathing suit from this pattern, but can’t bear to show my skin with the bra in this blog post. Oh well.

Watson Bra

Watson Bra

Bra making is SO MUCH FUN, you guys! Good thing that happens to be a hole in my wardrobe, because I really love making them and I definitely want to do more! I’m really looking forward to the Bra Making Workshop in Philly next weekend – I have sooo much to learn, and I know Maddie is going to be an amazing teacher!

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