Last Minute Gifts for the Seamstress, Sewist, or Sewing Enthusiast

Hello! Are you in the throes of holiday decorating, parties, and events like I am? I feel like the Christmas season snuck up on me this year and I was caught a bit off guard. I’m still gathering/sewing a few last minute gifts around here and thought you might be doing so as well. Does Santa, your mom, or your significant other help find items for your stocking or do you sometimes slip some of your own selections in there? However that stocking gets filled, here are a few of my last-minute favorites for inclusion. The best part about these suggestions? No last-minute sewing involved.

IMG_2436

Pattern Behavior (here): For the seamstress who also enjoys a good meme. Are you or is someone you know a millenial sewist? Have you ever wasted a bit (or too much) time browsing the internet for hilarious memes? No? Just me? If you or a seamstress you know has done this, this book might be for you. It’s not 100% sewing related as it’s photos of vintage sewing patterns with a little bit of social commentary added. I found it quite funny, but I also sometimes have text message conversations entirely using memes. The only caveat is that the book includes a small amount of profanity. Just thought I’d warn you in case that isn’t your cup of tea.

IMG_2446

Pattern-Ease: Anyone who sews clothing and traces a lot of patterns should have this stuff. I’ve been using Pattern-Ease for the last four years now and it’s been a total game changer. It is a non-woven tracing material made by Pellon. I’ll just share a few reasons my love for this stuff runs deep. First, It’s sold by the yard and 46″ wide which means I can fit almost any pattern piece into one section without having to join tissue or exam paper. Second, It’s made from polyester and is not easily ripped like tracing tissue. Third, and probably my favorite quality, liquid won’t destroy it. About a week ago, I absent-mindedly left a traced pattern piece out on the kitchen table. My son spilled milk on the table and it ran all over the piece. If I had used tissue paper, the piece would’ve been a goner. Thankfully, I simply picked up the piece of Pattern-Ease, very lightly rinsed off the milk, and hung it up to dry. Within about thirty minutes, the piece was dry and good as new.

IMG_2448

Cozy Socks: If you know me, you know that I am a serious lover of socks. They are practically my love language. The sewing community is sometimes a bit divided on their preference of sewing while barefoot, covered with socks, or even wearing shoes. I would say, however, that many seamstresses I know tend to sew at home while wearing socks. I love a good pair of socks for sewing because I sew most efficiently when I am comfortable, and my feet are literally always freezing. Really, socks are my default gift for everyone because they can be both practical and fun. Everyone needs socks and sometimes it’s fun to have a few quirky pairs for lounging/sewing at home.

IMG_2438

Mini Wonder Clips: If you’ve been around the sewing community for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard of Wonder Clips. They’re a fantastic alternative to pins in many situations and I use them often in both quilting and apparel sewing. What I LOVE about the mini version is their size and weight. The regular size wonder clips are great for most applications, but I’ve found the mini ones to be extremely helpful when sewing with lightweight fabrics such as rayon, lawn, and voile. Another great use is when sewing with knits. They don’t leave holes and damage the fabric like pins can sometimes do to knits.

IMG_2457

Washi Tape: Many apparel sewers (sewists?) use a large number of PDF patterns which means lots of glue or tape. I love using washi tape to assemble patterns, because it is easily repositionable. I purchased this washi dispenser set at Target and then proceeded to buy every one my local Target had in stock for gifting to my sewing friends. Bonus: it’s cute and I’m easily lured into using cute things.

IMG_2442

Flatter: This is a fabric smoothing spray that I use regularly when pressing. It reduces static and leaves fabric smelling glorious. My favorite is the pineapple scent, but they have several other scents and even an unscented version. I love the way this stuff makes my sewing room smell like a tropical vacation.

IMG_2450

Sewing Treats: This one will need to be tailored for the specific recipient. I love these gummy peach penguins because they aren’t sticky and won’t easily melt, the fact that they’re made almost entirely of sugar doesn’t hurt either. Find out your recipient’s snack preferences and find something that can be easily eaten and won’t leave a residue on fabric.

IMG_2445

Advertisements

Named Clothing Gemma Dress

Today I’d like to introduce you to my Named Clothing Gemma Dress. My inner 90’s girl jumped for joy when stretch velvet started making a comeback a couple of years ago. I first fell in love with the sweatshirt version of the Gemma pattern, but have yet to find the perfect fabric combination for it. When my cousin got engaged earlier this year and announced that she’d be married in December, I knew this was the perfect excuse for making a new winter appropriate dress.

IMG_2328IMG_2351

I snagged this olive colored stretch velvet and the Gemma printed pattern from Stylemaker Fabrics during their Black Friday Sale. I ordered on Thursday and had the goods in my hands by the following Monday. Michelle currently has a great selection of stretch velvet available and I’m doing my best to convince myself that I don’t need it in every color of the rainbow.

IMG_2343IMG_2336

Styling this dress presented me with a bit of a conundrum.  You may have noticed that I always wear the same few pairs of shoes. Almost two years ago, I decided to purge and scale back my shoe wardrobe. I had nearly 30 pairs of shoes that were rarely worn or falling apart because they were poorly made. I love a good pair of shoes, but these were just feeling like a waste of my space and money. I made a list of shoes that were necessary in my wardrobe (snow boots, athletic shoes, a pair of dress shoes, etc.) Eventually I whittled my collection down to 8 pairs of shoes. This system has worked quite well for me over the last few years. It’s encouraged me to be more intentional about shoe purchases and creative with my styling. I’m not great at scaling back in many areas of my life, but this one has brought me a little peace of mind. Here’s my little soapbox of the day: You don’t have to Marie Kondo your entire life to feel peace of mind. Find one thing that you can live with less of  (decorations, shoes, pants, t-shirts, pens, etc.) and start there. Maybe you’ll be surprised with what you can live without, or maybe not. I’m really no expert here.

IMG_2324IMG_2350

Now that I’ve presented my little soapbox, let’s get back to my styling conundrum. After seriously considering purchasing a new pair of shoes, I decided to dress the outfit down a bit by wearing my Teva ankle boots. While not the prettiest option, they were certainly my most practical when presented with the thought of walking on ice and winter slush. In order to make it work, I decided on a slightly boho vibe. I selected a pair of simple dangle earrings, patterned tights, and decided on a crown braid for my hair styling. The thought of a crown braid presented me with another issue: I cannot braid to save my life. Enter Vienna: My kind and beautiful friend Vienna of The Late Sew offered to braid my hair and assist me in taking photos. Sewing friends are some of the freaking best, seriously.

IMG_2354IMG_2345

Overall I couldn’t be more pleased with this dress and can’t wait to invent a million occasions to which I can wear such a lovely thing. Who am I kidding? I totally wore this to the grocery store, cooked dinner, and while sewing last night. I might never take it off.

IMG_2325

As always, I’ll leave you with a little note on sizing: I sewed a 38 graded to a 40 at the hips. My only other modifications were adding 2 inches to the length and sewing the slit closed an extra 4 inches for a bit more coverage on the back.

Want to see another Named pattern sewn up? Check out my Ronja Dungarees here.

Need a some more Gemma Dress inspiration? Check out Sara’s gorgeous maternity version here.

 

 

 

True Bias Roscoe Blouse

Hello and Happy Monday! My family and I took a mini vacation this weekend and decided to escape to the cabin owned by my husband’s grandparents. I used our weekend plans as motivation to finally finish sewing my True Bias Roscoe Blouse (purchase here). This Mountain Mirror rayon by April Rhodes (purchased from Imagine Gnats) was basically begging to be photographed in front of the mountains. Perhaps I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to photograph a mountain print top in front of all this beautiful scenery.

IMG_2244

We love spending weekends at the cabin because it always gives us time to reconnect as a family. There’s no internet and minimal to no cell service depending on where you stand on the property. We always come back home feeling refreshed and happy to have a break from our work and devices. Our four year old loves exploring and fighting imaginary monsters so that’s pretty much the only item on the itinerary when we visit. This last weekend we were greeted by snow covered mountains and frost dusting the ground. Once we got a fire started, we played my son’s version of Monopoly and cuddled while watching Spongebob. Not a bad evening if you ask me.

IMG_2249IMG_2253

We woke up the next morning, got ready for the day, and headed outside to snap these photos. As evidenced by the snow and frost on the ground, it was freezing outside. My son was bundled in his winter coat and having the time of his life chasing monsters. My husband and I, on the other hand, didn’t pack the appropriate outerwear and were a bit cold. If you look closely at the photos you may see my fingers turning red from the cold and goosebumps on my arms and neck. I did bring this rtw cardigan along and it made finishing this 15 minute photo session a lot more cozy. I love having items like this Roscoe Blouse in my wardrobe that are easily made cold-weather appropriate with the addition of a cozy cardigan or stylish jacket.

IMG_2291IMG_2270

While layering over the Roscoe to make it more winter appropriate was rather easy, I may have had more time to wear this sans layers had I finished it back when I originally started. I purchased this fabric and pattern sometime around the end of August as I intended to finish it before my early September trip to Colorado. Clearly, that did not happen. I had just started to sew my blouse and was on step 2 of the pattern when I made a HUGE mistake. I had attached the neckline facing and was cutting the neck slit. Feeling pretty accomplished, I lifted the fabric to realize that I had unwittingly cut a large hole into the middle of my blouse front. I pulled out my extra fabric and found that it was about 3 inches too short to cut a new front. I was frustrated to realize that I would need to purchase another yard to finish the blouse. I set the fabric and pattern aside and decided to revisit it at a later date.

IMG_2232IMG_2229  When I returned from Colorado, I hit the ground running and finished my Highlands Wrap Dress (here), Hampton Jean Jacket (here), and family Halloween costumes (here). I had all but forgotten about my Roscoe Blouse fail until a few weeks ago when Imagine Gnats announced a great sale on their rayons. I searched through their sale section and found this Mountain Mirror rayon which reminded me of my unfinished project. I quickly ordered a yard and waited for it to arrive.

I almost immediately cut out a new blouse front and waited for an opportunity to sew it up. This time I paid careful attention when cutting the neck slit and avoided my earlier mistake. I sewed this up in a time frame of about 3 days. I didn’t keep track of my actual sewing time, but I would estimate this took me somewhere around 3 hours total. It was a quick, easy sew and I love its relaxed, flowy fit. The voluminous raglan sleeves are one of my favorite design features and will make it perfectly breezy for eventual summer wear.

IMG_2260IMG_2258

I’ll leave you with a quick note on sizing. I sewed up a size 4 with the only alte,ration being 1″ added to the sleeve length and blouse length. I’ve sewn several True Bias patterns over the last year ( Lodo Dress, Hudson Pants, and Lander Pants) and have found the sizing on each pattern to be accurate according the measurements included. I’ve only made minimal length alterations to each and would highly recommend Kelly’s patterns.

IMG_2282

Thanks so much for reading!

 

Itch to Stitch Blog Tour: Hepburn Turtleneck

I’m thrilled today to be part of the Itch to Stitch Love Blog Tour.  Kennis of Itch to Stitch has quite the repertoire of well-drafted patterns under her belt and I’ve enjoyed sewing her patterns in the past (see those here, here, and here).  Recently, Kennis was on vacation and came home to find that her home had been burglarized. Thieves took her computers, machines, and many other things essential to her and her husband’s businesses. This tour came about because the sewing community joined together to support one of our own. Read to the end of the post for information on all the generous sponsors and talented bloggers joining together this week.

When I was invited to join, I searched the website to find inspiration and decide on a project. Upon seeing and buying the Hepburn Turtleneck pattern, I knew I had the perfect fabric/pattern combination.  I purchased this soft striped rayon french terry from Indiesew and it’s been sitting in my stash for months waiting for inspiration to strike.
IMG_2182

IMG_2199

Today I’m sharing my Hepburn Turtleneck styled two different ways. It’s been several years since I owned a fitted turtleneck and I wasn’t quite sure how to style it. The first look is a slightly dressed up classic look that I envision wearing for a night out or even to Thanksgiving dinner. I pulled my hair into a low bun, painted on red lipstick, and paired my new top with these denim Lander Pants (more about those here).

IMG_2183IMG_2193

This first look seemed like a simple and natural styling choice. I love the understated elegance of this outfit, but likely won’t dress up quite this much on a regular basis. My second look is a casual one that is less classic and more trendy. When styling this outfit, I pulled my hair into a top knot, applied minimal makeup, grabbed my Rifle Paper Co. Keds, and pulled out my vintage Levi’s 550 jeans.

IMG_2149IMG_2155

These jeans are my literal mom jeans because I took them from my mom’s closet. I’m pretty picky about jeans and only own one pair besides these. My mom wore these jeans when I was younger, and it seems only natural that I would wear them now that I’m a mother. They’re worn to comfortable perfection and have completely sold me on the mom jeans trend. I wasn’t sure how to feel about this outfit until I put it on and realized that it’s likely to become my winter momiform.

IMG_2173IMG_2175

My Hepburn Turtleneck has been worn at every opportunity since it was finished a few days ago. It’s the perfect fit and weight for winter layering and wearing as a transition piece in late fall and early spring. I’m already envisioning new ways to style this top and keep it in constant rotation. How would you style a fitted turtleneck? Which look do you prefer?

IMG_2195IMG_2166

A quick note on sizing: My bust measurement fell between the size 2 and size 4 with my hip measurement being a size 6. I opted to make a size 4 and grade to a 6 at the hips. I’m 5’10” and added 2″ to the body length and 1.5″ to the arm length.

Read below for more inspiration and instructions on entering a couple of great giveaways. 

Your ITS Love bloggers are:

Monday: Sew Sophie Lynn, Merritts Makes, Sewing with Sarah, Sewing with D

Tuesday: Shalini’s Blog, Auschicksews, Rebel and Malice, Sewing Vortex

Wednesday: Replicate Then Deviate, mahlicadesigns, Sewing with D, The Petite Sewist, kreamino

Thursday: Sewing Curves, Creative Counselor, Sew Mariefleur, Fairies, Bubbles & Co, Sewing by Ti

Friday: Harper+Lu, MeMade, On Wednesdays We Sew, Heather Handmade, Bellevi, and visit by mooglii on IG

The ITS Love Tour sponsors have been so generous in support of Kennis of Itch to Stitch that we’ve been able to put together several prize packages to share with you.
First, you may enter our giveaway to win one of three prize packs:

Prize Pack #1 includes:

5 Itch to Stitch patterns

$25GC to Simply By Ti

$50 Raspberry Creek Gift Card

$50 Bella Sunshine gift card

                  Prize Pack #2 includes:

$50 Knit Pop GC

$25 Designer Stitch GC

$25 Chalk and Notch GC

3 patterns of choice from Coffee And Thread

Prize Pack #3 Includes:

$15 Thread & Grain store credit

$25 Maker Mountain Fabrics GC

3 patterns from Halla Patterns

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Your second way to win is to share with us your recent Itch to Stitch creations (made between October and November 2017). Add your creations to our Link Up Party before Nov. 20th for a chance to win one of two prize packs.

LinkUp Prize Pack #1 includes:

5 Itch to Stitch patterns

A $40 value PFRE Sly Fox Fabrics.

$25 Maker Mountain Fabrics GC

$50 Love Notions GC

LinkUp Prize Pack #2 includes:

$25 Stylish Fabric GC & sewing box kit

$25 Chalk and Notch GC

5 patterns from Rad Patterns

Pattern of choice from DG Patterns

Click here to view and add your links.

Matching Loungewear: Brilliant Idea or Fashion Blunder?

Way back in August, my son decided that he wanted to be Spongebob for Halloween and requested that I dress up as Squidward. Part of me was rather proud as I was a Spongebob fan back in the day. In the sixth grade I even got a Spongebob alarm clock for Christmas (It sang the “F.U.N.” song to wake me up and was a real treasure. I’m sure my parents were delighted when it finally broke).  I had spent a few weeks puzzling on how to execute my Squidward costume until I was in Denver and Emily made this Blueprints for Sewing Geodesic Sweatshirt. The wheels in my head started turning and I came up with the idea of a matching mint colored loungewear set.

IMG_2048

Emily’s lovely mauve french terry inspired me to check the Raspberry Creek Fabrics Etsy shop where I found this solid dark mint french terry. I knew that I would use the Geodesic pattern because I already owned it and had been planning to make the longer version eventually (see my cropped version here). I decided to purchase the True Bias Hudson Pants pattern (here) and the two together make a perfect pair.

IMG_2096IMG_2085

I sewed up a size C/D with no alterations in the Geodesic and it all came together rather quickly. My background in quilting is what drew me to the fun geometric lines of the Geodesic and I think it made the construction a little easier as well.

When cutting and sewing the Hudsons, I made a size 10 with the only alteration being an added 4″ in length. I only needed to add 3″ to the length, but I prefer my sweats a little extra long. It probably has something to do with the fact that nearly all rtw sweats are a few inches too short for my legs. Perhaps I’m just making up for years of wearing sweats that look like I’m expecting a flood.

IMG_2070IMG_2069

While I’m satisfied with both pieces individually, I’m still not sure that I’m sold on wearing them together. They kind of remind me of the blush velour sweatsuit I owned in middle school and I’m still trying to decide whether or not that’s a good thing. The comfort level of this outfit is unreal. I have been wearing it around the house all day today. I guess the point of loungewear is actual lounging though, so I will certainly wear these together during those times. My biggest question is whether or not I would wear matching loungewear out and about during everyday activities. How do you feel about matching loungewear? Is it something you would wear? How and where would you wear it?

IMG_2107

Thanks for reading! I’ll leave you with a quick iPhone shot of our Halloween costumes so you can see how I incorporated these matching separates into my Squidward costume.

IMG_3964.jpg

 

 

Hampton Jean Jacket Blog Tour

HamptonBlogTourBlogs

Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting Alina of Alina Design Co. When she mentioned that she was hosting a Hampton Jean Jacket tour, I knew joining was my only option. I’d planned to make a Hampton after seeing Leslie’s version last spring (here). When it comes to sewing, I’m a big fan of deadlines. They keep me motivated, challenged, and accountable. This tour was just the deadline I needed to whip myself into shape and get sewing.

IMG_1906

I selected a lovely indigo denim from Threadbare Fabrics (this one) and chose not to bleach or distress it. I did, however, decide to add my own personal touch. I’ve always been drawn, to embroidery, but haven’t taken much time to practice and wasn’t quite up for anything too complicated. When searching for inspiration, I came across this fabric and knew that’s what I wanted to replicate on my jacket.

IMG_1922IMG_1911

I’ve hand-quilted a few small quilts and pillows before, and used the same supplies and method on my center back piece (minus the batting and backing, of course). I selected two colors of size 5 perle cotton, navy and ecru. The stitching lines are 1/2″ apart, with the stitches being about 1/4″ or less. I didn’t worry too much about the stitches being perfect. I love the uniqueness that these stitches bring to the jacket. That’s the beautiful thing about making your own clothing. Even if one were to make the exact same jacket, with the same details, each jacket would be just as unique as their maker.

IMG_1841IMG_1793

Making this jacket was certainly a labor of love. I lost track of the time I spent working on it, but spent at least 15+ hours. Part of those 15 hours were spent removing wonky top-stitching, and less than stellar buttonholes. Every minute spent with my seam ripper was 100% worth it in the end. My top-stitching still has its quirks, but it’s work of which I can be proud.

IMG_1830IMG_1813

Don’t let the sewing time or details scare you from trying this pattern. I found the drafting to be impeccable, and everything lined up just right. The instructions were also full of detail and I found Alina’s Hampton Sewalong posts (here) to be invaluable when finishing some of the trickier details like the welt pockets. Finishing this jacket made me feel a bit like a superhero. I keep staring at it hanging in my closet, because I can’t believe that I actually made it. It kind of feels like discovering a superpower. Really, I owe my thanks to Alina for making a pattern that pushed my sewing comfort zone and made me feel oddly powerful. I may also owe a bit of thanks to my college sewing teacher, Lu, who taught me how to sew flat fell seams and was always encouraging, despite my obvious lack of skill.

IMG_1919

Just a quick note on sizing: I sewed a size 4, with my only adjustments being 1″ of length to the body of the jacket and 1/2″ of length to the sleeves.

IMG_1865IMG_1853

Now, please take a minute to check out the talented ladies also sharing their jackets this week. Then, once you’ve had your fill of inspiration, get to work on a jacket of your own. Be sure to use coupon code “HAMPTONSFORALL” for 15% off  the pattern (purchase here). Until this one, I haven’t owned a denim jacket since middle school  and am now wondering how I’d gone so long without one. I’m now convinced they’re a closet staple.

Hampton Jean Jacket Fall 2017 Blog Tour
October 9: Helen’s Closet
October 13: Well Fibre

 

Highlands Wrap Dress by Allie Olson

Last weekend, I was finally able to finish this maxi length Highlands Wrap Dress. I originally intended to finish it back in June but moving and life in general just got in the way. Way back in late winter/early spring, I had the opportunity to test this pattern for Allie. I ended up making a midi length version using gray rayon chambray. I loved the fit of the dress, but the fabric just wasn’t my favorite. I knew I needed to make a second wrap dress in fabric more suited to my style (aka: more color/print).

IMG_1701

IMG_1757

I’ve literally been in love with this Anna Maria Horner rayon challis print for years. This fabric was originally printed back in 2014 so I thought I’d missed my chance to buy more until a bolt showed up at Suppose. I immediately knew it was meant for a Highlands Wrap Dress and purchased a few yards.

IMG_1714IMG_1740

When tracing the pattern I selected a size 4 and graded to a 6 in the hips. I added a total of 4 inches to the length to accommodate my height (2″ at the hips and 2″ below the slit). In retrospect, I probably should’ve added all 4 of those inches above the slit because it is cut just a bit high for my personal preference. I plan to unpick a bit of the side slits and resew them to hit right above my knee. The high slits are a lovely design feature, just not quite as practical for my lifestyle.

IMG_1761IMG_1753

Back when I made my original test version, I didn’t add interfacing to the front facings. That was a terrible mistake and made top-stitching the facings a real pain in the you know what. This time, I decided to make a better choice and chose to interface them. I chose a tricot knit interfacing and it worked like a dream. Stitching the facings in place was about 100 times easier and I totally kicked myself for not using it on my first Highlands. I was originally introduced to knit interfacing when sewing a pattern by Gabriela of Chalk and Notch. She recommends it in many of her patterns, and that chick really knows her stuff. I know it’s going to be good if it’s recommended by Gabriela.

IMG_1729

Saying that I’m happy with this dress would be an understatement. There’s just something about a flowy, floral print dress that makes me feel put together and pretty. Now excuse me while I go experiment with ways to style this dress for fall and winter. It’s far too lovely to wear only during the summer months.

Note: You might notice that the darts are looking a bit high in these photos. I noticed this when I got home and started editing these. I made the mistake of wearing a different bra when fitting the dress than I was wearing the day I took these photos. Until I started sewing my own clothing, I never realized how much wearing the right undergarments matters (it matters a lot). Now that I’ve made this mistake, I’ll hopefully remember which bra to wear when taking photos in the future.