Hampton Jean Jacket Blog Tour

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

True Bias Lander Pants

Today I’m thrilled to show you my True Bias Lander Pants. I was lucky enough to be one of Kelli’s testers for this pattern and couldn’t be happier with my result. These are certainly not my first pair of pants, but there’s just something about the detailing and fit that makes me feel like my sewing skills are suddenly legit. The pants feature a wide leg, button fly, front rectangular patch pockets, and a flattering high waist. There are also three length options: short, ankle, and boot length. If you haven’t already seen them, check out the pattern listing here to see Kelli’s amazing samples and how great they look on her gorgeous silver-haired model.
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I opted to make the boot length option as I plan to wear these regularly throughout the fall and winter months. Wide leg pants have been appealing to me for years, but because of my waist to hip ratio and longer legs, nice fitting ones are nearly impossible to buy off the rack. When Kelli told me she was making a pattern for wide leg pants, I jumped at the chance to test them.

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This denim pair is actually my second pair of Lander Pants. During the testing phase I made an ankle length pair using Essex Linen. The denim is a Robert Kaufman denim purchased from Imagine Gnats (find it here). The fabric is a really nice medium weight and rather comfortable as well. I wore these pants on the plane to Denver last week (more about that trip here). My plane flew out of SLC at 7:30 am so I was nervous to see how my pants would look by the end of the day. Surprisingly, they still looked great by dinner time with only minimal wrinkling from an entire day of wear.

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One of the details I love about these pants is the size of the pockets on both front and back. They’re a great design feature, but it’s their practicality that really wins my heart. One of THE worst parts of many ready to wear women’s pants are the size of the pockets. Does anyone else hate when they’re so small you can’t even fit your phone inside? I mean, what are they? Pockets for ants? I don’t even have a giant phone and I regularly have this problem when shopping for pants. Not planning on having that problem again, because I’m just going to make an array of Lander Pants for all occasions.

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I could write a few hundred more words proclaiming my love for these pants, but I’ll let the photos and the fact that I’ve been wearing them multiple times a week speak for themselves. Kelli is hosting a Lander Pant Sewalong on her blog this week. It’s sure to be filled with lots of helpful hints if you’d like some extra wisdom while making a pair. Check out her first post here.

Thanks for reading! Want to see what else I’ve made using True Bias patterns? Check out my red Lodo Dress in this post.

Photos by my lovely friend Rachel of Little Fish.

If you’ve made it this far I’ll leave you with the gem of a picture below. This is what I look like when I’m afraid that I’ll be hit by a car while “acting natural” and crossing the street. Clearly crossing the street photos will never be one of my signature poses.

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Noodlehead Range Backpack or My Weekend at the Church of Sewing

Last weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to Denver to spend the weekend with some amazing sewing friends old and new. Gabriela of Chalk and Notch found this beautiful AirBnB and I was lucky enough to stay there with Sara of The Sara Project, Michelle of SewJourners, Leslie of Threadbear Garments, Emily of Enjoyful Makes, my project twin Fleurine of Sew MarieFleur and honorary house guest Adrianna of Hey June Handmade. We also got to spend time hanging out with Kelli of True Bias, Erin of SewBon, and Allie of IndieSew. Basically, I spent last weekend feeling like a fan girl hanging out with her sewing idols.
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Ok, sorry, I’ll stop name dropping and “fan girling” now and get back to talking about sewing. Several of the girls decided to sew the Range Backpack during the weekend and I hopped on the bandwagon because it seemed like the perfect retreat project. Besides the thread and notions listed on the pattern, I only needed a rotary cutter, mat, ruler, and my sewing machine to complete the project. The mats and rulers were thankfully provided by local ladies so we didn’t have to figure out how to get those on a plane. When we arrived in Denver, Fleurine and I realized that we’d both chosen the same Rifle Paper Co. canvas for our exteriors. I used an Essex Linen for my straps, lining, and contrast bottom, while Fleurine used a lovely waxed canvas for the contrast bottom and straps. Once we realized that our bags would match, we decided we had to finish our backpacks in order to take photos together.

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In the beginning, we only had one ruler and mat, so I woke up early on Friday morning to cut out my bag. There are plenty of pieces, but cutting went pretty quick and I was able to cut out everything in about an hour. This included the time it took to soak in the beauty of the morning in our light filled AirBnB.

I’ve sewn a handful of bags in my years of sewing and always wonder why I don’t sew them more often. They’re a great middle ground for quilters and apparel sewists alike. They provide the quick satisfaction of an apparel project with the simpler seaming of a beginner to intermediate quilt. They’re also great for building skills like zipper insertion without the stress of garment fitting. If you’re looking to learn some bag making skills, I would highly recommend Noodlehead patterns because Anna’s instructions are clear and detailed.

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Once I began sewing the Range Backpack, it came together fairly quickly. I can’t give you an exact estimate of time, because I sewed intermittently throughout the day and evening on Friday. Sewing time was broken up by outings for brunch, a visit to Fancy Tiger Crafts, and just general chatting. I finished the exterior of my backpack on Friday and completed and inserted the lining on Saturday morning.

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I’ll leave you with a quick note about my fabric and notions. My fabric was purchased from (no surprise here) Suppose. I ordered the Range Backpack hardware kit from Noodlehead. My zipper was purchased from Zipit on Etsy. The zippers had to be purchased in a pack of five (only $5 for all five), which turned out to be advantageous when both Fleurine and Adrianna, were in need of zippers to match their bags and hardware.

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Thanks for reading! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Fleurine’s post about our bags here. For more Range Backpack inspiration check out Adrianna’s leather version (here) or Leslie’s made from Pendleton Wool (here)

 

 

 

A Dress for Date Night: Lodo Dress by True Bias

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I fell in love with the Lodo Dress almost immediately after it was introduced (here) in April. I quickly purchased the pattern and ordered some fabric to make my first Lodo Dress. You can check out my first one here. I’ve gotten so much wear out of that first Lodo Dress and knew I needed another. My first dress is a bit more casual so I wanted my next one to look a bit dressier. I selected this red scuba knit from Indie Sew after seeing Allie’s blue version. The solid red was a bit of a bold choice, but I think it was the right one.

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My husband and I got the rare opportunity to go out on a date last week and I had him snap a few photos in my parents’ backyard before we left. Never thought I’d love sage brush, but I’ve started to see the beauty in it after living in Utah most of my life. The promise of a date was all the motivation needed for me to get working on my Lodo Dress. Our date was on Wednesday so naturally, I started cutting out my project on Monday. Tuesday night I sewed a few hours after bedtime and was able to complete the dress. There’s just something satisfying about finishing a project that is both quick and stylish. It never gets old and I see another Lodo or two in my future.

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This was my first time working with scuba and I was a bit nervous to use a new fabric. It was surprisingly easy. The only difficulty I had was when sewing the back slit. The fabric shifted a bit more than expected, so my stitching isn’t quite as perfect as I’d like. It is, however, such a small imperfection that I decided it was not worth the time it would take to fix it. I made one small modification to the instructions and sewed bar tacks at the top of the back slit and at the underarms. Hoping that the bar tacks will further secure the seams in areas where they’ll experience the most strain. So far, so good.

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My red scuba Lodo Dress turned out to be the perfect date night dress. It’s stylish enough for a night out, but simple enough to wear to the local dive. This dress feels like wearing a light, soft sponge. It’s also got plenty of room for indulging in the large amounts of food I  may or may not consume. What I’m trying to tell you is that it checks all boxes for an essential date night dress. Do you have anything specific you love wearing for date night? What do you require in clothing for a night out?

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Just a quick note on sizing: My dress is a size 2 graded to a 4 in the hips. I made the midi length and added just 1″ to the length.

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Named Clothing Ronja Dungarees

I’ve loved overalls for as long as I can remember. In fact, last time I was at my parents’ house, I looked through old photo albums and found two first day of school pictures in which I’m wearing overalls. I even brought my newborn son home from the hospital in a tiny pair of overalls because teeny tiny overalls will always win my heart. Every time overalls come back in style I find myself poring over photos and planning all the possible outfits. Basically, I have a love affair with overalls and will likely continue to wear them long after they’re no longer “in style.” With that said, I’d like to introduce you to my Named Clothing Ronja Dungarees (find them here). The Ronja Dungarees feature front and back pockets, button closures, a cropped ankle-length, plenty of top-stitching, and tie straps. There’s no shortage of details and I love that about this pattern.

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I added these lovely flower buttons (purchase here) from Arrow Mountain. I’ve almost exclusively used Arrow Mountain buttons since discovering them over a year ago. Good quality, stylish buttons are sometimes hard to find, but I find myself wanting to buy ALL the Arrow Mountain buttons (see more ways I’ve used them here, here, and here).

IMG_1648IMG_1676 When choosing my fabric, I was presented with the dilemma of whether to use a print or a solid. I waffled back and forth between the two until I remembered that I had some of this Euclid fabric in my stash. This is a print designed by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman Fabrics. It is printed on their Essex Linen which is a cotton/linen blend. The weight of the fabric is somewhere between a canvas and a quilting cotton. It doesn’t have much drape which makes it great for a bit more structured pants and skirts. As per usual, I purchased the fabric from Suppose.

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These are constructed in a way that makes it a bit difficult to test garment fit as you sew, because of this I would highly recommend sewing a muslin first. Sometimes, out of pure laziness, I ignore my own advice.  This was one of those times.  I pretty much just held my breath and hoped the overalls would fit in the end. I was expecting my Ronja Dungarees to be fun but; I did not expect that they would actually flatter my back side. This was a pleasant surprise. My husband even remarked that these overalls were “very flattering.” I’m almost certain that the words “overalls” and “flattering” are rarely used in the same sentence. I mean, I definitely don’t usually reach for overalls and think “Man, I look good in these.” These Ronjas make me feel that way and it’s a fun change from my regular momiform of loose flowy dresses.

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The challenge of sewing something a bit more advanced after many simple projects, was a great refresher for me. It’s sometimes nice to change the pace and sew something one small step at a time instead of all at once. This pattern reignited my love of overalls, and I’ve already purchased the Burnside Bibs pattern by Sew House Seven. How do you feel about overalls? Are you over them?

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I’ll leave you with a few notes on my sizing and alterations: I am close to 5’10” and sewed a size 38 with few length modifications. Named Clothing drafts for a height of 5’8″ so I decided not to add any length to the rise and add elsewhere instead. I added 1/2″ of length at the bust, 1″ of length at the thigh, and 1″ of length at the knee. I’m really happy with the length and think it will be great for late summer and transition well into early fall.

Fringe Dress by Chalk and Notch

I had been anxiously awaiting the release of the Fringe Dress and Top since Gabriela posted this teaser photo months ago. I applied to be a tester practically the moment she submitted the call. Working with Gabriela is always a pleasure and I love her detailed instructions and interactive tutorials. The Fringe Dress pattern is no exception.

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The Fringe pattern includes two views with a dress or top option for each view. You can see both views sewn up in the photo above. My beautiful and multi-talented friend Rachel of Little Fish sewed up view A. You can read a more detailed post about her version here on her blog. I decided to make view B because I was intrigued by the unique neckline.

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Let’s take a quick detour and talk about fabric. For this version I used a soft and slinky rayon challis designed by Anna Maria Horner (buy it here). I purchased the fabric from my very favorite store Suppose. Suppose has just added a ton of amazing apparel fabrics to their Etsy. Many of them, like the fabric used for my Fringe, are out of print and nearly impossible to find anywhere else. I buy at least 80% of my fabric at Suppose and am regularly asked where I’m able to find such a great selection. I worked at Suppose for 5 years and used to joke that it was basically my secret stash. Now the secret is out and I’m happy to share it with all of my online friends.

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Whenever I’m selecting a pattern, I look for certain details that make set a pattern aside from others as well as meeting my requirements for fashion and function. One detail I love about the Fringe is that it’s semi-fitted. The bodice contains both front and back darts that add a bit of shape to flatter many body types. It is just fitted enough to look like a dress and not a sack, but loose enough to make every day activities comfortable. There is also waist tie option if you would like to make the waist a bit more pronounced. The pull over style of the dress makes it a fairly quick sew as no closures are necessary. I know a few of the testers and even Gabriela herself just sewed the button placket of View A closed for some of their versions.

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I’ve already worn my Fringe 3 or 4 times since making it a few weeks ago. It has transitioned seamlessly from church, to the playground, to a night out. It’s my perfect “mom” dress and I plan to make myself a view A dress in the future. There are about a million more great things  I could say about Chalk and Notch and the Fringe pattern, but I’ll just let the photos and other reviews speak for themselves.

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A quick note on sizing: I sewed up a size four with minor adjustments for my height. I’m somewhere between 5’9″ and 5’10”. I added 1/2″ to the bodice length and 3 1/2″ to the skirt length for my desired below knee length. These are the only adjustments I needed and Gabriela included great instructions for adjustment right in the pattern instructions.

Photos by Rachel of Little Fish and Heather of Feathers Flights.

Want to see more items I’ve made with Chalk and Notch patterns? Check out my Waterfall Raglan hack here or my Farrah top here.