Blueprints Geodesic and “Letting it Go”

I’ve been admiring the Blueprints for Sewing Geodesic Sweatshirt pattern for quite a while now. I just couldn’t get myself to pull the trigger on buying the PDF version, so I nearly jumped for joy when a printed version was announced. I purchased my pattern the day they arrived at Suppose and couldn’t wait to get started.

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I chose to to make a cropped version for easy layering on cool summer mornings/evenings. The fabric used is an organic cotton interlock made by Cloud 9 fabrics and purchased from Suppose. I would consider it a medium weight which is perfect for this pattern. It’s not quite as bright as the fabrics that I’d usually select, but I’m making a concerted effort to add more neutrals into my wardrobe.

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Let’s talk a bit about my construction process. This sweatshirt was sewn in small snippets of time over the course of about two weeks. The last month has been chaotic to say the least, and I needed a simple stress-free project. When cutting the triangles, I decided to alternate the stripe direction in order to add a bit more interest and eliminate the need for stripe matching.

You may notice that my version has a slightly different layout than the illustration on the pattern cover. Can you spot the difference? Look at this photo and see if you can find it. Found it? My version has the bottom row of triangles upside down. This was a blunder I found only after sewing up the side seams. Whenever I make a sewing mistake, I ask myself three questions: Does this ruin the fit? Can I live with it? Will I still wear it? If the answer to the first question is yes, then I immediately work to remedy the issue. If not, I move on to the other two questions. Often I can justify keeping the mistake if it doesn’t affect the actual fitting of the garment. This was one of  those times.

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Anxiety sometimes tries to get the best of me when I goof up. In order to calm myself, I repeat two phrases:

“Done is Fun”- Alison Faulkner (The Alison Show)

“Let it Go” (Can’t say that one without singing the “Frozen” theme)

These phrases remind me that my errors often aren’t as glaring as they may initially seem. Life is really too short to waste time fixing an error that doesn’t have to be seen as an error. It’s a design decision, right? It is likely that the only people who may notice the error are those who are familiar with the pattern. Overall, I’m happy with the look of my Geodesic and isn’t that what matters in the end?

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These photos were snapped during a short getaway to the cabin. My husband proposed to me in this place and our wedding reception was held on the property. I always leave wishing we could spend just a little more time here. My clothes are a bit wrinkly because my son and I woke up and walked the property while watching the sunrise. By the time my husband was available to help take pictures, I’d spent half the day wearing this outfit. I’ll leave you with a blurry, but lovely self-timer photo snapped during our sunrise walk.

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Itch to Stitch Anza Jumpsuit

Last spring, I purchased a gorgeous Anna Maria fabric fully intending to make a jumpsuit. Life got busy and many of my sewing plans got pushed aside. By the time summer ended, I had given up on finding and making my perfect jumpsuit and used the fabric to make a pattern hack of another Itch to Stitch pattern. You can find that dress here. Luckily, Kennis of Itch to Stitch is not only a talented and detailed pattern designer, she is also some sort of mind-reading wizard who is releasing the perfect jumpsuit pattern just when I needed it. Today I’m thrilled to show you my tester version of the Anza Jumpsuit.

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I was browsing the selection of fabrics at my local fabric store Suppose when Kennis annouced a tester call for the Anza Jumpsuit and dress. I immediately put down the bolts I had been carrying around the store, borrowed a measuring tape, took my exact measurements, and filled out the application form. I purchased 4 yards (only ended up needing 3) of this Lizzy House Printmaking lawn and crossed my fingers that I’d be chosen. The next morning when I received an email inviting me to the tester group, I excitedly told my husband that I’d be making myself a literal birthday suit as a gift to myself (my birthday was coming up the following week). Sometimes, I think that I’m hilarious until I remember that not even my  3 year old laughs at my jokes.

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Let’s bring it back to talking about the jumpsuit and pretend like I didn’t just write several sentences detailing my own lame joke. Now we’re going to talk details and features. Itch to Stitch patterns often include well thought out details that add interest without stealing the show and overwhelming the wearer. The Anza pattern is no exception. It includes cuffed sleeves, pleated chest pockets, drawstring waistband, elastic at the ankles, and pants pockets. Basically, this is the jumpsuit I was preparing to draft for myself until I saw that Itch to Stitch had made a pattern even better than what I’d imagined in my own mind.

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Speaking of details, can we talk about these amazing Arrow Mountain buttons? These are the Minimalist buttons in Arctic Ice. I used the wooden version of the Minimalist buttons on maxi dress also made from Lizzy House lawn that you can find here. In fact, If you’d like to see more of the Arrow Mountain buttons in my handmades, check out my Itch to Stitch Bonn Shirt and Bonn Shirt Turned Maxi Dress posts found here and here. I’ve ordered from Arrow Mountain several times now and only found great quality and excellent customer service.

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A quick note on alterations:

This pattern is drafted for the height of 5’6″ and may some require some lengthening or shortening if you are not  5’6″. Since I am somewhere between 5’9″ and 5’10” I ended up adding 1.5″ to both the bodice and the rise.

One great thing about Itch to Stitch patterns is that Kennis includes pieces for cup sizes A-DD. This means less alteration time and more sewing time. Which is always a good thing. Let’s all make sure to applaud Kennis for taking the extra time and effort to make our lives easier.

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Overall, I am 100% satisified with my Anza Jumpsuit and cannot wait to wear it again and again all summer long. Now, go grab your copy here.

Farrah Top by Chalk and Notch

Today I’m looking forward to showing you my version of the newest release by Gabriela of  Chalk and Notch. The Farrah Pattern has top and dress options for two different views. I opted to make the top in View A. I sewed a straight size 4 with no alterations. This is an intermediate level pattern with sleeve ruffles, underarm gusset, and a mitered split hem. I was unsure about whether or not this style would suit me, but now I’m thrilled to say it’s my new favorite.

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Let’s talk fabric for a minute. I selected a cotton lawn by Carolyn Friedlander. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of these lawns since they were announced last fall. I bought it almost immediately once it Arrived at Suppose. Lawn has a lightweight, almost silky hand. It doesn’t have the same graceful drape as a rayon, but it is much easier to sew. Lawn presses beautifully and I love the way it exaggerates the ruffles in this design.

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The fact that this top slips over the head and has no closures, doesn’t make it any less interesting. It’s a great skill builder with the ruffles, gusset, and mitered hem. My favorite is the mitered high-low hem. I’ve only sewn a mitered hem once before this top, but I love it. It makes the finish look and feel professional. Gabriela’s clear pictures and tutorials make trying new techniques less intimidating and more satisfactory.

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The pattern releases exclusively on UpCraft Club today and will be available through Chalk and Notch later this week. Be sure to check out the #farrahpattern on Instagram for more inspiration and to see more of the fantastic tester versions.

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Make it Mine Tour: Waterfall Raglan Flutter Sleeve Hack and Tutorial

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Hello! Today I feel a bit nervous to be surrounded by so many talented makers and bloggers participating in the Make it Mine Waterfall Tour hosted by Gabriela of  Chalk and Notch. I’ve been a fan of the Waterfall Raglan pattern since the girls’ pattern was released last fall. I don’t have a daughter of my own, so I immediately commented and expressed my interest in a women’s version. To my delight, she quickly obliged and has just released the Women’s Waterfall Raglan pattern. There’s nothing I love more than a well-drafted basic pattern that can be made and hacked again and again.

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The moment I finished my first Waterfall dress, I knew that it was destined for a flutter sleeve version. I omitted the bottom ruffle as having both flutter sleeves and the ruffle seemed too girly for the desired end result. The pattern comes together so quickly that I couldn’t resist making both a dress and top version of this hack. The dress is made from Les Fleurs rayon by Rifle Paper Co. for Cotton and Steel and the top is made from a cotton/spandex knit by Art Gallery Fabrics. Both fabrics were purchased from my favorite local shop Suppose.

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Both my top and dress have been worn multiple times since their completion last week. I love the loose flowy fit of the top and the bit of style it adds to a relaxed day look. I’m sure it will get regular wear once the weather warms up a bit.

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My dress, however, is a new favorite and will likely be my go-to dress this summer. A few years ago, I used to commonly wear body-hugging fitted dresses and skirts. Then I had a child. I still love a good fitted dress, they’re just much less practical for chasing my son at church or the park and end up just sitting in my closet waiting for a special occasion. Last summer I made this dress and wore it to the zoo, park, weddings, church, etc. and loved the ease of movement and effortless style it provided. I’m looking forward to this new Les Fleurs dress providing me with the same style and ease this summer.

I’ve been putting my flat pattern drafting skills to work lately by designing a bit of children’s clothing, but was still nervous to redraft the sleeve as a flutter sleeve. It’s not something I’d attempted before and turned out to be easier than expected. Are you ready to give it a try? If so, continue reading for a tutorial on how to make your own flutter sleeve Waterfall Raglan.

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Head to the end of my post for details on a couple of great giveaways. If you’re not quite ready to make your flutter sleeve dress or top, check out these other talented Make it Mine Tour ladies and their pattern hacks.unnamed

 

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Toaster Sweater #1

 

November and December were hectic months in the Merritts household. My husband and I both had exciting interviews, he graduated college and started his career, my baby sister got married, and I finished up a decent amount of commission sewing work. I got far too little sleep and most of those months are a bit of a blur, but I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish and the lessons we learned in those challenging months. During especially busy weeks/months, I find that my sanity is restored with a bit of “just for fun” sewing. This Toaster Sweater #1 by Sew House Seven was one of my sanity saver projects in December.

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One morning I had just dropped off the last of my commission quilts at the quilter and was waiting for fabric to arrive for my next assignment. My husband and I were going on our first date in months that evening and I wanted something new to wear. I remembered that I had already traced and cut the pieces for a Toaster Sweater and assembly was the last step. Sewing it together took me about two hours including the time taken to feed my 3 year old and assist with potty breaks. The assembly could probably be finished in about an hour with no distractions.

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The fabric I used for my sweater is an organic cotton fleece made by Birch Fabrics. It feels even cozier than my favorite over sized sweatshirt, but looks a bit more stylish. After completion, I tried on my Toaster Sweater and basically didn’t take it off  for the next three days. It kept me warm in my freezing apartment, cozy while waiting for a train in a snowstorm, generally feeling much less sloppy when running errands. I honestly just feel like I need to make several more of the exact same sweater so that I can use it as my winter uniform. I always struggle with feeling stylish in winter because I only want to wear cozy sweats and my husband’s sweatshirts in the freezing weather. A Toaster Sweater uniform just may be the solution to my dilemma. Does anyone else find themselves wearing a “winter uniform?”

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Just a couple quick notes on sizing and alterations:

-I sewed up a size small and added 3 inches to the bodice length. When making this again, I would probably add another inch to the bodice to make a total of 4 inches added. The current length is great with my high waist jeans, but just a bit short for my lower rise jeans.

– I added 1.5 inches to the sleeve length and am very happy with the finished length because I like my sleeves extra long.

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1930’s Butterfly Blouse

In July, I fell into a bit of a sewing rut. I felt like I’d been sewing the same few projects and needed something new and exciting. I convinced my husband to take a day trip to Provo, UT so that I could visit Harmony. Harmony turned out to be the perfect place to regain my sew-jo.
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After spending at least 45 minutes admiring everything in store, I finally settled on this gorgeous Pretty Potent rayon by Anna Maria Horner and the 1930’s Butterfly Blouse pattern by Decades of Style. Until this top, I’d never actually made a wrap style blouse and thought it would be an unexpected addition to my wardrobe full of Scout Tees, sweatshirts, and button-ups. Upon returning home, I immediately pre-washed my fabric and started cutting.

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Tracing and cutting went pretty quickly as there are only 4 different pattern pieces (left and right front bodice pieces are mirror images). Sewing was not terribly difficult, but did take a little concentration because of the rayon’s drape and the top-stitching technique used to attach the sleeve pieces to the bodice. I’ve top-stitched plenty of times, but using top-stitching as a way to attach pieces was new to me. This technique combined with the shape of the pattern creating these gorgeous style lines you see on the back. The curves took a bit of patience, but the final product was worth it.

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Now that I’ve had this blouse for nearly four months, I can say that it’s become somewhat of a staple. I find myself reaching for it every time I want to feel especially feminine or pretty. The wrap neckline is just low enough to feel a bit sexy without being overly revealing which also makes it very practical for most occasions. It’s been worn for multiple date nights and it’s even comfortable enough to wear while chasing my son at the park.

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I’m hoping one day I’ll find time to hack this pattern into a dress because it’s basically begging to be one. Don’t you think?

Bonn Shirt Turned Maxi Dress

Back in September, I had the opportunity to test the Bonn Shirt pattern by Itch to Stitch Designs. Read about it here. I fell in love with the fit of the top, but wanted to do something a bit more dramatic. After making Simplicity 8084 and seeing this dress, the idea for a Bonn maxi dress was born.

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Wooden buttons purchased from Arrow Mountain.

While I love a good curve hugging dress, they often aren’t practical for me to wear outside of special occasions.  I wanted this dress to be a bit fitted around the bust and fall straight down from the hips. With that silhouette in mind, modifying the Bonn Shirt to a maxi was really quite simple.The Bonn pattern actually includes a knee-length dress option, but modifying the shirt pattern pieces worked better for my specific fit goals.  At the hips, I widened the front pattern pieces by 1″ and the back pieces by 1.5″ to give a comfortable amount of ease. I made notches in the pattern to match the front and back pieces at the hips. Once the notches were made, I added about 40″ to the length ( I measured my desired length at the center back and at the underarm seams to determine this). I added the length straight down from the hip line on front and back, continuing the front button placket all the way to the hem. I added the same amount of length to the placket interfacing piece. I love the way my Simplicity 8084 maxi buttons to the knee and used a total of 12 buttons to copy that look.

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Modifying the Bonn Shirt pattern turned out to be the least challenging aspect of making this dress. I’ve been working with lots of deadlines and only allowed myself to work on this for an hour or two after meeting my productivity goals for other projects. This led to a lot of late night sewing mistakes.

First, The back dress piece on a loose pin and created a  0.5″ hole right in the middle. Solution number 1: I sliced a 1″ strip out of the back and pieced in a new strip. The wild print is great at hiding my Frankenstein style strip and it’s really not noticeable unless you’re within 10 inches of my back.

Second, I cut the left sleeve completely crooked. Honestly, I don’t even know how it got so crooked. it was off by inches. Solution number 2: This one was easy. I had just enough leftover fabric so I re-cut the sleeve. While this was a simple solution it still added about a half hour to my limited sewing time.

Third,  I hemmed the dress in the middle of the night and didn’t have anyone to help me mark the hem. I usually don’t have too much trouble with this, but the maxi length combined with the drape of the fabric made it complicated. It ended up taking about three times as long after I cut the hem at a slight angle. Solution number 3: Keep trying.

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Fabric is Helios rayon by Anna Maria Horner 

This dress turned out to be such a rewarding project and I’m delighted that I decided to stick with it through the frustrations.It’s the perfect cross between an evening dress and comfortable nightgown, which is exactly what I’d envisioned. I’ve been anxious while considering so many facets of the future and this dress was therapeutic for me. Taking something and making it my own while working through the imperfections was just what I needed. It was a good reminder that mistakes and difficulties can still combine to make something wonderful. Was that too much? Thanks for sticking with me. Here are a few more photos and a sneak peek at my goofy family.

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