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

 

 

Advertisements

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

 

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.
Nicole_08

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.

Nicole_02

Nicole_13

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.

Nicole_04

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.

Nicole_17

Nicole_20

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.

Nicole_06

Cali Faye Collection Valley Blouse

Last fall, I was working on a children’s clothing collection to show at Utah Fashion Week. I made a children’s unisex top using this gorgeous double gauze by Cotton & Steel and couldn’t help being a bit jealous of the kids who got to wear it. I rarely make clothing in solid colors, but this teal gauze was too good to ignore. I finally settled on the idea of a using the fabric to make myself a Cali Faye Collection Valley Blouse.

IMG_1149

Overall, I really liked the style of the pattern. I did make a few small adjustments to simplify and tailor it to my liking. First, I cut two of the back yoke pieces instead of one as instructed. My reasoning for this was that I wanted the back yoke lined just as the front. When sewing, I sewed the front yoke to the back yoke at the shoulder seams and did the same for the front yoke linings and back yoke lining. I then placed the yoke linings and yoke pieces right sides together and stitched them together along the neckline.

IMG_1135

Second, I omitted the front key hole. The neckline is nice and wide which makes the key hole unnecessary as anything but a design feature. To accomplish this, I simply didn’t cut out the key hole. This allowed me to skip a few steps in the construction and attach the bottom front the same way as instructed for the bottom back.

IMG_1145IMG_1114I finished this blouse about a month ago and haven’t had too many chances to wear this top due to the summer heat. This morning I felt a bit of a chill in the air. It made me hopeful that fall is coming soon. I plan to make a nice fitting pair of Ginger Jeans to pair with this top in the cooler months.

IMG_1101

Side Note: Did you notice that embarrassingly large crease in the center front and center back? I cut out the pieces about a month before sewing up my top and left thee pieces folded. My poor old cheap iron couldn’t press out those dang creases. I have washed my top a couple of times since taking these photos and the creases are now gone. Any suggestions for a new fairly inexpensive iron? Do I need to look at something more high end?

 

A Weekend Retreat and My Driftless Cardigan

image1

Way back in October of last year, I purchased this gray jersey knit from Suppose and cut out my Driftless Cardigan (find the pattern here). I was clearly getting ahead of myself because I had approximately one billion other deadlines at the time. April came around and I thought to myself, “Life has finally slowed down, I can now finish all of those other projects that I started last fall.” I was wrong. My husband ended up applying for and accepting an amazing new job which meant life was about to get crazy again.

image3

Meanwhile, I attended a blogger meet up in SLC and Sara and I came up with the idea for a small weekend sewing retreat. I spent the next few weeks stressing about my upcoming move and finally decided to pull the trigger on planning a retreat. This mama needed a break. Sara and I set a date, I got permission to use the family cabin, and we began counting the days.

image2

The weekend finally arrived and it turned out to be both rejuvenating and productive. My sewing weekend goal was finishing a pile of unfinished projects so that they would no longer clutter my sewing area. Each of my projects were only a few steps away from completion, but had been sitting unfinished for months. Sewing for an entire weekend allowed me to complete a couple of baby quilts, a quilted pillow cover, two simple baby dresses, and my Driftless Cardigan.

IMG_1888

While setting aside time to actually sew this took months; the actual time it took to sew this cardigan was roughly 3 hours. One of those hours was used to hand stitch the neckband. I have loved Grainline Studio patterns for years because of the clean lines and well-executed details. The Driftless Cardigan is a great example of this with its hidden pockets and optional split bottom band. This was completed a month ago and it’s gotten quite a bit of use despite the blazing summer temperatures. It’s perfect for an extra layer at the movie theater (ours is always freezing) or for wearing on chilly evenings.

IMG_1889

A quick note on sizing: I sewed up a size 4 and added 2.5 inches to the length at the lengthen/shorten line. I also added about 1.5 inches to the sleeve length because I like my sleeves extra long.

Special thanks goes to Kim of Sweet Red Poppy for taking these lovely photos.

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.

IMG_0970

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.

IMG_0980

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.

IMG_0960

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?

IMG_0978

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.

IMG_0942

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.

20161216_092742

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.

20161216_092750

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?”

20161216_092746

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.

20161216_092752

img_8718