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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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Bonn Shirt

I had already agreed to another pattern testing commitment when Kennis Wong of Itch to Stitch sent out a call for Bonn Shirt and Dress testers. I knew immediately that I had to apply even if it meant staying up a little later to sew each evening. It was all worth it for this beautifully designed top.

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The Bonn Shirt pattern has a dress and top option along with four different sleeve variations. Sizes 00-20 are included in the PDF pattern (purchase here) which is on sale for 20% off (regularly $12). Also included in the pattern are separate bodice pieces for A-DD cup sizes. I sewed the shirt version with 3/4 sleeves in size 2 with an A cup and graded to a 4 at the hips.

I chose to sew my final top in this Echinacea print rayon by Anna Maria Horner; which is really no surprise if you’ve seen my current handmade wardrobe. The rayon was a little trickier to sew than the mystery poly-cotton blend used for my muslin, but the way the shirt drapes is well worth the extra effort. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the grandeur of this print.

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My top came together fairly quick and was a satisfying sew. The impeccable drafting on this top made setting in the sleeves simple and stress free. I had the most difficulty when attaching the collar, which was still made simpler by Kennis’s detailed instructions and diagrams. There are also several skill tutorials on the Itch to Stitch blog that make things like setting in sleeves and attaching collars much easier. Even if you’re not planning on sewing up a Bonn Shirt or Dress you should plan on visiting her blog to find well-written tutorials on commonly used techniques. I’ll leave you with a few more photos of my Bonn Shirt so you see more angles and more fully appreciate the lovely drape of this rayon.

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I’ve become a wooden button convert after ordering these round shirt buttons from Arrow Mountain. I’ve already got another Etsy cart full of them and cannot wait to order more for use on some exciting future projects.

 

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Thanks for reading!