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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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?

 

Tea House Dress by Sew House Seven

It’s not often that my husband and I can both agree that a dress is stylish AND flattering. My Tea House Dress, however, is one on which we can both agree.  My style tends to gravitate towards dresses that are cool, flowy, and functional (aka: muumuus). This pattern by Sew House Seven piqued my interest from the first time I saw it.
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A few weeks ago, I attended a dinner with bunch of sewing friends and bloggers. I need deadlines to keep me motivated; so I used the dinner as my deadline for my Tea House Dress. The dinner was to be held on a Monday evening. Naturally, this meant that I started tracing the pattern and cutting my fabric on Friday. It came together pretty quickly and I managed to finish it by sewing for a couple of hours each night of the weekend. I finished the hem and gave it a final press just hours before the dinner. That dinner was two weeks ago. I’ve already worn this dress four times since that evening.

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The Tea House Dress includes a few style details that caught my eye and inspired me to purchase the pattern. First, I love a good v-neckline. It’s low enough to be flattering, but high enough to keep from flashing innocent bystanders when I lean over. Second, The seaming of the yoke and front panels add interest and shaping to an otherwise simple slight a-line shape. Third, the wide waist ties define the waist while also allowing for occasional adjustment (i.e. ate too much ice cream). Fourth, the midi length is perfect for keeping cool in the summer without requiring me to shave up above my knees. Fifth, the pockets are the perfect size for holding my phone and keys. They’re also just a nice feature when I’m feeling awkward and don’t know what to do with my hands.

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I used a double gauze print from the Charms line designed by Ellen Luckett Baker for Kokka. Since this double gauze is 100% cotton it’s both breathable and comfortable. I love wearing double gauze in the summer as it tends to look a bit more casual than a rayon or lawn, but is every bit as comfortable. I had nearly a yard less fabric than the pattern recommended so I had to get a bit creative when it came to laying out and cutting each pattern piece. It was doable, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it.

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The pullover style of the Tea House Dress appeals to my no fuss style of getting dressed. I plan to make another one for a family member who sometimes has difficulty with fiddly closures. I’m also planning to make a second one for myself as soon as I find a few extra hours in the day.

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Just a quick note about sizing: I sewed up and straight four with the only alteration being that I added two inches of length at the hem. This is a common adjustment for me and I found no issues with the sizing.

 

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.

Jumpy by Ready to Sew

I’ve never been one to shy away from patterned pants or quirky details. Just ask the middle school girls who giggled when I showed up to school wearing cheetah print pants. With the tie front detail and bold 1″ gingham print these pants definitely make a statement. The pattern used for these pants is the Jumpy pants and shorts pattern by Ready to Sew. Find it here. Fabric used is Checkers fabric by Cotton and Steel. My top is a Grainline Studio Scout Tee made in rayon designed by Rifle Paper Co. for Cotton and Steel. Both fabrics were purchased from Suppose.
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Today I’d like to take little time to tell you about my style motto and a little story about how I developed it. I honestly can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t making somewhat bold or different fashion choices. I’ve always been drawn to prints and unique details, but I didn’t always wear them because I was fearful of what others may think or say. After hearing criticism about my style in middle school, I was fearful of being an outcast if I didn’t dress like everyone else. In 9th grade, I started regularly wearing the same American Eagle or Hollister jeans and tees that everyone else wore. I still had some bold things in my wardrobe, I just wore them more sparingly.

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The summer before I was to start 10th grade, my family moved from the tiny town of Spencer, Iowa to the slightly larger town of Brigham City, Utah. I was resistant to the move at first, but decided this was the time to become exactly who I wanted to be. My style motto became, ” Wear what makes you happy and to hell with what anyone else thinks.” I was going to be myself here from the very beginning. For most of my 10th and 11th grade years I did a decent job at wearing what brought me joy and dressing for myself vs. dressing for others.

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In the spring of my 11th grade year I purchased a pair of railroad stripe overall shorts which my then boyfriend (now husband) lovingly referred to as my train conductor overalls. I was ridiculously proud of those things and often wore them with a crisp white button up, navy or white tights/leggings, and heels. After wearing them three or four times, I overheard that some girls had been talking about crazy overall outfit and how silly it looked. At the time, I allowed their comments to get into my head. I stopped wearing those overalls for nearly a year.

Fast forward to the next spring, I was out playing four-square at lunch (believe me it was the cool thing to do in my high school) when my classmate Laney remarked that she liked how I used to style my overalls and asked why I never wore them anymore. I made up some lame excuse about weather, but this got me thinking. That night I went home and pulled my overall shorts out of my closet. I put them on, looked in the mirror, and asked myself why I had stopped wearing them. Did they fit? yes. Did wearing them bring me joy? yes. Did I care what other people thought about them? Kind of, sort of, maybe too much. The next day, I wore the heck out of those overalls and you know what? Some people gave me weird looks and others said nice things. I appreciated the nice things, but the thing I really remember about that day is how liberated I felt wearing something that I loved.

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The moral of my story? Be you. Wear what brings you joy whether it’s jeans, sweatpants, cocoon dresses, gingham pants, wild jumpsuits, all black, or train conductor overalls. Every morning when I get dressed I try my best to dress for myself, not for my friends, family, or strangers that I may encounter (although I do kind of dress for others because nudity isn’t quite socially acceptable). I’m not perfect in sticking to my “to hell with what others may think” style motto, but it does bring me infinitely more confidence and joy when I do.

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Thanks for sticking with me through that novel. A few quick notes on the sizing and pattern. I sewed up a size 38 and found the sizing to be just about spot on based on my measurements. The only adjustment I made was adding 2″ to the length. If I made the pattern again I think that I would add 1/2″ to 1″ to the rise so that the pants would sit just a bit higher above my hips. The construction of these pants is fairly simple and easy enough for a confident beginner to tackle. The only thing that might be difficult for a beginner is understanding the instructions. They are fairly clear, but are not as heavily detailed with illustrations as many other indie patterns. I’d compare the amount of instructions and illustrations to something you may find in a Simplicity or McCall’s pattern. Overall, I’m pretty happy with these bold pants and plan to make the pattern again with a few modifications.

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.