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?

 

Advertisements

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

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.

DSC_0276

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.

DSC_0291

DSC_0301

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.

DSC_0285

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.

DSC_0289

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

 

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.
image

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.

image

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.

image

image

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.

image

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

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.

DSC_0711

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.

DSC_0719

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.

DSC_0726

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.

 

DSC_0690DSC_0714DSC_0738

Thanks for reading!