Friday, May 20, 2016

Me Made May week 3

Is it just me, or does it seem to be unseasonably cold all over? When I browse the MMM16 hashtag, I see a lot of long sleeves. Also a lot of handknits, which is super cool, as I'm knitting-curious and have taught myself a teensy bit. This week I bounced around with the weather, here are my outfits!


Self-drafted maxi skirt // Self-drafted maternity tank upcycle

Last year on this day, I was contemplating how much longer I'd be able to participate in Me Made May, as I was 4 days past my due date with Baby H. Tomorrow is her birthday. Kind of freaking out. The deja vu of being pregnant again right now is giving me the willies! So happy weekend to everyone else, I'll be busy stuffing my face with birthday cake and watching my suddenly not-a-baby do the same.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Floral Simplicity 1469

Remember my lovely Easter dress? It pulls double duty as a maternity and nursing dress. It's Simplicity 1469 which is a reprint of a Megan Nielsen pattern. This pattern has all the things; it has a tank top, short sleeved top, long sleeved top, and dress. There is a modesty panel with nursing access. Before I made the Easter dress, I made a wearable muslin tank top.


Now I don't know what possessed me to do this, but I cut this pattern in a Small (bust of 32 1/2"-34"). Actually my bust size is probably closer to 36" these days, so this size should have worked, right? I'm not sure how obvious it is from these photos, but it's too big all over. I wore this to my oldest daughter's preschool "graduation" and with Baby H climbing all over me I was afraid she'd pull it off in an unacceptable way. It's just too loose.



For reference, the Easter dress I made from an XS and it fits much better. I should have checked the finished measurements before sewing. The fabric I used for this top is a cotton jersey, originally from The Fabric Fairy a long time ago. If you've been reading for long, you've seen it before. I love it. Hard. And I typically don't like how florals look on me.


The blue modesty panel is a cotton/Lycra knit. I think you need something with spandex for this portion. It's meant to be stretched for nursing access and unless it has good recovery it's not going to work out. I think one complaint you'll get about this pattern is that the nursing cutouts are too visible through the outer layer. It's not so noticeable in a print but it is with a solid color. If I make this pattern again, it's likely that I'll just omit the nursing panel altogether. That way I can wear a nursing cami underneath and it will work the same.



I'm not sure how this top will look when I'm no longer pregnant. Since it's not fitted, it kind of gives off that tent/balloon vibe right now. I couldn't find any photos of anyone wearing it postpartum. Somebody remind me to update this post when the time comes!


I'll wait to see how it looks when I'm not pregnant before making any more. The finishings (narrow hems everywhere) are not my favorite, even with a coverstitch. The pleats on the front are kind of fiddly but worked just as well as gathers on my Easter dress. Despite the issues this pattern is a good workhorse. I like that you get sleeveless AND sleeve options, for some reason that seems to be rare. If you're expecting, I can recommend this pattern, it's super versatile with the right fabrics.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Me Made May week 2

Week 2 of MMM is in the books! I'm actually finding the challenge a little easier than expected. I guess I have way more me-mades that work for maternity than I thought I did. As you can see, it's mostly tops. I haven't invested any time in making pants for pregnancy. Just too much effort. I've been wearing the same three pairs of maternity jeans since my first pregnancy 5 years ago. Maybe I shouldn't admit that out loud? Anyway, here's what I wore this week!


Men's upcycled tshirt to maternity tank // Simplicity 1469

Look for a full review of Simplicity 1469 next week!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Appliquéd Baby Clothes: A Mini Tutorial

We've all got that list, right, the one with techniques we want to try and just haven't gotten around to yet? (Please say it's not just me.) I can finally cross something off that list!


I've been wanting to try appliqué for a while but was a little intimidated by the process. Turns out, it's easy. At least, the way I did it was easy! All I needed was a few simple shapes, some scrap fabric, and Wonder-Under . Plus the item I was appliquéing and my sewing machine, of course.


You can certainly start with an item you've sewn (or fabric you intend to sew), but for this project I wanted to use my scraps from the baby clothes I've already made (here and here). Since the scraps were all prints, I decided on solid colored garments to coordinate. I chose white Gerber onesies (my favorite brand because they fit slim) and colored American Apparel tees. Using these "blanks" was a great shortcut, and since I bought the AA tees secondhand it was probably cheaper than making my own.


For the shapes, I searched on Pinterest for free templates. We don't know the gender of baby #3 and it was surprisingly hard to select gender-neutral shapes. You can find links to my choices on my "baby-make this" Pinterest board. I printed them out, then used tracing paper to make a pattern. I thought smaller would be better but after playing around with the different sizes I went with a medium size. Once I had my paper patterns, I used them to cut out my scraps. My opinionated 4 year old helped me choose which scraps for which tshirts and which shapes, it was kind of fun!

After I had my shapes cut from fabric, I needed to cut the same shape from Wonder Under. I used my awesome Gingher appliqué scissors for this tiny work. A quick note: the more lumps and bumps around your appliqué, the more annoying it will be both to cut and sew. A few of mine are just circles and those were by far the fastest to complete.

Wonder Under has two sides. One is lumpy and bumpy and contains an adhesive. The other side is the same, except it has a peel-away paper on it. This way, you can work with one side and then peel off the paper and work with the other. However, I found it easier to peel off the paper and just go at it all at once.


I have a stuffed pressing mitt with some sort of heat-reflective fabric on it (bought at a garage sale, so no info!) and placed that inside of my garment. Then I layered the Wonder Under (paper peeled off) and the fabric appliqué on the front. I placed a wet press cloth on top and then pressed down with a hot iron. This fused the shirt to the back of the WU, and the appliqué to the front of the WU, all at one time. I left the shirt to cool/dry and then moved on to the next. I don't think this is necessarily how you're "supposed" to do it, but I knew I'd be sewing the appliqué down in the next step so all I needed was a pretty good fuse. Spoiler alert: it worked!


After all my appliqués were fused to their shirts, I brought them over to the sewing machine and sewed around the edges. Easy peesy. The Wonder Under kept them in place far better than pins. It was a little tricky sewing on the front of a completed garment, but not impossible.


These items turned out so cute and will fit in easily with the stack of stuff I've already made. It was a great way to use up scraps and also coordinate the whole wardrobe. This will be the best dressed baby around when s/he arrives in 6 or 7 weeks!


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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Project Runway All Stars recap

Major spoilers ahead...

The finale! Feels kind of weird when it's not a long, drawn-out thing with home visits and lengthy judging. And of course, having only 4 days to make an entire collection is just cruel. Even with help. But if I talk about that, then I'm a broken record. I can't wait for the season when they finally make a collection in one day! (sarcasm)

There were a few things I did like about this final challenge. I like that they included one male model. I liked that the inspiration was given to them but was also open-ended enough that it could mean anything. I liked the $3000 budget. I liked the helpers. All good stuff.

Now on to the collections! To be honest, I agreed with the audience member who said she liked them all for different reasons. Given the quality over the full season, these collections were impressive.

See all the collections here.

Dom: Her painted textiles were interesting, but I agreed wholeheartedly with Georgina on two things. First, the impressionistic textile was MUCH more successful than the striped one. Second, the prints actually detracted from the silhouettes. She had cool silhouettes but you couldn't even focus on them because of the textiles. Of course, it's better to have too much of a good thing than too little, so I can't blame her for her approach.

Dom's menswear look was terrible. She did what every Project Runway designer does with menswear, she made a long shirt to cover some crappy pants. Blah. This look was my favorite.

Ken: His collection was certainly the most commercial and the least original in terms of design. It was a perfectly nice collection, and great work for him. I think he was one who would have benefited from a lengthy time at home where he could push himself and try a lot of things.

His menswear look was a nod to one of his womenswear looks, which I thought was cool and clever. This look was my favorite.

Kini: I have to give him this, Kini put on the best SHOW. He started slowly with some cool monotone outfits, then added crazy details, then added crazy textiles, then went with crazy details AND textiles. I hated it all, of course, but he did have a point of view and put on a show. I felt kind of badly for him when he talked about losing his season and how that affected him. I feel worse, now, that he lost again.

The top half of his menswear look was the best of the bunch. This look was my favorite.

So we all knew Dom was going to win, right? I did think for a few minutes that they might give it to Kini but I think the judges made the right call. And now we've all been put out of our misery for this boring season. When does real PR start again??

Friday, May 6, 2016

Me Made May week 1

Hello all! Just a quick post showing off my looks from week 1 of Me Made May 2016. In case you wanted to find more info on each item, I'll link the original blog posts below. Happy Friday!

Self-drafted maxi skirt // Unblogged self-drafted upcycled 
men's tshirt to maternity tank // Simplicity 1317


Follow along with my on Instagram, or browse the Flickr group, or the Pinterest board.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Sleeveless Victoria Blazer

We've all done it. Made a pattern that we loved, plotted 50 more versions, then instantly moved on to "ooooo shiny!" and neglected the tried and true. I made my first Victoria Blazer almost exactly two years ago...eep! I LOVE that blazer, it's one of my favorite things I've ever made. For all that time, I've been wanting to make a second (and third...) and I finally did!


The Victoria Blazer pattern, from By Hand London, has three views. This is View 3, a long sleeveless blazer. This is also, apparently, the least-popular view, because I couldn't find any photos of it made up when I did a search. Probably because a sleeveless blazer doesn't have a ton of utility. But I'm pregnant, and my internal body temperature is cray-cray and all over the place, so a sleeveless blazer will get use around here!


The amazing fabric I used is from Organic Cotton Plus. It was sent to me for free in exchange for this review. This is the first time I've done a review for them and made something for myself! (See previous items here and here.) Originally, I wanted some of their yummy linen to make an even slouchier blazer, but it sold out, so I went with this grey twill that had a bit more body. The lining is a pink batiste. Both of these fabrics are SO NICE. Lately I've been sewing less frequently, but with higher quality fabrics, and it really makes a difference. I could easily finger-press both of these, they didn't fray after cutting as much as a poor quality fabric, and they washed up like a dream.


This is the smallest size, US2, and as you can see it's oversized on purpose. I made no alterations to the pattern, though I did construct it in a different order so as not to switch thread so many times. Additionally, I clean-finished the armholes using the Colette method that I recently used on a sleeveless dress. The tutorial is for a knit dress, but I can attest that it works just as well on a woven jacket. It's fiddly, as I said before, but you can't beat the effect.


The jacket lining was finished by hand at center-back. Somehow I found the time for that with two kids running around. And I tell you what, sewing a jacket completely from woven fabrics was much easier than the ponte and stretch silk charmeuse I used before!


The more I look at these photos, the more I like this blazer. When you're pregnant, you tend to feel like a lumpy baby factory, without much shape (even more so in my case since I've been pregnant the last 16 out of 20 months). This unstructured blazer doesn't have any shape, either, but it LOOKS classy. Which means I feel classy.


The last blazer I made had issues with the lapels and collar flapping around. After a good press, it's not so much of a problem. I attribute that to a fabric with less bulk. The ponte from the previous blazer was pretty thick. You COULD topstitch those lapels, or hand-tack them, but I think they're fine.


This is another area where you COULD topstitch to keep everything in place, but I don't think it's really necessary. This pink batiste is so soft, I can't wait to use my scraps for pocket bags. And maybe the twill for some sort of baby jacket?


I love this version as much as my last one, and I know I'll be reaching for it as much as I can. The grey and pink fit into my wardrobe, and it's just fun to wear high quality fabrics. Thanks so much to Organic Cotton Plus for providing the fabric and giving me the push to sew this pattern again!