Thursday, September 26, 2019

Olive Lander Pants

I've been sewing clothes for 7+ years. In that amount of time, I think I've made three pairs of pants that I would call a success. I can't even tell you how many failures I've had. I say all that to demonstrate that making pants is hard! Or, rather, fitting pants to your unique body has challenges, and it takes practice to get that right. That's why I'm so excited about today's finished item, these Lander Pants!

These are on the short list of successful pants. Sort of cobbled together as a wearable muslin with all stash materials, I'm pretty sure I'll be wearing the heck out of them this fall.

Last year, I ordered this olive stretch twill to make a pair of skinny Ginger Jeans. It was a whole big saga that resulted in a second order of fabric, a pair of bootcut Gingers, and some pants I wore maybe twice. Whomp whomp.

I had a lot of this fabric leftover and decided to see if I could squeeze out some Landers. The only shortcut I took was with the length. Instead of a 3" hem, it's only 1 1/2", because I was 1 1/2" short of what I needed for View B. I also removed 1" at the L/S line because I am 5'4". The fabric has slight stretch with 2% spandex, which wasn't enough for skinny Gingers, but is just right for Landers. The pattern is drafted for no stretch, so that tiny bit of spandex gives me a little wiggle room (literally).

Sewing this pattern is pretty easy. I thought the button fly looked intimidating, but honestly it's easier than a zip fly. Even the front pockets are more of a patch pocket than a traditional sort of jean pocket. There are back darts and 1" side seam allowances so you can fit more easily than jeans as well.

Personally, I'm kind of a pear shape with a mama pooch and sway back. That means I typically need wide hips, grading to a smaller waist, but with the center back scooped in, and the front not too tight but not too loose. As I said, it's taken me a lot of failing to understand that these are my fit issues, and a lot of trial and error to figure out how to fix them. The Landers have the added benefit of a straight, wide leg, so all you need to concentrate on is fitting the hips and waist, not the legs (a big part of my Ginger Jeans struggle).

I started with a size 8, graded to a 6 in the waist, with a size 6 waistband. I cut the waistband with a center back seam in order to shape it as needed. I ended up grading even smaller at the waist, scooping out at the center back above the butt and taking a wedge from the waistband. If you're not sure how your fit is going to go, I would suggest not cutting the waistband until after you fit the hips.

These are my first truly high-waisted pants. I forgot to interface the waistband so they have more give than they should, but I found them easy to wear. Styling is a little harder for me since so many of my tops are long, but I'll keep at it.

I'm very tempted to make a full length pair of these for the colder months. If you have a chance to make these up, go for it!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Athletic Lace Hoodie

I am SO excited about today's post! It's been so fun to be a part of The Fabric Fairy blogger team. The group is very creative and I'm always inspired. A few months back, Sarah from Sewing With Sarah posted about a new fabric, a super cool stretch mesh/lace suitable for athletic wear (it also comes in black!!). She used it as an accent to a top and leggings. I wanted to try the fabric myself, but to mix it up and not directly copy Sarah. I settled on a hoodie and I think I've got a pretty cool piece!

The texture of this fabric is great, and since it's a mesh, it allows air to flow through it. It's 80/20 poly/lycra, so a stable stretch and recovery. To make the hoodie, I used the Sloane pattern from Love Notions. It's a basic pattern that easily transforms depending on your fabric. This is View A, with a slim fit and and shirttail hem. My bust is 33" and I made the XS. I made the S once before and felt it was a little baggy for the look I wanted here.

I did a lot of test sewing before I started working with this fabric. The seam allowance is only 3/8", so my ideal choice of French seams wasn't an option. I would have used my serger but didn't have four matching cones of purple thread (it's not a color I wear often). I ended up using a zig-zag stitch and a walking foot for most of the construction. The exception was the hem, where I used a slightly longer straight stitch. There is clear elastic sewn into the shoulder seams for stability. I lightly pressed all seams with a press cloth on low heat.

I hemmed the front of the hoodie a little more narrow than the pattern suggested, which meant I had some extra length that I could transform into a crossover hood. I also took advantage of the cool pointed motif that runs along the selvedge, and created a pointed cuff on the sleeves.

This is the most accurate color depiction

To make that work, I did narrow the sleeve from the elbow to the wrist. I cut around the pointed motif, and essentially faced it with scraps of the mesh, also cut from the selvedge. I wasn't able to sew the cuff into a complete circle, so instead I butted the edges together and basted them before sewing the cuff to the sleeve.

I love the cool superhero vibe of the pointed cuff! I made sure to sew a Kylie and the Machine label into the side seam so everyone would know it's one of a kind.

Some mornings, you want to throw on a hoodie but not be too warm or sloppy-looking. This hoodie fits the bill perfectly. I also ordered a swatch of fleece-backed knit to see how well it coordinated color-wise. I wish I would've just gone ahead and ordered yardage, because it's a great match for the mesh and it's warm and luxe. I predict a matching pair of leggings in my future!

I received a credit from The Fabric Fairy in exchange for this review. Fabric and project choice were my own, I purchased the pattern. All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Sew Liberated Hinterland Dress

The summer snuck away from me, it looks like it's been a month since my last post! Truth is, I wasn't even sewing for most of that time. Daily swim lessons, a weekend away with my husband, and back to school were taking up all my time. But I'm here today with two new dresses to make up for it!


I've been following Meg from Sew Liberated on Instagram, but this is my first pattern from her. I just LOVE her honesty and style on IG, she's one of those people that you secretly (okay not secretly because I just told you) want to be. The Hinterland Dress is one that she wears constantly, but styles it in such a way that it's always fresh. I resisted as long as I could, but I finally broke down and bought the pattern.

(Side note, the photos of the natural colored dress are way blown out, and now the dress is in the wash...sorry!)

I have been on a knitting spree lately and with two Soldotna Crops in my cedar chest, I wanted a very basic, sleeveless dress to wear under my cropped sweaters. I really wanted a dress without a waistline seam, because if I can see two horizontal lines across my torso I basically die. Short of making another Ogden Cami dress, I couldn't find exactly what I wanted, which is how I ended up with the Hinterland.

Turns out, the waist seam isn't visible with a cropped sweater, as long as the sweater is long enough in the first place. This isn't a knitting blog, so I'm not going into a ton of detail, but my first Soldotna Sweater is too short and I'm fairly certain I'm going to add more length to it. I already have a few thrifted dresses to wear with that one in the meantime, and they do not have waistline seams, so it's fine.

But back to sewing. For my plain Jane dress, I ordered my beloved Avery Slub Linen from La Mercerie, this time in the color "natural". It is TO DIE FOR. It's the perfect texture, the perfect color, the perfect weight and drape. You know I now have four garments in four colors of this fabric, right?

I followed the measurement chart, which meant I sewed a sized 4 bodice and a size 10 skirt. The skirt is a gathered rectangle that simply increases in width with each size. The waistline is not fitted and is meant to have ease, both for stylistic reasons and so that you can get the dress on without a full zip. You can add a partial (bodice only) or full (bodice and skirt) button placket, and there are directions for both. You can also omit the placket entirely because the dress does slip over your head. You can also have a sleeveless or sleeved version, and there are different bodice drafts for each one. There is a long or short skirt option.

All things considered, this is a pretty stellar pattern. It's got that perfect amount of ease that I like. It's simple but allows for lots of hacking and customization. The fabric you choose changes the look. For my second version, I used this vertical striped crinkled linen gauze from Blackbird Fabrics.

I found a Hinterland from the same fabric on IG, so that took away my nerves when selecting this fabric. It's super cool (read: it was $$$) and I didn't want to screw it up. It wasn't too bad to sew, but I did forget to staystitch the neckline and it stretched out just a bit. The stripes are NOT symmetrical in any direction, so I used the right and wrong side at will to make the front bodice look symmetrical. The skirt is not because I didn't care. Instead of sewing in-seam pockets, I made one single patch pocket, which I find is a much more secure way to carry my phone.

The striped dress is sewn in the short skirt version. I also cut the front skirt narrower than a 10 just to conserve fabric. The linen gauze does not have the same drape as the linen/rayon version, so it stands away from my body a bit more. I'm hoping that with time and washing, it softens up and drapes better.

My only warning about this pattern is the armholes. On my natural version, I sewed the armhole facings as drafted, and it dips down low enough to show my bra band. On the striped version, I sewed the facings with a 1/2" seam allowance instead of 5/8", which effectively raised the armhole. Both are fine for what they are and it's nice to have options.


I enjoyed using pretty bias facings on the necklines and armholes. It wasn't exactly the same as making double-fold bias tape (which I hate), since it only needed one center fold. The yellow was purchased from Banberry Place a million years ago, and the black and white was made from leftover scraps from this dress. Labels are from Kylie and the Machine.

My hem on the natural dress is a nice deep 2 1/2". I'm 5'4" but most of my length is in my torso. On the shorter dress, I used bias tape to finish the hem.

After a day of wear, the linen gauze was definitely softening up, so I'm excited to see how it changes with time. The natural dress is 100% amazing and I will be wearing it with everything all year long. I'm eyeing every woven fabric in my stash for possible Hinterland dresses now!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Reversible Cottesloe Swimsuit

Reversible Swimsuit!? What? Yes, it’s true. Just when you thought I didn’t need any more swimsuits, now I have two in one!

When I was a kid, I had a swimsuit that was reversible. It was all black on one side and all white on the other. I thought it was so awesome that I could pack one suit, take it to camp for a week, and essentially have two suits. Probably no one noticed. But it was still my favorite anyway.

A few months ago, The Fabric Fairy expanded their team of sewists and I was one of the lucky ones they picked. If you’ve been reading long at all, you know TFF is hands-down my number one choice for swim fabrics. I’ve also used their French terry, jersey, etc. over the years. When it came time to choose fabric for my first Fabric Fairy project, I tried desperately to avoid more swimwear. How many suits does one person need?? I usually make one every year, and I’d already done that! But I’m like a helpless baby. Especially when I hit on the idea to make a reversible suit!

One side of the suit is this Supernatural Nylon Spandex Swim. The other is Classic Black Nylon Spandex Swim. Pro tip: when in doubt about the success of a swimsuit, use black. Any wonky stitching will disappear. I adore the print, but let me tell you, the black is one of the highest quality swim knits I’ve ever used. Highly recommend!

The pattern I used for this suit is the Megan Nielsen Cottesloe. As far as I know, this is the first MN patten I’ve used. True story, I’m in love with this pattern. Lately, I’ve developed an intense bond with super simple patterns done really well, and the Cottesloe falls into that category. The cut is perfect.

My measurements put me at a size 2-8-8. The last time I tried to make a one piece suit, it ended up too short in the torso and got chopped into a two piece. Given my drastic grading and past issues with one pieces, I made a quick muslin of the Cottesloe. It fit, but after comparing the stretch of my muslin and final fabric, I decided to add 1/2” of length to the bodice. I have a long torso and this is a common adjustment. Especially considering that I have two different fabrics stretching together, I'm really glad I added the extra length. The fit is amazing! My muslin was the low-back version, but it felt like my shoulder straps could easily get pulled off, so I went with View B.

I went with the Cottesloe because of its simplicity, which is necessary for a reversible suit. The pattern simply has elastic sewn to the edges and then turned down. To make it reversible, instead the edges are finished in the same way you would use double-fold bias tape, except that there is also elastic inside. I chose a solid black and a black and white print so that I could use one of them as the binding, and it would work with both fabrics.

To make a reversible swimsuit, cut a front and back from both fabrics. Construct them as usual and then insert one into the other, WRONG sides together.

The seam allowance on the Cottesloe is 1/4" (side note--I generally hate this SA on a swimsuit. 3/8" is much easier to work with and where I am 3/8" swim elastic is easier to find). The method I used means that the finished edge of the suit will be the same as the cut edge. So, the seam allowance needed to be removed for the suit to fit as intended. The easiest way to do this is to serge your pieces together along all the openings, cutting off 1/4". That way, you can both baste your pieces AND remove the seam allowance in one quick pass. I was pretty lazy with my suit and I only did this step on the leg openings. It didn't matter to me if the other openings were slightly larger, but nobody wants an extra-large crotch amiright? Additionally, I did use 3/8" elastic instead of 1/4" as directed, so it came out smaller anyway. Too much maths.

Next, I used a flexible ruler to measure the length of the openings. I cut 2" fabric strips in this length. The Cottesloe gives tons of details on lengths for the elastic but I have enough experience with swimwear that I can figure it out by feel. If you do not, then use the pattern measurements, or the length of the opening minus a little.

Sew your 2" binding strips along the short ends so that they make a loop. Do the same with your elastic. Quarter and pin in this order: swimsuit right side (either right side) touching binding right side, elastic touching binding wrong side. Go slowly, making sure you're catching all the layers and that they all line up along the raw edges. I used a zig-zag on my regular machine to make sure I didn't screw up this step. Sew straight down the middle of the elastic or to the side furthest from the raw edge. You'll be stretching the binding and elastic slightly to ensure a snug fit.

Next, you will wrap the binding around the elastic to the other side of the suit, tucking the raw edge under and thus covering all the finishings. This is the part that is similar to double-fold bias tape. The difference is that cotton bias tape is easily pressed into submission, and swim knit is not. Be careful not to roll the elastic out of place, or to let the raw edge of the binding slip out. Use lots of Wonderclips if you have them! Topstitch the binding down using a zig-zag stitch. Normally, I would use my coverstitch to topstitch swim, but remember that the stitching will be visible on both sides of the suit. A zig-zag is better in this case. Repeat this process with all of the openings and viola, a swimsuit that is completely finished no matter which side is out!

Questions? Comments? Drop them below!

I received this fabric for free in exchange for a review. I purchased the pattern. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used in this post. Thank you for supporting this blog!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Ogden Cami Dress

I may have been one of the last people in the world to make the Ogden Cami, but I am trying to make up for lost time. Basically every lightweight, drapey woven fabric is now begging me to become an Ogden. I've had my eye on some rayon gauze prints at Jo-Ann's, and I finally had to say yes to one.

This is a leaf print and pretty far out of my comfort zone. I tend to stick with neutrals and have a hard time with prints. Somehow, this one works, probably because the colors really are pretty neutral. It's also a perfect summer print paired with a summery pattern, so win win there too.

To make an Ogden Dress, I relied heavily on the recent tutorial from IndieSew. Mine isn't exactly like that one, I did not change the back shape and I did not make it as long. But the idea is the same. 

My previous Ogden tops are a size 2 in the bust, graded to an 8 in the hips, with 1" added in length. The more I wear those tops, the more I think I added too much volume. For the dress, I started with a 2 in the bust and basically took the side seams out as far as I needed to encircle my hips, plus 2" of ease. 

There were a LOT of make it work moments. I ended up just barely squeaking the front and back dress from 1 1/2 yards. The fabric wasn't super wide and it did shrink in the wash. I first attempted to make the facing into a shelf bra with cups from a knit fabric. Total fail. So I rifled through my stash for a proper facing fabric and landed on this Bemberg rayon, leftover from my Yuzu Coat. I had just enough left that I decided to make a full lining instead of facings. 

Both of these fabrics were an absolute terror to cut. It was so bad. So shifty. Just bad. I'm positive my cutting was super uneven and it's kind of a miracle I was able to sew the lining and outer along the neckline as needed. I topstitched them together rather than trying to understitch the Bemberg.

I didn't have enough fabric for the straps and so again I turned to my stash and scrap bin. I settled on this ocean blue Tencel twill leftover from my vintage romper. It's kind of different and unexpected and I like it. I did use a recent tip I read in the Threads magazine newsletter, to use drapery cord inside of spaghetti straps for stability. I had some in my stash that I think came from a garage sale or thrifting.

After assembly, I ended up taking in the waist a ton. My hips are 38" but the top half of me loses all shape if I properly fit my hips. I don't want tugging and pulling and riding up though. It's a delicate balance and I'm still learning how to best flatter a pear-shaped figured, given that it's only been a few years that my hips have grown this way (thanks kids!). 

The other fun thing I did is to create a bubble hem. I did this by gathering the bottom of the outer dress (which was bigger than the lining) and sewing it to the lining. To make sure my seams were enclosed, I had to open the side seam, pull the lining and outer through, sew them, and then stuff them back into the hole I had opened. I hand-sewed the lining closed again. Because the outer skirt was gathered to fit the lining, it creates volume at the bottom. The lining is also shorter, so it pulls the outer fabric under. I hope that makes sense! I used to have a RTW skirt just like this, and always wanted to recreate it.

In the end, I eeeked out a belt so I could also define the waist a bit, and I think that helps with the silhouette. I wore this dress out to dinner with my husband and even though it was 90 degrees, I felt very comfortable. The whole dress is rayon and I can only imagine how hot and sweaty it would have been if it had been RTW and polyester. I also rock it with no bra. Quite honestly, I want to burn all my bras during this hott summer we're having. I've also stopped wearing makeup most of the time. I'm either having a mid-life crisis or welcoming the freedom to please myself instead of others. Maybe both!

So there you have it, my Ogden Cami dress hack! I'm not sure if I'll make another as I'm not much of a dress wearer, but this is a great one to have hanging in the closet.