Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fear Fabric Challenge Reveal!

Have you all been dying to see what I was sewing with that crazy faux fur? How about we start with what I was TRYING to sew:

I pinned this coat, from Urban Outfitters, probably a year ago. Unfortunately, it's sold out, but it's been in the back of my mind for a long time. I decided to try creating my own. The silhouette is fairly simple so it seemed do-able. Spoiler alert: it didn't work out. Please be kind when viewing these photos!

Mistake #1: Wrong fabric choice. I had sherpa fabric in my cart (at Jo-Ann's), and ended up putting it back for this faux fur. The fur is super soft and pretty, but when it's all over your body, there's no way to see anything other than a sheep. Yes, sherpa is more coarse and looks dirty easily, but it was probably right for this look.

Mistake #2: Wrong pattern choice. I went with the Hyde Park Hoodie by Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. This pattern had just come out and was getting crazy good reviews in the PABPS Facebook group. It appealed to me because there is a hack out there for the shawl collar (like my inspiration piece) and because it's nursing-friendly. However, it's not long enough to balance out my proportions when there is SO MUCH FUR happening. Somehow it looks very wide at the hips, this might be the pattern or it might be because sewing fur is not an exact science and I screwed it up. Who knows. Either way, we end up with the same look: sheep.

Between those two mistakes, there really isn't much that can go RIGHT. I had this beautiful dream in my head, of a detachable hood and these cool wooden buttons and blah blah blah. But after two weeks of fur flying (literally) in my sewing room, I had to call it quits. As of right now, this is a UFO. I somehow don't have a zipper stop at the top of my zipper, the hood lining needs to be handsewn shut, and the sleeves are just serged at the ends. I very rarely get this far and don't finish an item, but I see very little point when I know it won't be worn. I can't even bring myself to add ears to the hood and turn it into a true sheep costume, but maybe I will for this weekend, we'll see.

How did your Fear Fabric Challenge work out? I definitely learned a lot about sewing faux fur (mainly...don't!).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mood Board of the Month: Cold Snap

// Patterns //
I kind of want to make all five patterns I'm featuring today! The Lola Tunic by Victory Patterns is one of my favorites (I think I've made it four times) and even though it's usually casual, it would work for the office given the right fabric choice and perhaps omitting the pockets. Pair it with the Ooh La Leggings from Papercut since Lola is pretty short. Top it all with the Grace Transeasonal Coat from Style Arc. When it's time for a weekend full of apple orchards and hot chocolate, try the trendy Bristol Button Up from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. And I kind of want a whole closet of Simple Skinny Jeans from Sew Liberated (faux front pockets, faux fly, knit waistband?? sold!).

// Fabric //
For your extra-special Lola, make the best tunic ever using this lambswool interlock from Nature's Fabrics. You'll get your pop of color in your leggings with this red ponte from Style Maker Fabrics. And this wool twill gabardine from Mood will keep that drizzly rain away. Rock this plaid flannel for your Bristol, from the Plaiditudes Collection at Jo-Ann's. And check out this affordable stretch denim from Lura's Fabric Shop.

This post is not sponsored by any pattern designer or fabric seller. I wish. I just have too much time on my hands and love planning wardrobes! I am an affiliate of Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop but have not used an affiliate link here. Check out my Mood Board of the Month Pinterest board for all the links to my inspiration.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Project Runway recap

Only a few more episodes to go of the most forgetable PR ever. Should we be concerned that they've tapped the market of talented people willing to go on this show?

Spoilers ahead...

Best moment: A red carpet challenge! Like avant garde, this is a challenge that everyone should be able to do. It's a pretty basic fashion design lesson. 

Worst moment: Tell me if I'm imagining it, but was Candice being a little condescending towards Ashley? Like, you do RTW so go home. She had this mean little smirk on her face every time she was talking about Ashley.

Best garments: I was cool with Kelly's but I wasn't into the color, it was kind of dull. I can't believe she did all that appliqué in a day.

Worst garments: Everyone should watch this show with a 3 year old. Especially the runway portion. When Edmond's look came out, she said "Who made that?! She has wings!"

I disliked Ashley's and I really thought she'd be in the bottom. This is not the first time she's made a poorly fitted corset. Maybe she should stop doing that.

Candice's was safe and boring, but very well made. And I'm with Ashley, it's another black dress. Blah. And no, one red dress (last week) that would have been the same in black does nothing for me.

Best quote: "I made it sound like it's my's not my deli!" --Kelly

Okay, let's talk about the ending. Did "they" (Lifetime? the producers?) think we wouldn't notice that the show just weirdly ended? That we can't guess that Tim comes out and uses his save on Edmond (who deserves to be saved, btw)? That was so bizarre. Edmond IS going to be saved, right?

Next week: Home visits!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Quilted Union St. Tee

Yesterday I posted about all my yummy French terry and the zillions of sweatshirts I have planned. But before I could get sewing I wanted a TNT pattern. Believe it or not, it is almost impossible to find a basic crew neck sweatshirt pattern that is NOT raglan sleeves (this was before Sewaholic released the Fraser!). Based on feedback from other sewists, I decided to try a basic tshirt pattern and upsize it. I had recently won a gift card to Indie Sew, and I used it to purchase the Union St. Tee by Hey June.

Now I apologize for the pants I'm wearing in these photos (Hudsons). They do not go with the shirt at all. But when it came time for the photo shoot, I realized that my jeans were in the room with the sleeping baby. Ain't nobody gonna risk that.

This was my first Hey June pattern. Lots of likes! Instead of giving a sizing chart, she only provides a finished garment size chart. This forces you to pay attention to your fabric and how stretchy it is, and choose a size from there. I also like the 1/4" seam allowances. On a sewing machine this would be super annoying, but with a serger it's ideal. No wasted fabric. There are also layered sizes, 3 sleeve options, and 2 necklines. It's a lot packed in to one pattern. My only dislike is that the notches weren't noticeable until I was looking for them, and only because the directions mentioned them. Not a deal breaker but hopefully I saved someone else from that extra step.

Swayback issue?

I made a size medium which is bigger than I normally would. It ended up looking more like a mistake than a sweatshirt, so I went back and resewed it with a deeper seam allowance. I will make a small next time and know that it will give me a tshirt look. The only other change I made was to sew on the neck binding, then fold it over and around the seam allowance and topstitch it down. It looked kind of floppy and weird before I did that.

But enough boring stuff...this fabric! It's a quilted knit from Fabric Mart and it's super cool. A little scratchy on the back side, but I'll always be wearing a cami underneath so it's fine. The sleeves are black French terry and very cozy. The top is inspired by a similar one I saw at Target probably a year ago...I'm so happy to finally create my own! By the way, if you don't have a coverstitch already...get one.

Am I the last one on earth to try this pattern?

Update July 2017: This post contains affiliate links. Text of the original post remains the same!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Peek at my Stash: French terry

Unless you've been under a rock, you've probably noticed French terry eeeeeeeverywhere lately. It seems like this once hard to find fabric is finally making its way into more shops. I've been hoarding different cuts of it, and I'm itching to have an entire closet of warm, snuggly sweatshirts.

In case you're not familiar with French terry, it's basically like any other good ole knit fabric. It has a smooth, regular knit side and a loopy back side. Some terrys are called "double terry" or "towel terry" and they have loops on both sides (y'know, like a bath towel). It's similar to sweatshirt fleece, the only difference being that on sweatshirt fleece, the loops are cut, creating a "pile" or "fleecy" surface. French terry is almost always a natural fiber like cotton or bamboo, often mixed with spandex or a little polyester for stability. The loops generally ensure that it's plush and thick. No wispy paper-thin jerseys here!

So how about a few stats on my FT stash?

Number of cuts: 9

Amount of yardage: About 11 yards!

Oldest cut: I believe it's the white bamboo, probably 3 1/2 years old, making it one of the first fabrics I ever ordered!

All have a purpose?: Mostly!

Number of "what was I thinking??" cuts: Zero!

Wow...until I lined them all up, I didn't realize quite how much I had! Isn't it always the way? And I didn't even pull out the navy scraps I used last year for my Hudson Pants. The white cuts are partial yardage that I've had for ages. I've used them for cloth diapers, nursing pads, cloth wipes...they're the gift that keeps on giving. The grey one is set aside to recreate one of my favorite RTW skirts (yes, you read that right, a French terry skirt!).

You can see a lot of other solid neutrals. I plan on sewing a bunch of sweatshirts with fun details, to keep it interesting. Pinterest has given me a lot of good ideas. 

And of course, when a fabric becomes more wide-spread, you get a chance at fun prints, like this floral from Raspberry Creek Fabrics on Etsy (side note, Etsy seems to have a crapton of cute printed French terry).

I'm not much of a floral person, but I thought I'd take a chance on this one and see how I like it. Worst comes to worst, it will make something cute for one of my daughters.

But I've saved the very best for last.

I can post now, because I received my order, and I'm no longer worried about it selling out...this is wool. Wool French terry. Striped wool French terry!!!!! From Mood. Dying. And it is SO soft too. It's hard to tell from the photo (and IRL if I'm being honest) but the darker color is navy, not black. This is one of those fabrics that makes me get project paralysis; it's so perfect I don't want to screw it up. Hopefully with a few sweatshirts under my belt I'll settle on the best use of this most delicious fabric. I already have the Fraser Sweatshirt from Sewaholic traced and ready to go!

Do you have any French terry in your stash?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Project Runway recap

Did anyone else know that Tim Gunn does a voice on the kids' show Sophia the First? Last week, my daughter was watching cartoons and all of a sudden I hear Tim's voice. So weird! Guess he's gotta pay the bills for all those months that PR isn't on TV ;)

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: This is my favorite part of the show, when there are so few designers that you get to see everyone. Wouldn't it be cool if they had a show with only 5 designers, and nobody got eliminated, they just won points or something every week? I'd watch it.

My husband has done quite a bit of work with 3D printers, so it was cool to see it in action in a fashion sense. That's not an application I had thought of during all our conversations about it. I guess I'm not creative enough :P

Worst moments: It made me sad to see Merline fail at a challenge that should have worked for her. Pretty much what happened to Ashley last week. Other than that, this was a decently enjoyable episode.

Best garments: The mask definitely helped keep it avant garde, but I liked Edmond's. The cool thing about Kelly's bridge dress is that you could remove the "panniers" and it would be suitable for a regular runway show. So while I wasn't in love with it, I thought it was creative and I was proud of her for taking a risk.

Worst garments: I had a very bad reaction to Ashley's cape. Maybe it was the color, or the fact that the whole thing was one color, but I thought it screamed "superhero" rather than "avant garde". All of these designs (with the exception of Kelly) were BORING. Avant garde? Yeah right. I feel like a broken record.

Best quote: "If I could do a backflip and then a moonwalk, I would." --Merline

This was the last chance for these designers to prove they aren't the worst, and they failed. Let's just get this season over with, shall we?

Next week: Red carpet! Finally!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Willow Wrap Dress and Top

Believe it or not, I'm still catching up on full reviews from the Momiform MAKEover tour. My primary goal with the tour was to find a TNT pattern for fall that was nursing-friendly. Nursing in the fall/winter totally blows, because you need to somehow stay covered up and warm, but also pull out your boob at a moment's notice. Sorry for the visual, but y'know, it's true. In my experience, a cross-over or wrap top+a cardigan is the best way to go.


As part of the tour, I received the Willow Wrap Dress pattern for free. I then hacked it into a top by combining it with the Sewaholic Renfrew, but you can also buy the real top pattern here. Or bundle them together! You will not be disappointed in this pattern, because it features two of the world's best things: layered sizing and trimless pages. You heard me. Once you've selected your size, you can "turn off" the other size layers you don't need (don't worry, there are instructions on how to do it). Print it out, and the pages don't require trimming. Just tape it together and go! This was easily the best PDF I've ever used, and I've used a bunch of them. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Top, fabric from Nature's Fabrics.

Another reason to love the pattern is that it comes with options. Short-sleeve, 3/4 length, or full-length. A high neckline or low one for easier nursing access. A modesty panel. A skirt or peplum. All kinds of ways you can customize it.

Sorry, this print makes it hard to see any details.

I made a size small and it fits great. Normally I make an adjustment for narrow shoulders, but I didn't need it. I did make one silly change to the dress that I will not do in the future. I added clear elastic along the neckline, since the fabric is a slippery ITY poly knit (from Fabric Mart). It probably would have been fine, but I stretched it while sewing, and now my neckline is too tight. It pulls at the side seams. So take my photos with a grain of salt.

On the top, I didn't use any elastic and the fit is more accurate. One thing to note, the neckline is simply turned down a single time 5/8". This seemed like a lot to me, I thought it would be hard to ease, but it was fine as long as I pinned carefully and sewed slowly. I used my coverstitch on the neckline.

I definitely found my TNT nursing pattern! Depending on fabric choice you've got all kinds of possibilities. I'm sure you'll see this pattern again. It's really flattering whether you're nursing or not, and knit tops/dresses are oh-so-quick and easy when you have a serger and coverstitch!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Project Runway recap

I informed my husband this week that the 70s are back. He didn't know. He also didn't quite believe me, but I think seeing overalls this week on PR showed him that I wasn't making it up. Of course,by the time the 70s make it from New York Fashion Week to Indiana, everyone will have moved on to the 80s. We can't win.

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: We all knew Tim was loyal, but who knew his loyalty ran this deep? I thought it was interesting to see crew members get made over. For once, the judges and Tim had a bigger investment in the clients than in the designers. And frankly, these designers all needed a kick in the pants.

Worst moments: I didn't understand why all of the clients were so opinionated. They were dressed like slobs (it takes one to know one!). Didn't they need makeovers precisely because their own ideas had led them to this frumpy place?

Best looks: Hated them all. Again. I would never wear Kelly's, and I'm not on the overalls bandwagon, but at least she was smart and pulled off a good design. I wish she would have punched up the tank top a bit more.

Worst looks: When Candice's look came out, I audibly gasped, and not in a good way. If she were on any other season, the judges would have been questioning her taste. But because she's on this snooze-fest, the innovative things she's done are overshadowing her general lady-of-the-night vibe. She might win the whole thing with a collection full of black leather. Barf.

Oh Swapnil. A cape? What??? I give him credit for sticking around and churning out looks when he had to have known he was going to be eliminated. It can't be easy to walk out on the runway and get chewed out on television. Bye Swapnil!

Best quote: "I'm just praying to all my 10,000 gods that she's happy." --Swapnil

Is this season over yet? Kelly is the only one I care about at all. And maybe Ashley. I keep forgetting that Edmond is even there. Okay, I'm calling it, those are my top three that I WANT to see, however I bet Candice slips in there someplace.

Next week: Oh boy...let's see if an avant garde challenge can wake these people up.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Fear Fabric Challenge!

It's that time of year again! Time for the Fear Fabric Challenge! I admit, with a new baby I've totally slacked and done nothing to make this an event like in years past. But I hope you'll still play along! All you have to do is choose a fabric that scares you, and sew something. I've previously sewn brocade and lace, and learned a lot from those challenges. This year I'm tackling a finicky monster--faux fur!

I've sewn faux fur once before, and I'm pretty sure it broke my walking foot. So I've had good reason to avoid it. But it's time to get over my fears and try again. As Daniel Tiger says, "just keep trying, and you'll get better". Good advice whether you're 3 or 30. I'll be posting my creation at the end of October.

And a little housekeeping, my husband is on vacation this week, so you won't be seeing any more of me. Hooray for awesome fall weather (oh hey, and it's our anniversary...better get on that...).

Will you be participating in the Fear Fabric Challenge? What fabric scares you?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cambridge Cardigan

Last week I debuted my Momiform MAKEover outfits, and today I'm reviewing one of the patterns I used, the Cambridge Cardigan.

My love for Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop is well known, but usually I sew Amy's kids' patterns. The only other women's pattern I've used is the Bahama Mama Tankini, and that was a maternity version. I was excited to try this cardigan since I knew I had a hole in my wardrobe in this area. Originally, I wanted to pair the cardigan with my Willow Wrap Dress, but when it was done it looked way too casual with that dress. 

Styling fail.

I sewed a medium based on my bust measurement. It's true that my bust falls in the medium range, but the rest of my body does not. So while the cardigan closes over my chest, it's kind of baggy everywhere else. This is the life of a nursing mother. 

Anyway, rather than take it in everywhere, I decided to leave it as-is and style it more as a Grandpa/boyfriend cardi instead. If you need inspiration, I saved a few images on my style pinboard that helped me figure this out.

The fabric is a navy ponte from Girl Charlee, with heavy duty ribbing from The Fabric Fairy (loooooove this stuff). The navy is two different shades, but whatever, it still works. The button band is reinforced with knit interfacing. The buttons are from my stash and aren't anything special. I went seriously neutral for this cardigan so it would work with a lot of different outfits.

The pattern came together well and the instructions were clear. However, I do sorely miss pockets. They're something I'll add if I make this again. The sleeves are also pretty long, FYI.

This is a great basic pattern and it would look good in a variety of knits.

Don't pay attention to the wonky pulling on the top button. I realized when I was taking these pictures that I sewed the button on too close to the edge. Fail.

I received this pattern for free as a part of the Momiform MAKEover tour. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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