Friday, November 17, 2017

Wool Peacoat with Organic Cotton Plus

It seems I'm on a coat-making kick when it comes to using fabrics from Organic Cotton Plus. My previous review was a Kelly Anorak with their fabulous pink cotton twill. I knew that this time around I wanted to make my oldest daughter a winter coat, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out!

This is the Olivia and Oliver Peacoat from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. I made this coat once before for my daughter, when she was just a baby (sob!). I've always wanted to make it again, and I'm so glad I did!

For my outer fabric, I chose this navy wool (it comes in 11 colors!). Aside from being the classic peacoat color, it also matches my daughter's school colors. I wasn't quite sure about the fabric and whether it'd be suitable for a coat, but I looked through the older posts from other OCP bloggers and found a coat made from the same fabric. Double-checking the weight (13 oz/sq yard) led me to believe that it would be a bit lighter than wool melton, and I was right.

For the lining, I settled on a beautiful golden poplin from Cloud9 fabrics (doesn't say the maker online but it was on the selvedge). It is a little "sticky" in that it doesn't glide over clothing like a silkier fabric would, but I wasn't interested in purchasing polyester just to make dressing easier (have you ever dressed a Kindergartner? It's not easy, no matter what they're wearing!).

Both of these fabrics were absolutely wonderful. The wool, in particular, was a great surprise. I've worked with heavy wool in the past and when you start adding layers, it becomes very difficult to sew. Then when the coat is finished it weighs a million pounds. My daughter is still in a five point harness carseat, and I needed her coat to be slim but warm so that she can be buckled properly on her way to school.

The pattern is surprisingly simple. No collar stand, no pieced facing/lining (only the back panel and sleeves are the lining fabric). Minimal topstitching. But the impact is strong. I opted for only a single row of functional buttons. Extra buttons usually end up confusing my kids. After a quick muslin of a size 6 (my daughter will be 6 in a few months) I realized it was a little too small for wearing over a cardigan, and I wanted it a bit wider. I slashed and spread the front and back pieces from the shoulder to the hem. I spread them 2" at the hem on the front (4" total with two pieces), and 1" on the back (piece was cut on fold so 2" total added). I also added in-seam pockets, and I rounded the collar for more of a Peter Pan style.

My daughter goes around school telling everyone that her mom made her coat, and I kind of want to cry over how sweet she is! The changes I made resulted in a bigger coat that will hopefully fit the entire season, and dare I hope for next season as well? We'll see.  At the very least, her two younger sisters will have a high-quality garment to wear when they're older.

If you want to nab some of your own beautiful, all natural fabrics, make sure to follow Organic Cotton Plus on Facebook or Instagram. They will be having a big Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale next week. There have been a few teasers of new products and they look amazing! You can also sign up for emails on their website. Thank you so much to Organic Cotton Plus for sending me the fabric for this review!

Fabric for this review was sent to me for free. I purchased the pattern and notions. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Project Runway recap

Home stretch! For the most part, I think this has been an enjoyable season. All of the designers were talented and the challenges were great. Although, I did find myself watching this episode and imagining how it would be with Claire and/or Shawn and how dramatic that would be! I guess this season we learned that siblings should not be on this show?

Spoilers ahead...

Best/worst moments: Tim’s visit to Puerto Rico somehow falls into best and worst. Old San Juan was so beautiful in those shots, and it was so sad knowing what was coming to that area.

For totally different reasons, Kentaro’s piano playing also falls into a best and worst category. I thought it was cool that he composed something, but then the whole exchange was so awkward! Sometimes I wonder how much of it is Kentaro’s personality and how much is the language barrier.

See all the looks here.

Best looks: As always, Brandon’s looks were the most interesting, but I agreed with the judges that the crop top and pants were a bit of a miss. There was just too much volume. I’m glad Ayana listened to Tim because the looks she showed were much younger looking than the ones she wanted to show. They’re still not my cup of tea but she does have talent.

Worst looks: Sadly, Kenya’s looks were not good enough for Fashion Week. I really wanted them to be. I wanted her to have more time and get her thoughts together for a great collection, but it just didn’t happen. The black dress just wasn’t working, and I can’t see the same woman purchasing both of her designs. On the other hand, Margarita’s woman would buy both of her outfits and then have nowhere to go, except for a disco club in Miami. To be honest, I’m a little appalled that Margarita went through. Her prints are beautiful in small doses but I’m afraid they’re going to dominate the collection in a tacky way. I already have second-hand embarrassment for the judges.

The big question: who will win? I think it’s down to Ayana and Brandon. Their viewpoints are very different so it could come down to a matter of taste. Ayana’s dresses that she wanted to preview are super frumpy dumpy to me, but it’s possible she could rescue them with some amazing styling. Kentaro seems lost (again, styling is important!!). I can’t see Margarita winning (please no). What do you think? I’m rooting for Brandon.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Color-blocked Halifax Sweatshirt

It's that time of year, the time of hoodies and sweatpants and hats and "it's too cold to go anywhere wahhhh". Okay, maybe that last bit is just me! While everyone else is downing pumpkin spiced everything and wrapping up in blanket scarves, I'm all like "I'm cold!" But I learned a long time ago that dressing in frumpy hoodies for 6 months out of the year is both unfashionable and bad for my self-esteem. The last few years, I've been on a mission to make stylish sweatshirts that are comfortable but not sloppy. Enter my fave, the Hey June Halifax!

Hey June Halifax

I made this pattern twice last winter (here and here). Both of those were mediums, and I found that they were just a bit too big. The pattern includes enough ease for wearing as a sweatshirt (in other words, with something underneath) so I didn't really need to size up. For this newest Halifax I went with a small and I'm pretty pleased with the fit.

Hey June Halifax

Another reason to be happy: all the fabric I used was from large scraps in my stash! Hooray! But that also explains why the sleeves are color-blocked (I didn't have enough fabric). I wavered between making the top 3/4 length sleeves or adding the color-blocking, my husband voted for color-blocked so that's how it ended up. Both fabrics are French terry. It escapes me where they were purchased, but I remember that the green is a cotton/modal blend and super soft (the rest was used for this Itch to Stitch top, and the black was used here for a Union St. sweatshirt).

I went ahead and added thumbhole cuffs, using the directions from the Lane Raglan. This was my second time making these, and while it can be a little head-scratching, Adrianna does a great job explaining it.

Yes, that is snot and dog hair #sahmomlife

Olive is so "in" right now, and black is always in style, so I'm excited to add this sweatshirt to my wardrobe.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Project Runway recap

You know that emoji with the horizontal lines for eyes and a mouth? That's my face after watching this episode.

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: Two days for the challenge, which again had just the right amount of focus vs. open-endedness (is that a word?). For the last challenge, it was definitely time to let them spread their wings a bit and see what they could do with more time and money.

Worst moments: This is a cruelty-free show? But leather is okay? So confused. By the way, since when?? It's entirely possible I don't understand what makes something cruelty-free...but I would think the designers would know, or hell, the people at MOOD would know. That whole thing with Margarita putting back her fur was weird.

Also weird: an ice bar. Hard pass.

See all the looks here.

Best garments: LOVED Kentaro's. He was lucky he had that particular model (her name is escaping me at the moment) because they obviously work well together. Brandon did a great job as well. Am I totally crazy, or was there NO WINNER this week?

Worst garments: I liked Ayana's coat (I'm a sucker for pink and black), but the geometric romper underneath was hard to look at. For that matter, I thought Kenya's tweed was hard to look at, too, even though she was in love with it. Margarita's coat and dress had boring, unoriginal silhouettes, in addition to being unfinished. Which brings me to my real point...

WHY are there still five of them there??? I am so angry about this. Two weeks in a row, nobody goes home! Am I crazy to think that Margarita definitely should have gone home after that weird fur dress? I miss the old days of Project Runway. Three designers go to Fashion Week, that it's. None of this "okay, four can go but really only three can because we'll eliminate one beforehand". They're doing the same thing except its FIVE of them! Hey, I have an idea, how about you have 12 contestants make full collections and then eliminate them the night before Fashion Week. That would be fun, right? So. Much. ARG.

Next week: home visits and probably two people being eliminated just for the sake of drama

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Halloween Costumes

I think all sewists with families both anticipate and dread Halloween. It’s a chance to get pushed outside our regular boxes, but also a lot of pressure! This year, I left costume choice for our whole family up to my five year old. Continuing with her princess theme, she chose Cinderella. Her dad was Prince Charming, I was the Fairy Godmother, and the two littles were mice, Jaq and Gus Gus.

Unfortunately, it was so cold in Indiana (wind chill in the 30s) that everyone (except me!) needed coats over their costumes. Sad face. I was able to bulk up underneath my costume with two wool tops, wool pants AND jeans! I did have a wand, but I lost it almost immediately while trying to carry Gus Gus. The wand was made with silver washi tape wrapped around a toy lightsaber (a small one). Pretty clever, I thought, so I'm totally bummed I lost it.

For future reference, and if anyone needs inspiration, I've given the details of the costumes below. There are lots of tutorials on Pinterest but I kind of made everything up as I went along. The Prince was kept as close to the movie as possible, which ended up being a lot more simple than you'd think. Anything I sewed to hist top was done lightly, by hand, so it can be removed later and the shirt still used.

I tried to turn my hair white with cornstarch. I do not recommend this method!

Cinderella's skirt was puffed up with the crinoline I made two years ago with her Belle dress, plus this tulle skirt, plus another RTW skirt we had on hand. SUPER poofy! Even though it was cold and dreary, I was so excited to have us all in a family costume for the first time. My oldest daughter loves her Cinderella dress and I know it's going to have a heavy rotation as dress-up piece for years to come.

Practical Princess (affiliate link) with lengthened skirt
Self-drafted bustles which are a separate skirt attached to an elastic waistband
Fabric and supplies:
Main Fabric is cotton/poly interlock from Jo-Ann’s
Silver knit from a mystery bundle from Fabric Mart (stash)
Glitter elastic and headband from Jo-Ann’s
Choker is black elastic
Hair donut from Amazon
Gloves from Amazon (these were too big for my five year old but worked fine for a costume)
Glass slippers from local swap group

Prince Charming
Pants made from the free Pajama Pants pattern from 5 out of 4 Patterns
RTW button up shirt
Fabric and supplies:
Epaulets, belt, and neckband made from yellow felt and gold trim, from Jo-Ann’s
Gold cording from Jo-Ann's
Yellow ribbon (on pants) from Target

Fairy Godmother
Self-drafted jacket (started with my Anthro cardi knock off and altered from that)
Hood from Hey June Lane Raglan
RTW tshirt
Skirt is just a long rectangle with an elastic waistband
Self-drafted bow
Fabric and supplies:
Blue cotton/poly interlock from Jo-Ann's (same as Cinderella's)
Pink cotton ponte from Mood (stash)--this needed to have a lot of body to stand up properly, which is also why I lined the hood with it!

Jacket hacked from PABPS Winter PJs (affiliate link) top
RTW red shirt
Wool pants from Sloomb
Self-drafted hat and ears
Fabric and supplies:
Red poly knit (stash)
Hat is lined (to make it stand up) with jacquard knit from Urban Rag Trader (stash)
Ears are brown felt and pink rib knit (stash)
Grey yarn tucked into pants for tail

Gus Gus
Yellow shirt hacked from PABPS Winter PJs top (link above)
Brown shirt is RTW
Wool pants from Sloomb (link above)
Self-drafted hat and ears
Fabric and supplies:
Green wool knit (stash)
Hat is lined (to make it stand up) with jacquard knit from Urban Rag Trader (stash)
Ears are brown felt and pink rib knit (stash)
Yellow cotton/lycra knit (stash)
Grey yarn tucked into pants for tail

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Project Runway recap

I accidentally got spoiled on the ending of this episode (be careful who you follow on Facebook!) so it wasn't quite as suspenseful as it could have been. I also hate unconventional materials. So this was a good episode to watch after school when the kids were bouncing off the walls, and I didn't really need to hear the dialogue!

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: The Lexus cars were pretty? IDK. I didn't much like this episode.

Worst moments: I did not like seeing Brandon and Kentaro doubt themselves. They're likeable, and top contenders, and I hate that they felt at risk because of a stupid unconventional challenge.

See all the looks here.

Best looks: Ayana's was the most dramatic, I'll give her that, and her model did a fantastic job with the hard hat and her walk. But something about Ayana's attitude was really off-putting (not talking to Kenya, bragging about how she was going to win). The rest were kind of boring.

Worst looks: Michael's was terrible, I think everybody knew that. Brandon managed to pull off something good, but in any other challenge it would have been considered too simple. Margarita's was too costume to me (but I did just watch Wonder Woman this weekend).

Best quote: "I look like Pocahontas is about to play football." --Liris

I thought Zac's comments this week were telling about how the rest of the season will go. He said he wanted to see a full collection from Brandon, and that he didn't know who Margarita was as a designer (I agree with both). And keeping Kentaro over Michael indicates that they want more from Kentaro too. So who will slide into that final spot (assuming three designers go to Fashion Week)? And will Tim even use his save?

Next week: High fashion warrior women

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Foxy Pajamas

This post contains affiliate links.

Every now and then, I impulse-buy a fabric with a novelty print, thinking that I will be THAT cool mom with such quirky style. And then the fabric sits in my stash, because in truth, I'm a boring basics kind of mom. But when life (or your bad decision-making) gives you graphic prints, you make pajamas. That's a saying, I'm sure.

I've had this fox jersey for ages. It's from Girl Charlee, but it is not one of their modified reprints. If you've followed them at all you've likely seen this fabric, but printed by them with a lighter background. Personally, I love the dark background, I think it works better with the orangey-red and white of the foxes. I'm not sure where it originally came from, but I bought the very first batch they ever had.

Originally, I wanted to make a Day Tripper top for myself (exactly like this one, actually) but never got around to it. I finally accepted it wasn't going to happen, and that pajamas for my oldest would be a much better use for this fabric.

The fabric is a simple cotton/poly jersey, no spandex. I knew I couldn't go with my default PJ pattern, the Alex and Anna PJs from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. Those are drafted with negative ease and need good recovery in the fabric. Instead, I went with positive ease and more of a t-shirt and sweatpants look. For the top, I used the Day Camp Tee, and for the bottoms I used the Pajama Party pattern. Both are FREE from PABPS (for the Pajama Party pattern you need to join the Facebook group and get the code). Such a quick sew on my serger and did I mention FREE?

I'm so glad this fabric is finally sewn up, and AB loves her new jammies!

Speaking of Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop, check out her newest pattern, the Hazel Dress and Tunic. On sale today only for release day!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Project Runway recap

I'm back from vacation and a little blog break in the meantime. I'm up to my eyeballs in Halloween sewing, but I definitely made time to catch up on Project Runway. All this drama!

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: I thought it was cute to have Shopkins Super Fans help the designers, especially for an avant-garde challenge. If it were some sort of translate-to-the-real-world challenge I think that would have been more restrictive. What I didn't understand was why the fans weren't at the runway show?

Worst moments: We started this episode where the last one left off, with a dramatic storm-off by Michael and accusations of Claire cheating. The whole thing was kind of childish. Margarita made me want to throw things at my TV. She ran around the workroom tattling on Claire and then on the runway she claimed she wasn't the type of person to throw someone under the bus. Okaaaaayyy...instead she got Michael to do the dirty work instead. I was also annoyed at Claire's lack of ownership to her part in it. She clearly knew the rules and broke them anyway (about having a tape measure in her room) AND she played loosey goosey with the spirit of the show by using her sister as a partner most of the time. Who cares if it was a simple tank, Claire, if it was so simple why did you need to measure it and cheat? The whole thing was so dumb. But I agree with her being booted if she did cheat, which it seems like she did.

See all the looks here.

Best looks: I'm not into avant-garde, so the one I liked the best was the least avant-garde-y, Kentaro's.

Worst looks: I thought most of the designs looked like someone threw up fabric onto a dress form. Batani's was bad, Amy's was boring.

I'm sad that Amy was eliminated. I felt like she had some great looks in the past and didn't get any recognition for them. Batani was clearly on borrowed time so I guess they threw in a double elimination just to surprise us? And perhaps Tim will be using his save soon? Have they even mentioned the save?

Next week: More unconventional. Barf.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Coverstitching Underwear

A short post today showing off my newest me-made undies, and talking a little bit about my new favorite finishing method.

Over the years, I've made a lot of underwear and tried many patterns, but I keep coming back to my favorite, the free one from So, Zo... For everyday pieces under jeans, they can't be beat. The pattern is drafted for use with fold-over elastic (FOE). I'll be honest...I HATE FOE. Every single time I use it, it's instant regret. Inevitably, I end up stretching out my fabric and my stitching also looks sloppy and uneven. Take these two pairs, for example. Same pattern. Same fabric. Look how stretched out the bottom pair became after sewing on FOE!

I decided to try something new, and use my coverstitch with picot elastic. Normally, you would sewing picot on once, turn it under, and sew it down. Since I didn't have the seam allowance for turning under (fabric was already cut) I figured I could sew the picot directly to the edge. The ladder stitching of the back of the coverstitching finished the edge on the inside of the underwear.

I LOVE this technique! It was so much faster than FOE and I had more control while sewing. I put the leg elastic in flat, sewed up the side seams, and then applied the waist elastic in the round. Having made this pattern before, I was at an advantage knowing exactly how long I wanted my elastic. In no time, I had three new pairs of undies that fit and are lovely too!

Contrast stitching can be fun too!

Have you ever tried this technique?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Project Runway recap

A little late on my review this week, after a super fun weekend and my first night without kids in FOUR YEARS! Don't be jealous, but I did sleep in until 8:30.

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: I liked this episode quite a bit. The challenge was interesting, the clients weren't that dramatic, but it was nice and open-ended enough that anyone talented could shine. The perfect challenge.

The way Brandon talked about his girlfriend was so cute. I can't say I've ever run across a guy dating an older woman and being happy to learn maturity from her!

Worst moments: Yep, it's official, the twins are the worst. Claire talked about Shawn like she was a tornado or some other natural disaster that could not be avoided. Hey Claire, she's your sister, maybe tell her that you need to work on your own stuff? How did they not discuss this before they applied? And what was up with Tim informing the judges and then NOTHING happened?? Not even a slap on the wrist from Heidi?

Margarita's two-faced turnabout attempting to blame her model was sad. She just didn't want to admit that her look was dated.

See all the looks here.

Best looks: Kentaro's winning look was so. good. I didn't hate Kenya's but I wasn't a fan of the print+the "leaves" which ended up looking like dog ears. With a different black and white print it would have been better. I didn't understand Tim's dislike for the green. I also, begrudgingly, liked Shawn's. I could care less if she "copied" what she and the model were wearing.

Worst looks: Ayana's bathrobe star disaster should have been in the bottom, along with Batani's Chiquita banana girl, and Brandon's pile of dirty garbage. They were all worse than Claire's. And am I imagining it, or did Samantha's sketch/discussion with Tim involve a white button-up shirt? What happened there? It ended up being just another ugly costume and I'm relieved she's gone.

Best quote: "I'm currently peeing my pants because I'm super excited to work with Margerita." --Christina

Next week: A completely contrived team challenge in which Shawn and Claire get to be eliminated together! At least, that's what I'm guessing.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Aztec Print Linen Dress: Vogue 9253

I'm pretty sure Vogue 9253 was declared The Dress of summer 2017, right? It was absolutely everywhere, in part due to the contest that McCall's was having in August. I totally missed the contest until it was over, and just happened to coincidentally be working on the pattern at the same time. Mine might be a bit unrecognizable though, since I made so many changes! I have a lot of notes about alterations, so scroll to the end if you want to read those.

Vogue 9253

The idea for this dress started when I saw a similar one on TV. I put out a request on IG for someone to find me a pattern like the dress I saw. My husband has a work event for us to attend this weekend and it's basically my only chance to dress up (think wedding attire). I wanted to make a dress and ended up purchasing Vogue 9253 and McCall's 7315.

The McCall's pattern had the handkerchief hem and was sleeveless, like my inspiration dress; the Vogue pattern had the deep V neckline. I had recently purchased this amazing black and white print linen from The Fabric Store and was desperate to use it before summer was over. Isn't it dreamy?

Vogue 9253

After lots of waffling, I decided on the Vogue pattern. There are so many beautiful ones on IG, check out the hashtag if you don't believe me!

I didn't have enough fabric to completely match up the back, but it's close enough for me. The skirt does match well though, considering.

Sewing the dress is pretty straightforward. There are pleats in the front bodice and skirt, and darts in the back. A regular zipper is inserted and there are double-turned hems.

Vogue 9253


I made a quick muslin bodice of the smallest size (Vogue patterns always run large for me) and it fit well with letting out the side seams just a touch. I did find the sleeves to be overwhelmingly long. I did not want the skirt to be midi length (I hate that length and I did not have enough fabric anyway). I made the following changes to my paper pattern before cutting:
  • Removed 6" from the skirt (really!). I'm 5'4" and I estimated that would put it close to knee length (see unhemmed photo below). I took out 3" at the L/S line and 3" somewhere in the lower portion.
  • Shortened sleeves 8" (really!).
  • Reduced SA under the arms, tapering to the waist, to 1/4" (adjusted skirt portion at waistline accordingly).
  • I chose not to make the tie or add pockets.
That left me with this look:

Even after removing all that length from all over, the dress still overwhelmed me. I was drowning in it, and the linen wasn't draping quite enough to make up for the volume. The sleeves felt like wings. I ended up making additional changes:
  • Added back in the SA I removed from the bodice/skirt.
  • Removed 4" more from the skirt hem.
  • Cut off the sleeves and drew in an armscythe (used the above McCall's pattern). Finished the armholes with bias tape.
After those changes, I no longer feel like the dress is swallowing me. It's cute and fun. The "make it work" fixes are not perfect, the skirt now hangs in a weird way and the armholes are tight. But going from what I had to this is way better than leaving it wadded up in the WIP pile! A fabric with better drape would have made this project more successful. It also would be amaaaazing in a knit and you could leave out the zipper (I could almost squeeze it on in this woven without a zipper).

Now about that neckline...

I know everyone is thinking the same thing about this pattern. The neckline is SO low, can I change it? Yes, you can. It's as simple as putting the front bodice pieces RST and sewing them up, OR overlapping it at CF. It does pull the fabric across the front but for me personally it didn't affect fit too drastically. Post three breastfed babies I'd say I fall into the saggy C-cup range these days, for reference (and TMI). I'm wearing a lightly padded bra and I'm still not sure it fits my bust correctly. That could be my fault with sewing the pleats, I'd much rather there was a dart. There are two pleats on each side so getting it all perfectly placed and symmetrical was a challenge.

As drafted, the V-neck cuts all the way beneath the bust to the waist seam. I raised the neckline 2". It's still pretty revealing and my bra is only just hidden. I tried it bra-less and for me it's a no-go (see above saggy reference!). I spent five years with my boobs basically out all the time, nursing babies, so I've gotten much more comfortable with my body over the last few years. I love the way I look in this but it does take confidence to rock this much cleavage. On the flip side, I wouldn't judge anyone for making it more modest. You do you! That's the best part of sewing our own clothes, right? And obviously, you could wear a cami underneath.

Vogue 9253

And by the way, in the interest of full disclosure, I ended up deciding that the dress is a little too summery for our event, and just a little too casual for pairing with my husband's suit. So for now, it'll go in the closet and hopefully come out next summer! Somebody I know have a summer wedding, okay?

Looking for a great way to plan your sewing projects? Save 15% on all versions of A Sewist's Notebook with the code LULU15. Expires today! Click "About the Book" for more info!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Project Runway recap

We're almost to that point in the show where nobody is going to skate through the competition. I don't like the beginning, when you hardly see some designers and it's obvious who is in the top and bottom. During the runway show I actually thought "oh yeah, Batani is still on this show". Not good haha!

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: It was nice to see Brandon and Kentaro bonding. They seem like an unlikely pair, their aesthetics are totally different, which is probably why they're getting along. They're not doing the same things so they're not in direct competition.

A two day challenge! Remember the good ole days when they were all that way?

Worst moments: Is there a reason why they didn't use the button bag for deciding who had good and evil? It's annoying when they try to create drama out of nothing. Speaking of something out of nothing, Margarita was borderline offensive in her comments about using a plus size model. She kept going on and on and on about making clothes that helped women feel beautiful, but said she had no experience designing for plus sized. Soooo who exactly is she "helping" to feel beautiful? Stick-thin models who look beautiful for a living?

This is probably an unpopular thing to say, but it unsettled me how Tim's critique of Aaron's look sent him wildly off the rails. I get that his muslin was sort of nutso, but if he had finished that look I'm certain he would have stayed instead of Claire. I know that's Aaron's fault, and not Tim's, but I hope Tim at least mentioned to the judges what happened.

See all the looks here.

Best looks: Kenya's was well done. That fabric looked like a total nightmare but somehow she managed to fit it perfectly. I loved Margarita's black dress. After all her rude whining about her plus sized model she pulled off a great design. I'm still mystified how Michael managed to perfectly drape his lace dress without the model even there for a whole day! I also was surprised to like Shawn's quite a bit.

Worst looks: I wasn't that into Brandon's straight jacket. If you recall, I already used that term for one of his designs previously. He's innovative, I'll give him that, but I fail to see how his designs are tying into the challenges. He's kind of doing his own thing and since it's so different he's getting recognized.

Samantha is only making Halloween costumes. Why has it taken so long for everyone else to see that?

Aaron. Oh Aaron. I was surprised how little the judges said about it, but I think everyone knew that it was SO ridiculously bad, there wasn't a need to tear it down. Pink toilet paper piƱata with unfinished seams? Yeah, you're going home.

I also didn't like Ayana's. Tim told her the changing colors were awkward but she said that was what she wanted, then in her runway voice-over she said she didn't know what happened on the bottom??

Best quote: "It looks like...curry powder evil." --Kentaro

It was probably time for Aaron to go home, he's likely the kind of person who does well with more time to develop and execute his wild ideas. Plus he needs to touch up his pink hair and it was making me crazy haha! I'm happy to see Brandon doing well since he's so humble about it, but I'm tired of the same sorts of looks from him. Or maybe I'm annoyed because his clothes aren't beautiful.

Next week: Drama, and did I spy Georgina Chapman?!?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Robert Kaufman Chambray Skirt

Is there still a little summer left out there?

Many moons ago, I wrote a tutorial for the Sew Mama Sew blog and they compensated me with a gift certificate to Fabric Depot. This was a new-to-me retailer, and I enjoyed browsing their apparel fabrics. If you've read even one post on this blog, you know I'm a knit #fangurl, but Fabric Depot has a lot of great wovens as well. One of the fabrics I ended up with was a gorgeous Robert Kaufman jacquard chambray. I originally wanted to make a pair of shorts, but the more I thought about breaking up the aztec print, the more the fabric spoke to me and said "skirt".

My husband and I had a retirement party to attend a few weeks ago, and after I finished this tie-knot Santa Fe hack, I decided to tackle a skirt as a date night companion piece. I started with the Allegro Skirt/Pants Pattern from Love Notions. It's definitely supposed to have more ease than this...but I wanted a pencil skirt look. With an elastic waistband. And a woven.

I hacked and cut and sewed and resewed this poor thing until it looked how I wanted. There isn't really the proper amount of ease for good movement. There aren't any darts, just the elastic waistband for shaping. It's short. It's 100% not useful for my normal mom life.

But darn it if I don't love the thing. I felt great at the party, kid-less, not holding a diaper bag and not worrying about carrying or chasing anyone. I don't need a ton of dress up clothes in my closet, but this one will certainly stay. And bonus, you get to see last week's halter lace bra! It also falls into that fun-but-not-practical arena.

After all my hacking, the skirt ended up with an almost paperbag waist. Presumably I could tuck in my shirt to show that off, but I haven't found the right top for that look (or those abs I misplaced three kids ago...).

Have you ever hacked a pattern into a near-unrecognizable state?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Project Runway recap

Filming this show must be so crazy, straight off the runway and elimination to the next challenge! What are the chances that they actually slept on top of the Empire State Building? That can't be real, right?

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: It was pretty cool to see the inside of the Empire State Building with the lights turned low. It would be fun to be the only ones there and feel like you have the place to yourself.

Worst moments: Shawn and Claire are wearing me out. In the first episode there was a teaser about someone being accused of cheating...I'm beginning to think it might revolve around the twins doing each other's work? There are some serious lines being crossed here. It's one thing if it's a team challenge, but they're contributing significantly to each other's garments.

See all the final looks here.

Best looks: I liked Batani's simple dress, but other than that, Michael pretty much ran away with it. If you liked it too, it can be your's for only $200!

Worst looks: Most of the rest were bad. They ranged from super boring to poorly made to poorly designed (sleeping in a romper? really??). Deyonte's was certainly the worst, he should have known that being on the bottom two times in a row leads to elimination.

Best quote: "In other words, we're worried that if we put a lump of coal up your behind, that it'd come out as a diamond." --Tim

This was a tricky challenge. At first it didn't seem too hard, but sleepwear probably was new to all of the designers, plus they didn't get to choose their own fabrics. Plus plus they had to embellish or print them. If I were Heidi I would have been disappointed by what was shown. By the way, why wasn't there a dossier of Heidi's collection for them to review? Maybe there was and we just didn't see it.

Next week: Good vs. evil vs. will they all be costumes?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Simplicity 8228 Halter Bra

Under every great outfit there should be the right undergarments. The journey towards this bra started with a dress, Vogue 9253. The Vogue dress was THE dress of the summer, it was all over IG. Every few years my husband has a work event that requires dressing up, and I decided the Vogue dress would be a fun item to wear. The problem? The super low cut (although completely changeable) and finding the right bra to go with it. Enter Simplicity 8228, a stretch lace halter bra pattern from Madalynne.

My idea was solid, but it turned out that the halter straps looked pretty dumb with my Vogue dress. The dress needs some finishing, so I haven't blogged it yet, but take my word for it, it's not going to work with this bra after all. Whomp whomp. I should have made the straps longer and more like a regular bra, rather than a halter. Live and learn! Additionally, it turns out I'm probably not wearing the Vogue dress to our event anyway. It came out a bit too summery. ANYWAY. Enough about the best laid plans.

The bra itself turned out great, it was not a bad sew (SA is 1/4" though, ugh) and gah it's SO pretty! The pattern called for 8" wide stretch lace, but I already have this 5" on hand (from Sew Sassy Fabrics) and made it work. I'm not sure why exactly 8" was chosen, except perhaps to cover the larger sizes. Speaking of sizing, please follow the directions in the pattern. The sizes weren't close to RTW or even other bra patterns I've sewn before, but I followed the directions and the fit is perfect (you'll have to take my word for it!). It's been close to a month since I weaned my last baby, so my body is still adjusting a little. Or maybe it's my head that's adjusting. In either case, it's nice to have such a beautiful garment to help boost your confidence.

The bra is lined with a stretch mesh that was in my stash, I can't at all recall where it's from but I think it was Jo-Ann's or Girl Charlee. I've never used it before but it ended up being just what I needed for this pattern. I already had clear elastic left over from the kit I bought from Tailor Made Shop (used for this bra), and the black picot elastic (used on the underarms) was from a local shop and also already in my stash. The brown channeling was upcycled from an old bra, which is why it doesn't match haha.

Did you catch that? Everything was already in my stash! The pattern was the only thing I bought, and of course it was on sale.

A few notes about the pattern: If you're wondering why the seams are exposed on the inside of the cups, it's because the lining is meant to be spray-basted to the lace and then sewn as one. I didn't have any spray adhesive so I skipped that part, but I still sewed the pieces as one. The seam allowance is then topstitched down. I think it would have been a neater finish to sew them separately and then place WST, but it would have been trickier to topstitch in that case, and would have required more steps.

Lastly, I don't think there was a step for finishing the bottom of the band. I mentioned the spray adhesive but that's not good enough for me to keep the lining and the lace together at the bottom. You could zig-zag clear elastic here but I was running low, so I just zig-zagged the two together and it worked fine.

I also did not use a hook and eye closure at the back #lazy and it slips over my head just fine.

Our weather has turned crisp and fall-like, but if we get another hot day out of the blue I'll be pairing the bra with my maroon backless top. And if not now, then next summer for sure!