Friday, July 5, 2024

True Bias Darla Jumpsuit Review

Do you ever see a sneak peek of an upcoming pattern and start drooling? That's what happened to me when I saw the True Bias Darla Jumpsuit and Dress on Instagram. That back! So strappy and fun!

This garment took me forever to sew. The pattern came out right before we had to temporarily move into an AirBnb due to a tree fall on our home. I decided it would be a good project to take with me, so I started sewing it there. But then I needed my serger too. And then my dog died. And then a general depression took over my life and I stopped sewing. 

It took me a month to get back to Darla. Per usual, an upcoming event pushed me to finish it. Nothing crazy, just a planned date night. And once she was done, oh my...I LOVE it!

The fabric I used is making me scratch my head. I THINK that it's the black version of the pink Lyocell/rayon/linen/cotton I used for this Willamette Top. I distinctly remember making a special trip to a different Jo-Ann's to get it. I have the receipt. But the receipt does NOT say that's what it is. It's a similar weight and it does have a slight shine with pressing, so it's unlikely that it's 100% linen or cotton. Anyway, it's very soft, slightly drapey, and lightweight. I like it a lot and it gathered well. The bodice is fully lined (as well as interfaced at the top) and I think that my fabric needed that extra support.

I made a size 2 top and a size 8 bottoms. It is extremely easy to mix sizes top and bottom, because the back is gathered with elastic (or just gathered into the back bodice if you use the zip up view) and the front pant (or skirt) is gathered into the bodice as well. I ended up shortening the back elastic quite a bit but that could be personal preference.

The instructions are excellent and there is a sew along if you need more help. The only part that confused me was the back elastic casing. Sometimes you fold the casing completely inside and sometimes it's visible from the outside...I couldn't tell which I was supposed to do. I checked the sew along and noticed that the print for the casing was different than the back pant/skirt and therefore was visible from outside.

If you make the strappy back view, everything lines up super neatly and is nicely enclosed. There is stitching in the ditch, which I hate, but you could also secure the bodice lining by hand if you weren't in the hurry that I was.

The pockets are in-seam but are constructed so that they sit inside the pant better than regular inseam pockets. They are also secured at the waistline so they do not sag.

I did feel like my pants were too short when it came time to hem. I probably cut them wonky because I'm not that tall (5'4") but maybe double check the inseam. I ended up adding a wide 2" cuff to each pant hem. It gives them a bit more weight and swish and I'm not mad at it. Especially in black because you can barely tell.

I can't believe this pattern isn't more popular. I have to believe that the back discourages regular bra-wearing and that throws people off. I tried it without a bra and if the bodice fits well (mine did) it gave a decent enough amount of lift. Again, mine being black hides a lot. In these photos, I'm wearing a stick on bra from Amazon, which worked fine as long as I also kept the straps pretty tight.

I definitely want to make the dress version of this pattern, probably in a rayon woven.

HIGHLY recommend you pick up Darla and make yourself some swishy goodness!

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Handmade Three Piece Linen Suit

Some projects stay in your brain for a long time, and I have a feeling this one will. So, let's give it a blog post shall we?

Linen Heather Blazer

The inspiration for this project started with the fabric. I have been wanting to make a linen blazer for a while, but the right fabric hasn't come along. Then I started working with Karleen at Sewing Studio (you may know them as PDX Sewing Studio, but they have since moved out of Portland, therefore dropping the PDX). I placed an order and asked her to throw in anything she'd like me to promote.

Linen Heather Blazer

She sent me an absolutely stunning spring green cotton/linen blend woven. I was a little wary due to my last project with cotton/linen (these Arthur pants, which attract so much lint and just aren't nice to wear) but this fabric was SO different. Soft, good drape, but also a thick weight. I immediately knew it had to be the linen blazer of my dreams.

Linen Heather Blazer

When I started cutting out the Heather Blazer (previously made here) I began to wonder if I could get a pair of shorts from my leftovers. Fabric Tetris netted me a pair of Deer & Doe Genet Shorts. I did have to use a scrap of linen for one waistband facing and piece a bit of the pockets, but I made it work.

Linen Heather Blazer

The lining I used for both the shorts and blazer was a poly crepe from Jo-Ann's. I had bought it to test the Pleats and Thank You Jumpsuit, but they had to give me the yardage in two pieces and I couldn't make it work. So, I was VERY happy to find a purpose for a portion of three yards of poly crepe.

Linen Heather Blazer

I'm a pretty advanced sewist but jackets are complicated, and I appreciate good directions. The Heather directions are fantastic, and matching the lining and turning it all out is easy to follow.

Linen Genet Shorts

I also enjoyed making the Genet Shorts! It's been some time since I made a Deer & Doe pattern (maybe I've only made the free Plantain Tee) but their directions were good as well. I did end up cutting a size slightly smaller than the chart and letting it out over the hips. I would rather do that than end up with too-big pleated pants.

Linen Jasmine Bra

After I finished my two pieces, I realized that Pattern Review was running a Matchy Matchy contest. Well, isn't that just convenient! However, the rules stipulated that you could not photograph a suit jacket in a way that you could see a different fabric underneath. Okay. My choices were to either button it up and pretend I didn't have a shirt on, to actually not have a shirt on, or to make some sort of top from the same fabric.

Linen Jasmine Bra

I got the wild idea to see what I could do with my scraps. I had literally thrown them into the trash because there was so little fabric left. Most of what I pulled out were long strips straight down the grain. I started piecing them together and realized I could make a Jasmine Bra

Things got wild after that, I made it work whatever way I could. I lined it with cut and sew bra foam and then bound the upper edges. I made straps and an underband. 

Linen Suit

I have never made a quilt before, and piecing strips to create a final piece was new to me. I get it now. It's so rewarding! Of course, I was using something that would otherwise be trash, so I'm sure that had something to do with my satisfaction.

Linen Suit

My three piece set has been entered into the Pattern Review contest. Voting runs April 18th-27th. If you are a member over there, I would love it if you would vote for me!

2024 Matchy-Matchy Contest

I received the linen fabric for free in exchange for review. I am a freelancer for Sewing Studio. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Content Creation for Sewing Brands

A bit of a change in this post, with some sewing-adjacent news! If you are a content creator, fabric shop, or pattern company, it can be a hamster wheel to bring new STUFF to the world all the time. I work with clients to take the burden off, but not everyone has that kind of budget to put into their business. So, I wrote my newest e-book!

1 Garment 10 Pieces of Content

1 Garment, 10 Pieces of Content gives you ideas for turning 1 garment into 10 posts/videos/emails/etc. It includes a shot list (so you know exactly which photos to take WHILE sewing, not after!) and a checklist. These techniques are exactly the ones I use when I plan content and marketing with clients

1 Garment 10 Pieces of Content

  • No working backwards after a project is done
  • Content creation will be much faster
  • See the creative aspect of making content, removing all the dread

Grab the e-book today in my shop. If you're interested in chatting about my marketing services, you can find out about my no-commitment Discovery Call here.

Pin for later!

And if you struggle with other marketing tasks, leave a comment and let me know. There could be another low-cost e-book in the future!

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

How to Chainstitch with a Coverstich Sewing Machine

Mind. Blown.

How to Chainstitch with a Coverstich Sewing Machine

That's how I felt when I FINALLY got around to trying this sewing technique. I'm not joking when I say I've had this Safari window open on my phone for at least six months (anyone else a serial non-window-closer?). And what window was that, you ask?

How to Chainstitch with a Coverstich Sewing Machine

The pdf manual for my Brother 2340CV. Wowwwww exciting right. I don't remember why, but I was looking in the manual for something one day and saw, right there, instructions for chainstitching. What? Are you serious? I thought chainstitching required a special machine?

vintage chainstitch machine

Special machines DO exist, but it turns out that I can replicate it on my coverstitch. And it's super easy. If you don't have the exact machine that I do, check your manual!

How to Chainstitch with a Coverstich Sewing Machine

The Brother 2340CV is a three-needle coverstitch, with the fourth needle being the lower looper. To make the chainstitch, you remove the left and right needles and use only the center needle and lower looper. Set the tension settings to 0 for the two needles you removed. Set the needle tension to 2 and the lower looper tension to 5.

How to Chainstitch with a Coverstich Sewing Machine

Then sew.

That's it! I was blown away when I saw how easy it was. No fiddling at all. I grabbed a piece of stretch denim, folded it over to mimic a hem, and it worked perfectly.

How to Chainstitch with a Coverstich Sewing Machine

Then I grabbed a four month old pair of unhemmed jeans and hemmed them. Also worked perfectly!

Supposedly a chainstitch can also make a great basting stitch, as it is meant to unravel when it becomes unsecured. I didn't try it because I didn't want to pull any of my pretty stitches out.

Are you going to try this trick? Or, are you on the fence about a coverstitch and need just one more reason to get one (dooooo it)? 

If you'd like to see this technique in action, check out my Reel on Instagram!

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Cupro Scuba Double Knit Top

There is no better feeling than a successful RTW hack. I LOVE being inspired by things I see online and using my pattern knowledge to come up with a copy. 

turtleneck inspiration

I used this Spanx Air Essentials turtleneck tunic as inspiration for my top. Why was I browsing at Spanx do you ask? Well, I've recently started freelancing with Kayla at Surge Fabric Shop. She was bringing in a new fabric that was meant to duplicate the Spanx Air Essentials line. Tessa, at Love Notions, had asked all the fabric shops she knew to find her a similar fabric, and after more than a year of searching, Kayla delivered. 

Halifax Nikko hack

Kayla sent me two yards to make a sample garment. Out of all the Air Essentials items I loved the turtleneck the most. To create my duplicate, I used the Hey June Halifax Hoodie as a base, because it has that boxy shape with a dropped shoulder. I laid the bodice pattern pieces on top of the bodice for the Nikko Top (True Bias) and blended them together at the neckline. Luckily, both patterns have the same seam allowance so it wasn't too difficult.

Halifax and Nikko hack

I omitted the sleeve cuff and instead extended the length of the sleeve. I cut 2 1/2" off the bodice and then added the tunic panels at the bottom. They are roughly 7" tall and the same width as the bodice.

Halifax Nikko hack

This was a quick sew, except that I had to cut the turtleneck part three times because I kept messing up. The first time I sewed it wrong sides together, and the second time I cut the stretch the wrong way. This fabric does have only minimal stretch in the length so you have to pay attention.

Halifax Nikko hack

I wore this all day last week and it was SO soft and comfy. It resisted wrinkles like a champ, and dare I say it would make a great travel outfit. There is a matte and shiny side (I used the matte). You could use the shinier side for your own lovely cupro double knit dress (like Tessa's).

Halifax Nikko hack

For more info on this fabric, you can read Kayla's blog post or watch Tessa's YouTube video. Make sure to grab some of this fabric for yourself over at Surge.

I received this fabric for free and am paid as a digital marketer for Surge Fabric Shop. I was not asked to write this blog post but I received the fabric for free. Both patterns were purchased by myself. All opinions are my own!

Thursday, January 25, 2024

TAUKO Magazine Make and Share

Do you follow TAUKO Magazine? They are a sewing magazine located in Europe (Helsinki and Berlin). Fun fact: the word "tauko" in Finnish means "a break or a pause" (you can read more about the magazine here). A few months ago, they put a call out for sewists for a Make and Share. We were given our choice of patterns from the upcoming issue. I chose Claudette, a pattern from designer Violette Tannenbaum

Claudette Dress

When I saw the preview of the patterns, I had just attended The Nutcracker with my family and was feeling super inspired by all things tulle. It was kismet! 

Claudette Dress

I got my copy of Claudette and fell over laughing when I saw the yardage requirements...13 yards! The entire dress is tulle, so I did some googling to find a high quality tulle at an affordable price. I ended up ordering from an overseas Etsy shop. There were TONS of colors and I am pleased with the quality.

Claudette Dress

Claudette is constructed with French seams, which are not difficult but are time-consuming. Tulle is basically impossible to mark or pin. I could use clips and ended up using tape when I needed to mark horizontal lines (important for adding the first tier of the skirt). There's a lot of static and cat hair got stuck in the tulle pretty easily.

Other than these issues, it wasn't super terrible to work with the tulle. I expected worse. The instructions were sufficient and the drafting was excellent.

Claudette Dress

I made a size 2 and modified the bodice by shortening it about 3". Otherwise it had a dropped waist look that I didn't think was as fun as this short version. I might even run a bit of elastic around the waist to pull it in more.

I did not end up using anywhere near as much tulle as I ordered. I omitted the ruffles across the chest/back, and the bottom tier. Each ruffle you see is two layers gathered together. It's a lot of fabric!

Claudette Dress

The sleeve pattern piece was absolutely hysterical and huge.

I ended up following the directions in the Fall 2023 issue of Sew News to create a tulle collar. It is removable and I sometimes like it, sometimes don't. It might be fun on another outfit but I haven't tried.

Claudette Dress

Of course this is a totally ridiculous, over-the-top garment that has few uses in the real world. I spend SO much time making practical garments that I decided it was fine to make something beautiful for the sake of making something beautiful. Kinda silly that I needed to give myself permission!

Claudette Dress

I want to thank the folks at TAUKO who made the entire Make and Share experience easy and fun. They have just unveiled a new subscription model, so please go take a look at that. I believe I will be receiving one additional pattern in exchange for posting my dress, and I've definitely got my eye on a few!

Monday, November 13, 2023

Style Arc Kennedy Puffer Pullover

Y'know how sometimes Pinterest or the algo torture you with the same images over and over? That happened to me with the Free People Pippa Packable Pullover. Just check out how much fun all these ladies are having, hiking and walking and living their best life.

Free People Pippa Pullover hack

After lots of digging for a close enough pattern, I settled on the Kennedy Hooded Top from Style Arc. It was basically the same except for a few minor details, like the curved hem and the addition of a hidden pocket (for packing). Additionally, Kennedy has an outer kangaroo pocket instead of a hidden one. 

Kennedy Hooded Top

After a few months of letting this pattern sit, I decided I didn't care about hacking the kangaroo pocket into a hidden one. It seemed like an awful lot of work for not much gain. I did, however, want to try adding a second pocket under the flap (otherwise, why is the flap even there?). I also changed the hem to a curved baseball hem, and added a curved extension to the cuff.

Kennedy Hooded Top

I have no process photos, no explanation for how I did anything. Sorry! Sometimes I make so much content that I have to just take a break from it and sew for fun. If you're looking for an in-depth hack, it's not here this time. (I have seen a similar pattern with the zip pocket through Project Run and Play here). 

Style Arc directions are notoriously sparse. These are were okay. I took a lot of liberties with the pattern and I'm confident in my ability to figure out a hoodie. If you've never sewn a placket or a cuff then maybe don't start here. But all the pieces went together well. 

Kennedy Hooded Top

Kennedy is suitable for knits or has SO MUCH ease. I followed the size chart but ended up taking off 1" from each side seam. You've been warned.

Kennedy Hooded Top

Kennedy Hooded Top

I chose a quilted nylon fabric that I bought at Jo-Ann's, of all places. They had a few different colors and you could buy the same fabric in a non-quilted version. At the time I bought (in the spring I think) they were running low on the un-quilted stuff in blue, so I bought some additional yardage in pink. I used the pink as the lining for the hood and the secret pocket. Everything else is lined with the solid blue.

Kennedy Hooded Top

The lining was necessary because the quilted nylon was not double-sided. The back side was simply the batting. The Kennedy is NOT DRAFTED WITH A LINING (only the hood is lined). I used my best judgement for how to cover the batting. In some cases it's underlined, some parts were fully lined, etc. Again, no full tutorial here. To finish the hem, I bound it with bias. 

Kennedy Hooded Top

I installed KAM snaps to the cuffs and white 1" Dritz eyelets on the hood. I haven't put any snaps on the placket because the KAM snaps looked too small. We'll see what kind of closure happens there (if any).

Kennedy Hooded Top

My hoodie is not packable like the Free People inspo, but I'm also not a backpacker, so probably it does not matter. It IS lightweight and I'm not going to count on it keeping me warm in sub-zero temps. Mostly the quilting/puffer aspect is A LOOK. If it keeps the wind off on a 50 degree hike, I'll be happy.

Kennedy Hooded Top

It seems like oversized, boxy or cocoon puffers/sherpa hoodies are all the rage right now. Will you be hopping on to this trend?

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