Thursday, February 23, 2017

Vogue watercolor dress

I know I'm not the only one with a queue a mile long, but how often do we actually get to some of those oldies on our lists? Today I'm sharing a dress that I've had planned for almost exactly four years. I kind of don't even want to share because it's taken me so danged long to make the thing!

The first birthday I had after I learned to sew (incidentally, Saturday is my birthday, hooray?) my husband surprised me with a gift card to Mood. It was the first time I had ordered from them. I spent a solid week breaking it down bit by bit, rearranging my cart, changing yardage. The virtual shopping was as much fun as receiving the fabric. This lightweight poly/cotton jersey is from that purchase. It's super pretty and soft, and it has always been destined for Vogue 1224. I made a size 8, the smallest in the envelope.

This pattern is out of print, but it's been a long time fave over at Pattern Review. It appealed to me because of the elasticized neckline (easy for nursing) and simple design. Now that my four-years-in-the-making project is finished, however, I'm just kind of meh about it.

Here's the back and OMG IS THAT WHAT MY HAIR LOOKS LIKE?? Immediately after taking these photos I went in my house and cut my hair. Badly. And it still looks better than this two-toned disaster. I had no idea it looked THIS bad from the back. Yeesh.

Back to the dress. Reviews indicate a few issues, first that it is WAY short (true) and that the waistline doesn't seem to hit anyone in the right place. I accounted for the length problem (I added 4") but not the waistline. Whoops. I'm long-waisted, and this ended up somewhere between my natural waist and almost an empire waist. At first, this bothered me a great deal, but every time I put it on I feel better about it. Empire waistlines tend to say "maternity" to me (Lord knows I'm way over that look) and hitting at my natural waist isn't the best at the moment, since I'm still hanging on to some post-baby pooch.

I did make some other modifications. This fabric is pretty sheer. I intend for this to be a summer dress and didn't want the hassle of adding layers underneath when dressing. The pattern already provides pieces for lining the skirt. I used a nylon milliskin fabric (adding length to it as well). For the bodice, I used two layers of the main fabric. I didn't have quite enough fabric (the pattern pieces with the sleeves are huge) so on the back, it's just a partial "lining". It's not a true lining since I opted to treat the two pieces as one when sewing. I had to piece it on the back as well, you can see the CB seam (on the inside only).

I think doubling up the bodice fabric, even though it's lightweight, made the bodice drape not quite as pretty. It's kind of thick around the neckline. Maybe I'm just imagining it? I did omit the drawstring and only used elastic, since my kids inevitably mess with anything dangling off of me.

Reviewers also mentioned that the armholes were huge. To be honest, I don't know if that's true, because the directions for sewing them made NO sense to me. I did it my own way and then I did end up sewing the armhole closed farther as well.

That third line of stitching is where I sewed it closed after hemming.

So that's my 4-year dress! I think this is one of those garments that will get worn more than I think, because it will be so easy to throw on and go. I probably won't make it again because it will take too many alterations to get the pattern fixed. But at least I can cross this off my to-do list!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Quilted Halifax Hoodie

Edited to add: I forgot to mention that I altered the neckline on this version. It was cut along the line for a size small instead of medium. The funnel neck was shortened slightly to match.

This was supposed to be a post with two amazing Halifax Hoodies, but the first one ended up buried in the trunk of my van with all my other good intentions. So enjoy this one all alone! It's worth its own post anyway, I think.

The Halifax Hoodie pattern from Hey June is probably the only hoodie pattern you ever need. Tons of options for a wardrobe staple. What makes simple patterns special is often the fabric, and that's why this one is so awesome.

Ignore my "makeup" and "hairstyle" as I'm going on day two of baby M coughing all night long and puking on me from coughing too hard. And then she decides she should be awake for an hour or two. Fun times. What was I talking about? More coffee?

This is View E of the Halifax, a slanted side seam version with a funnel neck. I made a medium, but I should have made a small (I was between sizes with my bust measurement). The pattern is drafted to be outerwear, I should have just made a small and been done with it. I did end up taking in the "side seams" a little to snug it up a bit. Any future versions will definitely be a small.

The bodice is made from a quilted knit that is so soft and squishy! It's from Mood, and it's been in my stash for maybe two years? To. Die. For.

The slanted side seam looks a little wonky with the quilted lines, but it doesn't bother me enough to regret making this view. I already had the pattern cut out, so...there ya go.

The rest of the hoodie is made from navy French terry, I believe it's from Raspberry Creek Fabrics on Etsy. I used the "wrong" side or loop side as the outer fabric. Since the bodice has textured I wanted the rest of it to have texture as well. I don't think I have to say it, but this thing is so freaking cozy! Since it's technically outerwear and not a shirt, I can wear it every day, right? And it's so much more put-together than a sloppy, traditional sweatshirt.

I do have one major issue with this pattern, however. The instructions are bad. Possibly the worst I've ever seen. Frankly, I was shocked. I've sewn other Hey June patterns, it's a popular company, I couldn't believe how messy these were. I read a few blog posts and nobody said a word about it (although I found one person on Pattern Review who agreed with me, and I think we all know that PR speaks the truth). As I said, there are a lot of different views in the pattern, so the instructions attempt to skip around and lead you to the correct instructions for your view. But there are a ton of errors, steps missing, numbers incorrect, etc. Is all the info there? Maybe. I read enough to figure out it was messed up and then assembled the garment without the directions. Since my view is straightforward, this was fine, but I'm not sure about the views with the zipper or the placket. If you're not as familiar with knits as I am, you'll probably be lost. I expect you'll someday see an update to this pattern. But if you're confident with your abilities then you'll be fine, and the drafting is excellent even if the directions are not.

I don't know how many more chilly days we're going to have, since it's going to hit almost 70 this weekend (!!) but until then, I will be rotating back and forth between this Halifax and my wool one (to be blogged...whenever it gets clean!).

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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday Birthday Post

Five years ago today, I became a mom. Roughly four years ago, I started my blog, and AB frequently modeled the simply terrible beginner garments I sewed for her. It's a funny thing, how she grew right along with my own sewing skills. I don't often look through my blog archives, but I took a wander down memory lane in honor of AB's birthday. Cue tears (just kidding...I like having a big kid who can talk to me and say funny things and bring me my water bottle and help with the little kids...oh, and that tiny detail where older kids SLEEP).
The red coat and fur hat (top left) are now being worn by Baby M, and those two are my favorite garments from my early days. Over time, I've made fewer items for AB, but usually of higher quality and longevity. If I had to choose one all-time favorite, it's probably the Belle dress. A year and a half later and it's still a frequent dress up item.
Happy Birthday AB, I hope five is the best year yet!

For more kid's clothes, click on the "projects for kids" and "projects for baby" tags in the sidebar.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Ohhh Lulu Lacy Jasmine Bra Set

Ages and ages ago (two years, in fact, by the date on my notes) I got a bit obsessed with the idea to sew a bunch of lingerie. I say "a bunch" because it's difficult to order small quantities of notions and fabric online, and you'll get far more bang for your buck if you plan well and order a lot at once. I got halfway through my plans (the Anna Crossover Bra and a nursing tank) and lost steam. Last month, when Sarah over at Ohhh Lulu announced she was having a Valentine's Day sewalong, I used that as motivation to return to my previous plans. I'm so glad I did!

Ta-da! The prettiest thing I've ever made. Part of my 2015 plans had included making a Jasmine Bra, but I never got around to even buying the pattern. I'm super happy I have it now, because I think it's one I'll come back to over and over. It's not complicated to sew, even with stretch lace. The directions are great and Sarah's videos on her YouTube channel are even better.

I made my life infinitely easier by purchasing a bra and underwear making kit from Tailor Made Shop. They sent extra yardage of a lot of items, which was awesome. They shipped quickly and the materials are high quality. I'll definitely be using them again.

When I made the Anna Crossover Bra, I assumed I'd need a FBA because I was nursing. I learned that I didn't really, even though I'm a D cup. So this time I made a small without adjustments and it fits great! I made a muslin to confirm ahead of time, since I am nursing and my cup size varies. Sorry, no modeled photo as even in black and white and with my head cut off, it wouldn't be appropriate! The lace and mesh together are still pretty sheer.

Just listen to all the bra people out there who say you need to basically make a whole bra to get your fit down. This was my first time dealing with rings, sliders, bra back closures, etc. That's what I love about sewing, no matter how long you've been doing it there's always something new to try or learn.

Even though I had the kit, I still ended up using a few notions I'd bought at Sew Sassy Fabrics. The kit came with a hook and eye set that wasn't long enough, but luckily I had hook and eye tape so I could cut it to fit. I also didn't have a G-hook, so I used additional bra strapping on the back T-strap. The bra doesn't unhook here, I just have to pull it over my head.

The underwear looks similar to the Ohhh Lulu Claudia Hipsters pattern, but it's actually "self" drafted. I started with the free pattern from So, Zo... since I've made it a lot and know for sure that it fits. From there, I extended and straightened the sides of the back piece, and shortened and angled the front piece until it looked right.

I did make a muslin and ended up shortening the back rise to better fit the width of the stretch lace (which I believe was 6"). Plus added a center-back seam. The lace was still a little bit narrow but I improvised, and there's a back peek-a-boo triangle where I didn't have enough width.

I also, like an idiot, cut off the scallop along the leg. I was able to piece it back together but c'mon dumb! Don't sew or cut on no sleep. I think these are so cute and if more stretch lace comes my way it will be an easy sew.

I love this cute little set, even if it's mostly impractical. Now all I need are some backless tops in my summer wardrobe so I can show off the bra! Not kidding, I pinned a bunch...

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