Thursday, August 31, 2017

Summer of Basics

A few months ago, I heard about the Summer of Basics via IG (I think Jen from Grainline). A local friend was participating and she gave me a push into trying it, too. The concept was super simple; make three basic pieces in three months. There is a contest happening as well, with some great prizes. Let's take a look at my entry!

It wasn't required to create a whole outfit, but I decided that would be the most fun. I started with a black V-neck t-shirt (a basic I desperately needed) and from there decided on grey shorts, and a black/grey cardigan. It was tricky to get the color scheme just how I wanted it, but it helped that the fabric I used for the cardigan had some texture to it, rather than being a more flat-looking solid.

I can't tell you how many times I've worn this exact outfit! And since the pieces are basic, they work with the rest of my wardrobe too. The linen shorts have been high in the rotation and the merino t-shirt is possibly my favorite garment ever. I was surprised how much fun I had planning a complete outfit. I absolutely flew through making these items because I was so excited to see them all together.

Top: V-neck Union St. Tee from Hey June Patterns. Black merino knit from The Fabric Store.
Shorts: Allegro Shorts from Love Notions Patterns. Silver linen from The Fabric Store.
Cardigan: Self-drafted pattern. Salt and pepper sweater knit from Urban Rag Trader.
Necklace: My new favorite thing, from Layered and Long on Etsy.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Project Runway recap

Every year, I say the same thing: Does anybody actually like the unconventional challenge??? Hate it. I think there should be a big prize and no elimination. Although having the designers work in teams was probably to their advantage with these particular materials.

Spoilers ahead...

Best moment: Considering this was a team challenge on top of an unconventional challenge, I think the contestants kept it together pretty well. Nobody lost their temper or got overly concerned about themselves vs. the team. Is it possible that these designers don't have raging tempers?

Worst moment: I thought the judging and the critiques of Team Tsunami got pretty ugly. Sentell did nothing but try to help the twins and it bit him in the butt. Can you imagine if he hadn't finished Shawn's look for her? The team would have been in the bottom no matter what, but she would've been out for not finishing. She knew she struggled but she let Sentell take the fall. I don't see how Shawn can stay around much longer.

See all the looks here.

Best look: Deyonte's dress with the slits had a big wow factor, as did the braiding on Samantha's top. Other than that I didn't care for hardly any of these looks. Because they were made of garbage.

Worst look: I guess Sentell's was the most boring. But I call foul on a lot of other designs because THEY WERE MADE OF FABRIC. Last time I checked, vinyl is fabric. Team Ballin' on a Budget used that orange vinyl in their entire collection. How did they get away with that??

Best quote: "Some of these pieces still look like garbage!" --Heidi (shhhh...Heidi. It all looks like garbage.)

Next week: Dance as inspiration.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Project Runway recap

Project Runway is back! It feels like forever since the show has been on TV. Looks like a good batch of  contestants this year!

Spoilers ahead...

Best moment: Hands down, it was the introduction of the models. Real people! Imagine that! And a shout out to Ashley from last season, who laid the foundation for this year's changes. Not only are a variety of sizes being introduced, but they're also letting the models *gasp* speak and have ideas. I enjoyed the humanizing and I'm interested to see how it plays out to allow them a more vocal role.

Worst moment: The twins were interesting at first, but once Amy pointed out their weird way of speaking, I couldn't un-hear it. That's going to get annoying. I also thought they were super snooty to say "we dressed Katy Perry" as one of the first things out of their mouths. To me, that kind of desperate self-promotion shows some insecurities.

See all the looks here.

Best look: I was kind of amazed, this was a great show. Nobody fell flat on their face. I was very surprised that Brandon pulled out not only a finished look, but one that worked! That poor guy looked terrified from the second he was on screen.

Aaron's tuxedo reversal was really interesting and clever. My favorite was Kentaro's black and white piano-inspired look. Crazy about it!

Worst look: Shawn's top was interesting but those shorts...all the side eye. They looked cheap and trashy. Batani's was just terrible. The knit was so casual and combined with lace appliqu├ęs and inexplicable pink it made no sense. And she LIED to Heidi! I can't believe she was allowed to stay after that. Samantha's LBD was boring and forgettable and I don't think it's right that she is safe, and someone with a clear vision (even a coo coo one like Cha Cha's) is sent home.

Sentell's dinosaur potato sack was one of the ugliest things I've ever seen.

I know Deyonte was the winner and his dress was pretty, but I honestly thought he was in the bottom. The print was doing most of the heavy lifting and the silhouette wasn't anything new. I thought the judges were going to say that it looked like something you could get at JCPenny.

Best quote: "I don't want to look old, covered up...or like I'm a mom." --Katie, Samantha's model

I could not be more relieved that the first challenge was 100% fair and a great way to start. Red carpet, large budget, let's see what you can do. I think there are some interesting points of view here and the competition is going to be tough. I'm kind of dreading the eventual break up of the twins, or, even worse, an undeserved head to head in the finale for maximum drama. I'm not sure Shawn will be able to hang the whole time compared to her sister.

Next week: Unconventional materials. Groan.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tie-front Santa Fe Top Tutorial

This post contains affiliate links.

My favorite kind of clothing is something simple, with a fun twist. Today I mean that quite literally, as I'm sharing my tutorial for a tie-front top using the Santa Fe pattern from Hey June!

I've seen these tie-front tops all over Pinterest, and actually Hey June already has a pattern for a version in a woven fabric. But I wanted one in a knit, and didn't feel like purchasing another pattern for this feature. I figured it would be easy enough to do with any pattern that has a center front seam. I chose the Santa Fe because in addition to the seam I needed, it has extra ease due to the swing hemline. The ease is needed so you can tie the top without it being too tight.

My previous Santa Fe, you can see the swing hem

To start, lay out your pattern piece with extra paper on top or below (I used Swedish tracing paper from Amazon). Line up the straight edge of the center front seam and the edge of the paper. I like to do this on top of my cutting mat so I can use the lines.

I made a complete guesstimate as to how long of a tie I needed. I marked 5" down from the end of the original pattern piece. Spoiler alert: this amount was perfect.

Using a curved ruler (mine are from a great little kit I ordered on Amazon...can you tell I have Prime?) I sketched out a tie shape that ended at my 5" mark.

You can see the size, roughly, of my tie using the grid beneath. Each square is 1". Using a second ruler I blended the curve up to the original hemline.

Here is my completed pattern piece.

The last step is to mark a point on the front of the pattern piece where you will stop stitching the center front seam. Again, I guesstimated at 5" up from the hemline.

Mark this place on your fabric. You MUST sew this center front seam with a straight stitch on your sewing machine to ensure the split for the tie works correctly.

Complete the top as instructed, except that you end your center front stitching at the mark mentioned above, and you DO NOT HEM. If you can find a person who has hemmed a Santa Fe I'll give you a dollar...even the designer for Hey June has admitted that her samples are not hemmed! I have washed this shirt (made from a rayon knit from Raspberry Creek) a few times and not run into any issues with distortion. Just be sure to secure your stitches in the center front with some good backstitching.

I've just about exhausted my drapey knits in my stash, otherwise I would have made a few more of these! Proceed at your own risk with something more stable like jersey or cotton/lycra. They'll probably turn out fine but the look will be slightly different.

Have you jumped onto the tie front trend?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

UFO Manila Leggings

I rarely end up with UFOs (unfinished objects) since I don't work on more than one project at a time. I do have a pile of cut-but-not-sewn kids' clothes, or never-getting-to-this repairs, but there are very few things in the just-didn't-finish stack. These leggings were one of those, and I'm so glad they're done!

I started these two and a half years ago (!!) but they were abandoned due to fit issues. These are the Manila leggings, an old Seamwork Magazine pattern. I was pregnant when I worked on these, so when the fit issues occurred I set them aside to be finished postpartum. Except postpartum only lasted four months and then I was pregnant again haha! So now, here I am again, but one year past my last baby and not planning on any more.

I had an afternoon to myself and without anything pressing to do, and with black serger thread already in place I was able to quickly finish these leggings. I basically pinned and cut and resewed wherever I needed to make them fit. They aren't the prettiest any more, due to shortening the rise without cutting a new waistband, but they're functional. They are TIGHT since this fabric (ponte) doesn't have much stretch. They are shorter than drafted, also due to stretch issues and y'know, wanting to get these up my calves.

The petal cuff is cute but the petals do not overlap as much as drafted. I had to shorten the leg, which meant the opening for the cuff is larger than intended. It still works, I think, just don't take this as an example of how it's supposed to look!

We're having an unseasonably cool August so these capri leggings are perfect for quick errands or around the house. This month has been busy with back-to-school (or rather, first time to school!) and we've also been tackling painting projects around the house. This is my newly-painted kitchen, which used to be yellow. So if the blog is a little quiet in the next few weeks, you know why!

Flat-felled seaming

What's the longest you've let a UFO languish, and actually finished it? These would have been tossed long ago, but the embossed ponte is amazing and I couldn't give up on it.

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