June 26, 2013

|~ Hooded+Pocketed Mesh Shirt + Tutorial

Hey y'all! I laid down to rest the other afternoon and was struck with inspiration and determination to do this project, so I hopped up and got started.

It was rather easy and I love how it turned out! Took about 2.5 hours taking my time and enjoying the process.

It features a front pocket and hood with contrasting binding.

I actually did all seams except the sleeves and a little bit on the pockets with my serger, just for the fun of it.

  I took pictures of the process and thought I'd share them. :) I bought my fabric at Spandex House several months ago just to experiment with since it's such a cool material. Here's a link

First, I pulled a favorite t-shirt out of my closet and used it as a pattern. Folding the shirt in half and placing it on on the fold of the fabric, I just cut around the outline of the shirt, adding seam allowance. I should have given myself a little more room (ease), but I didn't realize that the athletic mesh wasn't as stretchy as the shirt I was using as a pattern, so the finished fit is a little tight.

I made the armhole a little bigger as well because of the stretching issue.

 I cut out the back piece first and then used it as a pattern to cut out the front piece, but changed the neckline on the front by carefully copying the V of the original shirt. 

I sewed the shoulder and side seams, then tried the shirt on to test for fit. I took in the sides a little and cut the neckline larger. 

 For the sleeves, I used the pattern from my swimwear eBook. I actually ended up cutting out the sleeves again and making them larger to fit the new armhole better, once again, because my fabric wasn't as stretchy as what I'm used to working with.

I made a elastic casing on the sleeves and inserted elastic that I had cut to size. 

For the hood, I traced a hood on my favorite vest. 

 I doubled the fabric over so I would be sure I came out with two of the same shape.

 I improvised the bottom of the hood and just tapered it off slowly so that it would extend down on the V of the shirt.

 I sewed the hood seam together, and then carefully pinned it onto my neckline. Because I was serging all my seams, I didn't have to worry about exposed edges. (I took this picture before I realized I had it pinned inside out, so don't mind that.)

Where the hood tapers off, I just put it onto the V. I made sure it was even on both sides especially on the front.

I found some white knit fabric and folded it over to make a "binding". I carefully pinned this starting at the front of the V, around the neckline, up onto the hood, and back down to the V again. 

At the front of the shirt I just overlapped the ends and sewed them together along the seam lines. 

 For the front pocket, I just made up the shape. I looked at a couple jackets I had with this style pocket and eyeballed my pattern. I did it in half so that it would be symmetrical.

 I did draw my shape out first and decide what it should look like before I cut. I also cut two pieces of "binding" for the handholes.

I tried the shirt on and decided on the placement of the pocket. Believe it or not the height of the pocket has an effect on how flattering it is.

Then I flipped it up and sewed it to the shirt. 

 Folding it down after trimming the seam, I carefully tucked the side edges under and awkwardly (because of the angle) sewed them down inside the pocket.

 I trimmed off the fabric below the pocket and sewed on a wide binding from my mesh fabric.

Because the mesh is see through, I wear a tank top underneath. I'm so glad I took the time to make it; I think this will be a favorite for many years. :)

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April 23, 2013

|~ Chevron Maxi

They're everywhere, these chevron skirts. I couldn't find a cheap one I was sure would fit online, so I made my own in just a couple hours. I ordered 2 yards of striped fabric from Girl Charlee and eagerly got started.

Stealing some pictures from Fresh Modesty to show y'all. 

I took a couple of phone pictures for those of you who would like to know how I made this. 

I used a combination of my skirt pattern from my eBook and one of my favorite maxi skirts to make a pattern. I folded the skirt in 1/3 and 2/3 pieces and traced to create my off-center pattern.

 Then, I laid them together with seam allowance overlap and used a ruler and protractor to draw the chevron guide lines on. They're aligned at a right-angle.

Laying out the pieces was definitely nerve-wracking. I had absolutely no room for mistakes, so I was praying hard as I lined everything up! I had to do the back as one big piece, but I really like how it's interesting stripes turned out. 

For the waistband, I scavenged the longest piece I could (I think it was the bottom right of the above picture, along the stripes) and folded it over and sewed it on in the yoga-band style. Too easy. 

If you're looking for more specific tips on working with knits or creating a chevron skirt, just google "chevron maxi skirt tutorial". There are so many helpful blog posts out there! Let me know if you have any questions!

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January 21, 2013

|~ Long Sailor Skirt

Ever have a piece of fabric taunt you, begging to be made, but unsure of what/how to make it into? This length of denim was that. I ordered it from Fashion Fabrics Club on clearance, since it was a good price, but I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. A little Pinterest searching, and I realized the Jet Navy Denim piece was destined for sailing. You can take a look at my denim board here.

 We took these pictures after I had sat in church all morning (the fabric's still new, so it's hard to iron in the first place) and after I had worn the skirt to feed the chickens in the wet yard, so you'll have to excuse the wrinkles and mud. :P

 This skirt features a high waistband, button detail, and pleated, but flattering, skirt front.

 It's really comfortable, and is perfect for church. The denim is nice enough and dark enough to be not too casual, and the buttons on the front and the style really class it up. I also foresee it as a BBQ skirt with a striped shirt come summertime.

I grabbed some shots of the process with my iPhone, if you're interested.

To cut the skirt pieces, I used the pattern from my eBook (transferred to the lining of a chicken feed bag for ease of use). For the front, I placed the pattern on the fold, but off-set it by 4" or so to give me fabric for the pleats. 

The back I cut on the selvage edge at the normal width. (BTW, if you don't have one of those heavy magnetic pincushions, you need to get one. I use it as a pattern weight and the world's most convenient pin catcher. My sewing time is drastically reduced by it's saving qualities. This was not sponsored.)

To draft the waistband, I measured my waist (aka where the top of the skirt's waistband would be), divided in two (since we'll have a front and back) and determined the height of my waistband (6" from my waist to my hip), and drew a rectangle with these measurements. I cut it out.

Then I slashed it in half a dozen points from one long edge to about 3/4" from the other. I laid this on another two pieces of paper taped together and splayed it out (with the help of some tape) so that the bottom long edge matched half my hip measurement. 

Cut out 4, with seam allowance added. 

For the front detail, I just folded the ends of the waistband piece towards the center. I held the piece up to me to determine the width. 

I interfaced the piece as well. I just slapped it over the folded under seam allowance so that I wouldn't have to worry about pinning that while I sewed. 

To make sure they lined up, I used the detail piece to measure how/where to fold in my front pleats, making sure to end up with it fitting my hips. 

I laid the front detail over the front waistband piece and just sewed it into the seam as I attached the facing. 
I put in a side zipper, hand-stitched the six front buttons on, and hemmed it to work with heels. :) 
If you'd like more detail on exactly how to do this type of waistband (well, this is a modified version, but the principles and techniques are the same), there are 9 pages of instructions and pictures in my Denim eBook

This sailor style skirt was a super fun and easy project. Once you're comfortable working with denim, a whole range of practical possibilities opens up!

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January 13, 2013

|~ Navy Lace Dress

Hey y'all! I have a project I really enjoyed to share with y'all today. I made this dress to wear to a friend's afternoon winter wedding.
A navy lace dress with square neckline, sheer sleeves, circle skirt, and fitted bodice.
My inspiration was Shabby Apple's I'm Late! I'm Late! dress and other navy lace dresses I saw on Pinterest:

I ordered my stretch lace from Fabrics World USA after getting a free sample. It was well worth ordering. I love how it looks, although it is really clingy to itself. I bought 3 yards and had barely enough.

For the bodice I used a princess seam pattern I've used in the past (McCall's 3129) for the broadcloth underlayer, with a little fitting and changing of the neckline.
For the skirt, I used Butterick 3134 for the underlayer and a 3/4 circle pattern for the outer layer.

I put a zipper in the back, making sure to extend it past the waistline, but not too long to make the skirt lay funky. I still put it on over my head although I can just squeeze enough to step in. I also wear my circle skirt slip underneath to give it more volume and help the skirt lay better.

I didn't hem the lace because it doesn't fray. That was super nice on the sleeves because I didn't hem those either.
For the sleeves, I used a sleeve pattern I drafted years ago (like 2009 ago) and adjusted the curve of the top of the sleeve pattern to fit my bodice. It went together like a dream, and I was so thankful.

To do the lace overlay for the bodice, I layed the front bodice (the princess seams were sewn) and back bodice onto the stretch lace and just kind of ignored the shaping of the pieces and cut out the outline so that when I put the dress on my dressform, the lace would stretch and conform to the underlayer. It was a bit more complicated than it sounds and took many tries of shaping, cutting, and pinning, but it came out and I love it.
To finish the neckline, I just serged the lace and broadcloth together. It was a little tricky to turn the corner on the square, but generally it was simple and easy. The neck does gape a little, so I roll up some scotch tape and just stick the neckline to my skin when I wear it. The professionals use fashion tape, right? ;)

I was planning on doing a navy belt like the Shabby Apple dress, but with my lovely new taupe shoes I decided I needed a matching belt, and oddly found this one in the back of my closet- I had picked it up at a thrift store and forgotten about it. :P

So, there ya go, my navy lace dress! It was worth the time and money (about $40 for fabric) to create something that I know will be a go-to for events and church for years to come. After I'm done a project like this that I'd been putting off for a while, I think, "Now, why didn't I do this before? I have an awesome item now that makes life easier, and only had to suffer a little to get it!" ha. :D

Advice if you want to make one: get a dress form, and double check everything. Lace is super hard to rip seams out of. :P Also, don't rush. I tried to and quickly realized that was not gonna fly. So, I slowed down and it was so worth it. :)
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