So in a few days we start our Summer Dress in Double-Gauze sew-along. If you’re looking to schedule something for July, consider joining us in the Jalie-kini build! Jalie is one of my favorite pattern companies ever, with a large pattern size range, and an increasingly impressive catalog of print or pdf loungewear, dancewear, activewear, and underwear patterns.
So in honoring my son’s request for a “cowboy shirt”, I became rather obsessed with a version in an old black and white of a roots-rock artist. I decided to clone the shirt in this old photo, and as I wait for the chambray fabrics to arrive I put together an oh-so-wearable muslin in homespun:
My Tea & Crumpet dress sew-along starts April 1st. I have made two of these dresses and they are lovely. While they are full-coverage and modest, they are also short and barely feel like wearing a dress at all! The pattern allows you to build a fitted, semi-fitted, or loose option.
Shown here: a fitted option in wool crepe, lined in a silk jersey. Fits perfectly, feels incredible!
I took about a billion detail shots, as this wool crepe was entirely too beautiful for words.
Welp, peeps. I have had a BUGGER of a time with my sew-alongs lately. Almost everything that can go wrong, has been going wrong – short of my blog somehow catching fire and burning down.
That said, I am growing increasingly sure I want to keep offering these online sewing lessons! To that end, now is the time to give me any input for future sew-alongs. In this post, I offer a preview of some garments I’m planning on leading us through in the near future. Remember, in about two weeks we’ll begin the Tea & Crumpet sew-along. I hope you’ll be joining us!
Do I even need to explain why I love this hoodie? No, no I don’t. First of all, hoodies are awesome and I might fight you if you disagree.
But also: I mean, this hoodie? Check it!
Colorblocked – very on-trend, but always awesome. An inset kangaroo pocket with welt openings. A hood overlap and drawstring. I mean – COME ON! The pattern comes in a children’s version (size 6/12mos. to 16), a women’s version (bust 31″ to 51 1/2″), and will soon debut a men’s version!
Now, the Elevation hoodie’s instructions are so wonderful that, frankly, I can’t see room for improvement. But I can put the piece together with volumnous up-close photos, give you my special tips on working with knit fabrics, and showcase a lovely bamboo french terry from Nature’s Fabrics.
So for the mid-to-late summer? Well – you tell me! I’m pretty sure I’d like to make up a pair of stretch jeans: again, from a custom-fit pattern metric. I could always lead us through a swimsuit for summer – find me a good pattern! One of these days I’d like to showcase on of Hot Patterns‘ garments – they have a wonderful size range, and ardent fans – and of course, I adore Jalie patterns more than a body should. In fact, there are so many good patterns out there it’s hard to narrow it down!
So that’s it – for the time being. I’m open to suggestions as always!
Hello you fabulous stitchers! Today I am announcing my April sew-along: a short, very feminine spring dress I have been calling the tea & crumpet!
Yes, someone’s been re-living the nineties! This feminine spring dress can also be worn with traditional heels or flats. My second sample of the dress will be a 40s-inspired wool crepe and yes, I will be posting soon!
As per usual, finishing is perfect: including an invisible zipper…
and vintage buttons from my stash.
For more, you can dilly-dally through my Flickr tagset, or read my pattern review, to know more. For now – let’s just sigh at my pretty young daughter in her pretty li’l dress!
Jury’s out on the quality of Cotton + Steel fabrics. I haven’t heard anything bad yet, and I haven’t researched. They certainly have some of the loveliest designs, at least to my aesthetic. This yardage wasn’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last!
I have put together three patterns from Bootstrap Fashion in the last couple weeks, and I am impressed. For those stitchers not yet in the know, Bootstrap uses algorithms to craft a custom pattern. You measure yourself, plug your body’s specs into their fields, and receive a pattern via PDF – in whatever printer width you require! (Um, joy!)
I wouldn’t go so far as to guarantee nothing will go wrong – but in three garments of varying levels of complexity – nothing has gone wrong. The sheath dress with asymmetrical draping shown here fit my daughter perfectly!
Most people would have a hard time sewing with this fabric. But treating the silk – and the lining – appropriately yields great results.
And I made a video – my first-ever! Check it!
So, there are many ways to work with silks and what non-sewists might call “fancy” fabrics – in fact, I’m enrolled in a Craftsy course on sheers. People will fiddle with starch- or gelatin-washes to get the fabric to behave in a more paper-like fashion. And I’ve done those things – with decent-enough results (although please note: not every fabric is starch- or gelatin-friendly and not everyone will want to use gelatin). Stabilizers (wash-away, tacky or non-tacky, etc) also can help – and y’all know I’m a huge fan of using those!
However I’ve found that superior silk and sheer results can be accomplished by a few guidelines:
1. selecting the highest-quality fabric you can afford (always! honor your craft!) 2. cut pattern pieces in a single layer – without folding, ever 3. cutting via rotary (so as not to lift the fabric) and using a sheet of paper under the fabric while cutting 4. making sure the fabric is entirely supported while cutting, sewing, serging, pressing, and interfacing (in other words – that it isn’t sagging off the table) 3. using the proper needle (usually a sharp, for a sheer woven) 5. not disturbing the garment pieces after cutting; sew them as soon as possible 6. sewing slowly! take your time to really love the experience!
On that note: notice above, the edge I’m turning up to set a tailor’s tack. Like I said: paper works well for not just cutting, but handling. In this case, the static electricity of the paper under the fabric “glues” the fabric and keeps it from shifting while I apply these tacks. Using paper yielded pieces cut accurately and perfectly on-grain, so I was able to confidently underline with a rather annoying exciting fabric – a Bemberg rayon.
For the bodice: in every way except the neckline, the bodice is underlined. The neckline – which I created after stitching the shoulders of both shell and underlining – is stitched, graded, and understitched. Maybe you’ve asked – “but how do I get a beautiful invisible zipper installation, Black Dynamite?” Well I’ll tell you! You interface your shell, you serge-stitch that seam allowance together for a tidy 3/8″ (and hide the serge-tail at the neckline), and your zipper tape will hide the beautifully-finished seam! BOOM!
This dress pattern featured seamless cap sleeves. A baby hem was out of the question – the curve around the armscye wasn’t playing! Instead I cut 1 1/4″ bias strips and made enough length to comfortably finish both sleeves. I sewed staystitching at the seamline (3/8″ allowance), trimmed to 1/8″, then measured and finished the bias-strip binding via diagonal seam (in other words, made a tube of bias-strip). Then I pinned around the armscye, stitched, pressed, and carefully hand-tacked the bias fold to the underlining.
The hem – easy-peasy. I let the dress hang for a bit (keep in mind the asymmetrical draping of this dress will make a perfectly-behaved hem a bit of a challenge), then put the dress on my model – in her correct undergarments and heels – and marked the hem, pinning the underlining to the shell. I then sewed 1/4″ from the marked hemline, trimmed off excess, finger-pressed, then flipped again to stitch a hem. Beautiful!
For the belt, I used a pumice-colorway sateen and tore along the grain to get the perfect strip. I used a 7/8″ grosgrain to give body to the belt, and applied snaps in a colorway that matched the dress: (OH MY I am loving oyster/bone/pumice/etc colors this summer!) And of course: a hand-crotcheted belt carrier – shown here at one of the dress’ two invisible zippers. Since I don’t like the look of a zipper in the skirt of a dress, and since this bodice is quite fitted at the waist, I needed another zipper: I am not even lying that I owned that invisible zipper installation – with a cheesy plastic invisible zipper foot, too! I even installed the side-seam zipper in the side with the large gathers! #bigPimpin
The dress fit is amazing. The hand, drape, and breathability of the fabric is the loveliest I’ve seen in a while. I think I might have to make myself a dress like this – then wait to get asked to a summer wedding or formal event.
Today, alas, is our final day of sew-a-long. We will be constructing the side seams, hems, waistband, and belt carriers. And while today is certainly image-heavy, it’s a piece of cake. Not to mention I have a few tricks up my sleeve with that waistband that will probably influence every waistband you sew!