My new #TNT dress – Simplicity 2444

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I fell in love with a new pattern – Simplicity 2444! It is a great basic bodice/full skirt pattern. It was part of the Project Runway collaboration so there are several variations so you can “design” your own dress. I always find those variations funny because most of them are things that anyone could do with a little pattern hacking but for those who don’t feel comfortable doing hacking, they are nice.

Continue reading “My new #TNT dress – Simplicity 2444”

Me Made May 2018 : Week 2

Day 7:

Rae Skirt by Sewaholic Patterns in rayon challis from Cali Fabrics

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Day 8:

Emery Dress by Christine Haynes in quilting cotton from JoAnn’s.

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Day 9:

Alex Shirtdress by Sew Over It in rayon challis by Rifle Paper Co bought at Finch Sewing Studio.

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Day 10:

McCalls 7081 shirtdress in quilting cotton. This was the first dress I ever made and I am so excited that it is still going strong. It’s also the dress I get the most compliments on when I wear it – who would’ve thought?!

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Day 11:

Self-drafted pencil skirt in poppy print stretch sateen from Stylemaker Fabrics. I love having a self-drafted skirt pattern that I can just make in any print I like. It takes about an hour from start to finish – an easy and satisfying make!

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Day 12:

Colfax Dress by True Bias Patterns in pink and white stripe lawn. This dress is so comfortable – I’ve made 6 versions of this pattern. I did note that next time I make it, it really needs to be 2 inches longer. Live and learn.

 

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Reflections:

Taking pictures every day is rough y’all! It has made me think a lot about body image, self-confidence and what it means to share images with the world. Here’s what I posted on instagram on day 12:

Are you sick of my face yet?! This month feels like a marathon of picture taking, something I normally hate. It feels self-indulgent to post pictures of myself, ridiculous even. I keep doing it because I want to participate in the sewing community but y’all- the self-confidence struggle is real!

In the over-exposed world we live in, there is a huge amount of pressure to be perfect all the time. We see beautiful pictures on Instagram, curated vlogs on Youtube and amazing DIYs on Pinterest. What we don’t see are all the fails, the bad days, the terrible makes.

The pressure to share only a highlight reel is so high. But remembering that real life is more precious and beautiful can help.

Have you had any insights now that we are almost half-way done with Me Made May?

Royal Wedding Sewalong – the lemon dress!

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This is the second dress I made for the Royal Wedding Sewalong – I couldn’t stop at just one Royal Wedding dress, a girl has to have options if she is going to meet the queen 😉

See my first dress here. 

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This one is made from another stretch sateen from Stylemaker Fabrics. I have been looking for this fabric for months. Ever since I saw this dress on Pinterest…

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Once I found the fabric on Stylemaker I knew that I could make this dress happen. What followed was a fair bit of pattern hacking. I knew that I wanted to use a current McCalls/Simplicity/Butterick pattern so that I could enter the Royal Wedding contest, but I had no idea which one. It wasn’t until someone in the Curvy Sewing Collective facebook group mentioned using a sloper that a lightbulb went off.

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I ended up using Butterick 5627 as my base. Slopers don’t have any ease by design. They are meant to help you know which pattern adjustments you need to make for that company’s patterns. This meant that I needed to add ease – the only question was where?!

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I consulted the Joan Dress pattern by Sew Over It and my new favorite Simplicity 2444 pattern to see where ease should be added and ended up with the most well-fitting dress I have ever made!

Back of Lemon Print Dress

I added a shoulder bow to mimic the inspiration image by sewing rectangles of fabric together and then looping another piece around them. The bow is detachable in case I ever wanted to wear the dress without it.

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The dress is lined with a lightweight stretch cotton, just like the poppy print dress. Lining with a lighter weight material was the right call for this dress, since the fabric is already fairly thick and this is such a close fitting dress.

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I’m pretty pleased with my finished dress! I know that I will find lots of opportunities to wear it this summer, even if my invite to Harry and Meghan’s wedding did get lost in the mail 😉

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Me Made May : Week 1

Week 1 of Me Made May is officially over! Here is a round up of what I wore and what I learned…

Day 1:

Charlie Caftan Pattern by Closet Case Patterns in a cotton voile from Rifle Paper Co.

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Day 2:

Chi Town Chinos Pattern by Alina Design Co.  in khaki bottomweight twill from Fabric Mart Fabrics

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Day 3:

Ogden Cami by True Bias made with Robert Kaufman seersucker with embroidered lobsters.

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Day 4:

Sallie Maxi Dress by Closet Case Patterns in black knit.

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Day 5:

Toaster Sweater #2 by Sew House Seven  in Art Gallery Knit and Ginger Jeans in stretch denim from Fabric.com.

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Day 6:

Toaster Sweater # 2 by Sew House Seven in fabric from Finch Sewing Studio.

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Reflections:

It is funny how only a week of wearing me-mades changes your perspective. I have thought more about my clothing in the past week than every before. Because part of my challenge is taking pictures, I’ve been worried about being “put together” every day. This might seem like a negative but it’s actually been great!

Knowing that my outfits will be photographed has made me try new things to create “interesting” outfits. For instance, I never thought I’d wear a Toaster with wide legged pants, but I did it on Day 6 and loved it.

Another added benefit has been the confidence of wearing things I’ve made. Though I know this is partially due to the care I’ve taken getting ready, it is also because I know my clothes fit and that my own efforts made them. It’s so easy to respond when someone says they like my outfit – “Thanks! I made it!”

Have you had any revelations after 1 week of Me Made May?

Choosing a shirtdress pattern – a denim Kalle shirtdress

This post originally appeared on the Cali Fabrics blog. The fabric was provided by Cali Fabrics but all opinions are my own. 

The time between March and May is difficult dressing season. Waking up in the morning, it’s freezing but by lunchtime you feel ready to don a summer dress!

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A shirt dress is the perfect solution – easy to throw a cardigan over but still cool and casual.

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You may remember this isn’t my first love affair with a shirtdress; last year I made the Alex Shirt dress from orange chambray. Though I was skeptical when I first made it, it’s one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe.

When I saw that March was Kalle Shirtdress Month forProject Sew My Style, I decided it was time for another pattern in my life. I used the Medium Tencel Denim. 

The fabric was perfect for this project but required a few modifications in terms of cutting. It has a tendency to unravel when moved around too much after cutting. I would suggest that you serge the edges as soon as you can.

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The Kalle shirtdress didn’t disappoint. It’s different from the Alex in many ways, certainly enough to justify having both in my wardrobe. If, unlike me, you’re trying to decide which pattern is right for you, I made this handy table:

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Both dresses feature excellent instructions, a back yoke and pleat.

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If you’ve been intimidated to sew a shirtdress, the Alex shirtdress is certainly a little easier, with fewer moving pieces. If you’re ready to have something with more options, try the Kalle.

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So there you have it, my perfect transitional piece! What do you like to wear in early spring?

Royal Wedding Sewalong – the Red Dress

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Everyone who has met me in person, knows that I am a total Anglophile. I live by the Samuel Johnson quote, “When a man tires of London he tires of life.” In fact, this blog started out as a travel diary for my year abroad at the University of Exeter.

When McCall’s announced they were doing a Royal Wedding Sewalong and contest, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to sew up a dress (or two) and take pictures.

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For my pattern, I chose New Look 6262 but after looking at my favorite tried-and-true dress pattern, Simplicity 2444, I decided to switch the gathers to pleats.

This dress is made from red poppy print stretch sateen from Stylemaker Fabrics. Funnily enough, one of the sewalong leaders, Lindsey from Inside the Hem, chose this fabric as well. I guess great minds think alike!

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You bet I got into character and bought a fascinator just for these pictures! It’s amazing how much more festive you feel with a little hat on your head!
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I am very proud of the fit on the back of this dress. Look how smooth it is! The invisible zip went in very well too.
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There isn’t much to say about constructing this dress – it’s a very easy to make dress! I opted for a lined bodice made from stretch cotton sourced at Fabric.com. I was worried that a non-stretch lining would make the stretch sateen main fabric pull funny.
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I’m ready for some royal spotting!   Are you excited for Harry & Meghan’s wedding?

Getting Back Into Blogging

In honor of Me-Made-May  2018 I thought it would be nice to start up my blog again! A lot has happened since I stopped blogging over a year ago, but the biggest thing is that I am now sewing every chance I get! Thought this blog was a primarily reading blog before (and a travel blog before that), now it will be primarily about sewing, with some posts about librarianship and reading thrown in. If that isn’t your cup of tea, you won’t hurt my feelings if you head out!
So you might be wondering – what is Me Made May?
Me-Made-May’18 (#MMMay18 for social media interaction) is a challenge designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to wear and love them more. This challenge works on both a personal and community level. The participants decide the specifics of their own challenge, so that the month is appropriate and challenging for them (more on this below), and aim to fulfil that pledge for the duration of May 2018. Some participants also choose to document their challenge photographically (though this is in no way compulsory for taking part) and share them with other participants.
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My Me Made May pledge for 2018:
I will try to wear one Me Made item each day in May. I will take note of all gaps in my wardrobe and incorporate these into my summer sewing. I will make new items ONLY from my stash during May and will mend items that need it.
Since I promised more sewing, here are a few things I’ve made since I last posted on this blog.
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Rae skirt in Carolina Gingham from Robert Kaufman.
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