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M6883 Winslow Culotte Mashup

This dress was no joke. I started it all the way back in April for a wedding coming up next weekend. I wanted to give myself plenty of time to try pattern adjustments and make muslins. I’m glad I had that mindset when starting because M6883 was not a pattern that wanted to fit me out of the envelope!

Below on the left is a straight size 6. I read somewhere that it is better to cut a size based on your shoulders if you have narrow shoulders because it is easier to let the waist out than to take the shoulders in. Clearly there were some other issues aside from narrow shoulders. In the second version, I lengthened the top pattern pieces by 1.25″ and graded the waist to a size 10. In the third version, I did a 1″ forward shoulder adjustment and an SBA – I have to share the tutorial once I remember which one I used as I think it worked well. I also shortened the waist by 1″.

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By the time I finished adjusting the bodice, I didn’t feel like dealing with the bottom. I plugged the skirt in pretty much as is. Yes, I look pregnant slash like a stuffed sausage in version 1. Unfortunately, it looked like I had to adjust the skirt too, so I think – I don’t quite remember – I cut a larger skirt size, let out the darts a little in the front, and sewed large concave darts in the back to minimize the sway back. I even lined the bodice so I could get a better picture of what the final dress would look like.

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Even though the front of version two had some excess fabric, I was happy with it and thought I was almost done. However, by the time I had finished sewing the bodice in the real fabric (stretch sateen from Hancocks Fabrics), the waist had stretched out so much that it didn’t fit the waist of the skirt. I forced them to line up, sewed the invisible zipper in, and slipstitched the lining close before I realized how ugly it looked. The waist seam looked “puffy”. I unpicked and redid the slipstitching several times, thinking the puffiness was caused by an issue with the lining. Finally, I took apart the skirt as well and acknowledged that the bodice was stretched all out of shape. For the fix, I took a 2 inch wedge out of the center of the bodice as well as took 1″ out of each side seam to make it fit snugly!

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The skirt wasn’t looking so good either so I decided to skip the fitted skirt and opt for something with little fitting necessary. I considered doing a gathered skirt or a circle skirt but didn’t have enough fabric. Then I thought the inverted pleats from the Winslow Culottes I made recently would go well with the V of the neckline. I managed to squeeze just enough fabric for the Winslow Culottes skirt hack out of scraps and the skirt that I had taken apart.

Just a note, hacking the Winslow Culottes into a skirt is super easy. Just draw a straight line down from the waist to base of the leg along the inner most curve of the crotch. Basically, this turns the pattern into a rectangle. You could definitely do this without the Winslow Culottes, but since I have the pattern and love how the pleats in it look, I thought I’d save myself some effort. I did adjust the positioning of the pleats a little to match up with the bodice seams though.

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With that, after 4 months of putting this off and working on other projects, I finished this dress! It has its flaws with a not-so-invisible invisible zipper and wrinkles here and there, but the verdict is I love it! It’s different from anything else I already have in the closet and I worked so hard to get it this fitted. I would definitely try it again with a less stretchy fabric, or if I find another pretty stretch sateen, I’ll stay stitch the heck out of it.

Lil Luxe Starlight City Women’s Dress

Summer is wedding season, and while I don’t have that many weddings to attend, I am determined to make something for all the ones I can. For a bachelorette party, I had it in my mind to make something black in a body con style. Lately, I’ve been less focused on trying all the new patterns (although I’m still buying them) and more focused on playing with TNT patterns with a few tweaks here and there. I ended up choosing to make another version of the Lil Luxe Starlight City Women’s Dress in black lace. This idea, and fabric, came from one of the pattern testers, whose awesome version can be found here.

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The main fabric is a black stretch lace from FabricMart and the lining is a nude lining from Fabric.com that I bought three years ago. Yay for stash busting! The lace had 40% stretch widthwise and 80% lengthwise. Since the pattern calls for 50% four-way stretch, I decided to size up to size S (still petite). For reference, I am on the high end of the XS range and my first version in fabric with 80% stretch was a little snug, which is why I was firm on sizing up.

In addition to what’s required by the instructions, I cut lining for the skirt. The only other difference was the extra step added to make the lace twist back work. I don’t know why but my brain was malfunctioning that night, and I had to try a few methods before realizing the correct one. To make the twist back, cut two pieces of the back pattern in lace, and one in lining fabric. Put one piece of the lace on top of the lining right side up, then the other piece of the lace on top of the first piece of lace right side down. Sew them together as directed in the instructions, then flip the top piece of lace around the other two pieces so that the lining is sandwiched between the two laces. Then you can do the twist and follow the rest of the instructions as is pretty much.

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I had rotated this fabric when cutting because I wanted the circles to run horizontally instead of vertically, so I thought I was being so smart by cutting the pieces so I could use the selvedges as the hems. When I posted this thought on Instagram, I got the most amazing advice to cut along the circles to make scalloped hems instead. Thank you sewing community! The main interest is in the back of the dress so I love that the scallops make the front look a little fancy, too.

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Finally, I wore this out last night in the 96 degree heat wave that we have been having on the East Coast. This dress – with the big back cutout – was seriously meant to be. What I loved most though is not only how I felt great in this dress (although I do think it is a little too tight/revealing and I need some time in the gym if I want to wear it again) but how surprised my friends were to hear that I made it and how it made them excited and curious to learn to sew. Seriously, I would kill for a few people around me to share this hobby with in real life!

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Simplicity 1887 – V2

When I started thinking about what to make for my first blog post as a Cali Fabrics contributor, I knew I wanted to use a TNT pattern to be safe but feel comfortable enough to try some hacks. I’m glad I ended up choosing S1887, because a few days into starting it, I went on vacation with the original pair and lost them. It was such a bummer because they were so breezy and comfortable. On the bright side, because I made them, I could make them again, right? That’s one of the perks of sewing!

For the hack, I knew I wanted to try a different look with sturdier fabric than the crepe de chine. While overall I loved the pattern, the ties kept getting undone, so I was inspired by Erica Bunker’s version to make a D-ring belt instead. I also wanted to make welt pockets just because welt pockets are cool and not at all because I ever use welt pockets.

Now I’m going to keep the post short because I ramble about it over at the Cali Fabrics blog along with my inspiration photos. Hope you’ll give it a visit as there are some great makes and tips from other bloggers over there as well as a $100 Cali Fabrics certificate giveaway going on that I mentioned last post!

Pattern adjustments to Size 8:

  1. Shortened crotch by 2″ (adjusted with the original pair)
  2. Used one piece of elastic for the waistband instead of two (adjusted with the original pair)
  3. Turned curved pockets into slant pockets
  4. Added welt pockets using this tutorial and free template from Nicole at Home
  5. Shortened the right waist tie by 7″ in to hold the D-rings
  6. Attached 1 1/2″ D-rings

Thoughts:

  1. Welt pockets are easy to sew, hard to keep them straight and aligned with each other (they should also be positioned closer to the crotch and not the center of the pants – this makes sense but I wasn’t sure until I checked my RTW pants with welt pockets)
  2. D-ring belts are awesome
  3. I still love this pattern

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I’m a little iffy on the back view as I don’t know why the elastic bunches funny in the back. It wasn’t like that with the first pair. But with a little massaging, the wrinkles go away.

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I think I’m finally getting into the hang of sewing, and finally understanding how others can sew faster than they blog. It is so fun to find a TNT pattern and make it your own. I have a few other makes with little twists to them and I can’t wait to share them soon. Thanks for reading!

Cali Fabrics Giveaway & Inspiration!

Several weeks ago, I saw Cali Fabrics post an ad on IG, calling for sewing bloggers to join the team and help revamp their blog content. Fast forward, two secret-sewing-projects that-I-can’t-wait-to-share-soon later, I’m happy to announce the new blog has launched! I am officially a part of the Cali Fabrics family as a blog contributor along with ~20 other talented ladies!

As contributors, we will share our makes, fabric reviews as well as sewing tips every so often over at the Cali Fabrics blog. A few posts are already up so head on over to see what I’m talking about.

Also, to celebrate the launch of the new blog, Cali Fabrics is hosting a $100 giveaway!! With that, I’ll leave you with the link to the giveaway details page below and some inspiration photos along with my top fabric picks and patterns they can be paired with.

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White Striped Midweight Cotton Sweater Knit | Seamwork Astoria Sweater

I like this and similar fabrics because I can’t knit but I love the look of a nice cable knit sweater!

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Blue and White Island Tribal Rayon Challis Print | B6052 | Bright Tribal Cold Shoulder Maxi Dress

I don’t have a lot of formal events to go to but I could see shortening View C to knee-length and pairing it with rayon challis to make it nice and casual. I saw a version of this on McCall Pattern Company’s new Facebook group and I had to buy the pattern immediately.

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Simplicity 1067 | Black and Offwhite Windowpane Check Wool Jaquard Coating | LV Pre-Fall 2014 Collection

Sorry to be a tease as this fabric is actually sold out on the site for now, but I had to share the inspiration! Imagine a reversible coat in View D, minus the pockets, plus the belt. Now I just have to wait for the fabric to come back in stock…

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Hey June Santa Fe Top

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I am on a roll! Newly added to my list of TNT patterns is the Hey June Santa Fe top down – a loose flowy tank or dolman sleeve top with side insets for color or fabric blocking options. After seeing the pattern tester roundups, I decided I needed to have View E in my closet. Not only is View E cute, but it is super easy to put together with only 6 pieces including the neck and arm bindings.

I cut a straight XS due to the large amounts of ease. The only changes I made were to turn the neck and arm bindings into facings, and shorten the hem by 3″. I tried the neck binding at first but found it a little bulky. I had trouble unpicking the seams though, so I cut the binding off and cut a a new piece to use as a band. Unfortunately, I didn’t account for the increased length of the neck opening so the neckband was too short and causes some gathering in the front. As for the hem, it actually falls at the right place – below the hips – according to the pattern envelope without alterations. However, when pairing them with shorts, the top is so long, it looks like I’m running around without pants on! So out came the scissors…

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The inset is made from some scraps left over from a mysterious black knit from one of Fabric Mart‘s bundles. The main fabric is a yarn dyed cotton rayon span jersey blend from LA Finch Fabrics. It curls when cut but I was too impatient to wait for my spray starch to arrive so I went ahead without it. Luckily, with a little bit of pinning, there were no issues. It’s super soft and comfy!

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This is the original length before I shortened the hem. No good, right? For reference, I am 5’1″, about 5 inches shorter than the woman this is designed for. I was hoping I could get away without shortening as I heard some people around my height didn’t need to, but I think I’m not quite busty enough to pull that off, haha.

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It’s swooshy!

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The lattice window is my go-to backdrop for sewing pictures now but it turns out the Santa Fe top is the perfect top for scrambling around on kid’s playgrounds🙂

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Lil Luxe Starlight City Women’s Dress

I stumbled upon and fell in love with this pattern a while back through Instagram. Lil Luxe Collection is an Indie pattern company that specializes in the cutest little girl’s clothes but recently they release the women’s version of the Starlight City dress. Even though I own a million patterns already and really wanted to let this one slide, I couldn’t help but pick it up during a Memorial Day Sale. The biggest reason why? Because it comes with petite sizing! Whattt? No narrow shoulder adjustment, no need to shorten the waist?? Cute back detail without needing to go braless? Yes, please.

I chose to go with the gathered dress option, but it comes with options to wear it as crop top + skirt or a body con dress. I cut a straight XS petite, and just for reference, I am the largest measurements in the XS range. I did make a little mistake when I chose the fabric, as it’s supposed to have 50% 4-way stretch and my fabric only has 30% lengthwise. As a result, the waist is a little short on me, and my bra shows unless I make a point to tuck it under the twist. Luckily, it stays put once I tuck it in. I also used 1 1/4″ elastic for the waistband instead of 1 1/2″ and it worked fine. The only slight changes I made when sewing where to hem the sleeves and skirt at 5/8″ and shorten the hem by 4″.

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The pattern itself is great! As with most PDF’s I’ve used, it comes with layering options so you can print the size you need. The gathered skirt is just a rectangle so the measurements are given rather than pattern pieces to save paper. The front and back bodice are lined for a clean finish at the neckline and back twist. You can just serge the side seams but the pattern also includes instructions on how to fully line the bodice so you can make a reversible crop top. Another awesome feature is that the waistband can actually be flipped up or down. In this picture, I’m wearing it flipped up, but later as I was walking around, it was very obvious it was higher than my natural waist (because of my fabric choice!), so I flipped it down and it is way more comfortable. This was another quick sew, one “day” to cut, two “days” to sew.

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I saved a lot of time by not changing my serger thread, hehe.

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The fabric is a Space Dye Lena Burgundy Jersey Knit from LA Finch Fabrics. It is a tri-blend of rayon poly spandex with practically 80% stretch selvedge to selvedge. (That being said, that is more stretch than required by the pattern and is snug on. I have another fabric planned for this pattern that only has 40% stretch and I plan to size up!) It is super comfy and the edges curl when cut, but not too unbearably so. It was easy to sew through multiple layers of this fabric and it doesn’t feel bulky on. The only thing I “changed” was that I used the wrong side of this fabric. You can see below the lighter side is actually the right side. It is pretty too, and has a little shimmer, but I think the darker color would be more flattering on my skin tone. I hope no one calls me out on this one day when I’m walking around…

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I did wear this out, hot off the serger, to the mall with a friend. She liked it, and asked if I made it. My reaction to that question is always “oh no, how did she know? I wonder what gave it away? Should I even wear it out ever again if looks homemade?” Is it just me or does anyone else think like this?

Oh, I also tried out the Vive virtual reality headset in the Microsoft store while at the mall. I shot space pirates while wearing this dress. I have a feeling we’ll be making some more memories this summer.🙂

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New to Me – Winslow Culottes

[ I originally wrote this post to participate in the Indie Pattern Month New to Me Contest. Click here to check out the other entries and fun upcoming contests! ]

The Winslow Culottes is probably not only new to me, but new to all of you out there as well! Helen of Helen’s Closet, the creator, is super sweet and has agreed to let me enter my tester’s version of her very first women’s pattern in IPM 2016! With that being said, please keep in mind I sewed this pattern based on the original pattern. It may be altered based on the feedback from all the testers before the final release around July 1st. Also keep in mind how awesome it looks even before any changes😉

A few weeks ago, I noticed a pattern tester call for the Winslow Culottes on Instagram. I immediately fell for the big pleats and how effortlessly put together they make a person look. However, I already owned a TNT culotte pattern, so I fought the urge to sign up. Helen later posted some more versions of the culottes she had made in different lengths and prints, and by the next day, I had filled out that pattern testing form.

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Luckily, I can say there are no regrets! Here’s the pattern description: “The Winslow Culottes are wide-legged pants designed for ultimate comfort and style. This pattern is intended to be made at any length, from shorts to full length palazzo pants. The design features inseam pockets and inverted box pleats.” While the inseam pockets and inverted box pleats alone are enough to win me over, another feature I really love is how the side seams and hems are straight. Helen points out that this pattern is perfect for easy matching of plaids and stripes – can’t we all use a little help with that? Straight hems are also great so fabrics (or at least rayon challis) don’t stretch all out of shape and hem easily.

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I cut a size 6 at the waist and graded down to a size 4 with no issues. I haven’t heard a lot of comments of sizing issues so far either. My version is View B, which is supposed to be a couple of inches above the knees. Since I am 5’1″ and a good few inches shorter than the woman the pattern is designed for, it pretty much hits me at the knees. I could have shortened it – probably to the length of View A – but I like this look for work paired with heels.

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For the fabric, I used a 100% polyester box weave blouse weight woven challis from FabricMart. While it is “blouse weight” and a little see-through if you hold it up to the light, the pleats seem to do a good job of hiding what needs to be hidden. I love the drape and how comfortable these culottes are. While I went for the more fluid look, structured fabrics can actually be used for the View A shorts as well. Check out all of Helen’s beautiful versions here.

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One last thing I wanted to call out is what a quick sew these are. There are only four pattern pieces total, and as the self-crowned slowest sewist ever, it took me about three days to make them up. I don’t mean full twenty-four hour days or anything like that either – just how ever many hours I could squeeze for each day. I spent one “day” piecing together the pattern and cutting the fabric, the second “day” sewing almost everything together, and the third “day” hemming…

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I really do love my culottes. They look professional at work and allow me to sit cross legged at my desk without feeling too scandalous… Well, I hope you like them as much as I do! If you do, don’t forget to look out for the pattern release coming soon!