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Day and Night Dress Challenge – Night Version of M6833

When I first learned about the Day and Night Dress Challenge hosted by Elizabeth Makes This, I thought it was a cute but crazy idea. Make two dresses in twenty days?! Is that even possible? Well, apparently it is! It turns out the secret behind sewing fast is sewing tried and true patterns. After all, it is the muslining and adjustments that take the most time.

In the first week of January, I had started a muslin of the dress for my Cali FabricsĀ blog post. It went surprisingly smoothly for a fitted dress and by Jan 24 I was done with the real thing. (Keep an eye out for that post because that Ā dress is my all time favorite make for now.)

In between making the day dress, I fell for yet another FabricMart sale and snagged up three amazing black based fabrics, and I knew it was meant to be.

With about a week left in the Day and Night Dress challenge, I knew I didn’t have time to muslin yet another new pattern so I had to pick from my TNT stash. I ended up choosing the M6883 Winslow Culottes frankpattern – which I made up not long ago here – to go with this beautiful ombrĆ© jacquard suiting from FabricMart.

I knew I wanted to use this fabric because it has a lot of body perfect for the pleats in the skirt.Ā It also holds the shape of the skirt better than the cotton sateen I used last time. In fact, I had planned to attach horsehair braid to add more body to the hem, but found I didn’t need it in the end.

That being said, the downsideĀ of the fabric is that it is a little stiffer, and with the sheen, any wrinkles are very obvious. The bust darts ended up very pointy, and after several tries, I had a make it work moment and turned the darts into some bust pleats like in the Tilly & the Buttons Fifi Pajamas pattern:

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The only other change I made was to install a centered zipper instead of invisible because I had purchased the wrong length zipper and the only one I could find on the night of the challenge deadline was a brown regular zipper. IĀ found that I like installing centered zippers more, because it is easier to align the seams, but it does bother me a little that I can see a peek of brown.

I don’t imagine I’ll have that many events to wear this dress to, so I’m still debating whether to switch out the zipper or not, but overall I love it! This plus the day dress was a great way to kick off the new year. If you like it too,Ā please check out the challenge page and show it some love with a vote! (Clicking the heart in the top right of the picture) There are also some other inspiring entries there, so enjoy!

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Desmond Roll Top Backpack

Sewing has taken a little bit of a backseatĀ to work, school, vacation and what seems like a 2 month long cold, butĀ I finally squeezed in one last project for 2016. And it’s a special one too – my first unselfish make!

What feels like forever ago, I visited two friends in Austin. On top of an already awesome agenda they had planned, they also indulged me in aĀ trip to a sewing shop!Ā I thought then that I would if I were ever to feel confident enough to sew gifts for someone, it would have to be for them. One of them is going on a trip to Greece soon, and since fitting an outfit for someone a time zone away is out of the question, I decided to go forĀ the Desmond Roll Top Backpack for her travels.

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I bought the pattern specifically for this gift but I can’t wait to use it again.Ā The instructions are very detailed and thought out from reinforcing certain seams to cutting the straps at different angles to accommodate for broad vs. narrow shoulders. I am used to having to make narrow shoulder adjustments for patterns but never thought about doing that for a backpack!Ā If you’d like to have your hand held as you sew the Desmond, you can even follow along the sew along on Taylor Tailor’s website. It helps to reference photographs ratherĀ than drawings when figuring outĀ whether piecesĀ need to sit right side up or down. You can find the first step to the sew along here.

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Another potential perk of this pattern is that you can buy the pattern with the hardware kit included. The quality of the hardware looks good too! However, I decided to try sourcing my own on Etsy. The price comes out more or less the sameĀ as buying from the pattern website but I ordered some supplies for a future project as well to save on shipping. I highly recommend the seller SewingSuppliesĀ for the reasonable prices and great customer service. They actually refunded me a few dollars after shipping since shipping costs were lower than originally estimated!

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The straps are my favorite part of the bag.

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You can’t see much but I destashed some stretch denim to use as lining. There are four open pockets on the inside. The only issue I have here is that I should have changed the serger thread to black instead of being a lazy bum.

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I actually named this backpack ‘Toad’ because it looks like it has a face, especially when stuffed. In this picture, Toad is stuffed with a small blanket. It still has room for more!

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I’ll be shippingĀ it off tomorrow, hoping that its new owner will like it! Wish me luck šŸ™‚

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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 makeĀ 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 pluggedĀ 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 – IĀ cut a larger skirt size, let outĀ 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 happyĀ 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.Ā 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!Ā 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 safeĀ 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.Ā 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 belowĀ 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 |Ā Black and Offwhite Windowpane Check Wool Jaquard CoatingĀ | 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 theĀ Hey June Santa Fe topĀ down – a loose flowy tank or dolman sleeve top with side insetsĀ for color or fabricĀ blocking options. After seeing the pattern tester roundups, IĀ 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 onlyĀ 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 pieceĀ 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 gatheringĀ 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 fromĀ 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?Ā 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 šŸ™‚