Plum Wool Wren

I wear a dress at least once a week. It is super fun during the summer but I don’t have a lot of winter dresses. I thought the Wren dress from Colette with long sleeves would be the perfect winter dress.

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I also wanted to make it out of wool knit fabric for extra warmth.  I ordered the fabric from mood. When I got it the first thing that stood out was the weight. This fabric was SO HEAVY as one continuous piece of fabric. I love the color and the fabric is not too itchy.

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I wanted to do the gathered skirt version since I didn’t think the gored skirt version would be super flattering. Because my fabric is so heavy I took out a total of eight inches of fullness from the skirt. I also shortened the skirt by two inches. Since the fabric is bulky I wouldn’t have been able to gather it as much as with a thinner fabric. I also should have removed some of the bulk from the gathers on the front neckband but I didn’t.

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When I finished the dress and tried it on there were definite issues. The seam at the waistline was very wobbly and at the back it stuck way out. I ended up cutting the skirt from the bodice and trying again. I wrapped the bodice a little tighter so there was less fabric at the back of the dress. When I reapplied the elastic I was very careful to have consistent tension throughout and as a result the gathers are more consistent. Here are some photos where you can see some of the issues with the dress:

There was a noticeable improvement after I made those changes but there is was still some extra fabric at the back bodice. I ended up taking the dress in at the side seams 1 inch at each side for 4 inches of less fabric all around. This helped to straighten out the waist seam significantly. I probably could take it in an additional inch or two to really pull the waist in closer to my body.

 

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There have been a couple other people mention issues with the gathered skirt version feeling “maternity” which I can definitely see. I think this is partially to do with the height/placement of the gathers. I’ve seen some really great Wrens with the gored skirt and in a thinner fabric so I may try this pattern again at some point in the future.

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Carolyn PJs

The Carolyn Pajamas are Closet Case Files make. I love the style of the Closet Case Files patterns so I know this will be the first of many! I wanted some options so I decided to make the the short sleeve top and pants and the shorts.

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I got the fabric from Hellgate fabrics. I love that the fabric is so happy and that it gives off Japanese vibes. I ended up having way more fabric than I needed. I think this is because I simply added the amount I needed for the pants to the amount needed for the short sleeve top and shorts combo. I also cut the pieces in a single layer which takes up way less fabric.

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I made the piping from some Kona cotton and cord I got at Joann’s. First I made the fabric in to bias tape and then sewed the piping in place using the tutorial on Closet Case Files. It’s a little stiff (I think due to the cord I used) but I think it will soften up with wear. This was my first time using piping and it was pretty fun and actually easier than I thought. I love the end result! I did find stitching over two layers of piping to be very difficult (especially for the pocket). Next time I’m going to try cutting the cord out of the seam allowance so the piping isn’t doubled up there.

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I french seamed all of my seams, which wasn’t hard but took a while, mostly due to the amount of ironing required, but I love having no exposed seams on the inside.

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The Pants: I cut a straight size 8 for the pants. I shortened the pants pattern by 1 1/2″ but ended up shortening them an additional 2 3/5″.

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The Shorts: I cut and sewed a straight size 8. I didn’t shorten them at all- they probably could be shorter but I actually like the length.

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The Top: I cut a size 2 at the shoulders and graded out to a size 8 at the hips. The top looks a little long so if I make these again I’d shorten the top by an 1 or 2.

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I’ll definitely make these again but I’m thinking a nice warm flannel for next time!

Stowe Bag Trio

 

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I made my first Stowe bag by Grainline Studio one weekend during a snowstorm. I got the fabric at Joanns on my way home from work knowing that I wanted to make the Stowe bag that weekend but wouldn’t want to leave the house to get fabric in the snow. Its a linen ikat. I’ve been using this bag to hold all my knitting/ crocheting since I made it. Super useful to take on a plane and definitely more classy than the zip lock bag I was previously using.

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When I was home for Christmas my brother had started knitting but also misplaced one of his knitting needles for several days so I thought he could use one of these bags to help him keep all of his knitting stuff together. I got this amazing penguin fabric from fancy tiger crafts. I love the little bow ties!

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This was the first time making the bag out of canvas and it turned out great. I used extra bias tape left over from the piping from my closet case files pajamas.

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When I saw the cat lady fabric – especially the one with the yarn balls – I just could not stop myself. This bag is a little more cutesy than I typically would want but CAT FABRIC AND YARN FABRIC!!! I couldn’t resist.

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For this one I made bias tape. To make 1/4″ bias tape I cut 1″ strips. I just used all the remaining fabric I had which ended up making a lot of bias tape. This part took a lot of time but in the end I really like that the bias binding matches the bag.

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I also used the tutorial from Drygoods Design to line the bag. I used the yarn fabric for the lining. The main difference was that I was making a size small bag instead of the size large that the tutorial is for. Which means that I cut 3 inch squares from the corners instead of 4 inch squares. I also didn’t bother with adding canvas or interfacing to the bottom of the bag as reinforcement. I figured the extra layer of fabric would be enough reinforcement.

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I love the lined bag partially because you can’t see the pocket stitching from the outside so it is definitely gives a little bit more of a clean exterior. However, I think the pocket stitching really adds interest to the bag so for some fabrics it really works. One thing to consider is that this version of the lined bag will never lay flat.

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Even though I’ve made three of the small size I’m still in need of a large stowe bag. I’ve been knitting a sweater but right now it lives in a cardboard box…