Lacy Wool Sweater Knit Hemlock

I got this incredible wool fabric from Stonemountain and Daughter while I was there for Thanksgiving in 2017. I didn’t want to use a pattern that had too many seams or too much going on because I didn’t want to distract from the lace pattern. I chose to use the Hemlock Tee pattern by Grainline Studios and I used all of the same modifications from my cloud knit version. I wear the cloud knit version all winter so it made sense to add another one to my closet. Also – did you see that Grainline Studio updated their Hemlock Tee? I’ve made so many modifications to my version but the new version comes in their expanded size range and also with different sleeve lengths and body lengths!

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This fabric is amazing to work with – its just so soft and cushy. It is definitely one of the more expensive fabrics that I’ve purchased but it is totally worth it. I’ve found that when I’m working with a fabric that I really love the whole time I’m sewing the garment I just love the process that much more.

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The fabric definitely doesn’t have much stretch to it just hangs a lot differently from fabric that I’ve used in the past for this pattern. This is especially easy to spot around the neckline. It doesn’t really stay on my shoulders as much as some of my other versions. However, I’m not super worried about this. I’m always planning on wearing this with a tank top due to the lace but also because the wool is just a bit too itchy for me.

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Ash Jeans

I’ve been wanting to make another pair of jeans for a while but since I’ve been struggling so much with fit on my jeans I’ve been putting it off. Previously I’ve made three pairs of Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans (a high waisted pair, a low rise pair with grey topstitching, and a low rise pair with gold topstitching) and one pair of Ginger Jean Shorts. My fit has definitely improved with each version but there are still issues. I decided to switch it up and this time make the Ash Jeans by Megan Nielsen in the Robert Kaufman Super Stretch Denim. I figured that the super stretchy fabric that the ash jeans calls for would be more forgiving than the thicker cone mills denim that I used for my second and third pairs for Ginger Jeans.

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Based on my measurements I cut out a size 28 at the waist and graded out to a size 29 at the hips. Instead of just removing length from the bottom of the pants I added two lengthen and shorten lines, one above and one below the knee. I shortened by 1” in each spot for a total of 2 inches shorter. As I was cutting out I also cut 2 Inches off the bottom of the legs because I messed up the cutting layout and had to do that to get all the pieces to fit. When I did the baste fit I had a little extra room at the waist. I took the side seams in 3/8” at the waist tapered to nothing at the hips. 3/8″ doesn’t seem like a lot but since it takes off from the front and back piece on the left and right side it ended up removing a total of 1 1/2” all the way around. Before hemming them I removed an additional 1” of length from the bottom for a total of shortening the pants by 5 inches. Next time I’ll distribute that to the lengthen and shorten lines that I added which will make the pants a little closer fitting at the ankle.

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This time I used the Guterman Mara Topstitching Thread which is a lighter weight than the topstitching thread from JoAnn’s that I’ve used in the past. It is definitely more subtle than the heavier topstitching thread. I’m not sure if it was the topstitching thread or that this denim that was less bulky than my previous denims or the fact that this is now my 5th time making jeans but while I was making these I kept thinking that making jeans was SO MUCH EASIER that I remembered. I would definitely recommend the Robert Kaufman Super Stretch Denim with the Guterman Mara Thread for anyone making their first pair of jeans!

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Overall my first pair of Ash Jeans fits way better than my first pair of Ginger Jeans. I’m not sure at this point if I’ll try making the mid-rise Gingers next or make another pair of Ash Jeans next. For either pair I think I need to remove just a little room from the center crotch seam. I may also look in to weather there is anything I can do to reduce the drag lines on the back thigh though I know there is no way to get rid of them completely.

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Also – I got this shirt at a thrift store when I was in college and I think it would be super easy to hack a boxy top pattern to have gathers at the shoulders like this one

Leopard Print Fringe Dress

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Last week I posted about my top version of the Fringe Dress by Chalk and Notch and immediately after making that I made the dress version. I definitely wanted to make the Fringe Dress this year (it was on my 2019 Make 9) and I figured that if I was going to be able to wear it before it got too cold I needed to get on it.

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My measurements put me at a size 0 bust and a size 6 waist. I decided to grade from size 0 bust to size 4 waist since I would still have plenty of room at the waist with a size 4. I also shortened the bodice by 1/2” and shortened the skirt by 2” (I’m 5’2″ for reference). I modified pockets to be sewn in to the waist seam to keep them in the front. I didn’t top stitch the pockets down. I also attached the waist ties to the front bodice darts but I’m not sure that I love them there. I’d probably either add them to the back darts or side seams or leave them off completely next time. I also left off the sleeve cuff and just turned up the edge twice and stitched it. 

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This fabric is a bit out of the norm for me. It is a viscose crepe from Blackbird Fabrics. I’m not usually an animal print person but I decided to try it out. I love that it is neutral colors but still fun and interesting. I’m excited to wear it with tights and boots and cardigans this fall! I also have a little bit left over and might be able to squeeze a tank top out of it.

Fringe Top Hack

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This is the a hack of the Fringe Dress by Chalk and Notch. I have the Fringe Dress on my 2019 Make 9 and I figured I need to make that soon before the weather gets too cold to actually wear it in 2019. The Fringe Dress Pattern was on my cutting table but I hadn’t yet put away my scraps leftover from my Amy Jumpsuit and I got the idea in my head that it would make a really cute Fringe top. Unfortunately I didn’t actually have enough scraps left over from that project to make it work but I did have enough scraps left over from my Burnside Bibs!

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I did not come up with this hack – I copied this directly from Kelly at athreadthatbinds on Instagram. I made a size 0 and since I’m pear shaped I generally need to grade out at the waist and hips. For this version I didn’t grade out because I omitted sewing the darts which gave me some more room there. I also shortened the bodice by 1/2 inch.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about what I need in my wardrobe since starting the Love to Sew Podcast worksheets to Create my Dream Wardrobe. I definitely want more tops that are a little bit nicer than t-shirts and this fits exactly what I was looking for. This is so comfortable especially in the Robert Kaufman Brussels linen/rayon blend! Its easy to throw on and feel stylish without actually putting more effort in to getting dressed. The only issue is that I need more high waisted pants to wear with this cropped top.

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Now time to get on to making the actual Fringe Dress… I’m glad that I did this top version. I’ve been thinking of this as a muslin of the dress but when I make the dress I am going to be using the bodice darts and also grading up a size at the waist and I think I’m also going to leave off the sleeve cuffs so really it isn’t giving me a ton of information I will actually use for my Fringe Dress but I did get to practice the facing.

Leather Cross Strap Slide Sandals

I made a second pair of sandals! I actually started this pair before my other pair but I got a little distracted. I was mostly distracted with trying to figure out the best way to finish the edges of the leather and finding the right tool for that so I put these on hold for a bit but they are finally done!

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These are entirely made out of stuff I had laying around my shoe repair shop. I’m pretty sure the straps are veg-tan leather and the insole, sole and heel block are made out of a leather sole bend. I added a sole saver and heel top lift to make them last. However, the double layer of leather sole makes these not very flexible. I’m hoping that they will get broken in with wear but for now they are a bit stiff to actually walk in.

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Next time I’ll definitely use something thinner for the insole and probably the sole as well. I’m pretty happy that they stay on my feet and are fairly comfortable just standing around but they aren’t very comfortable when you are actually walking around which is pretty important.

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To finish the edges of the straps I ended up beveling them with an Edge Beveler in size 2 and then I used some leather lotion and a hand held burnishing tool similar to this one. It took a little bit of practice and the edges are a bit uneven in places but I’m really happy with how they came out in the end.

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They are also just a little bit uneven but its not too noticeable. The soles are actually the exact same footprint but where the straps hit are slightly off. I finalized my strap placement before I finished the shoe outline and I think if I do it the other way around I’ll get a more consistent result. Once again I learned a ton and I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned to my next pair! I’m not quite sure what that will be yet though. I may invest in shoe lasts so that I can up my shoe making game!

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Here I’m wearing them with my Winslow Culottes and my Rib Knit Nikko top! I love this combo!

Black Linen Sway Dress

I made this dress back in 2016 and I’ve only worn it two or three times and only as a beach cover up. This is the Papercut Patterns Sway Dress which was super popular especially in black linen in 2016 when I made it. I had seen so many amazing linen versions that I wanted one too. I’ve been going back and posting makes that never made it on to the blog and I’ve learned a lot since making this dress. There are a couple of things that I don’t like about this dress which is why I haven’t worn it but I’m hoping to come up with a plan to make this more wearable.

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I shortened the dress because I’m 5’2″ and figured I would need to shorten it but I took off way too much. This dress is shorter than I’d typically wear which is why I’ve only ever worn it to the beach. However, black is not a color I’m drawn to when going to the beach and I don’t go to the beach that often so it really doesn’t get worn much. You can also see the bottoms of the pocket bags because its just too short.

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The fabric is  pretty heavy black linen with a lot of structure to it which makes it stand away from my body. When I wear it I’m nervous that a gust of wind will blow up the skirt. The fabric also frays like crazy which is causing me problems. I love the tie belt but when I turned it right sides out the linen frayed quite a bit and it ended up causing a couple of gaps near the seam. I ended up adding a line of stitching from the outside to keep it from unraveling. That seems fine now but there are a couple of spots that don’t look great. Good thing its black and you can’t actually see that! Also I did a hand stitched rolled hem and there are definitely some threads starting to stick out of it. The fabric also collects lint and cat hair like crazy so that is another reason I haven’t worn it much!

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So how can I fix this???? Here are my ideas so far:

  1. Add a piece of contrasting fabric to the bottom and make a matching belt.
  2. Embrace the short-ness of the dress and buy or make some shorts to wear under it so I’m not constantly worried about wind. Also either move the pocket bags up or shorten the pocket bags so they aren’t visible.
  3. Add a ruffle to the bottom of the skirt also in black linen.
  4. Shorten the dress in to a top.

I’m open to suggestions! What should I do to salvage this dress?

Speckled Deer and Doe Plantain Tee

I’ve been needing more basic T-Shirts to throw on with jeans and I decided to try the free Plantain pattern by Deer and Doe. I’ve made two other patterns by Deer and Doe – the Blouse Datura and the Melilot. I was excited to try another one of their patterns! I Graded from a size 34 bust to a 36 waist and 38 at the hips. I then cut two inches off of the bottom before I hemmed it (I’m 5’2″).

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I used melange jersey from La Mercerie and I really love it. I love that it is a neutral color while still being interesting because of the speckles! It is also nice and drapey which is perfect for a t-shirt.

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I love this pattern for a more fitted t-shirt. There are so many boxy t-shirts out there so it is nice to have another option. There are still a couple of places I may need to adjust for fit but those are all minor (looks like I may need some more room in the sleeve cap?). I do want to keep trying different t-shirt patterns! There are so many out there and there may be one that I like better than this one.

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Also – I’m wearing this with my second pair of Ginger Jeans. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting about what I actually need in my wardrobe after listening to the Love to Sew Podcast episode on creating your dream wardrobe. While I’m not sure that I’m ready to get rid of the ginger jeans I’ve made in the past I do not think low rise jeans are my style any more and high/mid rise jeans have jumped to the top of my sewing queue! I’m excited to get started on making some more jeans this fall.