A Couple of Spring Larks

Its pretty tricky to find fun apparel knit fabrics that actually look like something you would see in a ready to wear garment so when I found these two fabrics from Fashion Fabrics club I knew I wanted to give them a try. I used the Grainline Studio Lark tee pattern. At this point I’ve used this pattern for 5 other makes: my Lark PJs/Hudson Pants combo, my speckle cap sleeved lark, a gray bamboo knit short sleeved lark and a long sleeved stripe Lark as well as a wrap cardigan.

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Both of the fabrics definitely feel like something that you would find in a ready to wear garment. They are a bit thin and I’m not really sure how they will hold up over time. The real test will be how the fabric holds up after multiple wears/washes. Because this fabric is drapier than other fabrics I’ve used in the past it does seem to fit better in the shoulders though.

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The first version is a v-neck out of this really wide striped %100 rayon jersey. The bottom stripe is dark navy which sort of gets lost when I’m wearing dark jeans. However – since I’m pear shaped I think having the dark navy at the bottom was the correct choice since there isn’t a bright giant stripe at the widest part of my body.

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My next version was a fun bright “paprika” striped knit which is 97% Rayon and 3% Lycra. I love that the stripes are uneven and that some of them are not solid lines. I would say that the fabric is a bit brighter than my usual go-to fabrics but after a dreary and cold Wisconsin winter I am searching for some additional color in my life! I made the scoop neck version for this one with the cap sleeves.

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Both of these shirts are so easy to wear – I can see myself wearing them a ton this spring! I typically don’t go for “cheap” fabrics (I got both of these on sale for $4/yard) but I couldn’t resist the fun stripes! Hopefully they will hold up over time…

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Bavarian Cable Socks

SURPRISE! Its not sewing! To be honest these socks took me a long time to finish – somewhere between 6 and 9 months… I haven’t really been keeping track but its been way too long. I have also been very busy with other things during this time and not ONLY working on these socks. This is the Bavarian Cable Socks pattern from Socks from the Toe Up. I used Malibrigo Yarn Sock in the Impressionist Sky colorway.

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This pattern has you do a lot of knitting through the back loop and at one point I got confused about how to knit normally – you can see across the arch where my knit stitches are all messed up. I also messed up some of my counting on the heel resulting in a small hole. I thought about trying to sew it up but I’ve decided it isn’t bothering me that much.

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While I love the finished product I’m not super in love with this book. The bind off instructions are “bind off loosely”. For a book specializing in toe up socks I would expect a stretchy bind off with instructions. If I’m investing in a book I want it to be a true reference. (I ended up using the Interlock Bindoff.)

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I think that my next project will be a sweater but considering how long it took me to make these socks I think a sweater will take years. Right now I think I’m going to make the Brooklyn Tweed Cascades pattern. Thankfully I’ll be using a worsted weight yarn and not fingering weight yarn though. For now I’ll leave you with one more picture of these socks since it will probably be years before my next knitting project is finished!

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Double Gauze Scout Tee

I made the Grainline Studio Scout tee in a double gauze fabric from Imagine Gnats. I graded from a size 4 at the bust to a size 6 at the waist and a size 8 at the hips. I must have also shortened it but I can’t remember by how much.

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This was a pretty quick make. I finished all of the seams with french seams. I made bias tape from the same fabric for the neckline. Over all even though it is a fairly simple top I’m super happy with how it came out in part due to the clean finishes on the inside.

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This is meant to be a boxy shirt so I think next time I’ll use a fabric with more drape for a softer look.

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I also took this shirt on my trip over a year ago to Vietnam and Thailand. The Scout Tee is a great pattern for situations where you may need to have your shoulders covered (so many temples). I had never used double gauze before and I was hoping that this would be a super breathable top for the hot weather there. In some ways this was a great fabric because it hangs away from your body and is lightweight. However, I think the dark color was not a great choice and it does get quite wrinkly after being shoved in your backpack. If I was packing again I probably would leave this one at home.

Scout Tee With Elephants

I wore this to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand – one of my favorite things from my trip!

 

Dopp Kit Christmas Present

For Christmas I made my boyfriend the Dopp Kit from the Grainline Studio Portside Travel Set. I used a waxed canvas for the top half and ticking fabric for the inside. I used leather for the bottom half. I bought 2 12″ by 12″ squares of leather off of Etsy. My pattern pieces just barely fit on to the squares and in fact the handle didn’t quite fit but since I ended up not sewing inside out I didn’t actually need the seam allowance for the handle.

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For the most part I didn’t run in to too many issues. I used a leather needle on my machine and a walking foot for the leather. I ran in to two areas that I had trouble with. Sewing over the zipper was a bit difficult as was stitching around the bottom of the bag. I’d recommend leaving out the stitching around the bottom of the bag step if you are using leather. I ended up taking it to work and sewing it there. (Advertisement: If you are making this bag and you do run in to issues on your home sewing machine you can take it in to your local cobbler and have them finish up the stitching for you. They probably have gotten much much weirder requests.)

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I think this is the perfect gift because even though most people have some sort of travel bag for their toiletries it probably isn’t a bag that they really love. You also don’t need the person’s measurements and you don’t need to worry about fit.

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Franken PJs

I love wearing nightgowns to sleep in. They are just the most comfortable PJs. However, I wanted something that stayed around my legs instead of something that ended up getting twisted up while I slept. I wanted a nightgown with pants on the bottom.

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My major inspiration for this romper was the Sunday Romper from Smash and Tess. Since I’m such a pair shape I’m guessing that  if I bought a ready to wear romper like this it would be too tight in the hips causing the fabric to bunch up around waist.

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I used the Grainline Studio Lark tee pattern and the Hudson Pants to hack together this romper. To get in and out of this romper you have to go through the neck hole so I knew I was going to have to make the neckline bigger. I still haven’t mastered my coverstitch machine – the hems on the sleeves and pants are a little wonky but since this was just a muslin of PJs I’m not too worried.

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Pattern modifications:

Lark tee modifications:

  • Sized up 1 size from my bust measurement which put me at a size 6
  • Deepened the v-neck – To do this I started by tracing the largest size neck line but this didn’t seem deep enough so I slid the pattern down an additional inch and traced 1 inch deeper than the largest size.
  • Added center front and center back seams to the lark tee. This means the pattern pieces will not be cut on the fold but would instead need seam allowance added on. I traced the pattern pieces and added 1/4″ seam allowance to the center front seam.
  • Flared out the sleeves slightly – I slashed and spread the sleeves to give a slight flutter to the sleeve but its a little too subtle so I’d do a bit more for my next version.
  • Straightened out the side seams a bit for less shaping at the waist

Hudson Pants modifications:

  • I cut the Hudson Pants based on my hip measurements which put me at a size 10
  • The Hudson Pants have a slashed pocket. I changed the pocket so that it is in the side seam instead. When I traced the pants front piece I taped the pocket piece behind so I could trace them as one.
  • I then had to modify the pocket slightly to make up for the fact that it wasn’t being sewn in to the waistband. I just extended the curve of the pocket to where the side seam would hit.
  • I wanted the capri length pant but I didn’t want to use the cuff so I extended the leg length by the length of the cuff and made sure the leg tapered in to approximately the width of the cuff.
  • I also dropped the crotch curve by an inch to make for a slightly more slouchy look

Combining the Patterns:

To combine the top and the bottom I laid the Lark front on top of the hudson front, overlapping the patterns a couple of inches since I figured my t-shirt would overlap with my pants a couple of inches. I made sure that I was overlapping the same amount for the front and the back. I lined up the center fronts and taped them together. I then smoothed out the curve from the top to meet the hips of the Hudsons.

And that is all for pattern modifications! On to sewing!!

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Sewing:

The Hudson pants have a 3/8″ seam allowance but the lark tee has a 1/4″ seam allowance. I decided not to do anything to the pattern pieces to account for this but just to sew at the 1/4″ seam allowance since a little extra room in the pants is not going to hurt.

Here are the general order that I followed, which is not very detailed. Let me know if you have any questions!

  1. Sew shoulder front seams to shoulder back seams
  2. Sew sleeves in flat
  3. Sew pockets to front and back pieces, matching at notch
  4. Sew side seams, going around the pockets
  5. Sew leg inseams
  6. Sew back together, stopping at the crotch seam
  7. Sew neck binding around neck while it is still open
  8. Sew front seam
  9. Hem legs and sleeves

The Search for Undies continues…

Last time I tried to make underwear it did not go well. I had underwear on my list for my 2018 make 9 because I really want to be able to wear an entirely me-made outfit. It is crazy that I’ve made many bras and pairs of jeans that I wear constantly but still haven’t made a pair of underwear that fits. This time around I tried the Watson Bikini pattern by Cloth Habit using fabric scraps left over from my yoga cloth Avery Leggings. I used picot elastic left over from some bra kits.

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Overall this is a huge improvement from my last attempt. However, there is still some extra fabric in the back, giving them some granny panties vibes. I’m not sure if this is just a sizing issue or a sway back issue or a combination. I take my hip measurement slightly below where my hips meet my torso because that is the widest part of my body.However, my underwear don’t need to fit my thighs. Next time I’m going to use a measurement from higher up to figure out my size.

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I don’t think I’m going to make a sway back adjustment just yet though because I’m hoping that will get me a little closer to a better fit. I think I’ll try this pattern again in a smaller size but if that doesn’t work I might try a different style. I’m hoping that I won’t have as much of an issue from the sway back with a hipster version.

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

I made this Grainline Cascade Duffle coat using some wool fabric that I bought last year (2016) at Mood while in NYC after camp workroom social. I wanted a bit of a warmer lining so I got some Kasha Satin lining from Vogue Fabric Store per Closet Case Pattern’s suggestion. I used a medium weight tricot interfacing also from Vogue Fabric Store.

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I cut a size 4 at the bust, grading out to a size 8 at the hips. I also shortened the coat by 2 inches. Most pieces I only shortened by 1 inch each to distribute the shortening between the top and bottom pieces. I also shortened the arms by 1 inch. I sometimes shorten arms by 1 inch and sometimes by 2 inches but for this coat I decided on one inch because I figured I rather have coat sleeves a little too long than a little too short.

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Tracing all of the pattern pieces and cutting out the fabric was such a time consuming and daunting task but once those were done the coat came together more quickly than I expected.

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The parts that I struggled with the most were attaching the toggles and setting the sleeves. I made my own toggles which was pretty fun and not actually very hard once you have all of the supplies. To attach them I originally tired to use scotch tape the toggles in place but the two toggles that I wasn’t in the process of sewing on just fell off while I was sewing my first toggle. I also found it pretty hard to see what I was doing with the tape in the way. I had done a practice toggle but I didn’t realize how much more difficult sewing the toggles on to the jacket would be with the bulky jacket front to maneuver. I ended up using a fabric glue stick on my remaining 5 toggles and it went much better.

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The sleeve caps were very difficult to gather with the bulky wool across seams. It took a long time to gather them enough that they fit. I’m guessing longer stitch length would have made that easier but I used the longest setting on the machine I was using.

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The zipper installation was pretty similar to the Closet Case Files Kelly Anorak jacket I made a while ago so that part went together relatively easily. The fronts were about 1/4 inch off the first time I zipped it up so I had to re-do one side but that was a pretty quick fix.

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This was my first time bagging a lining and it definitely felt like magic! It really didn’t feel like it would be possible to turn everything right side out but I had totally missed the step of leaving a hole in one of the sleeves so that also added to the mystery of how it would all work.

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I’m super happy with how it came out! It looks like a normal wool coat that I would have bought at a store but this one isn’t too tight at the hips and the arms aren’t too long and it is the exact color I wanted it to be.