Style Maker Fabrics for Fall! Papercut Saiph and Simplicity 8174

saiph-tunic-1At least I am ready for fall, even if the weather here in Southern California is not cooperating. It is supposed to be 100 today. I guess no one told Murrieta that it is now autumn.

saiph-dress-back-viewBut it turns out that my newest true love, Japanese double gauze, is fine for warmer temperatures, too. It is light and breezy and I whipped this gorgeous geometric floral into a Papercut Saiph tunic that I can wear now and later.

papercut-saiph-4I wasn’t sure what to expect when Style Maker Fabrics offered to send me some, but I had heard such glowing reviews that I had to try. So I received my package, wrapped nicely in tissue paper, and I was decidedly unimpressed with the fabric. It felt like a textured quilting cotton. I didn’t know what all the fuss was about. But after my pre-wash this fabric came out  of the dryer like the wings of an angel! It is so soft, with light loft and total opacity. It cuts, sews and presses so well and was a joy to work with. Thank you, Style Maker Fabrics – I am so glad I tried it! I feel like Sam I Am and I now want to sew double gauze in a box with a fox, on a boat with a goat…

saiph-tunic-2I have been thinking about a nice easy tunic shape and the Saiph did not disappoint. I was a bit flummoxed by the dart placement – they are really high! But I like the shoulders and the sleeves and I just moved that dart. I’ll move it down more next time. I also chopped off the sleeves a little bit -no need for full length sleeves here. I added a total of 3 inches to the bodice and skirt combined to make it a wearable dress on me.

saiph-dress-4But wait, there’s more!

A vest is such a great trendy fall piece, and perfect for my climate, right? Well, I meant to whip up a nice easy vest to top my outfit off, but instead I ended up making the most detailed moto jacket I’ve ever made, since I am a moto jacket addict. Whew! I had to squeeze it in between rounds of the PR Sewing Bee, but I just couldn’t resist when I pulled this fabric out of the box. The olive green faux suede has such a lovely hand and structure; it was begging to be a moto jacket.

saiph-with-jacketI used the Mimi G for Simplicity pattern 8174. Isn’t it a cool pattern with such fun details? I love the back vent and the little tabs on the shoulders and waistband! The gold buttons and green suede just say fall and really balance out the simple dress.

simpllcity-8174The suede is not the easiest fabric to work with, since I had to topstitch down my seam allowance on both sides of every seam. But what I realized is that it really responded to steam, so I was able to shape it around the shoulders. I am debating whether to topstitch the fronts, they still look a little fluffy, but I wonder if it will smooth out with wear? I only just finished the jacket and bagged out the lining last night. Despite the extra work of using the suede, the gorgeous texture and color create such a showstopper! I am so pleased with it!

moto-jacket-with-saiph-tunicI will provide a thorough review of the pattern and Mimi G’s video tutorial and show off all the details of this gorgeous jacket in an upcoming post. It is an interesting sew and I already have plans for another one. Do I need more jackets? No! But I love them, okay?

saiph-tunic-with-motoSo here is my vision of Fall 2016 with Style Maker Fabrics! Beautiful fabrics with texture and rich color. Mixing a simple dress with a military detailed jacket and boots. And, of course, sweating in the sun for these pictures and hoping for temperatures below 80 by October!

colors-that-make-the-season-851x280There are more stops on this parade of fun fabrics with a fall theme. Did you see Erika’s outfit yesterday? And tomorrow Kelli will show us her creation!

Thanks to Style Maker Fabrics for the complimentary fabric! They were lovely to work with and I was so pleased to try out their gorgeous fabrics.


LBD for the Sewing Bee

bias-dress-1Not little black dress, but little bias dress by Vera Venus. She has some interesting free patterns on her site and wow did this one come together so great – I would recommend it, at least the skirt portion. With such a cool vintage feel to the skirt, I decided to switch up the bodice pattern to use the McCall’s 6760, made previously here. It balanced out the figure-hugging skirt, I thought.

bias-dress-2Since the challenge for 2nd round of the 3rd annual Pattern Review Sewing Bee was bias, I did some serious thinking. I assumed everyone would do plaid or stripes, so I came up with the idea to use a border print. I’m obsessed with border prints right now, and the border print could be used on the bias to do some interesting things. It is like a striped fabric, just only along the selvedge edge! I even had a double border print, so I could really flaunt that border. So I cut it out.

bias-dress7Well, it didn’t turn out quite right because I lengthened the skirt (I imagined this dramatic maxi length dress) and forgot to widen the bottom frill! Man! I was bummed. Soon, when I go back and finish that dress, I will have to cut off some of the skirt or scrap the frill, but either way, it won’t be the showstopper that I imagined. So I started over.

bias-dress4I went with stripes, and I am so glad I did. This pairing of fabric and pattern turned out perfect. Not all my projects can say that! It is a rayon challis with a little bit of a texture to it and boy did it drape on the bias! That is why the skirt turned out so form fitting. I am wearing all kinds of shapewear under that thing, in addition to sucking it in.

bias-dress5I was especially sad when I started over because cutting on the bias is such a pain! Ugh. This shifty rayon was really difficult, but at least those stripes were on grain. And since I had traced the full size pattern pieces onto my plastic sheeting, I could see through it and see if my stripes were straight all the way down the piece. That was the key and I may employ that tactic on other tricky to cut fabrics.

Another smart thing I did (at least I think so) is I made my rouleau tubes just big enough to be able to turn with a safety pin. I am no good at using bodkins. I have tried and tried. But I’ve made straps before where the safety pin couldn’t fit through, and I got stuck.  So, even though sewing less than an inch of bias fabric is difficult, at least turning them was not a big deal. And they turned out nice and round and springy. Pro tip – use a .5 zig zag when stitching the bias straps so the thread doesn’t snap when the tube stretches.

bias-dress-fully-linedThe lining is also rayon, but it had a bit more body, so I cut it about half an inch bigger since I knew the diamonds of the bias wouldn’t collapse as much and it wouldn’t stretch at the same rate as the rayon challis. I was right for once and headed off disaster, because that lining is much more snug than the outer and it would’ve rode up my hips if it was any tighter. Phew!

bias-dress-backI didn’t fully line the back because I wanted it to be light and didn’t need the modesty in the back. But on second thought, I wish I had because i don’t like how you can see the facing through the dress.

bias-dresswaistbandAnd I have to mention my stylish and supportive waistband. Basically, when I thought of a whole drapey, bias dress I got very shy. I didn’t want to be wearing a slip around, even a lined slip. So I went with a straight grain, interfaced waistband that held my tummy in and gave support to the rather heavy skirt. Rayon is sometimes heavy, which adds to the beautiful drape but it could have really pulled that bodice out of shape. I have about 4 yards of this gorgeous denim colored rayon and I have not decided what else it will become yet. I do know it wrinkles like nobody’s business, but that will be a consideration. Because the waistband on the dress is interfaced, the wrinkling is not so evident here.

Anyway, the results are in! This dress helped me make it to the next round of the Bee, and the next challenge will be announced  Sunday. Here is my full review with lots of sewing notes. As a little palate cleanser I’m making something for the Style Makers Fabric Blog tour. I got to work with Japanese double gauze for the first time and believe me, it will not be my last! It is the stuff fabric dreams are made of! I’ll be back Sunday with that fun project.

 


Made it up as I went along Border Print dress

fabricSo, in preparation for my article on Bernina’s We All Sew blog, I dove deep into the world of border prints. That was easy to do since I had been unconsciously collecting them for a while, so when I pulled out all the border print fabrics I had amassed, I had a sizable pile. I think I had 7 or so, in addition to the romper I had started last year. I was spoiled for choice!

border-print-gathered-dress-1But, as is my habit, I waffled a bit on how to use my precious pieces. Ugh, I always do that, and I don’t know why, since I obviously have more fabric than any reasonable person should have, so I should just sew it up already! I have this conversation in my head like every time I decide on a project. I exhaust myself sometimes, you know?

border-print-dress-1This beautiful rayon is special because of the really unique double border than transitions in such an interlocking way. I could not imagine how I could just chop it up! One of my favorite shops is Anthropologie, and they use border prints in so many of their clothes (which is one of the reason I love their designs so much!). I noticed that they will use the border print symmetrically down the center of a garment to really draw your attention to the bodice and create a very custom look. I wanted to try that, so…

border-print-dress-backI just didn’t cut my fabric! Well, I did cut it into an neckline and armhole shape on the top, but there is no seam separating the front and back of the dress. Tricky, huh? I used a shape similar to this dress, but without the yoke. Then I gathered the top and the back and added bias binding. Easy and fun. Except…I had to handstitch the binding together at the center front. People, that took forever! I hate handsewing AND I’m horrible at it and slow as hell. I seriously had to break up that long long seam into 4 different sessions. I’m still not very happy with it!

border-print-dress-with-bias-bindingThe continuous bias binding is made from mustard flannel and was quite a project in itself. I enjoyed that process, actually, and can add that new skill to my repertoire. I have made bias binding before, but this was sewn together into a tube and cut out in a continuous strip. Then I ran it through the Clover bias maker with the iron. I have a bunch left, oh yes! I severely overestimated how much I would need. But nice cotton bias binding is always handy to have around, so I’ll squirrel it away.

border-print-back-2One casualty of my slapdash dressmaking approach was that the gathered back edge ended up being too long and it droops. Oops, it droops! I wish it was straight back there. Also, you can see in these pictures that I quickly ran outside and took the pictures before I tacked down the back straps. Silly me! I came home, looked at the pictures and realized my hasty mistake and quickly sewed them down with a little stitch in the ditch, but there is no way that I am retaking the pictures. SORRY! Imagine the cute dress with the strap ends neatly sewn down, please.

border-print-maxi-dressThis dress is funny since it looks like a totally different dress from the front vs. the back. Gray and yellow vs. black and white. Which dress do I like better?

Main points:

  • Border prints are fun but agonizing to display to their fullest potential.
  • Despite my deep aversion, I had to handsew the bias binding down the center front so it would lay flat and butt up nicely
  • I may make this made-up dress again, since I like the simple shape with the strap detail, but I’ll make the back edge shorter and perhaps the front triangle smaller

bias-binding-detail


Sew it Chic September 2016 (and proudest sewing moments?)

Sew it Chic first saturdays

Well, here we are in September and I’m very excited to see what everyone has been making. I noticed that I only posted once in August, but isn’t August always a busy time of year? I did post an article on Bernina’s We All Sew blog about how inspired I am to use border prints, if you’d like to read it. I also got to takeover the BerninaUSA Instagram last week and shared some behind the scenes at the GrayAllDay world headquarters (my sewing room/podcast room/actual real work office).

Speaking of podcasts, we are still looking for your Proudest Sewing Moment stories! What was your proudest moment in sewing? Maybe you made a complicated dress for your prom? Or maybe you finally mastered a fly zipper? Maybe it was the first garment you sewed all by yourself that you were actually able to wear out in public. Please leave a comment below about your proudest sewing moment, or — even better — leave us a voice mail by calling 401-64MAVEN or recording a message via your computer’s built-in microphone at speakpipe.com/ClothesMakingMavens. We’ll include your stories in our next podcast!

And here is our monthly link up! Let’s see ’em!

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Simplicity 1158 Border Print Romper

Simplicity Sure, maybe it took me a year to finish this guy, but it was worth the wait. My first romper! I feel very sassy wearing it, and I love saying the word romper and the whole concept of rompers. I am really into wearing shorts right now, so this is a solid move into the zone of wearable but trendy for me. Simplicity 1158 got lost in the move, but it has been found and finished!

Simplicity 1158 crossover backWho is excited about border prints right now? This was one of the first I bought (maybe close to 2 years ago now?) but since then I have been acquiring them like mad. There are so many cute ones out there, and they can give such a custom look to garments. In this case, I used the dark border on the bottom of the shorts, then flipped it over and used the dark up at the neckline to emphasize the halter style. It turned out really cute!Simplicity 1158 jumpsuit

The crossover back is such a clever design detail to make the romper easy to get in and out of. The ties that extend from the neckband thread into casings at the top of the back and you can tie them in a bow. In retrospect, it would have been cuter to have shorter ties so that the crossover detail isn’t hidden, but for you guys I did get a picture while the wind swept the bow to the side.

Simplicity 1158 romperSince completing this romper, I’ve also made another pattern up and I see that a big question with the romper is how to get in and out. The whole thing has to come down over the widest part of your body, so that neckline opening must accommodate it. The crossover plus the threaded casings really allow you open that top part up, so this is definitely a pattern I’d recommend for someone with a wider hip measurement. And the sexy emphasis on the shoulders is great, too!

The neckline has lovely pleats and a beautiful finish that lies really nicely. This fabric is the lightest, floatiest, slipperiest poly something and it was very difficult to work with, but the neckline turned out fantastic. The back diagonal seam facings are supposed to be reinforced with interfacing, but in my floaty fabric that was too much weight. I put it in, saw how it hung, then cut almost all of it out.

Simplicity 1158 necklineI also realized, rather late in the game, that it would be wise to line the shorts. Since I started these while I lived in Washington, a much cooler climate, the floaty fabric might have worked, since I never perspired. But, now that I live in California, my bum and back thighs stick to any and all chairs as soon as I sit in them. I have found myself in the uncomfortable position of peeling my unlined dresses off my backside after sitting down for any length of time. Super classy. So, after the shorts were assembled it occured to me how urgerntly I needed to line the bottom half. I cut another pair of the shorts out of nude rayon lining fabric, sewed them up, and dropped them into the outer ones, wrong sides together, and joined them at the waist seam. All fixed at the last minute and no more sticky buns.

S1158 liningMy biggest piece of advice with rompers is to try them on again and again to make sure the proportion is correct. Specifically the length of the bodice + the length of the shorts rise = perfect. Depending on a longer or shorter bodice, you must consider how it will all hang together, in addition to shorts length. I am tall, so I always add length. To a romper I add to both the bodice and the rise so I have plenty to work with. Then I have to experiment, and this can take some time. It just does, I’m afraid, but I know that was time well spent. Everything here hangs well, with the top blousing gracefully and the shorts smooth, not bunchy.

Simplicity 1158 border print romperGear up to gaze upon my rompers and jumpsuits, my friends, because I’m on a roll now! There is more to come. In the meantime, go ahead and listen to our 4th episode of Clothes Making Mavens where I get to interview one of the most talented (and nicest) people in our sewing community – Lori from Girls in the Garden! And answer our burning question “What was your proudest sewing moment?” by either calling, writing us a message, or leaving me a comment here!

Ep4 Lori V


Sew It Chic August 2016

Sew it Chic first saturdays

What beautiful items were linked up in July! I love summer, don’t you? Summer weather and summer clothes. The dresses this month were phenomenal, but I know that not everyone is deep in summer. Jillian from SewUnravelled made a masterpiece of a coat, too. Beautiful work!

Clothes Making Mavens just published our 3rd episode, a chat about fabric and an introduction to sewing teacher Maris Olsen from SewMaris.com. In related news, we submitted the podcast to all the major podcast apps, so we do hope that will make it easier to find us if you are so inclined. You can subscribe in iTunes now, or you can also subscribe to new posts on our website. I won’t always make announcements here on the GrayAllDay blog when we upload a new episode, so if you are interested in staying informed, go ahead and try your favorite podcast app!


Link on up to the August party here:

Women’s garments only
Made or blogged in the past month only – to avoid reposts.
The party is open about a month, until the last day of that month.
You don’t have to blog to join in! Link up your Pattern Review, your Kollabora project or even an Instagram pic. I know there are so many lovely things made that we never see because not everyone blogs. I have one person who emails me the pictures so I can get them up here.
Optional additional ideas:

If you are on a blogging platform that supports links, please link back to www.grayallday.com by using the Sew it Chic button in the sidebar, or just a simple mention in the text of your post. That way more people will find the party!
Look around and share a comment or 2 with a neighbor. I love blog comments so much!. They are encouraging and build community.

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Textured transition from Summer to Fall with Stylish Fabrics

McCall's 7385 blouse

What a great concept for a blog tour, right? I really loved the challenge of creating a garment using Stylish Fabrics that I can wear now, in the heat of summer, and keep on wearing throughout the fall. This was perfect, since there are really only those 2 seasons in my part of the world.  In my case, I’m making an all season garment that is super practical.

IMG_2854i chose a lightweight gauze in my favorite color – blush. At first, the fabric was a bit rough, but after pre-washing, it softened and the texture became more pronounced. It was the perfect floaty fabric to make a swishy sleeved McCall’s 7385. Except I didn’t quite order enough yardage (I hadn’t totally decided on a pattern when agreed to take it on).

MCCalls 7385 topI thought I was doing good, but in reality I forgot to cut out the back peplum piece. I was just so focused on cutting out those awesome, nearly full circle sleeves! Luckily I saw that I had forgotten that back piece before it was totally cut out and I was able to add just a couple inches to the front peplum. That peplum is supposed to be gathered, but due to my inattention it turned out much more fitted, and I am so glad! I dodged a bullet, really. I mean, look at those sleeves! I can’t wear sleeves like that AND a gathered peplum.

IMG_2862So I decided to leave the peplum back open, like my Kanerva blouse, and change my closure to buttons instead of a zipper. It was a forced design change that I ended up really liking (after my initial frustration subsided). The bodice is now much more fitted to balance the sleeves, and I had to bring the hem up quite a bit, so I’m not swallowed by the blouse.

IMG_2858But adding the crochet trim feels like it tipped the project over to really special. Those colors together! Then I used my serger for the rolled hem in gray, because I also love blush and gray. I love every color paired with gray, if I’m being honest with you. And I need to be honest about this.

I made no adjustments to the size besides my usual 1 inch in bodice length and a forward shoulder adjustment. This fabric has a springy quality that makes the fit shaped but forgiving.

IMG_2877For summer, it is perfect to wear with my ever-present jean shorts made from an old pair of my husband’s jeans. Real upcycling here! And my favorite blush sandals (I told you I love the color blush). But for fall, I’ll just add my light cords and ankle boots. It will be great, when/if temperatures ever dip below 90 degrees. Here’s hoping!

Stylish fabricsThis fabric was provided to me free of charge by Stylish Fabrics. That was super fun for me! Here is the fun part for you – the tour has organized an amazing giveaway with lots of prizes, including patterns, fabric and even a sewing machine! Go here and enter right now.

Sew Ready for Fall Logo


Here is the rest of the first week on the Sew Ready for Fall Tour

August 1st
Sewing By Ti and Rebel and Malice
August 3rd
Wild and Wanderful and The Sara Project
August 4th
Doodle Number 5 and Sweet Red Poppy
August 5th
Paisley Roots and Dos Natural Sistas and My Crafty Little Self

 


Trying a closer fit with the Seamwork Astoria

FrenchTerryAstoria1I really think it is a good idea to try new styles and shapes. At my age, I can really fall into a rut of styles that I wear constantly. Yes, the wardrobe architect was a helpful exercise, but golly, how hard is it to figure out I like flowy tops, slim pants, shift dresses and wear mostly blues, grays with a bit of pink thrown in?

TealTerry-seamwork-astoria-topSo the Seamwork Astoria is a fun experiment that turned out to surprisingly be a success! I really like this top, and I’ll tell you why – my other snug knit tops all get so tight around my hips and lower belly that they start rolling up and cause me to yank them down every other minute. I hate that. I hate fussing with my clothes in that way. Also, it doesn’t feel great to anyone when their clothes feel too small and their little tummy peeks out like Winnie the Pooh’s.

seamwork-astoria-back-viewSo, even though this top is cropped and I thought I would hate it, the lower band is shaped so the waistline is smaller and the bottom hem flares out a smidge, making it sit so nicely with no riding up! This is a genius innovation, IMO.

TealSeamwork-astoria1I made a size small and did a tiny forward shoulder adjustment. I also lengthened the bodice and sleeves and inch, as usual. My fabric is the world’s softest baby french terry – the stuff dreams are made of. It is a bit drapey to hold the neckline band, but who cares when it feels this yummy?

I wore it with these RTW shorts for pictures because it is too hot for anything else at this point, but it would look lovely with more volume on bottom. Perhaps a skirt or a pair of full culottes would look great. And jeans, always jeans.

seamwork-astoria-outfitJust the facts:

  • Shaped bottom band keeps the Seamwork Astoria sitting correctly, making this cropped top totally wearable
  • French terry is a delight to wear and I must find more
  • Next on my list is a full skirt or culottes to create a totally new shaped outfit for me – I’m glad I’m branching out!

Just a addendum to mention that Episode 2 of Clothes Making Mavens is out. Lauren from Lladybird had such great insights on sewing, teaching and how she’s made some money with her super popular blog. She’s so much fun to listen to!

We have submitted the podcast to iTunes and a bunch of podcast players and are waiting for approval. We’d love to make it easier for you to listen. I’ll let you all know and list our links when that is all set!

 


The Astoria with a frill

<Seamwork Astoria hack
I posted this on The Monthly Stitch last month, but it is worth sharing here because it turns out I really love this top. It was simple to make and it is easy to wear, and I’ve even been able to tuck it into my overall dress for the ultimate classic pairing of stripes and denim.
My new love is (slightly) cropped tops, but after the last 2 I whipped up I realized that I don’t have much for my bottom half with a higher waistband to go with them. That makes me sad, but don’t worry, I’ll make some new things! In the meantime, though, I want to embrace the emphasis on my waist so I added a double chiffon ruffle to the Seamwork Astoria sweater instead of the bottom band. It really changed the top and made it fun and flirty.
Chiffon ruffle added to Astoria

I guess I won’t need to provide a tutorial for how to do this one, right? Just a tedious and tiny hem on both ruffles and a slight gather at the top, then I added them to the top while I stretched it slightly so it will fit over my head. I did a nice job stripe matching across the sleeves, too, if I do say so. The side seams don’t match up exactly, but those seams are under my arms, so I can live with it. Since I serged those seams I really truly will live with it! I used the white stripe as the neckline to balance the white peplum at the bottom.
Seamwork Astoria with added ruffle

Some notes:

  • Made a size Small with an inch added to both bodice and sleeves length (standard adjustment for me)
  • My frill was about twice the width of the omitted bottom band, but 1.5 width would do fine, too.
  • It is a different shape for me, since my tops are usually looser fitting, and I got rave reviews from several people (and especially my husband).

Seamwork Astoria back view


Sew it Chic Monthly July 2016

Sew it Chic first saturdays

creating in the gapJune was a bang-up month for sure! The June Sew it Chic collected 25 beautiful entries and inspired me so much! First of all, did you all check out Margot’s off the shoulder dress? It is simply lovely and wearable and easy to sew – luckily she practically invited us all to copy her in her blog post because I’m pretty sure that is exactly what I’ll be doing! Let’s see how many off the shoulder dresses we get linked up in this July link up, shall we?

I was also deeply in love with Pauline’s J Crew knock-off with the little ruffled sleeves. She makes such amazing things from ready-to-wear inspiration, go check out every page of her blog Sew U Think U Can. I love the style of J Crew, so this one is irresistible to me. Add it to the list!

I may spend the entire month of July copying my favorite looks from the link-up. Thanks, guys, like I need more projects lined up on my sewing table! But really, the link ups are so inspirational and I adore seeing and commenting on every one of them. Keep ’em coming. What will you dazzle us with in July?


And now for the brand new link-up…but first, a few rules:

  • Women’s garments only
  • Made or blogged in the past month only – to avoid reposts.
  • The party is open about a month, until the last day of that month.
  • You don’t have to blog to join in! Link up your Pattern Review, your Kollabora project or even an Instagram pic. I know there are so many lovely things made that we never see because not everyone blogs. I have one person who emails me the pictures so I can get them up here.

Optional additional ideas:

  • If you are on a blogging platform that supports links, please link back to www.grayallday.com by using the Sew it Chic button in the sidebar, or just a simple mention in the text of your post. That way more people will find the party!
  • Look around and share a comment or 2 with a neighbor. I love blog comments so much!. They are encouraging and build community.
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