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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Throw a bib on that Moss skirt and call it overalls!

IMG_2709I had the best time making this overall dress – I skipped over my usual hesitation and just went for it! No fear!

6c8936c2-bb0d-4154-b89a-65f74fae4fd2This item was my entry for the Ready to Wear Copy contest over on The Monthly Stitch. I’ve seen many cute overall dresses, and many fashion bloggers wear them with striped tops. The one I chose to use to copy is Keiko Lynn, a favorite blogger of mine because of her colorful and fun ensembles. This is a very toned down outfit for her, so I thought it was one I could actually copy and wear in my less than high-glamour lifestyle! She has some killer accessories in her shot (as she always does) but I didn’t have access to either a similar hat or thigh high socks. I paired my outfit with gold earrings and my beloved gold Birkenstocks.

IMG_2712I will show you the top in another blog post, since there is a little surprise hidden in those overalls.

IMG_2729The dress was a hack – I used the Grainline Moss mini skirt to make this and drafted the bib and waistband myself. I couldn’t really find exactly what I was looking for as I searched for patterns, and I’m so glad I went with the Moss, since I knew the fit was perfect, I could focus on the many other details of this dress without fiddling with it. Doesn’t it fit perfectly? It feels great on, too.

IMG_2743The medium weight denim I used has quite a bit of stretch, and denim is so easy to work with! Just a few places where I had to pound some really thick seams – but that was fun to do! I also got to hammer on the buttons for the buckles, so all aggression I had for the day was expressed joyfully with my hammer!

IMG_2752I did have some zipper woes. I didn’t interface for the zipper because I thought the denim certainly had plenty of weight to hold a zipper. But I forgot that exposed zippers are put in much like welt pockets, and will fray badly in some fabric, like – haha- denim. I had to unpick my zipper, interface, then redo carefully without unravelling the 2 corners! This is an example of where a set of instructions would have helped, but I was full speed ahead! The Grainline instructions are wonderful and I’ve used them for several Moss skirts, but I moved the zipper and made it exposed, so I was improvising that part.

IMG_2758My favorite details I added – back waistband and facing (added to the yoke) pulled tight to create a great fit across the small of the back, the strap holder under the top overall strap to keep them crossed in the correct place, and the size and shape of the bib turned out really well, and I drafted that pattern piece myself.

IMG_2770I had to stand back and marvel at that topstitching. It is beautiful! I did that with my new BERNINA 350 PE I have on loan while I’m a BERNINA ambassador. It purrs and smooths over all those layers of denim like buttah. Such a pleasure to use!

IMG_2812The longing for a denim overall dress is now satiated. I can sleep once again.

 


The Clothes Making Mavens Podcast is ready for your enjoyment!

webpageJust a quick note to let you know that the very first episode of my brand new podcast is up on the internet for all to take a listen! Click on over to our brand new website where all the podcast information lives — ClothesMakingMavens.com. (Website looks pretty good, eh? I’m pleased with how that turned out. Harder than sewing a bias silk camisole without stretching, but, like the camisole, worth it in the end!)

For this first episode, Lori from FrivolousAtLast.com and I keep our Sew Small Talk pretty basic with introductions and a little get-to-know-us game. I was unimaginably nervous and sweating the entire time we were recording, but don’t worry, Lori sounds great! And I know that I had to get through the first difficult trial to move on to the next. For the next one, I’m sure all my nervousness will melt away since we are going to talk about my favorite subject – fabric!

The hope is to churn out 2 episodes a month; one Sew Small Talk with Lori and I, and 1 interview with a fun and fascinating guest. Our first guest lined up is Lauren Taylor from Lladybird.com. She and I had a great discussion that I think will be fun to listen to.

It is quite a leap to take, letting the world hear my voice, but I know this will get easier and I have a great podcast partner to have fun with. Let me know what you think, and don’t forget to go to the website and tell us about your most embarrassing makes! I want all of you involved in the discussion, like a huge conference call of sewing love!


Coming soon — the Clothes Making Mavens Podcast!

You know what’s so amazing about sewing podcasts? That you get to listen to people discuss your favorite pastime while you’re doing your favorite pastime! It’s like having a sewing party at your place but you didn’t have to vacuum or bake banana bread ahead of time!

If you’re a fan of sewing podcasts like I am, then I hope you’ll be happy to hear this news…

ClothesMakingMavens_Logo_Square

Lori, from FrivolousAtLast.com, and I are producing a podcast! We’re looking forward to sharing our first episode with you very soon!

[Lori jumps around room with excitement, shouting yahoo yaHOOOO YAHOOOOOOOOOOOO…a box of pins goes flying; the microphone gets knocked on the floor. Helena, on the other side of the continent, is still extracting pins from the rug after her last excited outburst.]

We want to include your stories in our podcast, too. So we’ll be asking you a specific question for each episode in hopes that you’ll share some interesting stories with us and with other sewists who will be listening (we hope).

Our first question is: What is the most embarrassing thing you ever sewed that you actually wore out in public? Why did you wear it, and where? How did you feel? Was it embarrassing at the time or only now that you think back on it? Perhaps it was a fashion crime? Or a bad fit? Or likely it was just something that was fashionable in the 80s that you’re horrified by now. (Many of us are horrified by what we wore in the 80s, aren’t we?) I know you’ve got some good stories, so dish, my friends! All the gory details, please!😀

There are several ways you can share your story with us:

  1. Call us at 401-64MAVEN and leave your story on our voicemail. (Long distance charges may apply.)
  2. Visit speakpipe.com/ClothesMakingMavens and record your message using your computer’s built-in or external microphone.
  3. Leave your story in the comments below.
  4. Send your story telepathically directly to my or Helena’s brain. (Results not guaranteed.)

We’d love for you to record your message using one of the first two methods so we can play it back on our podcast. But we’ll also be happy to read some of your written stories aloud, too.

Hope to hear from you very soon! And I’ll keep you posted about when you can listen to our first episode.


More tulip skirts because sometimes I surprise myself

S2451 skirtPerhaps I should repeat patterns more often. I don’t make patterns again usually because I am so easily distracted by the next thing. My to-sew list is very long! But I decided to whip another S2451 skirt because my first version was completed on the verge of too big and then I lost an inch and a half around my waist, so now it really really is too big. But after wearing that one a couple times I realized how much I love the style! Especially with slightly cropped tops, which I am suddenly obsessed with. The evolution of my style is an ebb and flow of change.

Simplicity patterns 2451 skirtSo this one is a size smaller and I shaped the side seams a little to curve just the way I want them. It fits me like a glove and sits just below my natural waist. In fact, it fits so well that I had to unzip it to nap in yesterday. Gotta get comfy for naptime, you know.

Simplicity 2451 skirtThis version is unlined and serged inside to keep the mid-weight denim manageable for summer. The denim also has a bit of stretch so I reinforced the top of the waistband between the 2 yokes with seam binding so it would stay stable. I am in love with top-stitching with my new BERNINA 350PE, but I could only figure out how to incorporate it around the yoke, hem and up the side seams for reinforcement. I also did a little tack at the pocket to keep that opening stable. You know how I love the pockets on this skirt and they will get used!

denim tulip skirtThis time I made a lapped zipper, which made me a little sad to cover the pretty brass zipper up. But I followed the directions for a change. I added a hook and eye at the top to secure it. It does look neat and tidy, I’ll admit, even though I love an exposed zipper.

sewing tulip skirt patternYay for me, I recently made a S1366 cropped top to wear with it – and I’m sure a tucked in top will be great, too. I’m currently on a cropped top bender, so you’ll be seeing more of them, oh yes! My Liana jeans have more of a mid-rise, too, and it is so comfortable! My tummy isn’t spilling out over my waistband – everything is tucked in place better. I remember very clearly when I started to wear low-rise jeans in high school because I just pierced my belly button and the low rise didn’t irritate it. That piercing is long gone, let me tell you, so let’s bring the waistline up again! It makes me feel so cute and put together.

denim tulip skirt zipperBullet points:

  • Went down a size to make the waistband sit right under the natural waist and it feels great there.
  • This mid-weight denim has nice structure for the shape but I left off lining it so I would stay cooler during the summer.
  • Just a little bit of topstitching. Wish I could have added more, but I couldn’t figure out how to tastefully throw more on!

S2451 denim skirt