Sew It Chic in a Week #16

Light Chic

fabric3At this very moment I am returning from a trip to Southern California. I am visiting my mom, and I am so lucky that I get my passion for sewing from my her, and so when we are together we go into the LA Garment District to shop. I loaded up this trip on very special fabric. Last year I was after the deals, and I found some great ones. This year I was after beautiful and unique fabrics I don’t have access to at home. They were still great deals, just not the $1 or $2 a yard like last time. I purchased some silk jersey for $7 a yard, silk linen blend also for $7, rayon for $5 and a European silk wool boucle for $25 a yard that makes me swoon. fabric5

And I shopped at the store where Michael Costello gets his stretch sequin tulle. I don’t need any stretch sequin tulle, but if I did, I would certainly buy it from there. The sequins had a lovely matte finish and were inlaid in different designs. Lovely stuff!

The day was a great success and it will be so very fun to sew these up. Let the planning begin! Feel free to suggest patterns for my silk jersey…I’ve never worked with such luxurious stuff!


Our featured seamstress this week is Helen from Funkbunnysgarden. Last week she made such a vibrant, beautiful jacket and it caught my eye. I even saw Tessuti Instagram it as a stunning example of their new pattern, the Sydney jacket. I’m turning the corner into warm weather here in Seattle, but her jacket made me want to bundle up in some boiled wool myself.

Here is what Helen had to say about her sewing:

DSC00629What is your motivation to sew? 

I’ve always been interested in making stuff.  I grew up in a family where someone was always building/planting/cooking something and I started sewing with Mum when I was quite young.   However, I didn’t really sew much as an adult until my neighbour gave me a bag of beautiful, colourful upholstery fabrics and it sparked my interest in sewing again; first bags and cushions, then quilts and clothes.   I’m motivated to sew now for a few reasons:  I still feel a strong need to create, to use my hands to make something functional and to learn in the process.  I’m also pretty environmentally-minded and sewing my own clothes (often using thrifted fabrics and notions) hopefully reduces my footprint a little.

 

What is your favorite thing about sewing?

It’s hard to pick one thing but I do love the planning stage – that time when patterns and fabrics swirl around in your head and the possibilities seem endless.  I also enjoy different things depending on my mood.  For example, sometimes I’ll really enjoy working through a bit more complicated project where I follow instructions to the letter and learn something new, like when I made a button up shirtdress with a collar (The Grainline Alder) for the first time.  But other times I love to go rogue, ignore the instructions completely and have a bit of a play – it all depends!

As a social person with a solitary hobby I also love that sewing has given me a whole new group of friends. At first it was a bit strange meeting people ‘off the internet’ but it’s been a lot of fun meeting other sewists and we ‘chat’ regularly on social media – invaluable when you need instant feedback on which buttons to choose!

 

funkbunny1What is your least favorite thing about sewing? 

Probably clearing up after I’ve made a big mess in my sewing room (I’m not a tidy sewist).  Or realising that I cannot possibly sew all of the things that I have in my head!

 

What is the most recent thing you’ve learned about sewing?

I did a small shoulder adjustment on a jacket pattern recently, and also inserted my first exposed zip. Thanks to the online sewing community I feel like I’m constantly learning as there is such a wealth of knowledge out there.


Our link up is going to be fun this week. But first, here are a few rules: 

  • Women’s garments only
  • Made or blogged in the past week only – to avoid reposts.
  • The party is open for a week, until next Friday, and I’ll open a new one Saturday. Feel free to link up every once in a while or try to complete a garment every week!
  • 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 is crazy enough to blog. I also 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 in a Week 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 don’t mind admitting that I savor blog comments as much as shopping the LA garment distrcit. They are encouraging and build community.
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Lindy Petals to go with the florals on my jacket!

ItchtoStitchLindy1Here is the new (and FREE) Lindy Petal skirt from my friend from Itch to Stitch. Isn’t it cute? Can’t you just imagine making a whole stable of them? Well you totally could, since this guy only takes 2 hours. Even for me!

The Lindy Petal Skirt is a fun twist on a knit pencil skirt. When I created my PR wardrobe plan, I wanted a knit pencil skirt to balance out some of the more flowing tops I had planned. But I hate making plain basics! Lucky me, Kennis asked for testers for her pattern (isn’t she awesome that she thoroughly tests even her free patterns?) and it was just what I needed and a little bit of what I didn’t know that I wanted. A tulip front gave the skirt just the dash of cute I craved.

ItchtoStitchLindy2Kennis took our tester feedback into account for the instructions, but I do not believe she had to change any of the drafting of this pattern. It was great! The only changes I made were to add a little length (as usual) and I lined the back. I wanted a little extra coverage of my assets in a knit skirt. Depending on the thickness of your knit, it is an easy thing to just cut 2 backs and sew them together in the side seams and into the waistband seam.

One thing I want to call out is the clever instructions for the waistband. It allows the elastic to float a little, instead of being caught in a casing, and eliminates bunching or puckers. I have already used the technique again in the other skirt I made for the contest.

ItchtoStitchLindy3Other construction notes – I serged all the seams and twin needled the hem. I hemmed the back and lining seperately. Actually, come to think about it, I didn’t hem the lining at all. It doesn’t fray and I wanted it smooth. I used a nude tricot for the lining because I unfortunately didn’t have quite enough of the white to self-line. Since you do cut 2 fronts to make it wrap, that means it takes quite a bit of fabric. Get extra if you want to self-line.

And that is all there is to it! Go, right away, to Itch to Stitch and grab the pattern. You will be so impressed by her patterns and designs, and especially her instructions. It is a great way to try out a new Indie designer and see if you like them!

LindyPetalSkirt2BTW, the voting is now open for the wardrobe contest and you really need to go see the gorgeous entries. I kinda feel like I know who the winner is…but I am looking forward to seeing if everyone else agrees. So many are amazing! Gah! And I love my entry, too, and am enjoying wearing all my items. It was a great experience!


Just a little floral, quilted, and a shiny gold zipper Moto!

B6169 AJust a little understated piece I whipped up in an afternoon…just kidding! It is loud and proud and took 3 out of the 6 weeks of the PR contest to complete. My first lined, bagged jacket! I am walking around like a peacock in this!

B6169 PocketThe floral fabric is from Jo-Ann’s, a stretch woven that is fairly thin. I bought it with pants in mind, so I only got a yard and a half. I made it work by adding white quilted sleeves, which I hope toned down the LOUD floral and added a bit of texture. That quilted fabric was a thrift store find. Zipper from a Wawak zipper grab bag that was the best kind of surprise. Now I own 24 more lovely jacket zippers of all different colors and lengths. The lengths don’t matter a bit because it is a cinch to shorten a metal zipper. That means I can make 24 more moto jackets!

Butterick 6169 shoulderI followed the excellent Sew-Along for the Butterick 6169 at www.sewlisette.com. It was very helpful and I learned quite a bit, like how to make a sleeve head and shoulder pads. I made, placed then removed my shoulder pads; they ended up being too much, but it is great to know how to do that now. A word about this pattern — the shoulders were plenty wide for me, which is not usually the case, so they may be a bit wider than average. The sleeve heads work very well to keep my sleeve shape, though!

Butterick 6169 necklineOne really important modification I made was to cut down the entire neckline by half an inch. It felt very tight and claustrophobic, in addition to the shoulders being too wide and the fit too wide. But when I just sewed the entire neckline down a half inch it fixed those issues and made the entire thing sit correctly. I admit that I did shape the sides at the waist by half an inch, too. But I did not lengthen it, and I like the length actually.

As directed, I interfaced the front pieces, but then as I was assembling everything I noticed my stretch sateen was quite limp. So I went back and interfaced the rest of the front and the back. It worked out fine, it might not have been totally necessary since the lining gives it more structure also, but I had to make a judgement call. The result is a jacket that can nearly stand up on its own.

Butterick 6169 LiningWhen I got to the lining, I slowed down quite a bit. I’ve never lined a jacket, so I was nervous. And assembling lining is a bit boring after the excitement of the fashion fabric. But just a week or two ago I saw Sew Crafty Chemist advised making the lining first to maintain momentum during the project. Isn’t that clever? I will certainly remember to do that next time.

Butterick 6169 frontAaaaand, I bagged it! Yeah! Bagging the lining was terrifying, I was so certain I was doing it wrong, but then it all turned out and I was so pleased! It is a very cool trick and I feel very accomplished to have made a fully lined jacket. It was on my sewing goal list for the year.

I plan on making at least 2 more of these. I love the shape and the style and I need one in every color, since I wear jackets all the time in our fickle weather. I am going to try to go down a size next time and make it in a less structured fabric (or without interfacing, I guess). This one will go with all the new items I have made for my PR wardrobe (go vote for your favorites!), but I especially look forward to wearing it with blue jeans because I love pink and blue together. And I’m sure I will be spotted in a crowd in this bright, spring jacket!

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PR Contest Wardrobe- Casual Blue w/Bits of Sparkle

Collage3Ta-da! It is done.

I worked so hard on this, barely made the deadline, and my sewing room looks like a tornado hit it, but I am thrilled with the results!

I have been tempted to SWAP (sew with a plan) before, but I read so many inspiring blogs that I get distracted inspired by new things everyday. I am the queen of starting projects. I currently have 22 unfinished projects in my sewing room right now (dating back several years, but still). And did I mention that I am a very slow seamstress?

wardrobe planThe planning of this wardrobe took a while, simply because the planning is my favorite part! Getting all my fabrics out, looking at my patterns, imagining the possibilities…so fun! I found it hard to narrow my plans down to only 8 pieces, with the full knowledge that sewing all those would take a lot of time. And my plans certainly did evolve over the 6 weeks.

But the defining idea was the color scheme of blue, white, and pink and the knowledge that I must have a matching pair of shorts out of the floral sateen I made my bomber jacket. It would be a the cutest two piece set ever! And I feel confident that I was right.

I changed my moto jacket plans when I realized I needed more pink. Then, with the bright floral moto I knew that the aqua tunic would be too many color stories. Disaster struck when I cut my jeans out of the fabric the wrong way, with the stretch going up and down, not around my legs. Ugh. So I added the coral skirt, and it turns out that color is beautiful and the skirt is fun and easy to wear.

Creating the warbrobe also caused me to think about more basic pieces. I hate to sew basic pieces. I want to make things fancy, unique, fantastic, but not basic. So I still had fun with my items but did include a white pencil skirt and a white t-shirt to round out the wardrobe nicely. Of course the pencil skirt has a tulip front and I added a gold pocket to my white t-shirt…

IMG_0317And the sparkle? I had to have some gold! I incorporated gold into my Sew What sweatshirt, a gold pocket on my t-shirt, and a shiny gold zipper on my moto jacket. I have one pair of gold shoes and one pair of gold booties, but I think it is clear I these gold sandals. Right? The advantage of sewing an entire wardrobe is that picking accessories is easy. I might need to invest in a fabulous gold purse, too.

And it was all from stash! I only had to purchase a few bits and bobs. The metallic leather cord, a zipper, some thread and only 1 pattern!

Go check out everyone’s lovely wardrobes at Pattern Review. Voting starts on the 18th, so show your favorites some love.

Stay tuned for more details about all the fun garments I created for the contest!

 


Sew it Chic in a Week #15

Light Chic

Another sewing week has flown by and no, you didn’t see any posts from me. That is simply because I was sewing too much to post anything! Blogging takes time, and all my extra time was spent at the sewing machine finishing up my PR Wardrobe for the contest. I almost missed the deadline, I was typing my reviews up until the last minute. Whew! It was a really fun challenge. My completed contest entry is here.

I believe voting begins the 18th, so when it does I encourage you to go take a look at all the lovely things people made! Since I was sew-sew-sewing up until the last minute, then collapsed into bed. I am looking forward to a giant cup of coffee today and carefully delighting in all the wardrobe combos people put together. Really brilliant stuff!

I contacted our most viewed seamstress from the previous link-up, but she has not replied yet. I do look forward to hearing her answers and I’ll post them if she gets back to me.

sewyouthinkyoucanBut while we wait for her, I want to call out this amazing piece by Pauline from Sew You Think You Can Knock Off. It was linked up to Sew it Chic a little later in the week so it has not received a ton of clicks, but it is amazing! I audibly gasped when I saw it.  She is a such a talented woman and this item is flawless!  The proportions and fit of her top are so much better than the original even!

So let’s just jump right into our link-up and see what you have been making!


 

Here are a few rules: 

  • Women’s garments only
  • Made or blogged in the past week only – to avoid reposts.
  • The party is open for a week, until next Friday, and I’ll open a new one Saturday. Feel free to link up every once in a while or try to complete a garment every week!
  • 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 is crazy enough to blog. I also 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 in a Week 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 don’t mind admitting that I savor blog comments as much as meeting a tight deadline. They are encouraging and build community.
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Sew it Chic in a Week #14

Light Chic

The week has flown by and I loved, loved, loved the amazing contributions to Sew it Chic last week! Thank you for all that contributed. Also, I enjoyed reading the comments on the April Sewing Budget post. I’m glad you all humor me in my nosiness. I hope that means that other people are interested in this topic? Or maybe I am the only nerd who thinks it’s fun to read about all the numbers?


unnamed (9)This week we get the pleasure of hearing from Elizabeth from I Sew You Sew. You need to go check out her blog, she has been making some really great projects! Last week she linked up some brilliant culottes, which were really popular! The culotte trend scared me so much when I first saw it mentioned, and yet I seem to be inching towards them each time I see a great pair like hers.

And Elizabeth also was a contestant in the Surprise Sewing Bee with me! She made lovely things for that, too! Here is what she had to say about her sewing:
What is your motivation to sew?

At this stage in my life I really don’t enjoy shopping for clothes. It seems impersonal to me when I buy something off the rack and I’d much rather be involved in the creative evolution that is a piece of clothing. When I make a garment, its my stitches, my fabric choices, my time that has gone into the process and therefore I feel a different attachment to the garment. That’s not to say that I don’t buy clothes, I do! I still haven’t mastered dress pants, so its a necessity. But given the choices of going to a fabric store and planning a garment versus going to a store and buying a garment and I’ll choose the fabric store almost every time. So I guess my motivation to sew is that I love to be a part of the creative process of my clothes. I am also kind of addicted to the feeling I get when I see a garment and know that I could create it myself, it feels like a challenge.

What is your favorite thing about sewing?

Sewing is therapy for me in a couple of ways.  As a Mom there are lots of things that are never completely done.  Diapers, baths, cooking meals, cleaning up a bazillion small toys, are all cyclical activities that seem to go on and on.  Achieving that feeling of getting something done eludes me many days.  Sewing is one thing that I know as I work toward completing a project, will stay done.  Another way that sewing is therapeutic for me is in relation to my job- which I’ve recently returned to after more than 6 years staying at home with my children.  I work in the field of hospice (end of life care).  It is a deep privilege to journey with people at the closing of their lives and I am so grateful that people allow me into that sacred time.  To sustain my work/life balance I sew, my yoga instructor often says, “let your motion be your meditation” and I feel that with sewing- cutting fabric, pinning fabric, feeding it through the machine, ironing it, those are my motions that evolve into meditation.  Its restorative to me.

IsewsYsewWhat is your least favorite thing about sewing?

Oh my goodness- this is where I get to complain!  My least favorite things about sewing are ripping out stitches (all those tiny threads sticking out ugh), having to hand sew something (I don’t think my hand sewing is very good) and my very least favorite is taping together PDF file patterns.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the patterns but for the love of everything holy I hate it when they don’t line up.

What is the most recent thing you’ve learned about sewing?

I feel I am always learning something new about sewing and the challenge of learning a new technique or fabric continually draws me into sewing.  But one important lesson I feel like I’ve learned in the past year is that matching pattern with fabric can make all the difference in the success of a garment.  Oh and one more important lesson it took me a while to understand is that you have to use quilting cottons carefully when making apparel.  It can go really great (I had success with a Grainline Alder and quilting cotton) or really bad.  Thanks so much Helena for including me in your “Sew it Chic in a Week” feature and I really love seeing everyone’s recent makes in the link up.

 


And now for our weekly link up. Here is a refresher for the rules: 

Women’s garments only
Made or blogged in the past week only – to avoid reposts.
The party is open for a week, until next Friday, and I’ll open a new one Saturday. Feel free to link up every once in a while or try to complete a garment every week!
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 in a Week 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 don’t mind admitting that I savor blog comments as much as an unplanned sewing splurge. They are encouraging and build community.

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April Sewing Budget

April budgetWhat it comes down to is that I’m nosy. Okay? I love to hear/see what you are making, what your stash looks like, what your sewing room looks like. What is going on behind everyone else’s sewing doors? Let’s take this a step further, shall we, and talk about the expense of our beloved hobby.

I got this idea from some of the fashion bloggers I follow. I found a link up and could just hop from 1 blog to the next, peering into their fashion spending. So fascinating! Some of these women are very clever with their purchases. You would think that they would all be buying trendy, trendy everything to throw up on their blogs, but no. Many of them made very versatile, classic and  thoughtful purchases after they had waited for a sale. I was super impressed  and it was so fun to read! And I naturally started thinking I wonder what my sewing friends spend on a monthly basis… Continue reading


Sew it Chic in a Week #13

Light ChicWell, thank you for allowing me to air my dirty laundry of fabric hoarding with you, and get some commiseration from my sewing peeps! I loved seeing other sewing spaces and stashes! That link up is still open, so if you didn’t get around to it yet, you can still participate. My husband was certain that there could not possibly be any other living soul out there with more fabric than me, and while I didn’t see anyone with more fabric, I did see a lot of fabric! It was fun and it was good to show my husband that I’m not totally crazy. Just a slightly crazy.

I sewed a bunch this week and have a few things almost done or waiting to be photographed. I also did a really fun thing this week — I dropped everything on Thursday and made my daughter a dress for her school concert that night. I took some pictures and will share them next week, but the point is that I went to bed that night thinking “What a fun thing to just sew as the mood strikes me.” I had the idea, sewed it up that day, and she wore it that night and looked adorable. Do you guys ever do that? Just take a break from your scheduled stuff and sew?


At our last Sew it Chic in a Week, Chris from Said & Done shared the most lovely and inspiring floral pique dress and got so many clicks! So I invited her to show off more of her work and tell us about her sewing thoughts.

Said and done1What is your motivation to sew?
I’ve always liked making things, be it sewing, knitting or more labour intensive stuff such as landscaping the garden. In the rest of my life, as a mother, homemaker and teacher, much of my work is centered around words and thought processes, and the result of my work is often transient (what does that kitchen look like 30 minutes after you have tidied it ??!!) or far away (Will those kids grow up to be nice people who are happy in themselves and contribute to the world? Will those students manage to pass their finals with flying colours?)
Sewing gives me immediate results. They maybe good or bad, but the feedback a finished item of clothing gives me is something I really enjoy in the sewing process.
That’s the philosophical answer. But of course it’s just fun to have clothing that nobody else has.

What is your favorite thing about sewing?
Ooops, some of that is in the answer above. Also, my life is quite busy and can be quite noisy. When I’m in the sewing room I get me time and peace and quiet – until I start shouting at that button hole function ;-).
What I really love doing is top-stitching. I get quite excited about that.
Also making jeans, because people in the non-sewing world never can believe that you can make your own jeans. Lots of street cred in that count!

Said and done2What is your least favorite thing about sewing?
Button holes, definitely. But also applying iron-on interfacing. Yuck, I really hate that. Yes, interfacing comes in at the top, before button holes.

What is the most recent thing you’ve learned about sewing?
I’m starting to learn more about fit and making small alterations to patterns. I work with Burdastyle patterns almost exclusively and their blocks tend to fit me without many changes. But the more I learn about fit and the less laissez-faire I become about little fit issues the better I try to understand how to alter those patterns.

 


I hope there are a bunch of fun garments to share since you had 2 weeks to sew it up! Here is just a quick run down of the rules again:

Women’s garments only
Made or blogged in the past 2 weeks only – to avoid reposts.
The party is open for a week, until next Friday, and I’ll open a new one Saturday. Feel free to link up every once in a while or try to complete a garment every week!
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 in a Week 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 don’t mind admitting that I savor blog comments as the rare, spontaneous sewing session. They are encouraging and build community.

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I made a sweatshirt…sew what?

SewWhatSweatshirt12I love this simple, cozy sweatshirt pattern from BurdaStyle magazine 9/2014 #114. The set-in sleeves are still relaxed, the neckline in wide and easy to wear, but the coolest feature is that the bodice can be cut on the bias in any woven fabric and paired with knit sleeves for a very cool effect. Next time I will use a wool for a sweatery version. Continue reading


Show us your Stash this week!

show us your stash

We’re doing something a little different for this week’s link up  – Show us your Stash. I thought it would be fun to see everyone’s fabric stash…how much you have, how you store it, where your stash may have spread to.

IMG_9918Last week I posted on Instagram some of my stash overflow. But…I wasn’t totally honest. You know how it is desirable to put your most lovely photos, with the most artful filters, up on Instagram. So I took a perfectly angled photo displaying my folded fabric like that was somehow the extent of it.

The truth is, my sewing room isn’t always pretty. I enjoy shopping for fabric, and I am a very slow seamstress. I also tend to “save” my favorite pieces of fabric. Ugh. This has recently gotten out of control.

A year and a half ago -- so clean!

Those green buckets are stuffed so full!

I have 4 green bins that slide into my cutting table where I keep my fabric. At one time, that was perfect, and I kept a few more items in the closet under the stairs. Wasn’t my sewing room beautiful?

IMG_9914In a feeble attempt to keep it organized, I bought a big plastic tub. It was instantly filled AND then I couldn’t put the lid on it. So I just started piling new fabrics up on top. Then they spread to the nearby chair. It is a mountain that I now call my shameful pile of fabric.

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The closet under the stairs

Now that I’ve admitted to my shameful stash problem, let me see yours! I created a link party that is open for 4 months, so you can join in whenever you can.

To link up, you can write a blog post that gives us all the juicy details and link to that. Or you could link up a flickr photo or a Instagram photo if you’d like. We can’t wait to see! #addictedtofabric #ilovefabric #fabricporn

Next week I’ll be back with Sew it Chic in a Week, so save up your gorgeous projects for that and we can all admire.

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