Sew Over it Poppy Playsuit at the beach

poppy-playsuit-patternIt is a rare treat for me to buy myself a sewing magazine. I adore Burda magazines and consider them a great investment since they include so many patterns, and when the styles come from Europe I feel like they are a little ahead of the fashion trends and my slow sewing ends up right on time. I don’t usually buy any other magazines, though. But one day, in a moment of frivolity, I bought the magazine Simply Sewing while at Barnes and Noble. I liked how it had a envelope pattern included (not the difficult tracing of Burda) and I had heard a few bloggers mention it and even that they were included. That warmed my heart to hear that so many talented seamstresses that don’t necessarily put themselves out there to publish traditionally got some attention in a current magazine. Good for them!

poppy-romper-pattern-backIt was a fun read, I quite enjoyed it. I don’t think it offers the wealth of evergreen content that some other magazines offer, but I loved hearing about The Great British Sewing Bee, seeing new patterns and fabrics featured, and the little projects are cute. This issue, issue 16, has a tutorial for little pyramid bookends that looks like a fun craft project. And I liked the article on stitching leather. It ended up being about $13 though, so it will be only an occasional treat.

sew-over-it-romper-front-topAnd on to the Sew Over It Poppy Playsuit. Yes, it is a quick, easy sew. The instructions are very nicely done, very beginner friendly. I think anyone could put this pattern together. The fit is loose and forgiving, too. But in general, jumpsuits and rompers have a lot of different areas to give attention to, so addressing all those fit areas in one garment can be daunting. This is a great place to start, though, so I’m not trying to warn anyone away!

poppy-playsuit-romper-pattern-shortsMy poly rayon mystery fabric was a nice lightweight but opaque choice. Another important decision, as with all sewing projects, really, is fabric choice. All in one garments are tricky because I usually would pick one weight for a blouse and a totally different weight for pants or shorts. But a jumpsuit requires the same fabric, and it can be tricky. In my last romper I decided my fabric was too lightweight for the bottom half and ended up lining those shorts. In this case, the fabric was dark enough and opaque enough to cover my lower half. You know what I mean?

poppy-playsuit-romper-in-arrows-print

My belt is slipping down!

My biggest struggle with this romper was simply the proportions of top vs. bottom. I’m tall, so I cut both my top and my bottom long. I knew I wouldn’t need all that length when I joined them, but I wanted to be able to play with where that waist seam sits on me. I noticed that the sample looked a little long in the crotch (sorry about that word) length. I don’t want to emphasize the length from my crotch to my waist, and with the shorts at a modest length it would not help my legs look longer like it does in full length pants. So I took a long time trying them on and pinning. I ended up moving the waist seam down a couple inches and then shortening the shorts a bit also. It is a playsuit after all! I think I also shortened the sleeves, and ditched the cuffs. I don’t have hard numbers because I just tried it on and pinned it. I wish I had made the alterations to my pattern pieces for the future. Oops.

poppy-playsuit-button-backI like wearing it, but only got a chance to do so a couple times before the end of summer. It will be interesting to see if I pull it out with eagerness next year or not. What do you guys think?

Main points:

  • Very simple pattern with thorough directions. Only took a few hours to make.
  • Getting the top to bottom proportions right for your body could be the biggest fit issue, since there is generous ease.
  • Simple Sewing Magazine is a fun read – I do wish it wasn’t so expensive here in the U.S.

Suede S8174 Mimi G Moto Jacket

simplicity-8174-jacketAnother moto, really? I just can’t help myself! Yes, there is a limit to how many of these I need in my closet, but I will say that they are so fun to sew and it was really fun to try this new pattern from Mimi G, Simplicity 8174. I am getting better and better at constructing them, and that is so deeply satisfying! I think they look great with jeans, which I wear most of the time.

Papercut Saiph S8174As, mentioned in my last post for the Stylemaker Fall Fabrics tour, I had planned to make a nice, easy vest for the tour. But one night, snuggling on the couch with my dot, both of us scrolling through YouTube videos, her for Minecraft and Seven Super Girls and me for makeup tutorials, I realized that there are some fun sewing videos up there. I started watching the Mimi G tutorial for her moto jacket and was mesmerized by the idea that she was going to film making an entire moto jacket in 35 minutes. I watched enough to make me think, sure, I have time to whip up a moto jacket with that beautiful green suede. Right? So I got up the next day with hope in my eyes.

I did not finish my jacket in 35 minutes, or even an hour. Surprise! It took me an intense 2 days from morning until night. But the video was very nice to follow because I tend to over-analyze and hesitate. The video just showed me the next step, then the next, then the next, even though I know all the steps to make a moto jacket by now. It helped keep me focused and kept me company.

simplicity-8174-shoulderQuick review of the videos – I’ve watched MimiG’s other, more simple pattern videos and she goes into depth about the basic steps, but this one was full steam ahead. It made me think that perhaps she wants or needs her videos all to be about 30 minutes, so a simple top video is very detailed and hand-holding and the moto jacket was rushed. I guess if you want to watch a video about how to construct a knit turtleneck crop top, you are probably a beginner and want that kind level of detail. But what if that same beginner saw that MimiG also had a video for her Moto jacket and dove into that? There could be some challenges, though for the most part she does show you all of the steps. It is just a lot to cover – zippered pockets, belt loops, waistband, full lining etc. This jacket certainly has more pieces and complicated construction than the Lisette Moto jacket I’ve made a couple times.

mimig-moto-s8174I did mess up a little because I like to assemble the lining first. I think I got this tip from Sew Crafty Chemist, and it is a good one. You can check fit with your lining and, with your lining out of the way, you can get excited about sewing your fashion fabric. Has anyone made a jacket and got it all sewn together and started jumping for joy only to realize that you still had to make an entire addtional jacket lining? So I changed my order of construction just slightly and it got me a little confused in the video tutorial. I jumped the gun on a step and had to pick a bit out. Boo. But making the lining first is one of my favorite new discoveries.

But this suede! It is so nice and crisp for a jacket but still soft and pet-able. It unpicked very nicely, actually. It also sewed and steamed well. Yes, suede adds quite a few more steps. I sewed each side of my seam allowances down. I love topstitching and I have the luxury of 2 machines set up so I can go back and forth, so that wasn’t so bad. I do exhort you to trim, trim, trim! Keep those seams as flexible as possible. Because of the texture and weight of the fabric it does take some muscle to cut out (so many pieces!) and trim (every single seam allowance!)

simplicity-mimi-g-moto-jacketBut really, why did it take so long to make? Well, it is all those great details! The front zippered pockets took quite a while, and I almost left them off, but I got lured into them since you do those pockets so early in the process I thought, why not? I’ll tell you why not – because I didn’t have exactly the right zippers, they were an inch too long, and that made me have to recalculate and redraw the lines and pretty much made my pocket insertion much less precise than I hoped. The kicker is that those pocket zippers don’t match my front zipper! I didn’t think it was too bad until I got it all finished and it was glaringly obvious the zippers don’t match. My daughter even mentioned it. All because I was trying not to have to run to the store, but ended up going anyway to buy the gold buttons. Ugh.

So I did the pockets before I got bogged down by the little details of the epaulettes and waistband, etc. But those are such great design features and even though they were so difficult to make in the suede, they elevate this jacket into extra special, don’t they? The key with the suede is that there was no chance of getting a crisp corner by sewing then turning those tabs inside out. I sewed the point, turned them, then folded the straight edges in and topstiched around. The suede was steamable, but those tiny tabs were fiddly and difficult to bend. It was a struggle. I feel like that ate up half a day alone…

backMy other favorite detail is the shoulder vents. The back lays so nicely and is such a unique detail. The jacket fit is really good! I didn’t make any adjustments, just chose 1 size smaller than my measurements, and I love the slim fit. Wait – I lie. When I sewed up the lining I noticed the sleeves were loose so I took those in almost an inch. That took out some of the ease out of the sleeve cap, too, making it a breeze to set in the sleeves. I was a little worried about setting in the sleeves because suede can be a little unforgiving and I was prepared to rip it out if it didn’t go well, but no need. This time.

simplicity-8174-jacket-patternI marvel at this jacket! I can’t believe I made it myself. I’ve been bringing it everywhere, but the reality is that it is still too warm to wear it here. If you need a warm layer, this fabric fits the bill. I have it down in my sewing room on my dress form so I can admire it until I can wear it out. I’m looking forward to that day! My suede jacket dreams have come true!

Bullet points:

  • MimiG video is nice to follow along with, but there are still tricky construction details to contend with
  • I made a size 12, one size smaller than my measurements, with slimmed sleeves, and I really like the fit
  • The details make this jacket a showstopper. While making it you can decide which of the details you want to add or subtract.

Sew it Chic October 2016

Sew it Chic first saturdays

September was a great month of makes – I was so impressed! Thank you to everyone who linked up. I even met a new blog – Binding Off, written by Betty. At first glance, I thought it was a knitting blog, and I hate knitting blogs because I can’t knit, and I am incredibly jealous of those who can! But Betty had a very cute dress up there, so I will add her to my bloglovin’ and hope I don’t get too sad when I see her knitting projects.

Did you also notice ( of course you did) Elizabeth linking up so much gorgeousness? It is because she is involved in the Fabric Mart Fashion Challenge! I just had to highlight her beautiful work and get some insight into her process and the competition.

I asked her why she likes competitions and what has it stretched her to do and learn? She said, “I really like competitions because they force me to focus on a specific goal and because they push me to stretch my skills.  I can’t divulge my project for this week, but I will say that I’m dealing with fabric that I’ve always always been afraid to handle before, and I’m kind of enjoying it despite it’s difficulty.”

elizabeth4

Week 1 Sweater Knit Challenge

“I’ve so appreciated having the feedback of the judges.  In the sewing blogosphere people are crazy nice.  I think in the 9 years that I’ve been “out there”, I can count on less than one hand the bad comments I’ve received.  Likewise, it’s not always common to get really a really objective critique that helps you look at your work in a way that makes you grow.  The judges’ comments have at times made me look at things, and say, oh, maybe I can try something different next time.  One of the judges said of my sweater knit skirt that she was glad I thought about the wearability in choosing to line it.  In these last few weeks in the Fabric Mart competition, I don’t think I’ve lined so many garments!  But really, when I think about it, the garments that I actually wear are the lined ones.  I never remember where I put my slips, and I hate how they’re continually twisting and shifting.  I’d rather take the extra time and materials to line a garment than be fussing with wearing it later.  I think that comment will lead me to start stashing lining fabrics.”

Week 2 Trench Coat Challenge

Week 2 Trench Coat Challenge

“The other thing I really like about competitions is that it makes me look at the materials I have and do something different.  The sweater knit challenge was so fun in that respect.  It’s no secret that I have a really distinct color palette and that I’m totally devoted to it.  When I opened the envelope from Fabric Mart with this beautiful sweater knit, I kind of freaked out.  I do not wear any of those colors because they pretty much swallow me up.  But turning the sweater knit to the reverse side really softened things up and it became a design feature that I ran with in the skirt and the sweater.  I loved adding the velvet ribbon on that too.  I’d never worked with ribbon as a design feature, and wow, that stuff was so nice to work with.  Or on the trench coat, I didn’t have enough of the blue linen for the facings, so I used the blue crosshatch print for a funky lapel that’s totally my style.”

“I’m so proud of myself that I finally learned how to properly make a single welt pocket in this competition!  Double welts and zippered welts, I’m pretty well-practiced with, but every single welt that I’ve ever made has just looked not so great before this competion.  When the trench coat week came up, I watched Peggy Sagers do it on one of her webcasts, and gave it a go.  Her advice on construction is always so excellent, and I’m pretty pleased with how my pockets turned out on the coat.  I put them on my sheath dress too just because I could. “
Week 3 Coordinate Collection Challenge

Week 3 Coordinate Collection Challenge

“The pattern hacking has been fun too.  I’ve had that green knit tunic hanging in my sewing room closet for like 2 years, wanting to resize and petite-ify it for me, but I just haven’t had the motivation to do it.  I’m working on another pattern hack this week from another piece of RTW that I’ve had since forever.  It’s good to go after those tiny dream goals!”

Elizabeth made it to the final challenge – “Find your Inner Designer” and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with! Hasn’t she done some amazing work?
Now let’s see what you’ve been up to. Link up this month’s projects below!
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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