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


Simply a tank dress with McCall’s 6559

M6559 dress top frontThis is the kind of project that I usually dismiss from my project list. It was simple, it was fast, I learned no skills, I paired no fabrics. But I have been drowning in a sea of huge goals lately. My wardrobe plan for the Pattern Review Wardrobe contest was very involved. Of course I love to push myself for contests, but the fact that I only finished 3 items (one turned out to be a wadder) and started one more reveals the unrealistic hopes I had. Continue reading


Another Morris blazer – and how to lengthen it!

Longer Morris blazerFor my next Grainline Morris blazer, I found another totally awesome 1980’s knit fabric, this time in a vertical stripe. So rad! It is actually quite hard to find a vertical stripe knit nowadays, so I was excited when I found this thrift shopping, even though it was just gray and white. I like how the stripe changed direction on the lapels, too. Continue reading


Geometric Morris Blazer

Morris blazer outfitThis has to be as close to a perfect garment for me as is possible. I know, I know, I have said that about my last 3 makes – my Camas blouse, my Liana jeans, and now this Morris blazer, but it is true. I think those 3 items cover my casual style pretty perfectly. I am planning on a dive into shift dresses soon, too, but that is another post.

Grainline Morris blazer sleeve cuffI believe this glorious pastel geometric printed knit could, in fact, be from the 80’s. I found it at my favorite East Side thrift store and have had it in the stash about 7 months. It had finally met its match in the Morris blazer. The weight is medium and the stretch is low, perfect for the hang of this jacket. I cut the facings out of another piece of thrifted sweatshirt fabric that was a bit scratchy on the face, but the underside was super soft, so I used that side. I do recommend putting something very comfortable on the lapels/facings because my neck gets irritated easily, does yours? That would be a sad end to a really wearable jacket if it was itchy! Continue reading


My one true love – the Camas Blouse

Thread Theory Camas blouse 1When I saw this pattern, I thought to myself “Look, Morgan read my mind! She has created the most perfect pattern. She knows my heart! We are one!”

I was right! It IS the perfect pattern for me. It has all my favorite elements…a V neck, made from a knit, a contrast yoke, soft gathers at the shoulders, a shaped hem, 3/4 sleeves. The possibilities for fabric pairing are so exciting! I can make it dressy, but it is knit, so it will still be wearable. Continue reading


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!


My Striped Tissue Knit Athena

This is obviously the sample I made for the pattern cover, so I know that you have seen it already. But I threw it on for a few action shots so you can see how it hangs on a body.

A few notes: I did not hem this version, since tissue knits are so thin and fine that a hem doesn’t always turn out well. Not hemming was also an adjustment for my long torso, since I cut the size small without any modifications to assess the sample. I also have wider shoulders than average, so the neckline on me does not look at open as on other people.

But despite all that, it is a fun example of my new pattern and I hope you get some ideas to make your own! It is still on 20% off sale until March 21st with coupon code “FIRSTWEEK”.

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Why is it so sunny all of a sudden?

Why is it so sunny all of a sudden?

 


Leather up front, comfy party in the back

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Deep, dark confession of one of my biggest fashion struggles: I am always cold. The climate here is not friendly to fashion. Furthermore, I work from home, in front of a computer screen all day. I sit there, not moving or generating any body heat, and I get colder and colder and colder. I drink hot water like an old lady to keep warm.

So, on a daily basis I struggle with the pull to wear clothes that I love and made with my own 2 hands, and staying cozy in my jammies all day until shortly before I retrieve my girls from the bus stop.

I think these leather and knit “jeggings” fill a gap. They are warm, stretchy, comfortable, but I still feel great and stylish in them. Continue reading