Black & White Linen Dress

This summer I've been remaking many garments that I made last year when I first started sewing my own clothes.  I picked up easy sewing patterns from the "Learning To Sew" series that Simplicity has, like this Simplicity 2147 dress.  Many of these pieces that I sewed needed major tweaks and I learned something new about sewing with each one. 

This first time I sewed this was view C, the 3/4 sleeves tunic.  I remember that I used a silky floral type fabric that I picked up from the clearance table at Joann's.  It was the first time I tried sewing pleats and also sewing bias tape to a neck line.  Needless to say, that top was donated to Goodwill as it was too big, the wrong fabric, and had a wonky neckline.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw this dress made with eyelet and wanted to do something similar.  Unfortunately Joann's did not have an eyelet fabric that I loved, however I ended up finding this beautiful linen/rayon blend fabric.  It has a really pretty black floral print that, to me, has kind of a vintage/boho feel.

This time around, I loved sewing this dress.  The fabric choice was perfect, the neck binding looks awesome and the fit it great.  I sewed up view B in size 12.  I added an inch on the length of the dress, as this is labeled a "mini dress" but this is how mini I'll get.  I hemmed only 1/4 inch on the bottom.  I did not make a belt since I love the dress without it.  I really like the shift dress style of this garment with something as simple as pleats to add a little interest.  


Coral Pleated Top

This top has been sitting in my closet for the last month or so, waiting to be shared with the world.  It's a summer version of the pleated tunic I made last winter.  I was so frustrated by the knit rayon that I used with the tunic that I just had to make it again with a woven fabric.  I was hoping and praying that I wouldn't run into the same problems that I had before.  Well lucky me, this top turned out great!  It was much easier sewing with the woven rayon that I chose.  YAY!

This pattern is Very Easy Vogue 8977, view A.  I cut out size small.  I ordered this fabric online at Fabrics.com.  Of course buying fabric online is challenging so when it arrived the color was a bit more pink than what I had in mind and the fabric is very light weight.  I was worried the fabric would be too shear, but thankfully it's not and works perfectly for hot weather.  The buttons on the back are from Joann's.

I did not make any alterations to the pattern.  Sewing the facing to the neck line was the most challenging.  However, with the woven fabric I didn't struggle with the fabric stretching all over the place as I sewed.  There are a couple of tiny puckers but nothing that a good ironing couldn't fix.  Speaking of ironing, looks like the back could use a little.

I love this style of this top for the summer.  It's a bit elegant, a bit classic and a hint of sexy with the opening in the back.  Coral and white are a great summer combo.  I like to pair it with boho pieces like these caramel colored block heels and hoop earrings.


Navajo Jumpsuit

Well it's been a minute since I've posted a new make, but I have a great excuse!  I was traveling, relaxing, and just taking whatever time I needed to complete some new projects.  Here I have a jumpsuit that I made about a month ago.  I found this Simplicity "It's So Easy It's Simplicity" pattern at Walmart a couple of months back.  It was a great price and I loved the design of the pant jumpsuit.  I had also been wanting to making another one piece since my last one I made about a year ago (see my previous post).  The fabric was purchased at Joann's, I found it along side other ethnic/summery type fabrics.  The fabric is a lightweight cotton and has good shape for this garment.

I decided to cut size 12.  I didn't attempt to grade between two different pattern sizes since there wasn't a finished measurement for the hips.  I guess I got lucky because the jumpsuit fits me perfectly. I did take off quite a few inches from the bottom hem because I wanted the pants to hit right above my ankles, which I thought would look nice with sandals.

I haven't found this pattern being sold anywhere online so I am posting a picture of the packaging.  I think "It's So Easy It's Simplicity" is sold exclusively at Walmart.  Now, as to why Simplicity would package this as "easy" is beyond me.  For me, as an advanced beginner, the bodice was a bit of a challenge to put together.  I had to sew then use my seam ripper about 3 or 4 times to get the shoulder straps right.  Other than that the pattern was straight forward.  I was surprised (and thankful) how simple it was to sew the bodice and pants together plus creating the button holes in the front where the waist tie would go.

Anyway, I finished it but it took me a bit longer than I thought to complete it.  I have already worn this out dinner when my hubbie and I celebrated our 10 wedding anniversary going out to dinner.


From the Vault: Floral Romper

One of my very first garment sewing projects is this Simplicity 1158 inspired by Project Runway.  This pattern was one of the selections from the former Stitch Lab class "Pick A Pattern."  This was a fantastic class, where we picked a pattern to sew and had a lot of one-on-one help by the teacher (there were only four of us in the class).  This was my first time sewing techniques like adding facing, pattern grading, under stitching and more.

Many modifications were made with the help of the teacher.  This is view A with shorts.  I cut a size  4 for the top and a size 10 for the bottom.  The teacher also helped to make adjustments to the bottom so there was extra room in the inseam and bootie area.  I can't even explain how she began to do this, but it was cool to watch these kinds of pattern modifications being made in person.  The fabric was purchased at Hancock Fabrics, it's a rayon.  I love the floral print with the black background.

Now that I have more sewing experience and a little knowledge about my sizing with sewing patterns, I think I would be able to sew this with the pattern as is.  Perhaps grading down from one size on the top and another on the bottom.  I loved sewing this with the help of a teacher and I definitely think I could do this on my own now.  I also love how this romper turned out and am exited to wear it more this summer.  I'm going to make another new Simplicity shorts romper soon so we'll see how this goes on my own. 

Are you all liking the romper/jumpsuit trend?


Ruffle Top + Tips For Sewing Knit Fabric

 A couple of weeks ago I was browsing the fabric section at my local Walmart.  I knew they had basic sewing tools and fabric, but totally forgot that they sold sewing patterns as well.  Right then I decided I would give my self a little challenge of making a couple of garments from items that I found at "Wally World."  This top is my first completed challenge.  I found this cute Simplicity 8337 knit top pattern that was recently released.  I have been eyeing it for a little while and was glad to find it here.  The fabric is a Walmart find as well.  It's a slinky turquoise lightweight knit fabric.  I love the color and thought that View A would be perfect for that ruffled neck line.

I cut out size Small and glad that I did.  The arm holes fit perfectly and the neckline doesn't go too far down.  I also ended up taking off about an inch and a half from the bottom hem.  As for how this garment was put together, I think there were a bit too many steps than it really needed.  I had never used bias tape with knit fabric before, so I used a stretch stitch for that.  I feel that the arm holes and binding could be simply sewed together with a serger (if you have one and experience doing that).  I also finished the bottom hem with a double needle, I feel this gives a more clean and professional look.

Over all I'm pretty happy how this top turned out.  I hope to get some wear out of it with our upcoming hot summer.  It'll be nice and easy  paired with shorts and sandals.  The knit fabric I wasn't very fond of working with.  It was just to slinky and slippery.  I ended up accidentally cutting a small hole in the front of the top while trimming the arm hole seams (*ugh*).  I think next time I'll use a knit that has a little more weight to it, and I will definitely break out my trusty serger.  I give this pattern a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

And speaking of knit fabric, I wanted to share my go to tips for sewing with knit fabrics.  I've been sewing with knits for a while now and these are what I always keep in mind when I'm sewing with knits:

Always Use A Stretch Stitch:  I know there are many patterns that say to use a zigzag stitch with knits, but honestly a stretch stitch is the way to go for a sturdy and stretchable stitch.  This stitch is usually indicated on your sewing machine with 3 vertical dotted lines and/or SS on your stitch dial.

Know How Much Stretch Your Fabric Has:  I have made the mistake of over estimating and under estimating the stretch of my fabric to which my project has come out weird, wonky and didn't fit right.  Many pattern packaging has a chart to determine the amount of stretch is needed for that pattern (usually where the sizing is).  Use this!!  Or here's a nifty article I found that talks about it as well.

Always Use A Jersey Needle:  Yes you must use this special needle for your sewing machine.  It's the perfect sharpness to pierce that knit fabric.  These are always available to buy at Walmart or any fabric/craft store.

Finish Hems With A Double Needle:  Most sewing machines come with one.  And I learned how to use mine by reading my sewing machine manual (huh?! what?! She reads the manual?!?!)  It's so easy to use, it stretches with your fabric, and makes your garment look super nice.  Do it!  (PS - with some knits you may also need to use a walking foot).

What are your tips for sewing knit fabric?


Chambray Lace Front Dress

I have a new goal for the summer to try patterns again that I have made before.  I hope to become a little more adventurous when it comes to making minor tweaks to sewing patterns.  I really would like learn more about getting a better fit plus I like to experiment with different fabrics.  This cute chambray dress was made with New Look 6448, View B.  I made the maxi dress version here a couple of months ago, and loved how it turned out.  For this dress I thought I would do a chambray version in the shorter dress because I love how it looked on the pattern packaging.  Plus I have been seeing chambray dresses for the upcoming summer season and I have been wanting to sew with chambray.

The chambray fabric that I used is from Fabric.com.  The leather lace tie and brass grommets are from Joann's.  I also used denim thread for this project.

When I was sewing the maxi dress I was on the fence about cutting the bodice one size bigger (I cut a size 10 for both dresses).  I originally liked how the maxi was fitted on the top and then flared out. The first dress was little snug getting on but once my arms were through and the lace was tied up I liked the fit.  Since the chambray fabric is a little more stiff than the rayon its a even more snug getting on, and I realized that this fabric doesn't have any give like the rayon.

So I should have gone with my instinct and sized up to 12 in the bodice.  But hey!  This is why I love sewing and continue to do it.  I learn from each project and especially learn a lot about fabric and sizing.  I have dabbled in mixing one size for the top and another for the bottom for dresses.  I am still not completely comfortable doing this, but I am realizing that it's usually necessary.  I will be back with some more repeats and share some clothes that I made last summer. 


From the Archives: White Boat Neck Blouse

Now that the weather is getting warmer, I have been taking out some of my first garments that I made last year.  One that was super easy to put together is this Simplicity 1364 Vintage Jiffy Pattern.  I remember loving that it was a vintage pattern and how the packaging advertises that the top is made with just 3 pattern pieces.  How easy is that?  The stye of this top works with today's trends: white, vintage, and embroidered fabric (see below).  When making this top, I learned how to apply facing to the neck and armholes.  I made sure that I took my time putting on the facing.  I cut size 14 out in View C.  These days I don't cut that big of a size, however in this case the sizing happened to work out well.  The length of the top is perfect and I have plenty of room in the arm holes to move (but not showing my bra).  I may be able to get away with cutting out size 12 if I make this blouse again.  Last year I bought a pretty Gertie swiss dot fabric that I think would be cute.

As for the fabric I used for this top, I found it a Joann's in the eyelet section.  To me, it doesn't really look like an eyelet but instead has as beautiful embroidered hibiscus floral pattern.  Since I'm still learning about photography, I couldn't capture the fabric is the light I was shooting in so here is a close up to get a better idea of the print (newbie photographer problems - ugh!). 

I remember liking this pattern and looking forward to wearing it the following summer.  And yes I am!  This is a great pattern for beginners sewing with woven fabric, inserting neck and armhole facing as well as inserting a zipper.  By the way, I LOVE that the top has a long zipper in the back! Don't you dare leave that out!