Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Micah, modified

Hi there!  After another "Seamwork Ambassador" preview of this month's patterns and a stretch of hot days in Northern California, I was inspired to mix up the Micah pattern a bit to make a more playful version for hanging around the house and running around barefoot.
For my version, I started off by raising the neckline.  I'm very short and if a pattern has an included modesty panel, that tells me a bit about the depth of the neckline!  I raised the "v" by about 2 inches.  
The original design is a simple kimono-style shift with center front and back seaming with slits up the sides.  Definitely a nice design, but for my dress concept, I cut the pattern to about hip length.  Since I was using some precious (but flawed!) Nanette Lapore silk-cotton voile, I wanted to use as much of the fabric as possible, so I used the remaining length to make gathered panels for the bottom.  It was ungodly easy, but the result is feels lot more light and summery.  The featherweight-fabric is perfect, though I did wear a silk slip under, just for a tiny bit of modesty.
After trying on the dress, the length of the sleeves felt incorrect with the otherwise playful feeling of the garment, so I cut those by about 2 inches or thereabouts (no measuring here!).

Overall, I am ecstatic about the end result.  I had been holding this fabric for a few years and this was just the right project for it.  It also highlights a bit of a fabric printing flaw that I found, interesting to me because I teach fabric science and talk about this subject so often.  Along the bottom of the back bodice, you can see that the dots are cut off (in the above photo)!  Apparently, the screen rollers weren't created properly to print the full design in one roll?  Anyway, I kind of love that attribute being incorporated in the dress.
Thanks again to Seamwork for making another wonderful staple garment pattern!

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Three bodysuits

If you are coming over from Seamwork, welcome!  It's been 2 years (!) since I last posted here since I've largely moved to Instagram (@bea_and_lucille) and my other professional website (Bea & Lucille).  So, I won't be posting on here too frequently....

However, I was selected to be a Seamwork Ambassador and I'm super excited!  So excited I was, that when we were given advanced access to the May patterns, I quickly (like, within 24 hours) sewed 3 Orlando bodysuits!  The first is a cheap striped fabric I pulled from the free bin at my work (shout-out to the Fashion Department at West Valley College!).  It's ultra stretchy and soft, so it's extremely comfortable!  Unshown: hot pick FOE for the leg openings :)

The second version is performance knit (also from the free fabric bin at work!).  It's a bit thicker (almost legging weight) and lovely, and coral's my fave color at the moment.  I didn't have matching FOE, so my giant roll of white had to suffice since no one sees it but me (and now the world via my blog, I suppose!).

The third version is really pretty and lovely, but since the fabric is significantly less stretchy, it's not quite as comfortable.  It has decent stretch in the weft, but almost none in the warp, so it rides up annoyingly.  I may convert the bottom to a thong, because otherwise, I love this bodysuit.

For adjustments, I graded down to about a size 00 and reduced the crotch length.  I also raised the neckline after an initial trial version indicated that it was WAY TOO LOW for my chest :)

The bodysuit goes magically with high-waisted, wide-legged pants, like the Marett or a cute skirt, such as the Kenzie.  So versatile!  I have to restrain myself from making, like, 5 more.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Two spring outfits

I made these two cowl neck tops a few months ago, but felt compelled to create some cute skirts to wear with them as the weather warmed up.  Shazam!  Two new outfits for spring, which can be mixed and matched!

The cowls are both a mash up of Sewaholic's Renfrew top (view C) and an elongated waistband from Seamwork's Astoria top.  I sewed the teal version first and the neckline is a bit narrow, so I slashed and spread the cowl pattern to make it a bit wider for the pink one.   See, bigger!
As for the skirts, the first is a super simple knit dirndl with an elastic waist.  Nothing fancy, except the pretty fabric :)  I didn't even put in pockets (poor decision, as usual).

The second is a City Stroll wrap skirt from Liesl & Co.   I've made it once before (in cashmere!) and really like the simplicity of the pattern.  This version is in denim for a more casual look that coordinates well with lots of tops.
I topstitched the skirt with a light gray thread (sorry, no super close ups!), but it is not lined like the wool one I made previously.

The photos I have of this garment are not great, but I DO have some action shots!  While the skirt can be a bit indecent in certain situations, it does cover under most poses:

I typically wear a skirt pin my wool one for work, but I like to play fast and loose on my days off.  

Now the weather actually needs to warm up for real, so I don't freeze without tights!  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Flint wide-legged trousers

I've finished teaching until the Fall (!!), but a few months ago, I was in need of some work-appropriate items.  Enter the Flint trouser by Megan Nielsen.  This style is a bit of a departure for my normal slim-legged pant wardrobe, but it's kind of refreshing (and certainly comfortable).  
The pattern itself is simple, as far as pants go.  There isn't a zipper, so to open the waistband, there's a clever opening system (buttons at the side, which transition into the pocket). 
Since I was kind of loving the sailor-inspired buttons on the side, I matched them on the other side, complete with non-functional "buttonholes".

The legs are definitely wide, and the width starts at the butt.  I need to somehow reduce the crotch length a bit for the next go around, since there's a little *extra* fabric in there.

And for the record, the back seam is sewn correctly--I must just have shifted them around a bit, so it looks funny in the photos!
 The fabric (stretch double weave cotton in Charcoal) is from Hart's and is really quite perfect for this particular style.  It has some weight, but is still a bit drapey.  I definitely enjoyed sewing with it and it's very lovely to wear.
Overall, I like the pattern a LOT.  There are some minor fit issues, but the style is fun and different and a good addition to my wardrobe.  I'm looking forward to trying the shorts version, perhaps with the waist bow, for the summer!

Friday, April 06, 2018

Goldfinch and snap pea handknit sweaters

Somehow, back in December, I got hooked on knitting.  Until then, knitting had been my "craft of last resort", reserved for when I wasn't near my sewing machine and just desperate to create something.  So in December, I started on a hat for my sister-in-law on a flight home from Alaska and from that moment on, I haven't been without an on-going knitting project.  Since then, I've made 7 hats and these two sweaters (with a third about 1/2 done).
I made this first one after discovering Quince & Co yarn company.  Quince & Co is a Maine-based company that sells US grown and spun yarns, and their aesthetic is just right for my style.  After perusing their patterns, I found the Lesley sweater, a perfectly simple pullover by Hannah Fettig, and bought the recommended yarn.  The sweater is knit from the top down in the round, with no seams to sew (wahoo!).  I increased the length of the hem ribbing, but otherwise, I followed the pattern exactly for size 32.
The yarn (Osprey) is an Aran-weight wool, which is super quick to knit (1 week from start to finish on this one).  I chose the "Goldfinch" color because in the depths of winter I was dying for some spring.  The yarn is soft and squishy, and not at all itchy!  So lovely.
The back neckline is shaped with short rows to make sure it goes up a little higher on the neck than the front.  I hadn't knit short rows before, but it was no big thing.
I'm seriously in love with my Goldfinch sweater and have sewn two skirts to coordinate with it!  It has taken actual effort to not purchase all the colors and knit up a ton of these.
For my second sweater, and with only 2 weeks until the day, I suddenly *needed* a green sweater for St. Patrick's Day.  So, I purchased the worsted-weight Lark yarn (in snap pea) to knit up the Petra sweater by Pam Allen.  
Again, this sweater is knit from the top down on circular needles, so no seams at all!  (Seamless circular construction is almost a requirement for a new project now.)  This one took me 1 week and 1 day to finish.  Again I added length to the sleeve and hem ribbing as my only alteration.
The boatneck goes a little higher in the front and lower in the back than I would like, but I've worn it with a button down underneath and that works well.  
These are kind of "faux" cables, made without a cable needle.  So pretty! 
Since these two sweaters almost felt like knitting cheating (it doesn't feel right to knit a sweater in a week!), I tackled a much more involved project for my third sweater.  I'm using a wool-silk fingering weight yarn and lace pattern for the Florence cardigan.  My goal is to be done by Mother's Day, and it will be tight!

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Sweater knit skater dresses

It's been a while, yeah?  Between a busy teaching quarter, broken sewing machine, and a newfound obsession with knitting, I haven't been sewing as much as usual.  Which isn't to say I haven't been sewing (there will be several upcoming posts of my past garments), it's just slowed down a bit.  It's actually a little ironic, since I made a loose "resolution" to not purchase any clothing that I could sew (which is *almost* everything) for the year. 
Anyhow, for my winter work attire, I thought some sweater dresses would be useful.  I absolutely fell in L<3VE with these jacquard sweater knits from Hamburger Liebe (navy & pumpkin and wine & pink fabric, purchased at L'oiseau Fabrics) and a skater dress felt like a good way to showcase them.  Both fabric are the same type of knit and both are thick and lovely, with good drape but not too heavy.  They wash beautifully, too! 
I made the navy & pumpkin one first.  It works well with tights and boots, and I have a cropped cardigan that I wear when it's chilly (which is always in my teaching lab). 

Here's a closer view of the fabric.  Isn't that pattern the best?  And the colors?  Faves.
Both dresses were sewn using the same pattern, a personalized version of the Bronx dress from SBCC.  I've used this pattern a ton and just love the simple, yet flattering shape of the fit and flare.  It's pretty ideal for work and non-work.  
The second version feels a little "flashier" with the bold herringbone geometric, but I love it just the same.  

I did my best to match up the vertical lines at the waist seam, but the same is curved on the skirt, so it's a bit sketchy toward the side seams.
Since the hems aren't really stretched much when wearing, I went ahead and sewed a straight stitch, which worked just fine.  I definitely didn't feel like busting out my coverstitch machine for these quick projects.  
While the fabric has some stretch, it's not quite enough to use like a rib knit, so I topstitched the neck band, to ensure it would lay flat.  

Alas, no pockets on either dress.  They are definitely missed, but it would just be way too bulky/ lumpy.  Trade-offs!