Posted in sewing

Beyonce Magic For New Years: Hot Patterns Cosmopolitan in Silk Jersey

Last year we went to dinner for New Year’s Eve at the Prime Rib. It’s a jacket required steak place where Jordan proposed. We had 9 pm dinner reservations and I was dozing at the table by 11. We left early and I was asleep on the sofa before the ball dropped. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

This year we got together with friends to go to a restaurant on top of a museum with a view of the fireworks at the Inner Harbor. I needed something to wear and was about to buy a dress. Then, remembered I have a ROOM FULL OF FABRIC and sewed instead. I binged on The Crown and decided to go all out vintage with a mink hat and cashmere opera coat (and lashes. I’m now ‘Team Lashes’ for going out). Barbara pointed out on IG I needed pearls and she’s right! I don’t know why I didn’t think to put some on.

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This  silk jersey version of the Hot Patterns Cosmopolitan is a bit of a dream project for me. But, sadly a semi fail. I first got this idea from Erica B’s blog like ten years ago. She showcased the Michael Kors dress the pattern is modeled after. And, in 2015 I found the right color jersey at Mood in New York.

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I made a few design changes to the original pattern (I’ve made it about eight times over the years). For the neckline, I did modify it a bit to be a U shape similar to the Michael Kor’s inspo dress. But, it’s too wide and D shape still (I keep altering it a little bit each time)  :-/ I also did an exposed neckline facing based on these directions from Gigi’s old blog, but it’s not done neatly and kind of wonky. Instead of the button cuffs as drafted, I made a simple in-the-round cuff to model the inspiration dress.

I also wish the facing was maybe 1.5 inches vs 1 inch wide. It was a really easy technique that I’d done before on a silk jersey blouse. I think I gave that top to Liz because I no longer have it :-/ I was a little too busty for it.

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I also meant to make a slip to wear with the dress. But, did some hand finishing on knitting and destroyed my wrist (a recurring theme) and couldn’t cut out a slip when it was time.

The seams are left raw inside and I used my blind hemmer to make the hem. And, i should mention… when I was deciding on the neckline dip, I held the patten up to me to make sure it was as low as possible without showing cleavage. So, yay me!

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You’ll see that it’s also tied at the back. I should have doubled the length of the waist ties so it  could wrap around and come to the front with some ‘hang’. I made note of this before and I might actually resew the straps.

So, overall it’s a totally fine dress. It’s a little bit of an expensive venture for me not to be 100% in love with it. But, I do like it a lot. And, can see myself trying again (I’ve already altered the neckline). And, I still had something fun to wear for New Year’s Eve!


 

My Bernina 830 was in the shop for a few weeks. I took it in because I could hear the belts slipping and it wouldn’t sew very sporadically. They tuned it up and replaced the foot pedal. I’ve always sewed on it on full speed. It never occurred to me it should sew slower if I didn’t push the pedal as hard. I’ve never really believed in machine servicing, only if it’s say ‘broken’. Otherwise, I figure you can oil and maintain yourself. But, I have to admit it’s sewing much better.

Posted in Machine Knitting

Brooklyn Tweed Roslyn Raglan Tunic Dress

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It seems I’m all knitting, all the time these days, eh? That’s because it’s cooled down here in the mid Atlantic and after years of sweater lust, I can finally have wonderful knitted clothes. Plus, I spent the last two years working in a jeans and sweatshirt environment and desperately need winter clothes.

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My friend Veronik Avery   (SHAMELESS NAME DROP) designed the Brooklyn Tweed Roslyn. Roslyn is a raglan style dress / tunic with a 2×2 rib turtleneck. I’ll be upfront here. I know I don’t look my best in turtlenecks, I have my mother’s short neck and rounder face and I’m busty. Logic and fashion dictate I should wear deep Vs and wraps — and they look great on me. But, I love my neck being nice and toasty and cannot resist their siren song.

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Veronik  designed a really lovely, classically styled tunic with beautiful proportions. I was worried I wasn’t lithe enough to pull it off. But, wanted to give it a try anyway. I used the schematics from the pattern to draft this in Garment Designer. The only change I made was taking in the lower thigh area after completing the top. I always err on the side of more side seam room for my lower thighs. Yet, tend to look better when I flatten the curve there a bit. And, after one day of wear, I took in the hip / thigh area another four inches after the yarn stretched (must get better at picking the right yarn for a project).

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My right sleeve is really stretched out because I accidentally put my head through it one day instead of the neck. My head is significantly bigger than my arm.

Sweater dresses remind me so much of 80s elementary school! I was all about the geometric sweater dress and stirup leggings. I remember getting that outfit for Christmas and couldn’t wait to show up on the first day back at school from break.

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While this can be work with leggings or tights, I think I’m sticking with leggings. I’m open to opinions though on if this is a good length for me or if I should go shorter or longer in my next iteration. I’m generally terrible deciding on proportions.

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I knit a sport gauge weight yarn in Cranberry from Bartlett Yarns on my standard bed machine. I thought I was going to have to hand knit my ribbing too. But, it turns out I just needed to use a massive amount of weights to prevent the ribbing from jamming on my machine. I like the yarn fine. It’s pretty affordable for 100% wool. It was a nice hand and an almost rustic look. I did find the yarn a little thin in some parts. But, it comes coned which is a huge benefit to me!

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I’ll likely make Roslyn again with a crew or a V neck (or reduce the height of the turtleneck from 9 inches to at least six). I’ve already edited my draft to take out a bit of ease and accommodate for the stretch of wool (it’s supposed to have 4 inches of ease).

I love this tunic! I wear it a legitimate two times a week. It’s prefect for winter. Feels festive and on trend at the same time.

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I’m currently on a crafting break. After raking about 20 bags of leaves, knitting a few pairs of socks, some scarves for my aunts and not wearing my hand brace AT ALL, my  wrist tendonitis has flared back up 😧. So, I’m nursing it for a few weeks (hand brace, heat, ibuprofen) to let it heal correctly. Might be time to get caught up on my reading!

Posted in sewing

Athletic Wear: Jalie 3462, Cora Leggings

You guys.

You guys.

I made leggings that did not require a full seat, full/forward/muscular/fat thigh nor a sway back adjustment.

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Don’t adjust your phone screen. What I speak is the truth. Because, the Jalie Cora Leggings are the MOTHER LOVING BUSINESS. Or magic. But, probably just really well drafted if we’re being honest. Yet, still a strong possibility of magic.

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When it comes to workout clothes, I’m a big fan of leggings. As my thighs have touched since birth, shorts give me continual chub rub and I don’t like to chafe. Leggings are my friend. I made three pairs of these and I LOVE them. They are stylish and comfotable and I felt totally hawt and fit!

Now, one bit of advice I would give should you choose to make these.  Listen is to your inner voice and DO NOT put the lightest color as the inner thigh contrast. Holy stare at my butt Batman!

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Eggplant, grey, teal with an eyeful of me.

After making this mistake with my first pair, I was far more judicious in my color choices with my  second and third pair – making sure to put the darker color at the center. Most of the fabric is from Suzie Spandex in Montréal – which I bought in purple, grey, black, red and blue during PR Weekend there like six years ago. What’s funny is the Jalie women were on that trip and raved about the Suziplex. The accent colors of baby blue and mint green are Supplex from Stretch House, purchased about six years ago in NY

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Black, grey, baby blue w. reflective tape

On my second pair, I added stretchy sew-in reflective tape to the calf and pocket seams (above).  Speaking of the pocket… Do you see my iPod bulging a bit at the back below my waist? It’s a crazy great pocket. It fits my huge android phone, keys and ID too.

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Chocolate brown and mint green

Of the many many yards of athletic fabric I’ve bought including Under Armor, Nike, and general supplex this Suziplex is the best stuff I’ve ever used. And, it’s sadly no longer being made. Melissa from FehrTrade tipped me off that they weren’t selling it anymore last year and I called and placed an obscene order – tariffs and international shipping be dammed! This of course left me with some odd colors (brown, teal, burgundy, and violet). But, I do not care. I will hoard these until they are sold for a $1 a yard at my estate sale.

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reflective tape

I sewed a size X at the waist grading to a Z at the thigh based on my measurements. That’s it. No alterations. No special tricks. No sizing down. No topstitching the seams. I sewed this mostly mostly on my serger and used my coverstitch for the hemming.  I did add some reflective tape on two pairs for some night visibility.

I do vacillate between feeling really good with how these look on my butt to feeling like they show a lot of my butt. It’s so hurrrd being a  woman.

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reflective tape

That’s it. I love them. Please pardon me while I go work out. Or walk the dog. He clearly is ready to go out.

 

 

Posted in sewing

They Call Me The Duchess: Style Arc Gorgeous Gore Skirt and Phillipa Peplum

I kind of went crazy when StyleArc put together several pieces from the 2014 Royal Tour to Australia. After two years, I finally sewed up the Phillipa Top, Gorgeous Gore skirt, and Kate dress from their Etsy shop as copy shop patterns (death to taping!). I would have bought the Catherine too, but it wasn’t available as a PDF.

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I SWOONED over this pink wool jersey Alexander McQueen ensemble.

The Royals arrive into Adelaide
The royals, Kate and William, arrive into Adelaide without their son GeorgePictured: Prince William and Kate Ref: SPL743025 230414
Picture by: Splash News

 

Having the same lithe figure as the Duchess (HA!), I decided to whip up my own version using a polyester ponte knit I bought last year from Metro Textiles in the Garment District.

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I wore it this weekend to Jordan’s grandfather’s 80th birthday dinner. And, that’s the only photo I have of it on me. It’s literally 100 degrees here (they are calling it a ‘Heat Dome’) and you’ll be shocked to know poly scuba does not breath. We snapped this on my cell phone for IG in the hotel and bolted for the restaurant.

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Any who, when I first sent the photo of this outfit on my dress form, my friend Liz said “I have to see it on. It looks potentially matronly”. I can see why. First, my dress form approximates but doesn’t mimic my figure. Second, I think we can all agree that perhaps Catherine dresses a little…. mumsy? That said, I’m actually pretty pleased with the silouhette overall on me.

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The Gorgeous Gore skirt is a really terrific beginner pattern and intro to StyleArc.  It’s just two pattern pieces and a really simple sew.  I purchased the 12-14-16 size range. For the skirt, I cut the 16 and ended up taking it in at the waist about three sizes and one size through the thighs. The instructions might be a bit  confusing if you read too fast. But, I sewed each panel with 1/4 inch seams and the side seams with 3/8 inch allowance. I ended up shortening the skirt by two inches and using 1/2 inch wide elastic at the waist rather that 1/4 inch.

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For the Philipa top, I found one online review and read a smattering of comments on other blogs about it being too low cut. Which, I did not find to be the case at all. Maybe because I’m a little busty it doesn’t come down as far as for others? I did also make an FBA and multiple muslins of the top. Why? Because it’s a new-to-me company and my fabric is precious.

Muslin 1:  I  started with a 16, raised the neckline by 1 inch and made a 1.25 inch FBA adding a side dart and shortening the front dart by 1 inch.

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Muslin 2: Dropped down to a 12, put the neckline back where it was and made a 1.25 inch FBA

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Muslin 3: Kept the size 12 (which is still a wee bit big) and reduced my FBA to 1 inch.  I also lowered the side darts 1/2 inch.  FYI, darts can end 1 to 2.5 inches from the apex. Mine still don’t. They are right up on me.

I also changed the 3/4 sleeves to a capped sleeve. Because, poly scuba in the dead of summer.

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And, here’s the back view. I can get the top on fine without unzipping. But, with a zip, it’s easier to get on without messing up my hair and makeup. So, I’m glad I kept it.

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StyleArc is AWESOME and I’m sorry it took me this long to discover them. I love, love, love this outfit. And, maybe someday I’ll actually get more photos of me in it! I hope to make this up in the fall in long sleeves using some of my stashed wool jersey — maybe a nice camel. Wouldn’t that look awesome with tall boots?

 

Posted in sewing

Cashmerette Patterns Concord Tee – Review

Hot time, summer in the city and all that, eh? In April, we went to Santa Fe for my 40th birthday. The night of my birthday dinner I did a wine pairing at a fancy Santa Fe restaurant. While I like my drink, I’m not a big drinker, but at the price point for the meal, I drank every last overpriced drop.

A few days after said dinner, the Concord Tee from Cashmerette patterns showed up in my mail box. Initially startled, I foggily remembered ordering it the night of said matched wine impaired dinner.  Apparently, you can drunk purchase.

I was drawn to the Cashmerette line for the lack of an FBA. I mean, I can make them. But, I don’t like it. For my muslin, I cut an E/F cup (I’m a 34G bra) with a 12 bodice, grading out to a 16 at the hip ( For reference, these days I’m sewing a 40 in Burda on top w. a 1.5 – 2 inch inch or so FBA and a 40 grading to a 46 on the bottom.) . My bust measurement is spot on for Cashmerette’s 12 E/F. But, my waist and hip fell between the 14 and 16.

While the bust generally fit, I found overall the shirt was bigger/ had more ease that I wanted. In addition, the front neckline was really wide on me so that my bra would show and a little low – just a sliver of cleavage. I also noticed that there’s a bit of extra fabric width between my bust and shoulders. Plus, the shoulders are a hair too wide for me as drafted.

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For my additional versions, I raised the neckline 1/4 inch and sewed 12; grading to just a 14 at the high hip.  Much better (didn’t make the shoulder adjustment yet).

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But, here in  these sitting photo, you can see what I mean about there being a little more length or width than I need between the upper bust and the shoulder.

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And, I can’t bend over in the v-neck version without exposing myself.

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I’ve made about four of these shirts in the scoop and v-neck, medium length and short sleeved. I’ve since altered the pattern for what I think will work best of taking out that 2 cm of gaposis but don’t have more fabric to test it in. I’ve also narrowed the shoulder 1/4 inch. Next time I get my hands on some cotton knits, I’ll make up a few more too.

Oh, I initially sewed the muslin as a tunic. Which I didn’t care for on me. But, I didn’t save a photo because I’m an idiot.

As for the instructions, I kind of just glanced at them. The pattern provides a lot of handholding which an intermediate to advanced seamstress might find unnecessary. The pattern has V-neck instructions I’ve not seen before. I used my TNT v-neck method from the Sewing Athleticwear from the Singer Sewing Reference Library.

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For my gray scoop neck version, I bound the neckline also using instruction from the Sewing Athleticwear volume of the Singer Sewing Reference Library. I did them this way because cotton knits tend to stretch. And this is a way of having a nice, snug  yet still stretchy neckline. It’s a really pretty and very neat finish that I like doing.

Now, the $18 elephant in my room. Is this pattern worth it? For ease of use, absolutely. It’s nice to have a dartless tee that actually fits. And, while I need a few small alterations for it to be my ideal, that’s nothing compared to starting from scratch with a B or C cup pattern. Plus, it’s great when a pattern fits you out the envelope. But, in my view they really aren’t supposed to if you want the best fit possible 🙂