Me-Made-May 2017: Week 2 recap

I’ve survived TWO Weeks of Me-Made-May which is¬†so exciting! So far I’ve identified several holes in my handmade wardrobe (basic t’s, cardigans, work out clothes…). I have patterns already for the missing areas, but have yet to sew them. Finishing a dress for work is about a bajillion times more fabulous than sewing loungewear.

Check out Week 1’s recap here!

Day 8: my Popover Poncho

Plus, a pair of corduroys from Loft that had a gaping waistband until I tacked it – so does that count too? ūüėČ

 

Day 9: Out and About Shirt

This might be my very-first-EVER [wearable] handmade garment. I was working on an Out and About Dress & had butchered a few already {word to the wise: don’t begin your adventures of garment sewing with knit…or maybe that’s the best part about being a beginner: You have no fear or knowledge of what you “should” fear. Whatever, just go for it}. I was feeling defeated until I was able to squeeze a shirt out of the leftover fabric. I’ll never forget the sense of accomplishment I felt afterward.

It took me a few months to recover from the experience, but I LOVED the Out and About Dress I finally [successfully]¬†made {see it in this post}. I loved how it fit. I loved the fabric. I loved how I felt wearing it. I was hooked…

  • Pattern: Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline¬†{affiliate link} –¬†modified by¬†lengthening the bodice (but I’m not sure by how much. This was light years ago. I barely knew how to turn on my sewing machine) & omitting the skirt.
  • Fabric: some kind of knit. I think I found it at my local Hancock Fabrics.
  • Blogged: of course not.

 

Day 10: Peachy Fen Dress

Have you ever tried to take a photo with your dog? Geez, Louise.

Charlotte dog really couldn’t care less that we were wearing matching “outfits” which is really unfortunate because Mother/Daughter outfits are the coolest.

 

Day 11: Upcycled Montlake Tee

May 11th would’ve been my grandpa’s 82nd birthday. It was our first celebrating without him. My grandmother let me browse his closet a few weeks ago and I knew I wanted to refashion a piece of clothing to wear in his honor.

I transformed one of his shirts into my first Montlake tee. This refashion was so fun…and very therapeutic! Ironing clothing really brings out the scent. I love upcycling family member’s clothes because the scent fills my sewing room and brings a flood of special memories. I’ll blog all about this one day, but for now, here ya go:

  • Pattern: Montlake Tee by Straight Stitch Designs
  • Fabric: entirely from my grandfather’s old shirt (it had little stretch like jersey but the feel of a ponte knit).
  • Blogged: not yet!

 

Day 12: my Parkside Skirt

  • Pattern: Parkside Skirt by Sew Caroline¬†{affiliate link}
  • Fabric: mystery fabric that was donated to me from someone’s attic…I think it might have been a tablecloth at one point ūüėČ
  • Blogged: mentioned in this post, but you can find a full review of the shorts from the pattern here!

 

Day 13: my Parkside Shorts

The Hubs & I got to spend Saturday with my sister and nephew which was wonderful! He’s now 2.5 months old and learning to smile which melts my heart {see a little grin in this picture}.

  • Pattern: Parkside Shorts by Sew Caroline¬†{affiliate link}
  • Fabric: it was donated to my stash from someone’s attic, but it’s a lightweight denim & vintage floral scraps for the pocket accents.
  • Blogged: here!

 

Day 14: Tammy’s Tulip Shorts

I’ve been keeping these shorts a secret after testing the pattern a few weeks ago. They are a total favorite!! I wore them walking all around town on Sunday with complete comfort (to all my thigh-touching-sistas: there was no awkward riding up which means these are a total win). I made mine with self-made bias tape, but you can use lace or decorate trim for a little extra flair.

The BEST part about this pattern is that 1) it is one SALE – 25% off through midnight on 5/21¬†{shop here!}, and 2) you can buy the girls pattern too to make a matching set with your mini-me! In Sew Caroline’s collaboration with Simple Life Patterns, they released SIX ladies+girls matching patterns for Mommy-and-Me outfits which included these shorts. Shop the collection.

  • Pattern: Ladies Tammy’s Tulip Shorts by Sew Caroline¬†{affiliate link}
  • Fabric: more donated fabric from someone’s attic + self-made bias tape for trim.
  • Blogged: not yet!

 

Me-Made-May/Sewing-related resources I’m lovin’ this week:

1. Repair inspiration

Found a hole in a beloved sweater and not sure how to repair it? Check out how Fiona used tone-on-tone embroidery for mend her sweater! This may motivate me to spruce up my embroidery skills.

2. Pipe-cleaners [yes, those fuzzy wiry things we all played with as kids]

Less of a resource, more of a tip: Keeping a pipe-cleaner in my machine’s “drawer” (is that what the little case under your machine¬†is called?!) is my new favorite thing. A sweet lady gave a wonderful demo at my last quilting guild meeting on how to clean your machine. I took mine apart a few weeks ago {proof here} and was surprised at the dust I pulled off. I’ve been using the pipe-cleaner for dusting each time I’ve used my machine since.

3.¬†Allie J’s me-made wedding dress

It’s PINK!! If I’d had a wedding {read more about that decision here}, I would’ve definitely wanted a pink wedding dress.

I heard Allie talking about her dress on the latest Maker Style podcast episode and had go to searching for a photo. It sounded lovely Рand it is.

4. Wardrobe Edit – this is a great post from¬†Becoming Minimalist with 4 easy-to-follow tips on editing your wardrobe. Not only is this handy in paring down your handmade wardrobe to give you a good idea of styles/fabrics you most enjoy wearing {aka: what patterns & fabrics are worth your¬†time & financial investment}, it’s also useful for non-sewists – anyone who wears clothes & is interested in¬†enjoying what they’re wearing!

#mmmay17 posts I’m¬†lovin’ this week

Week 2 Reflections

While my ready-to-wear [store bought] dresses are banned this month, I have been reflecting on those I miss most. My RTW clothes are very neutral – lots of black. While I love a good floral print or bold design, I really want to incorporate more neutrals into my handmade garments. I have been admiring the look of loose-fitting linen dresses lately. Linen can be quite an investment so I’m keeping my eyes peeled for oversized thrift store dresses that I can cut up and use ūüėČ

I also have a maxi dress that I particularly love. It has an elastic waist, an overlay with¬†full lining and no closures. It’s also the perfect length for me (I can even wear it with flat sandals). It’s one of the most comfortable dresses I own that still¬†looks fancy. Being that I know how to sew which affords me the opportunity to make a dress¬†any length, I should really consider a maxi!

Are you participating in Me-Made-May? What have you learned/discovered about your wardrobe?

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Sewing Wish List: 10 Patterns for Spring/Summer

There are so many patterns floating around right now that I’m lusting after! Today I’m sharing a few that are on my sewing “wish list” that I think would be perfect for spring and summer.

1. Highlands Wrap Dress by Allie Olson

I have been dreaming of a v-neck, wrap top dress for a while and haven’t found one that caught my fancy¬†until Allie of Indie Sew released the Highlands Wrap Dress.

A flowy version – perhaps a large-print floral rayon? – is on the short list of dresses I’m considering for a wedding I’ll be attending this summer.

Highlands Wrap Dress inspiration:¬†This long version is pretty sexy and has me wondering if I should try the maxi length. Also totally smitten with Leslie’s nani IRO version!

2. The Orla Dress РFree pattern from French Navy

Y’all know my love of a cinched waist dress so as soon as I saw this pattern I knew it was one I’d want to try!

Orla Dress inspiration:¬†I am completely smitten with Rachel’s plaid version¬†and¬†her floral version.

3. Off-the-Shoulder Dress РFree tutorial from Megan Nielsen

I’m¬†really¬†not one for trendy attire and have been¬†particularly detesting¬†most of the cold-shoulder trends as of late, BUT one iteration of this trend has me swooning: a ruffled off-the-shoulder dress.

I absolutely hate strapless bras + have gotten pretty conservative in my dress-ware as I’ve aged so I’m not totally sure this is a style I’ll embrace…however, Megan Nielsen has what appears to be an incredibly easy tutorial for making this dress that I just might give a try because it looks so stinkin’ easy¬†and I think it might be appropriate for that¬†summer wedding I mentioned earlier¬†ūüėČ

4. Dottie Angel Frock / Simplicity 1080

I picked up this pattern on sale at JoAnn’s quite a while ago. The pattern looks fairly simple and I¬†love a dress with pockets.

5. Darling Ranges by Megan Nielsen

I picked up this pattern from Five Eighth Seams on a trip to Charleston last year. I finally got the nerve up to start the pattern over my holiday break. I got about half way done and hung it in my sewing room closet where it has been gathering dust for a few months. This is such a bad habit of mine. I’m planning to get back to it very soon so I can wear it for summer (it’s made from a beautiful voile – see it here! – that’ll be delightful during those hotter-than-hot summer days that await).

6. Montlake Tee from Straight Stitch Designs

I’m in need of some basic shirts. I purchased the Montlake paper pattern from Straight Stitch Designs a while ago knowing it would be a staple. From the scoop neck to flowy body of the shirt, I love this simple flattering design.

I also have Kimberly’s View Ridge pattern. It’s not a style my closet is in dire need of right now, but it’s definitely on my to-sew-soon list!

7. Watson Bra by Cloth Habit

I don’t have this pattern in my stash¬†yet, but I’ve been admiring it pretty intensely for over a year now. I bought a beautiful bra-making-kit from Mercer’s Fabric¬†while visiting Boston last year¬†that I’m planning to finally use ūüėČ

Watson inspiration: this simple gray version by Kimberly of Straight Stitch Designs, this pretty blue lace version by Grainline Studio, basically all version on the #WatsonBra hashtag on IG. Very impressed with how Erin turned it into a Nursing Bra!

Other bralette patterns I’m loving:

Resources:¬†Ohhh Lulu has a great post on how to take your own measurements. Cloth Habit has a sew along for the Watson bra that I will certainly utilize.¬†According to¬†Sarah’s FAQ video, bralettes are totally wearable for almost all bust sizes!

8. Shoreline Boatneck Dress by Blank Slate Patterns

I’ve already made a tunic and I wear it as often as possible because it is so stinkin’ comfortable.

Shoreline Boatneck inspiration:¬†I really love the pattern because of its versatility and I’ve been dreaming of re-creating Melissa’s cinched waist version which reminds me a little of the Fen Dress, but I really prefer the comfort of a set-in sleeve so I’m leaning towards the Shoreline Boatneck for this upcycle plan…

My grandmother gave me a few of my grandpa’s shirts the other week and I have an idea bouncing around in my head that I can’t wait to get started on!

I’m planning to follow this Shoreline hack¬†using his white linen button up shirt for the top of the dress¬†and some army green rayon I found at JoAnn’s when testing the Auberley dress for the bottom.

9. Maxi Circle Skirt РBy Hand London has a calculator!

I’m not¬†huge on maxi dresses because 1) I’m so short, 2) I rarely have enough fabric, 3) the summer humidity where I live is best suited for uncovered legs ūüėČ

BUT I have some Birch Floral rayon from Rifle Paper Company’s Les Fleurs collection that I think would be so lovely as a circle skirt! If I end up not having enough for a maxi, I’ll go with a midi or mini.

Maxi Circle Skirt inspiration: Mac of Harper+Lu made a gorgeous maxi circle skirt¬†and has some tips for using By Hand London’s circle skirt calculator.

10. Sleeveless Auberley Dress by Blank Slate Patterns

I participated in the first round of testing for the Auberley, but unfortunately couldn’t move to round 2 because I was going out of town so I don’t actually have a finished version ūüė¶ It’s been on my list for a while – the construction of the bodice was actually pretty neat and I enjoyed it quite a bit (it was my first time lining a bodice!).

Auberley inspiration: I really¬†love¬†Melissa’s sleeveless version! Plus, you know I’m a sucker for a cinched waist & pockets ūüėČ Also head-over-heels for this embroidered version!!

Limiting myself to 10 patterns was tough! There are loads, loads, loads more on my list. Perhaps this is why I have such a hard time focusing on / finishing a project?! Nonetheless, I hope you enjoyed the list!

Tell me what you’re sewing for spring/summer in the comments below {because – let’s face it – I need more patterns on my wish list! ūüėČ }

Shoreline Boatneck

Since the holidays, I have been having a tough time focusing on a project from start to finish (I’d like us not to discuss how many WIPs are hanging in the closet of my sewing room right now). When I saw the call for testers for a re-release of the Shoreline Boatneck, I jumped on it! I knew the accountability [deadline] of testing a pattern would help my sew’jo return {and yippee – it’s back!}.

I’ve tested for Blank Slate Patterns before and I can’t say enough great things about 1) the quality of the pattern designs [& instructions] and 2) how well-run the testing process is!

I’ve been a member of the Blank Slate Patterns group on Facebook for a while so I’ve seen how versatile this pattern is. I knew it would be a great one to add to my stash.

shoreline-boatneck-tracing

Does anyone else obsessively trace their patterns with freezer paper? After reading Addie’s post about pin-free cutting, I can’t stop.

Fabric

I found some denim rayon at my local JoAnn’s to use for testing the Shoreline Boatneck with woven material (the pattern can be made in woven or knit – I told you it was versatile!). It is¬†so very soft. I wanted material that would 1) have a good drape and 2) be a versatile color so I could wear it often ūüėČ

Despite being soft and drapey, the fabric was actually really easy to sew!

shoreline-boatneck-sewing

Length

The original Shoreline Boatneck pattern had the option of being a top or a dress. Originally I was going to make the dress version, but when the option to make a tunic came up, I volunteered! The dress version looks a little longer than would be flattering on my short frame (I’m only 5’1″ for reference) so I knew a tunic would be ideal. I shortened the pattern from the dress hemline by 8 inches to make the tunic (not from the lengthen/shorten line which actually sounds intriguing after someone pointed out that would make the bottom more flowy).

The tunic falls just above my knees so it’s pretty much a dress on me ūüėČ

shoreline-2

Fit

I made a size small based on my bust measurements and it fit perfect on the first sew! The pattern is not a fitted design (no bust darts) so there is some flexibility. I like that it’s a little loose but not in a way that looks like I’m wearing a muu-muu {but let’s be honest: This tunic is so comfortable it basically feels like pajamas}.

Because I was testing, I did not make any alterations or modifications to the fit. Even after testing, I still wouldn’t make any adjustments – it fits perfectly!

shoreline-4

Future Plans {& Inspiration}

There are so many ideas for hacking. Four hacks are included with the re-release!

Melissa has made several variations including the 3 below. Y’all know my love for a dress with pockets AND a cinched waist so you bet the middle one is on.my.list.!

shoreline-hack-ideas

Button-back hack instructions HERE | Details of the middle dress HERE | Hack instructions for the dress on the right HERE

There is something about this pattern – the top and the the dress – that look so perfect with plaids / checkers. I fell for the big gingham print version that Melissa made. I fell even harder when she mentioned it didn’t require a zipper {y’all know my love for slip-on/no-closure dresses!} – you can read more about this hack at the end of this post. The waist & bodice remind me of the Fen Dress a bit but without darts + side-seam pockets, perhaps it’ll be a faster sew!

mellysews-shoreline-dress

Y’all know my love of upcycling. A fellow member of the testing group posted a hack that I fell for! Ellen used a men’s button down shirt to make a Shoreline top and even kept the original hem.

My grandfather passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago. I’m hoping to get my hands on a few of his shirts to upcycle for my sister {who’s due with my nephew¬†any.moment.now!} and I.

ellens-shoreline

Follow Ellen on Instagram for sewing inspiration: @ellen.mchugh

I also like the color-block version that Abbey of Sew Charleston made. Her top looks straight off the RTW rack (in the best way).

abbeys-shoreline

Read all about Abbey’s color-blocked Shoreline Boatneck top HERE

Browse the #ShorelineBoatneck hashtag on Instagram to see even more beautiful versions!

Conclusion: It’s a Wardrobe Staple!

This tunic has been on regular rotation since I finished it. For the most comfortable outfit ever, I’ve been pairing it with my frumpiest [coziest] sweater, leggings, moccasins and my favorite scarf {crocheted by my super talented boss}.

shoreline-with-sweater

Can we pretend this counts as professional wear? PLEASE!

Purchase your own Shoreline Boatneck pattern here. Then come back & share your version with me!

My most worn handmade garments

If you set a resolution for 2017 to build/expand your handmade wardrobe, this list is for you!

With almost 3 years (!!) of sewing garments under my belt, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on my most-worn, most-loved patterns. I have learned a lot along this journey. While some garments were fun to construct [or maybe not so fun], they may not have turned out to be as loved in a day-to-day way.

My goal with this list is to provide you a few pattern recommendations that will surely be worth your time!

handmade-wardrobe

Disclaimer: The list is purely subjective and recalled from memory; not from actual daily tallies of use [but wouldn’t that be a fun experiment?!].

Being that I have avoided adding closures of any kind to a garment thus far {no zippers, no buttons, no problem!}, I would say that all of these patterns are beginner-friendly.

beautiful-things

Along this journey to build my handmade wardrobe, I have discovered “my style.” It’s eclectic {code word for: comfortably weird}.

My style moves on a continuum between dressing like a tween to dressing like a 90-year-old. To be honest: it’s not much a continuum – I mostly cling to one end or the other without much that fits in between. But I think that’s the beauty of sewing your own clothes: You have the freedom to choose¬†exactly how you want your garment¬†to look. You want a dress to match your dachshund? Girl Charlee’s got you covered. Need bright green leggings to make spin class more appealing? Imagine Gnats has you covered.

You’ll see both extremes of my style throughout the list below. I can’t promise¬†my style is¬†in style, but it’s¬†mine. And I’m embracing it ūüôā

iris-apfel

Handmade Garments I wore most in 2016

TRANSITION PIECES

Below are pieces that easily transitioned from season to season [aka: just-add-leggings]. 

Sew Caroline’s Out and About Dress | pattern

out-and-about-dress

The 3 Out & About Dresses I’ve made so far – from L to R: version 3, 1, and 2.

This was the very first pattern I sewed {first dress ever} and it has remained my very favorite! I even turned it into a shirt once.

The dress transitions perfectly to fall with a few layers – just add leggings, boots, a sweater and your favorite scarf!

out-and-about-dress-2

During the cooler weather, I wear my long-sleeved version almost every week.

I just ordered some dark gray ponte de roma fabric from imagine gnats that I’m hoping to turn into my 4th Out & About Dress – stay tuned!

{Read all about version 1 & 2 here and version 3 here.}

Sew Caroline’s Tank Dress | pattern

tank-dress-2

When this pattern was first released, I didn’t think I’d jump on that bandwagon. I thought the hemline was “too trendy” {I’ve already confessed my inner 90-year-old}, BUT I love it. It’s actually¬†really easy to construct since it can be made with a woven [non-stretchy] fabric.

My second version [pictured here] is my most-worn¬†because: I raised the elastic casing on the back of the dress about 2 inches [I think]. I’m petite which often requires altering (usually raising the waistline in dresses works for me). In my first version {mentioned in this post}, I was having some bunching in the back above the elastic because it was sliding up to my waist. It was such a simple alteration that completely changed the comfort and fit of the dress for me.

I wear this dress to work with a simple black cardigan and platforms in the summer and transition to fall/winter by adding leggings and boots. I love the versatility of the dress – easy to layer from season to season.

Fancy Tiger Craft’s Fen Dress

fen-dress

My first version of the Fen Dress [pictured here] is my favorite.

{Read all about both of my Fen Dresses in this post and see my 1st Fen Dress in action in this post.}

Shwin Designs’ Day Tripper Top¬†| pattern

day-tripper-top

I got this pattern¬†a long time ago as part of the Pattern Anthology “Just Add Jeans” collection. Embarrassingly, it’s the only pattern I’ve sewn from the collection so far.

For my version, I accidentally omitted the shoulder tabs and waist band which shortened the top (perfect length for petite frame FYI).

{Read all about my Day Tripper Top in this post and see it in action here, here and here on Thanksgiving.}

 

SUMMER

Sew Caroline’s Magnolia Shorts | pattern

magnolia-shorts

These shorts got some serious wear this summer. In past summers I have¬†lived in my black Patagonia elastic waist shorts. The fabric is great for the heat (light and quick-drying/nearly-sweat-proof). While I¬†love them¬†so¬†much, they make me look like a soccer mom (but not the kind that dresses up to sit on the sidelines. I’m the soccer mom wearing big sunglasses trying to hide the fact that she’s napping in her bag¬†chair).

The Magnolia Shorts helped my summer wardrobe appear slightly more pulled together. I used a crepe fabric that had been donated to my stash from someone’s attic. The fabric was¬†perfect for the shorts – drapey and breezy. It made my version morph into a skirt visually {thus, taking my wardrobe up 10 notches}.

{Read all about my Magnolia shorts in this post and see them in action in this post and here on Instagram.}

*PS: If you’re looking for shorts with pockets, check out the Parkside Shorts {read all about mine here}! I made 2 pairs – you can see the second pair in action at the bottom of¬†this post.

My Refashioned Housedress

housedress_before after

This was one of the quickest, easiest projects so far. It was an easy-breezy hack-and-hem into the most comfortable dress ever saved from a landfill.

{Read all about the project¬†in this post. I’m feeling inspired for more refashions – hopefully I’ll find some fun ones for 2017!}

 

WINTER

Blank Slate Pattern’s Tulip Top | pattern

leopard tulip top

I found 2 versions of the Tulip Top particularly inspiring: Sewbon {I love the textured knit and really like how she lengthened it and omitted the sleeve cuffs & neckband for a whole new look} & Sew Charleston {I loved the short-sleeve hack – we’re both in the always-hot-state-of-SC so short-sleeves get a lot of wear}.¬†I actually copied Sew Charleston’s short-sleeved hack in¬†this version, but unfortunately this version hasn’t been worn as much as it should be.

Fun note about the Tulip Top – it was just re-released with a cross-over back option.

Also: I was recently shopping for my adorably preggo sister at Motherhood Maternity and saw a nursing top (similar) that made me think this pattern might be a fun modification for maternity (cross-over in the back) and nursing (cross-over in the front). I’d love to say I’m going to make one for my sister, but my sewing list is so long my nephew might be walking by then!

{Read more about my leopard print Tulip Top in this post.}

I hope this post has inspired you and given you fresh ideas to build your handmade wardrobe. I’d love to hear what’s on your “to make” list for 2017 – share in the comments below!

Fancy Tiger Crafts’ Fen Dress 1 and 2

I made the Fen Dress quite a while ago, but have been lazy about blogging it (so sorry!). It’s¬†quickly becoming a favorite go-to pattern. So far I’ve made two and have plans for a few more.

fen-dress

The Pattern

I picked up a printed copy of the pattern when we detoured to Finch Knitting & Sewing Studio in Leesburg, Virginia on the way home from our Boston road trip.

fen-dress-pattern

The pattern is really easy to follow. It was the first time I have followed a Fancy Tiger Crafts pattern and I really liked it!

You can order the printed pattern from Fancy Tiger Crafts here.

Version 1

I made View B (dress) with a round neckline in woven fabric. I chose the slight drop hem (ever-so-slightly longer in the rear). I skipped the optional sleeves, but may try those for a fall/winter version later.

fen-dress-1a

Favorite Features

The pockets are amazing! They are at the perfect height and really easy to access. I don’t typically use pockets to carry things (other than lip balm), but I¬†love using them for their original intention: to store my hands when they are wondering where to go in awkward social situations.

fen-dress-1e

See how the pockets fall exactly at my natural waist? Perfect!

There are no closures – the dress has a loose fit so, despite being sewn in woven material, you can still slip it overhead – no scary zipper installation.

fen-dress-1b

Fabric

For my first Fen Dress, I used Robert Kaufman chambray¬†that I snagged from a friend’s destash on Instagram. Here is some similar fabric (perhaps the same?) in the Imagine Gnats shop.

I made this dress around the same time as¬†my Parkside Shorts and was definitely on an accent pocket kick.¬†I used some thin vintage cotton for the pocket linings (the fabric felt a bit like double gauze, but I’m not sure what it really is). I added an¬†extra layer of chambray behind to stabilize it – fusible interfacing probably would have been a better long-term solution, but so far it’s holding up just fine.

fen-dress-1d

fen-dress-1c

I also used this fabric for the neckline. I’m did not follow the instructions for the neckline correctly. As you can see in the photo below, I wrapped the neckline fabric around to the front to expose it. In my second version, I attached the neckline more similar to what I have done with knit patterns. The first method created the best fit for the neckline (not that my 2nd attempt was how it’s supposed to be done either…)

fen-dress-neckline

Fit

With a petite frame, I often have to make adjustments to patterns. Usually with a waistline like this, I would have to shorten the bodice. I’m excited to say – I did not have to make any adjustments to “petite-ify” this pattern!

However, I did grade between sizes based on my measurements which was actually very easy to do with this pattern.

Construction

The skirt piece is not overwhelmingly wide so the gathers are easy to install.

I used french seams throughout which took a little longer than usual, but it’s really my favorite method to use for seams when working with woven material. I did not alter the pattern pieces to accommodate since the pattern has a pretty generous seam allowance. I just shrunk the width of the seam I was sewing.

Here is a great tutorial from Craftsy on how to sew french seams.

Version 2

When I picked the pattern out at Finch, I fell in love with this beautiful peach print fabric that I knew would make the perfect Fen Dress.

fen-dress-pair

The fabric is called “Peaches in Bright Pink” from Melody Miller’s “Fruit Dots” collection for Cotton + Steel in Fall 2015. You can find it for sale¬†here from Hawthorne Threads.

fen-dress-2

After Version 1 proved that the fit was perfect, I whipped up Version 2 exactly the same. The only difference was the neckline. I flipped the neckband up after attaching and top-stitched like I have done with knit dresses in the past (again, pretty sure this was not correct).

fen-dress-2-neckline

This method caused the neckline to be much wider than I would’ve liked with a bit of gaping at the front center. I still wear the dress regularly because overall it is a great fit and I am too lazy to seam rip the neckband and start over ūüėČ

{Pretty sure you’re supposed to use bias binding for the neckline. Here is a tutorial that would’ve been helpful for me to follow if I had actually realized that…}

After finishing version 2, I had enough fabric left over to make my pup her own peach-themed scarf to match!

kimba

She loves it. #DivaDog

In case you’re wondering how to make your pup a matching scarf with your leftover material (it’s no-sew and ridiculously easy): grab your pinking shears (here are the ones I use) and cut a triangle. You want the longest edge (bottom edge if you are looking at it with the point at the top) to be the¬†circumference of your dog’s neck plus a few extra inches to spare for knotting. Tie around your pup leaving enough room so that it can slip over the pup’s head but not so loose it will fall off (you do not want it too tight!).

If you wanted to get really fancy, you could use a second fabric scrap to make it reversible and even add velcro (which, admittedly by this overprotective-former-vet-tech, would be much safer if you are planning to leave it on your pup unattended [aka: a quick release in case it gets caught on something…sorry for dragging you into the world of a¬†paranoid-fur-parent, but welcome!]).

Final Thoughts

This pattern is a definite favorite! It is the exact style that I love: cinched waist, pockets… perfection.

I would say this is definitely a pattern that is appropriate for a beginner. There are no closures (no zippers, no buttons), you can use woven material (no stretch=no stress for beginners!), and there are no set-in sleeves.

Have you made a Fen Dress? I’d love to see your version!

Sew Caroline’s Magnolia Shorts Pattern

Sew Caroline just released a new pattern and I was lucky enough to be a part of the group of gals who tested the pattern…and it’s¬†so fabulous!

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As you know, I love Sew Caroline’s patterns {proof 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7}¬†so I always try to jump in when she’s in need of¬†testers. I fell in love with the shorts when she first shared them here on Instagram.

Flowy, swingy shorts – yes please! {Also, you know my love of an elastic waist}

The construction of these shorts is¬†even easier than the Parkside Shorts (which I still love). Rather than a separate¬†front and back piece, there’s just one long piece that requires no side seam!

Less pattern pieces = less seams to sew = less time

shorts

Fabric

I used some vintage black crepe that had been passed on to me from someone’s attic {don’t you love when someone donates to your fabric stash and it’s just.what.you.needed?!}.

It was my first time working with crepe (I didn’t even know it was crepe until one of my fabulous quilty friends identified it for me at the last sew-in…sewing friends are the best!). I actually really enjoyed it! It’s got an amazing drape and wasn’t too slippery. It ironed like a beauty so hemming was a breeze.

Here’s a great post from IndieSew with tips about sewing and caring for crepe fabric. I confess that I did not read this article before constructing my shorts. Is anyone else guilty of always researching¬†after the fact?! Anyhow,¬†according to my post-sewing-research, it’s a good thing I already had thin pins (love them) and I probably should have used a walking foot (though I didn’t have any issues with snagging).

Size

I made a size small with no alterations and they fit perfectly.

The pattern calls for 1/4″ folds for the hem, but I have a hard time folding that tiny so I admit that my hem folds were closer to 1/2″. I don’t consider¬†that a true alteration, but I like to be honest with you all so there ya go! ūüėČ

You’re cutting the elastic to your own preference like with the Parkside Shorts so with little fit issues to deal with, these would be great for beginners!

Jordan Slice-Metcalfe - Magnolia Shorts 1

Shorts? Skirt? It’s our little secret ūüėČ

Final Thoughts

With summer inching closer to an end {c’mon, Fall! I’m ready for you!}, why not make yourself one last summer wardrobe staple?! If you live in a climate that’s hot-and-humid all-year-long {y’all, one time I wore shorts on Christmas Day…CHRISTMAS DAY…in December}, these shorts are sure to make you feel fabulous despite the fact that you’re sweating in all sorts of unflattering places. And they’ll help you hate the heat a little less. Guaranteed.

Another fun feature if you live in fear of wearing flowy clothing on a windy day: there’s no chance of this beauty flying over your head and flashing everyone within eyesight. Win {unless you’re into the Marilyn Monroe thing}

Jordan Slice-Metcalfe - Magnolia Shorts 2

Bottom Line

Treat yo’self to the Magnolia Shorts pattern.

And keep an eye on Caroline’s blog – she’s going to post photos of the testers soon so you can see what the shorts look like on all shapes and sizes. For now, you can see her beautiful versions here.

*Update*

See how the¬†Magnolia Shorts look on a variety of shapes and sizes¬†in Caroline’s post of the pattern testers here.

You can also find more photos of my Magnolia Shorts in action in this post and in this photo on Instagram.

Sew Caroline’s Newest Pattern: Parkside Shorts + Skirt

While in Charleston a few weeks ago, we stopped by the outlets and I popped into Loft. It’s been¬†quite a while since I’ve gone shopping for clothes. There’s a reason for that…

As my husband noted on this very trip: “It’s easy going shopping with you now that you sew because you never buy anything.”

Nailed it.

Sewing has changed how I shop (aka: I don’t). If I find myself in a store, I’m mostly just gazing – trying to figure out¬†what’s trendy (although we all know trendy isn’t something I’m any good at – as I confessed in my Instagram reveal of the very shorts I’m telling you about today!).

Rather than hours spent in a dressing room sifting through clothes that don’t fit right and passing¬†a lot of judgement on my own body for not fitting into ready-to-wear clothing as perfectly as the mannequin, I browse. And browsing for inspiration takes¬†far less time than trying on clothes. And involves¬†far less¬†self-shaming.

So back to Loft: It is¬†my favorite store to shop for ready-to-wear clothing {hats off to Loft for having a legitimate Petite section!} The day we were at the outlets was one of the first warm days this season and I was realizing I don’t have many shorts (and among those I¬†do¬†have, I don’t feel comfortable in any that I could think of). As I walked into Loft I saw a lovely display of the cutest little drawstring shorts.

Yes! I love comfy clothing and these were¬†the perfect balance of you-don’t-look-like-you’re-wearing-pajamas-but-feel-like-you-are. I was all set to try them on until I looked at the price tag. Spending $50 on drawstring shorts was not something I was prepared to bring myself to do that day.

Maybe some other time.

So, I headed back home with zero bags from the outlets (seriously: I bought¬†nothing at the outlets. I think that’s a new world record and you should all take me out for¬†coffee to celebrate).

A few days later a call for testers popped up on Facebook from one of my favorite designers {remember my love of the Out And About Dress 1 + 2, & 3?!¬†And I’m working on #4}. And guess what! The call was for elastic waist shorts –¬†sign.me.up!

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{Image via Sew Caroline}

I was so excited to be able to test Sew Caroline‘s newest pattern: The Parkside Shorts + Skirt. The great thing about the pattern is it’s a two-for-one: You get both a skirt¬†and shorts pattern. #winning

I knew this was going to be my new favorite pattern and it totally is.

parkside shorts 1

My stepbrother’s wife’s mom had a collection of fabric in her attic from a relative who had passed away. She covered my parent’s¬†garage with bags of fabric for me to plunder through. It was like winning the vintage fabric lottery! I immediately filled 2 giant plastic bins with my choices and headed to the laundromat. I am thrilled to say all of the fabric survived the wash. I plundered my pile a second time and took some of it to my last quilt guild meeting to share with the ladies.

Luckily for me, no one snagged the lightweight denim. It’s not typically a fabric I have on hand or would purchase so I was very excited I had it for testing these shorts. It has great drape and isn’t too heavy so it’s perfect for summer.

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I used some vintage floral scraps (also from the attic stash) for accent pockets. The fabric was really thin so I cut¬†double¬†what I needed for¬†the pocket pieces. To make my double-lined pockets, I lined the mirrored pieces up right-sides-facing and stitched along the bottom curved edge. I used my pinking shears to cut around the curves then flipped the pockets right-sides-out and pressed. The perk: my pockets are equally as pretty when the pants are inside-out ūüôā

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I’ve never sewn pants of any kind so these shorts were a little scary at first. However, the way you set one leg inside the other when connecting reminded me of constructing a bag (when you set the exterior inside the lining to connect before flipping). These were a great confidence builder!

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I’m pretty sure I’m going to be wearing these non-stop all summer!

The two-inch elastic waistband provides optimum comfort with the ability to pull your shorts up high [like this shameless old lady] or low around your hips. Either way, it’s a winner.

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I wore these to brunch for Mother’s Day. The Hubs and I even went for a walk around town while waiting (note to all: if taking your Mom to Cafe Strudel for Mother’s Day, arrive an hour and a half early to get your name on the list…). I’m happy to say: they performed well!

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I was pretty excited that my sister showed up wearing the Date Night Dress¬†I’d made her for her birthday last year! It looks amazing on her – especially with that snazzy belt I hand-me-down’d her from Butterfly Vintage.

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photoshoot blooper #1

We’re hoping to work on sewing a Date Night Dress together soon – the pattern is great for beginners and the flutter sleeves are amazing for our incredibly humid summers.

date night dress

Pretty sure my sister could wear a trash bag and still look AMAZING! She’s so chic

We had a lovely Mother’s Day brunch! Proof:

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I might make sharing photoshoot bloopers my new thing…

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Typical: everyone looks great and then I sneeze.

Moral of this story: hop on over to Sew Caroline’s site and purchase yourself a copy of the Parkside Shorts + Skirt pattern and get sewing! These are perfect for summer. You can even add a drawstring (like on¬†this skirt¬†that Caroline made) for a more professional look. Once I figure out how to sew a buttonhole (yep, still on my “learn how to do” list..), I’m totally adding a drawstring!

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UPDATE РYou can see my Parkside Skirt in this post.