Fresh Makes, Take Twos

I have made 25 garments since starting this blog, and I have probably mentioned in most of my posts, “When I make this again, I’m going to…….” So how many have I actually made again? I will admit that 90%+ of my makes are one-time adventures. Mainly because with the limited time I have to sew, I find the most enjoyment out of trying a new pattern from my large pattern stash each time I make a garment. But there are two that I have been compelled to revisit, and I’m excited to share these Take Two makes with you.

The first Take Two is The Jean Skirt, Fresh Make #1.DSC_0001Sometimes the garments that “wow” the least are the ones we grab the most because they are a great basic. And that is the case with The Jean Skirt, Simplicity 1616. I really like how it fits, lays flat across the stomach, yet has plenty of width through the hips and thighs. AND it is quick and easy to make. I wanted to make another as soon as I finished the first and what finally spurred me into action was, sadly, I tore my first Jean Skirt.DSC_0005DSC_0016 The fabric, which I ordered online, was disappointingly thin. While wearing it, it got caught on something, I don’t even remember what, and now it’s wadded up on the top shelf of my closet.

I learned my lesson that you usually “get what you pay for.” So for Jean Skirt, Take Two I shelled out the big bucks for 2 3/4 yards at $14.50 per yard for Anna Marie Horner’s beautiful, thick, soft, interlock knit, Mary Thistle, in navy, from my favorite online fabric store, Hawthorne Threads.DSC_0004This fabric goes through the washer and dryer beautifully. The dark blue with a black print acts like a neutral. You can really pair it with almost any color. A true grab and go skirt.

My second Take Two is The Every Woman Top, Fresh Make #21.DSC_0011
I was initially drawn to this pattern for it’s potentially figure flattering variation of a basic knit top.

My first version of The Everywoman Top, Vogue 8151, was a fit fail from the waist down. The biggest fit fail of my 25 Fresh Makes. I describe this all in my original post, but basically the fabric was too thick and the fit was too loose, resulting in one big belly sag instead of flattering, fabric folds created by the side ruching. BUT I loved the fit from the waist up. The small bust adjustment I did worked well and neck band laid perfectly in front and back.

Through the waist and belly, it's a bit of a blob silhouette. Go ahead and click to enlarge to see what I mean.

Through the waist and belly, it’s a bit of a blob silhouette. Go ahead and click to enlarge to see what I mean.

Version two, much better!

Version two, much better!

I vowed to redeem myself by making another with a thinner, single jersey knit. I did just that with a 95% cotton, 5% Lycra, Threaded Shreds Knit in Mamey, again, from Hawthorne Threads. I splurged in purchasing 1 7/8 yards at $15.95 per yard. I love this fabric. It washes beautifully, and is super soft and stretchy. It is also thin enough that bulk is not created by the double thickness of the wrap front. This time when contructing the garment, I followed the instructions of making a one inch seam allowance down the sleeves and sides. And after trying on, I even took in the side seams another 1/2 inch to get enough negative ease to form the fabric folds across the belly instead of a sag. I am truly 100% happy with the results of this Take Two. It you would like more construction details of these patterns, just go to the original posts, Jean Skirt and Every Woman Top

There seems to be a lot of prolific sewists in the online sewing community who post new versions of the same pattern frequently. I know it makes sense to perfect a pattern that really fits your lifestyle and can potentially become an integral part of your wardrobe. I just don’t like repetitive sewing. It becomes labor to me rather than a creative experience. What about you? What are your thoughts and practices when it comes to sewing up the same pattern several times?

Japanese Drop-Waist Wrap Skirt

I’m still on a quest to populate my closet with easy wear, weekday skirts. I’ve made progress, but I’m always interested in finding that perfect pattern that contains just the right amount of smooth, flair and gather for a flattering fit on my lower half. Fresh Make #23 is a unique skirt that features a bit of all those things.DSC_0529DSC_0528DSC_0525I’m on a roll with “Simple Modern Sewing” by Shufu To Seikatsu Sha.DSC_0546This skirt is my second project from the book. My previous post, Japanese Wraparound Dress was the first. For this project, I choose Skirt 5C, Drop-Waist Wrap Skirt, because it has a fairly wide waistband yoke which should help flatten the belly and mini pleats all around which should hide larger hips and thighs without adding too much extra width.DSC_0546 Once again, I need to comment that the instructions in this book are very minimal. I would not recommend that a beginning seamstress tackle this project without help from someone who can interpret and fill in the gaps of missing information and illustrations.

These are the instructions in their entirety.

These are the instructions in their entirety.

The fabric I choose is a light to medium weight Italian linen. It is once again from Michael Levine’s in downtown LA. This fabric is 58″ wide, and I bought 2 yards at $18 per yard. I selected this fabric because I was drawn to the colors, and the stripes make it a bit more interesting than a solid. DSC_0521Even though the skirt has the word “wrap” in the title, it is really a tube. I believe the designer uses the term wrap because because you fit the skirt to your body by taking a fold in the yoke and then securing it with the ties.

DSC_0543There is a hole in the right side yoke seam for the ties to go through, and two outside loops as well.

I did a blind machine hem.

I did a blind machine hem.

Here's a front view all spread out.

Here’s a front view all spread out.

Here's a back view all spread out.

Here’s a back view all spread out.

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LET’S BE HONEST:
1. I made a size Large, which is a big as it comes. My fold at the yoke takes in about 4″ of slack. I am wearing it so the yoke sits slightly below the waist. Since it’s not fitted, individuals could play around with where they wear the yoke in relation to their waist and hips. If you are tall with narrow hips, I think you could probably wear it farther below the waist and it would be flattering. For a pear shape like me, it probably looks best worn higher.

2. If you read my post, Japanese Wraparound dress, you know my skepticism about trying patterns in this book was put to rest with the discovery of a well drafted dress design. The same holds true for this second project. With the exception of doing a slight bit of trimming/tweaking on yoke pieces, it all fit together as expected.

3. It took me about 20 minutes to figure out where to attach the second tie on the inside and exactly how to configure and wrap the ties around the yoke when putting on the skirt. I think I will secure my fold with a hidden safety pin because it seems as though the ties will slide up the yoke despite the two outside loops.

4. While I love this linen fabric, if I make this skirt again, I will probably choose a linen/cotton blend that might be more soft and drapey. The book recommended a linen/cotton blend. I don’t want to risk putting my $18 linen in the dryer to get that laundered look that’s in the photo.

5. I interfaced the yoke, even though the instructions did not say to do so.

RELFECTIONS, REVELATIONS, AND CONFESSIONS:
This is my sewing room. I consider myself fortunate that we have a spare room in our house that I can dedicate to sewing. (Well, the computer also is in there.) However, it is a mess. I have never made a priority to make it cute and uncluttered. I would rather spend my time sewing. DSC_0526But just so you know that my whole house doesn’t look like this, here’s a picture of my living room.DSC_0524

Once again, thanks for taking the time to read this post. I welcome your comments or questions on the skirt; or even a comment on the environment you sew in. Cheers, Lori

Happy Folk Skirt

I’ve only made two skirts since starting this blog, and my go-to Jean Skirt now has a rip in it from being caught on a metal edge and is out of commission. I thought it was time to sift through my ever growing pattern stash and find a fun skirt to make for Fresh Make #17.DSC_0485DSC_0498DSC_0501 The pattern I chose is Simplicity 1888. I bought it several months ago during a pattern sale at JoAnn’s, most likely for $1.00 but possibly $1.40. (JoAnn’s 5 for $5.00 recently have become 5 for $7.00. Hey, you can still count me in!) I was drawn to this pattern because it looked like a good balance between fitted and flared, and the gathers were where I like them – at the bottom, not the waist! I named it the Happy Folk Skirt because, depending on the fabric, this skirt can either have a hippy folk feeling or ethnic folk feeling.

I made view C.

I made view C.

I purchased the fabric at Mood on La Brea in Los Angeles. I was excited to stop by there on my way home from seeing my sometimes model and always daughter off at LAX for her second year of college. I hadn’t been to Mood in six months, and as it usual it was overwhelming. I forced myself to focus in the task at hand. This is a cotton woven fabric with lycra. It’s actually stretchy! I bought the indicated amount of 3 1/4 yards at $12.00. I managed, however, to have quite a bit leftover and probably could have gotten away with 2 3/4 yards.

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The skirt has a wide, curved waistband that sits best a few inches below the natural waistline.

I top-stitched the seams and waistband with quilting weight thread.

I top-stitched the seams and waistband with quilting weight thread.

There is a 7" ruffle at the bottom.

There is a 7″ ruffle at the bottom.

Inside peek. I serged all the seam edges and the waistband edge.

Inside peek. I serged all the seam edges and the waistband edge.

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LET’S BE HONEST:

1. I had a hard time on sizing with this one. My waist and hip measurements put me between a 16 and 18. I usually measure the actual pattern pieces and adjust accordingly. With this pattern, there was no information about where the waistband/yoke should sit – at the waist, slightly below the waist? According to the photos on the pattern envelope, it looked like the skirt sat a few inches below the natural waist. I just decided to cut a straight 18 and let the skirt fall where it may. The skirt panels turned out too big through the waist and hips, so I trimmed off 3/4″ from the side side seams (3″ total) and 1/4″ (1″ total) from the sides of the waistband. (Totally embarrassing update: literally 5 minutes ago, I discovered on the back of the pattern envelope, in the yardage chart “Skirt C – worn 1″ below the waist.” Now wouldn’t that have saved a lot of aggravation if I had read that!)

2. I love the styling on this pattern. The panels create the perfect amount of flair for a flattering fit and the ruffle is a fun touch. I love the fabric, too. I do feel however, that the fabric is not optimal for this pattern. This fabric had the folksy feel I wanted for this pattern so I ended up overlooking the fact that it was a bit heavy and stiff for this skirt. I think it would be perfect for a pair of shorts or capris.

3. I should have cut 2″ off the bottom before attaching the ruffle. I already shorten the skirt panel pattern pieces 2″ before cutting the fabric, but it still turned out a bit long. I think am getting lazy or impatient, because I tried it on several times before adding the ruffle but just didn’t carefully evaluate how much length a 7″ ruffle would add. Oh well. It looks fine with my 3″+ platform sandals that I love. 

4. I made the t-shirt that I’m wearing also. It is Butterick 5215. More on this pattern another day. This wide ribbed knit fabric is also from Mood. I love the lilac color with the red and white print. I think it actually acts as a neutral against the bold red.

Overall, I do like my Happy Folk Skirt and I know I’ll be wearing it plenty this fall. Have you got any fun skirts in your sewing queue? Cheers, Lori

The Festival Skirt

I’m going to wear lots of skirts this spring and summer. Enough of those jeans shorts. I’m adding a second skirt to my stylish handmade collection for Fresh Make #5.
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The pattern I choose was Simplicity 2416. I purchased this pattern at JoAnn’s Fabrics for $1.00 during their 5 Simplicity patterns for $5.00 sale. I like this pattern because it has a retro 70’s vibe and it seemed like it would be a fun, feel good skirt to wear. I named the pattern The Festival Skirt because I could imagine a groovy gal frolicking around in a swirl skirt like this a summer music festival.

I made view B.

I made view B.

I am in love with the fabrics I choose. They are from Amy Butler’s Hapi Voile collection, purchased from my favorite online fabric store, Hawthorne Threads. This cotton voile is amazing. It’s smooth and lightweight with a beautiful drape – a delight to sew with. The cost for this fabric, including shipping was $58.50 and worth every penny.
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There's a simple elastic casing at the waist.

There’s a simple elastic casing at the waist.

 

I overlocked all the edges together and did a rolled hem.

I overlocked all the edges together and did a rolled hem.


LET’S BE HONEST:
1. The pattern pieces, all seven, are just a series of swirls (or flounces as they are referred to in the directions), it is viturally impossible to measure the pattern pieces for fit before cutting out the fabric. So with my new updated knowledge about my measurements, I simply cut a size 16. Always error to the larger size – you can always trim off fabric, but you can’t add on. Right? It turns out it fit fine. I probably could have gotten away with a 14, but for me, there’s nothing worse than fabric pulling across the tummy.

2. 54″ vs. 6o” I ran across this same issue with The Instead Top. The pattern envelope gave yardage amounts for 45″ and 60″, but this Amy Butler fabric is 54″ wide. Again, I thought it would be fine to buy the specified amount for 60″, but I ended up having to do some “creative” manipulations of the patterns pieces to fit them all on the fabric. I would definitely buy at least an 1/8 of a yard more of each fabric if I were to repeat this project.

3. Interesting hem. The directions instruct you to hem the second to last flouce before sewing on the last flounce. (The hem is split between the two contrasting fabrics.) This resulted in curve that I’m not sure I care for.
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This flouce (the flower print one) also dipped more in one spot, creating a bit of an uneven hem. But, hey, maybe I shouldn’t let that bother me. The photo on the pattern envelope kind of looked that way too.

4. I did “raise” the skirt a bit. I anticipated that the skirt would probably be too long, but also knew it would be tedious and risky to mess with the swirl pattern pieces to shorten the length. After completing the hem but before doing the elastic casing, I tried it on and determined that I would cut off 2″ from the waist to shorten it. This adjustment was minor enough that it didn’t affect the fit or look of the skirt.

Overall, I am completely enamored with the skirt! And I highly recommend the Amy Butler cotton voiles if you choose to make a Festival skirt.

Again, whether you are a sewer or non-sewer, I sincerely appreciate you for taking the time to read this post. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback. Lori

The Jean Skirt

I am filled with excitement as I write my first post on my new blog, “Sewing Myself Stylish.” For my first of 24 projects, I stitched up a simple skirt.

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I was tired of pulling on one of the same four pairs of jeans every day, so I wanted to make a skirt that was as easy and comfortable as a pair of jeans. The pattern I used is Simplicity 1616 which I bought at JoAnn’s sometime last year for $1.00 in their 5-Patterns-for-$5.00 sale. I like to think of myself as a modern sewist. Modern sewists use indie patterns that have names instead of numbers. So I’m going to rename this pattern “The Jean Skirt” because it as easy to wear as your favorite pair of jeans!

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I choose this knit fabric because I liked the graphic floral pattern, and I liked that it was navy blue and white which really acts as a neutral and can be worned with just about any color of t-shirt.

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What I like about this pattern is that it’s not form-fitting, nor is it too full. It also has a 6 inch yolk/panel that eliminates fullness around the belly and allows t-shirts to lay flat. Don’t we all want that!

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There is an elastic casing at the waist.

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I did a blind machine hem. (Contact me if you want more details on that.)

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Here’s a peek at the inside. I overlocked all edges.

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LET’S BE HONEST:

1. I have a lot of experience sewing with knits, so I have probably made this look easier than it might really be for someone who isn’t familiar with knit techniques. I am happy to share my techniques or answer your questions anytime. Just ask!

2. I am not revealing my online fabric source for this project. While I was happy with the result of my project, I was actually disappointed in the fabric. It is much thinner than I expected and it is printed off-grain. Since the flowers are a grid design, I spent a lot of time manipulating the fabric to keep the rows of flowers lined up way that was minimally acceptable to me. I still like this online fabric company and I’m not writing this blog to give negative reviews, so I will just leave them un-named.

3. IT’S JUST A NUMBER! If you’ve read my About Page, you will know that I haven’t sewn for myself in a long time. When I use to sew a lot for myself back in the day, I was 15 to 20 pounds less, and in turn my measurements were less too. I use to make size 12 skirt patterns, and that sounded huge back then, especially when I wore a 6 or 8 in readymades. Well, now, if I directly translate my current waist and hips measurements on the pattern envelope to a size, I’m between an 16 and an 18! Gulp! In readymades, I wear an 8 or 10. I can see that these number discrepancies might set a beginning sewer up for a fitting disaster if she just cuts the “size” that she thinks she is, rather than actually measuring the actual pattern pieces against her actual measurements.

4. I made three adjustments to the pattern. First: The “yolk” was 7″ inches long and I shorten it to 6″. I felt it would match the length of my t-shirts better.  Second: I eliminated a slit on the side. Since the fabric was thin, I knew I would have to wear a slip. Yes, a slip. Remember those? I knew that a slip would show if it had a slit. Third: The instructions said to “float” the elastic in the yolk. This sounded strange to me, so I stitched a casing at the top just wide enough for the elastic.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my first “Sewing Myself Stylish” project. I can’t wait to get started on the next one! I welcome your feedback.