Friday, December 16, 2011

V1261 || Slashed Tunic (CAbi Cozy Tunic Knockoff)

$98 for this adorable tunic? I don't think so!
I've been lusting after the CAbi Cozy Tunic since I first spied it in fall of 2009. Time to make my own!

V1261 Pattern Description: Close fitting. Double needle stitching. A,B: Armhole seams on outside; self binding; ribbon on back; unfinished edges will show. C: neck binding. 

Pattern Sizing: XS-XL. Mine is View B, Large. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Somewhat. It looks more like my CAbi Cozy Tunic inspiration.

Were the instructions easy to follow? After reading other reviews on Pattern Review, I knew to toss out the instructions and do it myself. Seriously, they're crap. If you've made a top before, the construction is not complicated.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It came together quickly once I tossed out the overly-complicated instructions.

Fabric Used: Slashed sweater knit from Marcy Tilton. This was, hands down, the most expensive fabric I purchased in 2011. I'm glad I used it. Her fabrics are amazing.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I added 3" to the sleeve length, 4" to the tunic body, straightened the hem, doubled the cowl (I like a full "cowly" cowl), cut the back piece on the fold and used a 1/4" serged seam allowance. 

Mmmmmm, cozy!
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I've got quite a few cowl necks in my wardrobe, but this is a good pattern, if you toss out the crummy instructions.

Conclusion: I love this tunic!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

M6241 || Mod '80s Batwing Top

Dotty! I'm dotty!
M6241 Pattern Description: Pullover tunics A, B, C have extended shoulders with pleats at one shoulder and side, machine-stitched hems and asymmetrical lower edge; tunic A has cap sleeves; tunics B, C have long sleeves. Mine is View B.

Pattern Sizing: 8-16, 18W-24W. Mine started out as a 14. Probably should have started with a 12.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Somewhat... more on that below.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Super easy. Super fast. This was practically instant gratification.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It's an 80's batwing style, which I like, but cut as is, it hangs like a shapeless sack. Yuck. I had to change that (below).

Fabric Used: Poly/lycra, dotted 2-way stretch from You might recognize the fabric as the same I used here.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: This top is shapeless, once it's on. I removed 4" total inches (2" each side) from hem to armpit, 2" from armpit to wrist. I like the rusching effect it now has. Unfortunately, the cool tucks in both shoulder and waist are lost on this pattern, but I don't mind. too much.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is a cute and comfy top to wear. I'd like to make it in kelly green for St. Patrick's day in March.

Conclusion: It's a cute, quick top! Great for stashbustin'!

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Couch Pillows for That Guy I Like

Interior dec sewing ain't so bad!
It's not at all like me to sew for others as I tend to channel this gal most of the time. But my fella? He's TOTALLY worth it. Before me, he had two sad couch pillows that had seen better days that resided on a sectional the size of Manhattan. After I mentioned that he might want to, er, upgrade, he accompanied me to the fabric store without complaint (the gargantuan and potentially overwhelming Fabric Depot), picked out the different home dec fabrics with me, and said he'd even go back to the fabric store again if I ever wanted to. What a guy!

I've never made pillows before, but I decided that it couldn't be too hard. After seeing how expensive pillow forms can be ($20 apiece. Are you KIDDING me?), I made my own! I used hand-me-down tablecloths for the outer shell, and stuffed each of the pillows with a combination of pieces of a lofty, overly-warm comforter that I'd been considering donating to Goodwill and a big 'ol bag of batting from JoAnn's. 

For the fashion fabric outsides, I combined fabrics in a patchwork sort of way for the pillow fronts (no planning on my part, just playing) and used solid fashion fabric for the backs. I also included invisible zippers for closures so that when they get dirty, they can be cleaned easily. Here are the results!

Playing with fabrics is fun!

Helllllo, giant couch! Great for relaxing and watching movies with That Guy I Like.
My fella really likes the new couch pillows, and his sweet daughter, E, said that "They make the couch 100% more comfortable." With rave reviews like that, I may sew for others more often...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

M6408 || Indispensible Tied Cardi

Hello! Sorry I've been so long away from Bloggerville. Rest assured, I'm still sewing (and knitting and cooking), but I've been terribly lax about taking pictures and posting. So get ready for a few posts over the course of the next week or so. I've got some catching up to do.

Who couldn't use more sparkle this time of year?

M6408 Pattern Description: Very loose fitting jackets have stitched or serged seam and hem options. Included are Nancy Zieman's time saving tips.

Pattern Sizing: Mine is a small, View B. This pattern runs SUPER large. For Big 4 patterns, I usually wear a 14 in tops.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? It did!

Were the instructions easy to follow? This was my first Nancy Zieman pattern. She's really excellent about telling you how long each step will take, so if you're sewing in fits and starts, this gives you a good idea how your time will be budgeted.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love this pattern! I like the fact that I can wear the tie in either the front or the back, with minor construction changes (more on this below).

Fabric Used: Poly/lycra eyelash sweaterknit. It was a clearance fabric that turned this into a $6 sweater after all the discounts at JoAnn's.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: As mentioned above, this pattern has a LOT of ease and runs really large. I added 1/2" high round back adjustment and shaved 1/2" off of the shoulder. Since I didn't want to see the sewn seam on the front band (piece 4) when I wore the ties in the back, I made a slight construction change. Instead of serging both front band seams to the body of the garment at the same time, I serged one seam, turned the other seam's seam allowance to the inside and topstitched the seam down. It made for a cleaner finish.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is a fantastic little cardigan that I've worn at least five times since I made it in October (gasp!) Although the pattern calls for stretch fabrics only, I also made it up in black doubleknit (not photographed because black is SO hard to photograph well!). The pattern has enough ease on me to still look polished.

Conclusion: I'm going to get a ton of wear out of this cardi before its life span is over. I highly recommend this as a versatile,
indispensible addition to your wardrobe. It sure has been in mine!

Friday, October 28, 2011

S3503 || It's A Mod, Mod, Mod, Mod Fall Dress

These boots were made for walkin'...
It's fall in the PNW, and a great time to start making kicky dresses that go with my favourite fall! This dress is both supercomfortable (once I get it on) and superstylish. A double win, in my book!
S3503 Pattern Description: Misses' knit dress in two lengths with bodice variations. Mine is View F.

Pattern Sizing: 14-22. I cut a size 14 bodice and 16 skirt. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? It did!

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were clear and concise. This is a dead easy project that went together really quickly.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I'm BIG fan of this pattern, and love how the midriff falls at the narrowest part of my waist.

Fabric Used: Poly/lycra, dotted 2-way stretch with a border print from

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did a 1/2" FBA and added 1" width to the bodice front and back. The fabric was the true challenge here, as the stretch goes in a direction that would have made the dots appear as horizontal lines across my body (adding weight visually). I added 1" to each side seam to accommodate the lack of horizontal stretch, cut off the borders to reattach them to the sleeve edges and hem, and used a not-so-stretchy Lycra black fabric from my stash for the neckline and midriff. I also spaced the gathers along the length of the front and back (vs. gathering them in the middle like the pattern asks you to). Due to the close fit, it's a little bit of a struggle to get the dress on and off, but it's figure-flattering, so worth the trouble.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is the fourth time I've used this pattern. I definitely recommend it!

Conclusion: This dress is fantastic!
I have to say that S3503 is turning out to be a TNT for me. I've made view D, C, E and now F. It's a great pattern with lots of versatility!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pimpin' My Ride || DIY panniers

I'm upping my street cred. 
I've wanted a bike for nearly as long as I've lived in Portland, OR. This is probably the most bike-friendly city in the United States, and I wanted to be part of the bike culture. With gas prices on the rise (again) and the built-in benefit of great exercise, it's a win-win to go by bike. 

About two months ago, my darling boyfriend bought a new bike for himself, and sweetly gave me his old commuter bike. I've been taking it out on longer and longer rides ("Getting my bike butt", he tells me) and I wanted to go beyond casual rides to start doing actual errands with it. Trouble is, I didn't have panniers (aka: bike bags) and I didn't want to shell out the cash when I could make 'em myself.

It rains here A LOT, so I needed something that would shed water and clean up easily. In my art supply stash, I had three castoff large vinyl advertising banners that would work perfectly for the project. I used this tutorial to make the bags, utilized a Teflon foot, Gutterman thread and a universal needle for the sewing. Knowing that the panniers would probably get both dirty and wet, I chose not to line them with fabric. After the inaugural ride this last Sunday where they were flapping around like Dumbo's ears, I also added Velcro strips to the bag flaps.

Right side exterior. The banner used for the flap was for a cruise ship giveaway.
Interior of right pannier. I added a pocket to hold my cell phone and wallet.
The bag strap also tucks in nicely. (I was on my way to the library. See my book?)
I love these little bags, and can't wait to go grocery shopping with them. I'm on the move!

I also made bike shorts awhile ago, and while you won't see a picture, I highly recommend Kwik Sew 1727.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

S3503 | The Lido Deck Dress

Ready to go see Isaac for a cold drink on the Lido deck!

Keeping with the Swingin' 70s theme for the summer, I needed a maxi dress for the party I attended last night. It's still 95º here, which is really unheard of in the Pacific Northwest, but I'm not going to complain about it. Our summer took SO stinkin' long to show up and it was totally worth the wait.
S3503 Pattern Description: Misses' knit dress in two lengths with bodice variations. Mine is View E.

Pattern Sizing: 14-22. I cut a size 14 bodice and skirt. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? It really did!

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were clear and concise. This is a dead easy project that went together really quickly.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Hellllllooooo, cleavage! This is a little more of the ladies than I'm used to showing, but in the end, I really like the cut of the neckline and it shows off my me-made necklace really well, too. The bodice also hits at the narrowest part of my waist, so I feel slimmer wearing it!

Fabric Used: Olive bamboo jersey from It's delicious to wear.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did a 1/2" FBA and added 1" width to the bodice front and back. After reading others' reviews of this version of the dress, I also shirred the back bodice so that it would fit more snugly, and I like the results a LOT. Instead of sewing in bra cups, I utilized my trusty reusable Beautiful You Adhesive Garment Cups.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is the second time I've used this pattern, and I'm looking forward to making View F in the future. It's a lovely pattern and were I to make another maxi dress, I'd use this pattern again.

Conclusion: This dress is fantastic! Although it pushed my boundaries for personal comfort, I think it's flattering and comfortable. I could get used to being a little more "boobalicious"! :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

B5491 • Fireworks Dress

"Baby, you're a firework…"
According to the trends, 1970s fashions are still in full swing this summer. I thought I'd do my own Studio 54-inspired Halston dress to wear to my 20-year high school reunion last weekend. I have to say, I felt fantastic in our hot weather (85ºF!) had a great time with new and old friends, and didn't drink TOO much. Perfection!

B5491 Pattern Description: Loose-fitting, flared dresses A, B, below mid-knee or evening length, have lined, gathered v-neck bodice, neck band, front draped midriff and back zipper.

Pattern Sizing: 6-20. I cut a size 12 back bodice, 14 front bodice and 14 skirt. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? It really did!

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were clear and concise. Although I went "off book" with my sewing order and construction order, they'd be great direx for a beginning sewist.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the sexy front and back cutouts and the strap that holds the top of the dress up. Shoulderblades and cleavage and legs? (Oh my!) That's the makings of a great dress, in my opinion. I also liked the built-in bra cups. I usually wear a longline strapless bra, and it was just too hot for that nonsense. I didn't like that the central empire waist section had a tie in the back. To remedy this,  I cut double for those pieces and added them to the dress, also sewing the tucks by hand. It wasn't difficult at all.

Fabric Used: Swimsuit lycra fashion fabric (after all, I could have ended up in the pool like those fun 1980s movies!) and tricot for full lining.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did a 1/2" FBA and skipped adding the unnecessary back zipper. I also lined the bodice as directed as well as added a full skirt lining. I didn't want to hem the skirt, so I cut the tricot 2" shorter than the fashion fabric, sewed the hems with right sides together, turned wrong sides to insides and then serged the whole thing together. Sandra Betzina showed this method, and I really like it. The dress had great movement with the full lining, so I'd recommend this method if you're using sheer fabrics.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Unless I made this in a solid colour next summer, I think one is enough for me. I'd highly recommend it, tho. Maggie Chin drafts an excellent pattern, and it came together so easily.

Conclusion: This is a great dress! I felt gorgeous and confident wearing it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Swingin' 70s Pool Party Dress

CAbi Sigourney Skirt ($98)
 Isn't this the cutest dress for summer? Last weekend, I went to a CAbi end-of-season sale (50-70% off? Yes, please!) and tried it on. The sample was a little....generous(?) in the bust, but after looking at the simple construction, I figured I'd try my hand at making my own.

It took nearly 1-1/2 yards of 60" lycra which I draped around Betty (my dress form), sewed up a tube with a generous six inches of ease and then I wrapped a halved  60"L x 16"W length of fabric around Betty's bust, sewed up two side seams, added a casing with elastic, eased the skirt to fit the top and popped it over my head. I was done in less than three hours for less than $20! I felt like I'd just completed a quick Project Runway challenge. LOL

This dress can also be worn as a longer-length skirt, so I'm looking forward to mixing and matching with my vast assortment of cardis and tanks. The overall pattern covers a myriad of figure flaws and it packs down to practically nothing for travel. It's a keeper!

This is the second of the five dresses I whipped up this month. I'd forgotten that I'd already showed you one during Me-Made-June. This is my favourite dress of them all.

I wore this to a party last night, and a girlfriend who's style I adore wants one for herself! What a great compliment! It's been over eight months since I sewed for someone else (it's against my selfish sewist nature) but I'm going to buy the fabric today. I'm pretty sure this will add up to positive karma points offsetting my future shennanigans. Plus, she's going to look gorgeous! A win/win in my book.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Week 5 || Me-Made June 2011

Last Week! 
Monday, June 27: Poised and Polished

I made this sweet little top over the weekend out of the remnants of another project. I'm IN LOVE with this fabric! It drapes well, breathes well, and the pattern will be great camouflage if I spill anything on myself (which happens more often than I'd like to admit.) I picked up the topper at a CAbi show this weekend, and I think I'm going to wear it with practically everything in my closet!
  • Top: S4076
  • Necklace: Me-made
  • Topper: CAbi
  • Cuff and Trousers: NY&Co.
Tuesday, June 28: Ruffle Up, Buttercup!

This frilly little tank is just fun to wear! It's got some troubling construction problems and ravels like mad at the seams (which I have to fix every time I wear it), but I was a newer sewer when I made it, and I've learned my lesson about the importance of proper seam finishes. Had to add a cardi because it's raining and muggy today.

  • Tuxedo Tank: NL6356
  • Trousers, Cuff, Necklace and Sweater: NY&Co.
Wednesday, June 29: Cropped Down

Not sure that this was my BEST choice this week...I look a little blockish and I blame the crops. I'm digging this dress-cut-down-to-tunic top, tho, and am pleased with how versatile it is in my wardrobe. I've worn it twice this month! 

Thursday, June 30: Bright Spot

This is probably my favourite outfit choice for the entire month of June. I was hoping for better weather, but decided not to let that stop me from wearing it today. Truth be told, this outfit is pretty similar to what I wear all summer long when the weather gets hot. I really enjoy how an A-line skirt makes my waist look smaller!
  • Red Knot Top: S4076
  • Skirt: Self-drafted
  • Jacket: Thrifted
It's been a fun, but trying month for Me-Made-June. Since the weather hasn't been nice enough, I've missed showing you a few fun dresses and some sassy skirts. I've heard that, as of tomorrow, the weather will be turning warmer, and I couldn't be more pleased. I'll be able to show you my 5 NEW Dresses! I'm pleased with how much sewing I accomplished in June!

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Week 4 || Me-Made June 2011

    Heading Into the Home Stretch!

    Monday, June 20: Third Time's A Charm

    This chic little number is fantastic! I love that it's reversible, that it packs down to practically nothing, and that it's easy to dress up or down. This is the third time I've made this dress, so I really like it! This time, I used Sandra Betzina's method and lined only the skirt so I wouldn't have to hem it. I'll do just about ANYTHING to get out of hemming!
    • LB(rown)D travel dress: M6069
    • Necklace: Made by me (I bled for this little piece of stained glass!)
    • Jean Jacket: Calvin Klein

    Tuesday, June 21: Going In Circles

    It was 83º here today, so I thought I wear a summer dress. I made this knit dress when I started sewing a few years ago. It gets a TON of wear in the warmer months and the circles hide a multitude of sins. What's not to love?

    • Dress: S3503
    • Necklace & Bracelet: Made by me
    • Cardi: Refashioned

    Wednesday, June 22: Solid Gold

    The weather turned warm-ish (hence the wrap), so it's time to rock my gold top! I bought the sky-high wedges and white pants last weekend, and couldn't resist wearing them ASAP. I can't believe I made it through an entire day without getting something on these pants! Last time I wore white pants, they made it two hours before I spilled coffee on them. I thought I was cursed.
    • Top: NL6356
    • Necklace/pants/shoes: NY&Co.
    • Cuff: Made by Me
    • Pashmina: Ebay

    Thursday, June 23: Channeling Chanel

    Cold and rainy again today, so it was a great opportunity to wear my Chanel jacket. It was my greatest sewing achievement this year. I feel like I'm a grown-up when I wear this, since it so fancy!
    • Chanel jacket: V7975
    • Necklace, Pants and Tank Top: NY&Co.
    • Shoes: Thrifted (Patent Crocodile! Yay!)

    Friday, June 24: Red Hot

    This swing cardi is getting a lot of wear these days. The weather is still...variable here in June, so I needed something to keep me warm. I rarely wear this tank, so it was fun to break it out. I really like the red and brown combination!
    • Swing Cardi: M5241
    • Tank: Max Studio (thrifted)
    • Necklace: NY&Co.
    I'm still knitting that sweater I told you about last week. Lots of frogging happening, so it's slower going than I thought it would be. I've also completed a dress or three and a skirt that I'm looking forward to showing soon as the weather gets warm enough to actually wear them! Around these parts, it's often been said that "Summer doesn't start until July 5." I hope that's true. This non-summery weather is starting to get to me. :(

      Friday, June 17, 2011

      Week 3 || Me-Made June 2011

      In the Swing Now!

      Monday, June 13: The Clean Getaway (har!)

      Still totally digging on this dress! It's comfortable, gives me shape, and is a classic piece I'll wear for years. I begrudgingly dug out the black boots because it rained allllll day. June is the new September, apparently. Oy vey. :( The cute bench I'm sitting on was my piano bench growing up.
      • Wrap Dress: KS3408
      • Necklace: Made by me

      Tuesday, June 14: Colourblocked in Black and Grey

      This isn't the most inspired outfit, but it was another rainy day, and I was grumpy about it. For colour, I popped on the big 'ol millefiori ring I picked up in Venice. I bought it when my fingers were all puffy from the flight over, so it only fits on my pointer finger now. It's a knucklebuster, but it makes me smile. The boatneck is made from wicking fabric, so it's nice and breathable -- perfect for (future) travel!
      • Boatneck top: V1049 
      • Crops: Old Navy
      • Ring: From trip to Italy, Fall 2010
      • Belt: Thrifted

      Wednesday, June 15: In the Jungle...

      This sweet little top was originally the skirt of a maxi dress I made a few years ago. I'm digging the peplum effect to hide my hips! I had to pair it with a cardi, as (sigh) it's still cold here.
      • Top: S2599
      • Skirt: NY&Co.
      • Cardi: Refashion from charity shop
      • Necklace: From Italy trip, Fall 2010

      Thursday, June 16: Casual Comfort

      It was warmer today, but my office is freezing, so thought this sweater would be cute and comfy. Turns out, I was right! The crops are my travel cargos with both outer cargo pockets and inner hidden pockets (take THAT pickpockets!) They've got a toggle waist (for when you eat tooo much!) and are made from a dri-fit fabric that dries in less than 3 hours. They're totally indestructible. Love that!

      Friday, June 17: I'm a Superhero!

      Or at least I'm wearing superhero colours! The knot top is made from the skirt of a dress I wadded last fall (yay for a refashion!) I'm not used to wearing such close-fitting tops, but my bff assures me that it looks good, so I'm going to choose to believe her. At least with the Ssssssnake top, I had some camouflage! LOL
      • Knot top: S4076
      • Crops: Old Navy
      • Cardi: M6084
      • Necklace: From Spain trip, Fall 2009
      • Shoes: Thrifted
      I'm currently knitting a cute little summer sweater, and am hoping to complete it by the end of the month! You can find the pattern here if you'd like to knit one, too! I've never knit a top-down sweater before, but it's coming together really fast! I'm making it from this yarn, in a lovely persimmon! I think I might have to make some white crops to go with it (in July when my self-imposed fabric fast has concluded). See ya next week!

        Friday, June 10, 2011

        Week 2 || Me-Made June 2011

        Woo hoo for Week 2! 
        (It's still cold and rainy here in the PNW) 

        Monday, June 6: Tunics for All Seasons!
        Hey, how 'bout another tunic? This one is from the same NL6515 pattern I wore on Friday, just with a different neckline finish. I usually wear this more in the fall, due to the palette, but it's still fall-ish weather here, so I broke it out.
        • Tunic: NL6515
        • Necklace, Tank: NY&Co
        • Trousers: CAbi

          Tuesday, June 7: Well, Hello There, Sailor!
          It's Fleet Week here in Portland, and what better way to make new friends than to dress like their counterparts in the French Navy? (I'm all for international relations!) This shirt was self-drafted from another LL Bean boatneck that I fell in love with this season. The fabric is from my recent trip to Britex in San Francisco.

          Until I took these pics, I didn't know I'd need to do a swayback adjustment. Interesting!
          • Top: Self-drafted
          • Pants, Bracelet: NY&Co.

          Wednesday, June 8: Swing Style
          The top I'm sporting today used to be this dress. After shooting it as a dress this week, I decided I'd wear it more if I chopped it off. I think it works much better as a top. Paired with my swingin' red cardigan, it's a pretty stellar outfit! (Comfy, too.)
          • Top: S2550
          • Swing Cardi: M5241
          • Necklace: Made by me
          • Trousers: NY&Co.

            Thursday, June 9: Ssssssecond Ssssskin

            Twist tanks have been around for awhile, but I just jumped on the bandwagon recently. Thissss little top is pretty comfy and was a stashbustin' project. I liked it ssssso much, I made another one from red jersey. Lotssss of complimentsssss at work on this one! 
            • Tank: S4076 (OOP, but HIGHLY recommended)
            • Jacket: Thrifted
            • Necklace: Gift from my BFF
            • Trousers: Ann Taylor Loft (Another too-big pair of pants headed to the consignment store. Ugh!)

            Friday, June 10: Tanks for the Memories

            This top is another self-drafted endeavour. It was based on a Banana Republic tank that I fell in mad love with when Sarah Michelle Gellar wore it on an episode of  "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". I wore it until it turned from back to grey (appalling!) and then muslined it four times to get to the final version you see here. It was my second self-drafting project, and I'm pretty thrilled by how it turned out. Now if I could just get SMG's arms... LOL
            • Buffy tank: Self-drafted
            • Necklace and bracelent: Made by me
            • Jeans: Lands End
            That's it for this week! I've heard we're getting SUN next week, so BOLO for dresses and skirts. I'm getting weary of wearing pants!

              Friday, June 3, 2011

              Week 1 || Me-Made June 2011

              Here we go again!

              Wednesday, June 1: Go With the Flow
              I love me a good tunic. I should, as I have about eleventy-hundred of them (well, it's really SIX, but who's counting?) I made this as a knockoff of the CAbi Erte Tunic (which I ended up buying on a screaming sale ANYWAY). The leggings are from Sandra Betzina's pattern collection for Vogue. I made them out of a dri-fit fabric and I love the feel of them (They're lined with tricot! So luxurious!). I'm a little self-conscious about showing me bum, tho, so thought it was a perfect pairing with my small assortment of bum-covering tunics.
              • Tunic: V8580
              • Leggings: V1197
              • Tank & Necklace: NY&Co.

              Thursday, June 2: Wrap It Up, I'll Take It
              Hello, favourite dress! Can I tell you how much I love this wrap-like dress? Not only does it look great with boots or heels, and gives me great shape. Adding to it's superpowers, it also spans the seasons, which in the PNW can be a little iffy. We like to say, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." That applies here in June, as well. I need the 3/4 sleeves to hide the goosebumps! Brrrrr!

              Friday, June 3: Autumn Cross Top Tunic
              More and more, I'm finding myself drawn to the colours of fall. I've made this tunic five different times, and just love the fit!
              • Tunic: NL6515 (OOP): This tunic looks remarkably similar!
              • Necklace: Made by me
              • Jeans: Gap

              Thursday, May 26, 2011

              KS3408 || Painterly Wrap Dress

              Ready for my clean getaway! LOL

              I've got a thing for wrap dresses. They're quick, they're easy to throw on when you're making a clean getaway (Diane!! Shocking!), and they always make me look so put-together and stylish. Love that! They also look fantastic with boots, flats AND sandals. A trifecta of footwear!

              That being said, I've made three wrap (and faux-wrap) dresses in the past, and until now, was never successful. Either the fabric was wrong, the flippy facings bugged me, the armholes were too low, it gaped in the front skirt area when I sat or I just couldn't keep the darn thing closed in the bodice. Argh. The KS3408 is the first wrap dress pattern I would consider a total, unmitigated success.

              Pattern Description: Misses' fitted wrap dresses have a waist seam, a slightly flared skirt, a V-neckline, bust darts, and self-fabric ties. View A has long sleeves and is over-knee length; View B has 3/4 length sleeves and above-knee length. I made View B with even shorter sleeves.

              Pattern Sizing: XS - XL. Mine is a Medium, even tho most of my measurements were in the "Large" column. The pattern has enough ease in it to go down a size (with additional alterations). I wanted it to be relatively close fitting.

              Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did!

              Were the instructions easy to follow? Terrifically easy. Kwik Sew does a great job with instructions and diagrams.

              What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love that it has enough walking ease in the skirt to stay closed, the neckline is drafted so it won't gape, even if you don't use clear elastic there. Construction was fast and easy, and, as I have a long torso, I didn't have to add my usual inch to the length of the bodice. (the weight of the skirt pulls it down.) That's a lot of good things in one little pattern.

              Fabric Used: ITY Knit from JoAnn

              Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I have narrow shoulders, so I removed 1/4" from there (didn't alter the sleeve). I did a 1/2" FBA, added 1/2" high round back adjustment and removed 1-1/2" from bodice length so that the seam would fall at my high waist (the skinniest part!). I also doubled the width of the ties and added 10" to the tie length. I might add 10-15" more length next time, as it might be fun to wrap it around another time. Instead of hemming, I used my serger's roll hem feature on the neckline and hem. I'll probably go back and shorten the sleeves even more and roll hem them as well. We'll see...

              Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is, hands down, the best drafted wrap dress pattern I've used. I highly recommend it, and will definitely make it again. (And again, and again.)

              Conclusion: I love this dress. If you can get your hands on the OOP pattern, it's a timeless, easy classic piece to add to your wardrobe.

              Tuesday, May 24, 2011

              V1049 (OOP) | The Hunt for the Perfect Boatneck is Over!

              I am OBSESSED with boatneck tops! It's such a classic style, and I've been seeing many boatnecks coming up for fall, especially in Oscar de la Renta's collection. So of course, I had to make my own.

              Hello, new wardrobe staple!
              Pattern Description: Boatneck top with asymetrical hem option.

              Pattern Sizing: All

              Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? It did!

              Were the instructions easy to follow? Ridiculously easy. This would be a great beginner sewing project with knits.

              What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It came together very quickly. I also like that Sandra's pattern has a cut-on facing. (more on this below) I also REALLY like that the top covers my bra straps. Other boatnecks I've tried had necklines that were SO wide, those darn straps always showed. (argh.) I think in future iterations, I'll take off .5" from the CB to avoid the neck gape.

              Fabric Used: Polyester knit with spandex from JoAnn.

              Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't like how there are bust darts on both the facing and the top itself. Lining them up was a pain, and if you don't do it exactly right, it shows. I ran a basting stitch where the dart in the lining would go and gathered the material instead. It made for a better finish and doesn't look weird on the outside.

              Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I've already sewed it up twice since shooting this and think it'll be a wardrobe staple come fall. It's so versatile for my wardrobe!

              Conclusion: I love this top. This pattern is OOP, but I highly recommend it! Get your paws on it if you love a fabulously drafted boatneck top!

              Top Left: Leopard print cardi (thrifted) and trousers.  
              Top Right: Cute summer skirt (me-made) and jean jacket.
              Bottom Left: With houndstooth skirt (me-made) and jacket.  
              Bottom Right: Safari jacket, jeans and new kicky red vinyl shoes (thrifted).

              Tuesday, May 3, 2011

              Count Me IN for Me-Made-June!

              'I, Darcidoodle of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-June '11. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made garment each work day this month. I will also challenge myself to remix if there are repeats for the duration of June 2011.'

              Monday, May 2, 2011

              S2256 | That Sure Is a Yellow Jacket!

              They'll see me coming AND going!
              I saw this cute little jacket at Simplicity Fashion Show at the Sewing Expo in Puyallup this last March. This cornea-searing yellow fabric has been in my stash for awhile, originally destined to be an outerwear jacket. Unfortunately for me, the fabric was too thin for outerwear, but not too thin for a cute, springy jacket!

              Pattern Description: Misses' unlined jacket in two lengths with neckline and sleeve variations.

              Pattern Sizing: 4-22. Mine was a 12 in the bodice, adjusted to a 14 in the hips and waist. Even with flat pattern measuring AND trying on the pattern, this jacket ran LARGE. Like, so large I can't wear it open. :(

              Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? It did!

              Were the instructions easy to follow? They were incredibly easy to navigate.

              What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the peplum in the back a lot. The front is a little boring without any sort of flounce or collar. I dig it, but not everyone will.

              Fabric Used:  Cotton/lycra blend from The pearl buttons on the front and back are vintage, gifted to me by a good friend.

              Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I really wanted this jacket to be lined. Yellow is a lot like white, in that it's practically see-through if you don't line it. I lined it in lime green bemberg rayon. It shows through a little, so I don't think I'd do that again. I also (wrongly) attempted to bag the lining, but the peplum made the jacket hang wonky in the back. I frogged that, hemmed the lining separately from the  and fashion fabric, and got really well acquainted with swing tacks, which are fun to make! 

              Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would make this again, certainly, although I'd make it a size smaller in the bust.
              More versatile than you'd think!
              Conclusion: The weather here in the Pacific Northwest can be a little unpredictable, so I'm sure I'll wear this jacket a lot! I'm really digging the bright yellow and chocolate brown combination, and having fun with some colourblocking. (Aqua, anyone? How 'bout PINK?)

              Tuesday, April 12, 2011

              Another CAbi-Inspired Garment: The Paley Vest

              CAbi FW 2010 Paley Vest
              How cute is that little vest!? I just fell in love with its' graphic nature and the exposed's a fun piece to add some spark to the wardrobe. Since it's still fairly cold here in the Pacific Northwest, I'll still be able to get some wear out of it before Spring FINALLY shows up and stays for awhile. We've been getting periodic sunshiny days, but most are still cold! Like 40s to mid 50s. Brrr!

              Anywho... on to the vest! I got a screamin' deal on the fabric at Fabric Depot's Outdoor Sale two years ago. I think this wool/poly blend was something like $5 a yard. I made a winter coat out of it, too, and had about 2 yards left to play with. I made my own pattern, based on my Chanel jacket, which had princess seams. Not wanting to match up the houndstooth on princess seams because it's impossible, I joined the front and side front pieces at the seam allowance with pins and traced the joined pieces. I did the same thing for the back piece. When trying this on Betty (my dressform), I realized that I needed .5" bust darts added to the front. They're barely noticeable and make the front hang so much better. I also drafted the front and neck facings based on the pattern I created. I'm pretty pleased with the results. The fringe was fun and MUCH faster to make than on the Chanel jacket.

              In the spirit of what I learned from MeMadeMarch '11, most garments I create from now on will go with at least three things I already own. So here goes! I skipped my favourite black pencil skirt/boot combination, because, well... it's boring. Also, it's supposed to be SPRING! Boots are for WINTER. Hear that Spring? I'm calling you OUT.

              Houndstooth and pink paisley were made for each other, don'tcha think?
              The back looks like I need a swayback adjustment, but IRL, it hangs fine. I must have been standing funny. In related news, after taking this pic, I realized that I have a flat butt. Must learn how to make flat butt adjustments for future trousers. These ones are doing my pert, cute butt NO favours. There may be colourful pants in my future. Wouldn't this look fantastic with RED pants?

              I just love black and white houndstooth. I'm now the proud owner of black and white houndstooth Wellies, a purse, a skirt and now a vest. I'm flirting with the idea of wearing the larger format vest with the smaller format skirt. Is that too much? :)

              With my red tunic top. Cute!

              The long-sleeved white shirt I've been told is a wardrobe essential, but I have never worn. It looks good here!
              With a dark denim shirt and jaunty scarf.

              Casual with jeans and my pink swirl top.