Black and White Striped Jersey Top

Four years ago when I first got out my sewing machine I started off with this pattern from Burdastyle called Lydia. It’s basically a renfrew and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve used this pattern. Call me crazy but I found knits really,…

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Current Musings and Pledge to MMM 14

My apologizes for the radio silence as of late. I am currently experiencing a state of influx and I will share more on that as events actualize. At the beginning of April I was forced to sort and move every room in my apartment for renovations. I …

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narrow hem: three ways

I sew a lot of narrow hems these days, and I’ve tried so many different methods to make them. The majority of tutorials for narrow or rolled hems (that I’ve seen) include a ton of measuring, trimming, or exhaustive pressing. Boo, ain’t got time for that. What if you could make the narrowest of hems doing a minimal amount of all that stuff, and without a rolled hem foot? Yea, I said it.

A narrow hem has a finished depth of 1/8″ to 1/4″. The tiniest versions, baby hems (1/8″), are typically used to keep lightweight garments flowy without weighing down the edges, and to keep the hem of sheer fabrics as inconspicuous as possible. Due to the nature of their narrowness and the nature of the fabrics you will likely be sewing them on, these hems can be tricky to fold and sew evenly if you’re doing a standard hem technique of measure-fold-press-measure-fold-press-sew. So here are some alternatives.
For a 1/4″ hem, my favorite method uses a serger for the first step. You can definitely do a similar method with a regular sewing machine, but I prefer the serger because it makes folding the hem easier; the width and sturdiness of the serged stitches help keep the fold perfectly even. You can also adjust the differential feed in case you want to tighten up the edge of your fabric ever so slightly to help with easing in a curved hem.
1. Set your stitch width so the left needle hits 1/4″ away from the raw edges, or just within 1/4″. Thread color doesn’t necessarily matter as long as your fabric’s not too sheer. Serge along the raw edge of the right side of your garment without cutting anything off. IF you’re using a regular sewing machine, sew a line of stitches 1/4″ from the raw edge, or just within 1/4″ if possible.
2. Start folding the serged stitches toward the wrong side of the garment the same width as the stitches. Or if you didn’t serge the edge, fold the edge under so your first sewn line of stitches juuuust rolls to the wrong side. The width of the stitches does all the measuring for you here. I only do a quick finger press to get the fold going, then immediately start sewing from the wrong side of the garment, using my hands to keep folding the edge before it reaches the presser foot.

Sew right along the folded edge, about 1/16″ inward. This secures the first fold and makes a guide for stitching on the next fold:
My thread is darker blue so you can see it. Again, this is the wrong side of the garment now:
3. Fold the edge under once more, the same depth as the first fold. Working from the wrong side of the garment, sew along the line of stitching you created in the last step, folding the hem over as you go. This secures the hem perfectly by catching the top edge in your stitching:
You will have a single line of stitching on the right side, and a doubled line of stitching on the wrong side:
A classy hem, without any tedious pressing OR measuring.
This little trick needs to be wider known. If you dig on the Internet you can find it in other tutorials, but I thought I’d go ahead and share it here to help spread the word. For an even tinier hem (~1/8″), I like to use the aid of Ban-Rol, also sometimes referred to as Ban Roll. wtf is that? It’s a very sturdy starched interfacing used by tailors for stiffening waistbands in pant and skirts. It comes in various widths on continuous yardage. It’s loosely woven, despite being stiff, so you can peel away the threads to create a “comb” that helps easily turn your fabric for hemming but will be pulled out after stitching.
The great thing about this method is that the Ban-Rol is reusable so you can make one small investment to have a lifetime of beautiful tiny hems. You can find it in 50-yard packs on Amazon and Wawak, but there’s no way you would ever need that much. They sell it by the single yard online at the Sewing Place, Crafter’s Vision, Londa’s Creative Threads, and B. Black and Sons (edit: and Kenton Trimmings Online, for those in the UK). I’d recommend getting a few yards so you can create different “combs” for different hem widths, or just in case you ever have to hem a maxi-length circle skirt or something cray.
1. Snip into one bound edge in order to get the first vertical thread free. From there, you can start pulling out the threads with your fingers. Keep pulling the single thread until you have a length that matches or slightly exceeds the circumference of your hem:
Keep going until you create a “comb” that is the width of the hem you would like to have. So, this would work for super teeny hems and heftier hems:
2. Now align the edge of the comb with the RIGHT SIDE of the raw edge of your garment to be hemmed. If your fabric frays madly, move the ban-rol inward slightly to stay clear of the fray. Pin if you want, but I’ve found that the ban-rol doesn’t really shift as long as you align it correctly as you sew.
3. Take it to the sewing machine, where you will stitch JUST INSIDE the inner edge of the comb part. You don’t want your stitches to catch the still-woven part of the ban-rol. Remember the comb is pulled out of your stitches later, so you should only sew over the horizontal threads:
4. For fraying fabrics, trim the stray threads off now so they don’t poke out of your hem later. Now gently flip the ban-rol all the way over to the wrong side of the fabric. This rolls the tiny hem for you without you having to measure all the way around or burn your fingers with the iron. For complete accuracy, you may want to press this part down so the hem is flattened first.
5. Stitch along the edge next to the ban-rol to secure the hem.

6. Now gently pull the ban-rol comb out of the stitches.
~OmG~ what a stable, perfectly minuscule hem you just made. And there’s no double stitching to be seen:

Note that you can use ban-rol when hemming in the round. Just overlap it where the circular hem meets. The comb will pull out as usual.
I do love the ban-rol method because it creates a very clean and light hem, versus the serged method which may add thread bulk or opacity to your hem. However, ban-rol is not flexible enough to be sewn around tight curves. I have used it on fuller A-line dress hems so it can follow gentle curves, but what if you’re trying to hem a rounded placemat or the curved sides of a man’s dress shirt? Or something else weird-shaped in a bee print?:
I agree; those bees are CUTE AS HELL.
This method is similar in theory to the ban-rol method, in that you’re sewing something to the right side of the garment and then flipping it over to help turn the hem. EXCEPT you’re using something that is wide enough so you can trim it to match the curves exactly. And you can’t make a comb out of it to remove later. It’s essentially like sewing a facing on a garment edge, but you want the seam to roll farther back toward the wrong side of the garment, and you want the facing to disappear somehow.
So, you have some options: you can use tracing paper, which you can then tear off the hem, but you’ll leave paper in your hem. You can use tear-away stabilizer, which also leaves stabilizer in your hem. Or you can use wash-away stabilizer, which will disappear after the garment’s first washing. None of these are ideal, so it just depends on what type of fabric you’re working with and what you have on hand.
I decided to try this sew-and-turn method with Fabri-Solvy, which is a fabric-like wash-away stabilizer normally used for appliqués and such. It comes in a range of widths and lengths, so I thought that getting a sheet that’s 20-inches wide and 1-yard long would enable me to customize my own strips to match the curves of a small hem.
1. Pin the stabilizer on top of the right side of your hem. Trim it to match the raw edge perfectly:
2. You can now trim down the rest of the stabilizer to make it easier to handle if desired. Accuracy isn’t important here:
3. Sew the stabilizer to the fabric at your desired hem width:
4. Now flip the stabilizer to the wrong side of the garment. This gets a little fiddly because the stabilizer is soft, but you want to make sure the raw edge of your fabric and the stabilizer are butted up against the fold of your hem so it’s an even width around. Use your fingers to maneuver the curves into place. You can use the very tip of your iron to help crease the hem, but try not to let the iron touch the exposed stabilizer because it may shrivel and/or start to melt.

5. Sew the hem in place.
6. Trim away the excess stabilizer. You can leave it as is until its first full washing, or you can saturate the hem in water for a few minutes to dissolve the stabilizer still inside the hem, then let dry.
This method is pretty effective, but it can’t really be used on fabrics that shouldn’t be washed. I also felt like I was using my scissors a lot, which would be annoying on a longer hem. It uses more resources in general since the stabilizer is not reusable,and I would have to buy longer sheets for bigger garments. Still a good trick to know, yes?
I hope this post introduced you to some new ways to achieve a nice narrow hem. Do you have any other tricks or tips to add? Are there other kinds of materials that could be used instead of ban-rol or stabilizer to help roll hems? Let me know your favorite methods!

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My favorite (spring) things–and a favorite asparagus recipe too.

Raindrops on broccoli and fresh, new sweet pea plants;Tried to grow broccoli from seed last year without much success; this year, plants were in order!I heart sweet peas.  :)Strawberry plants not attacked by bunnies or gross ants;Hoping the trench…

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My favorite (spring) things–and a favorite asparagus recipe too.

Raindrops on broccoli and fresh, new sweet pea plants;Tried to grow broccoli from seed last year without much success; this year, plants were in order!I heart sweet peas.  :)Strawberry plants not attacked by bunnies or gross ants;Hoping the trench…

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Book Review – Out of Shape: Debunking myths about fashion and fit

Are you human shaped? Then you should probably read this book.

I was fortunate enough to stumble upon it in my local library’s online catalogue. I have this habit of typing in words like “fashion”, “textiles” and “sewing” to pore over all the books I want to borrow. This book promises a lot just from its title so I wasn’t sure that it would follow through. A book about being “out of shape”? Diving into the realms of fashion and tackling the issue of how things fit? Could it be any more perfect for me seeing as that’s what fills my head every moment I think about sewing?

I need to tell you before I begin that this book struck a chord with me. As it unfolded every truth resonated with me. I found myself nodding along, uttering the occasional “yes!” and laughing at the author’s and my own shared angst about clothes and how they (don’t) fit. I will be talking up this book because I loved it but the views are my own.

From the outset the author sides with you telling you “I am a critic, and I reserve the right to call bullshit when I see it. I’m on your side – the consumer who faces small everyday agonies in wearing clothes”. She spends some time teasing out what is meant by the word “fit” and what is meant by the word “size”. These terms are already familiar to us. We know when we actually shop that we must choose a size to get the closest fit to our body but RTW can never really compare to a hand made garment. When using a sewing pattern however, we’re faced with a myriad of choices. Our measurements fall into one or a variety of sizes that we can grade and as we shape this garment and contour it to our figures we may choose adjustments along the way that allow the end piece to look like it was made for us. Because it was. Most people don’t have this luxury though, they’re stuck in between these concepts of size and fit not even knowing how to put their frustrations into words. The power of this book comes in being able to differentiate and explain these things.

“If fit is subtle and subjective then size is abstract and impersonal. Fit is cultural; size is industrial. It’s completely out of our control, yet it’s the part of clothes shopping that depresses people the most.” 

“Much of our angst about size and fit springs from the notion that to be socially successful, we need to constantly tend to and revise our appearance. I call this philosophy ‘orthovestia’, after the Latin words for ‘correct’ and ‘clothing’.” 

“Orthovestia doesn’t solve the practical problem of finding well-fitting clothes. Instead, it fools us into believing that if our clothes don’t fit it’s our fault for not understanding, training or disguising our bodies properly. It works by making us feel like failures who need experts to guide and correct us. But I want to show that what seems like helpful advice is really social control and moral shaping.”

In case that wasn’t enough to pique your interest the book takes a turn to look at how clothes have fit people throughout the centuries. She asks the question of why old clothes look so tiny compared to the clothes of today and goes looking for the answer in libraries, museums, galleries and vintage clothing stores. What I found resonated with me most about this discussion was the subject of underwear.

“Underwear aims to control and contain the naked human body so that it becomes inconspicuous and docile, and doesn’t call attention to itself through the textures of its hair and skin, its quiverings and bulgings as we breathe and move.”

One of the most striking revelations for me was the discussion about corsets. We look back on them as oppressive and wonder what that physical pressure would have felt like on an hourly basis with fabric taming your shape into the figure of desirability. Once the discussion turned to modern clothing she revealed that while we no longer have corsets physically restricting and shaping our bodies, we now have this internalised “corset of flesh” where we mould our bodies through diet and exercise to tame our shape into the very same figure of desirability.

“Our feelings of frustration and inadequacy about our bodies come down to this basic conceptual shift from an externally moulded silhouette to an internally moulded one. We’ve come to understand corsets of flesh as badges of freedom, modernity and self respect, and the fabric corsets they replaced as cruel, painful devices of primitivism, oppression and submission. And where once there were moral panics about young girls tight-lacing their corsets, now we fret about teenagers with eating disorders”

Never before have I come across a concept so startling and true. And it all came from underwear. While I kid myself about my shape and how clothes fit me I know that had I lived in the days of corset wearing I would have tightly laced it up to fit the ideal. And while I kid myself that I’m free to wear whatever I want and I have a good understanding of what works for my shape, I am most certainly trying to shape my own body through diet and exercise. My corset is different from those that lived in the past but here I am faced with the same oppression. This author has eyes that see through the layers of angst, frustration and confusion around clothing one’s self. She has a way of giving power to her ideas by stating them so simply and thoroughly. Her tone throughout the book is of someone well read and best of all curious about the workings of the world. She will lift the lid on so many details about clothing old and new and reveal them to you for what they really are.

Her journey throughout the book is to come to understand where sizes come from, how they differ in different countries as well as companies. She quizzes shop assistants on what size they think she is, she invites her blog readers to guess at her size, she leaves no stone unturned in her search for some truth or meaning in these little numbers we find on the tags of our clothing. At the same time she’s trying to unearth why we are so weirdly attached to our size when we know that clothing from every store in every country all over the world never fits the same. While we’re busy sorting through our own change room angst she’s trying to explain to us that the world isn’t actually trying to make us feel horrible about ourselves. Companies are trying to make money by trying to fit as many bodies as they possibly can. Their sizing is so dilute it never fits anybody perfectly. That doesn’t mean that poor unsuspecting clothes sitting on hangers in a shop are out to get us.

I felt like I was falling down a rabbit hole while reading this. A really awesome and well written rabbit hole of truth and wisdom. There are things in this book that I know I have been frustrated about in the past but I lacked the vocabulary or insight to describe it. 

“But just when we think we’ve figured out all the crazy-sounding body types and fashion rules, we learn we’re not even the best people to judge our appearance – other people are. As TV makeover shows and uncanny comic-book heroes tell us, we’ll grow either repulsively unfit or monstrously overtrained if left to our own devices.” 

“Yet we don’t think of this orthovestic gaze as cruel or oppressive, even though it’s precisely that. Instead it’s framed as helpful, as protective, as healthy, as sensible and as virtuous. And when we criticise other people, we choose to focus on our own helpfulness rather than how bad this might make them feel. After all, we only have their best interests at heart.”

Perhaps this book resonated with me because I’m currently shaping my flesh corset whilst making my real corset (aka wedding dress) to be worn on the day of most significance in my life. Perhaps it resonated because like the author I too have found myself stuck in a piece of clothing in a change room writhing around hoping on hope that no one will have to cut me out of the bloody thing. And perhaps it resonated with me because she’s just a really great writer.

Whatever the reason, I find myself having to return this to my library now. So I’ll be whipping out my card to buy this book to keep on my shelf to reread some day. Because it’s just that kind of book.

Want to buy it for yourself?

Try hereherehere or here.

Want to read more of her work?

So, has anyone else read anything like this that resonated with them? Any books I’m missing out on?

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2014#15: The lip print top – O top estampado de beijos

ETA: Click here to see me wearing the top!

I’ve made this top out of the remnant fabric from the lip print dress, using the same pattern for the bodice but altering the neckline to a V-line instead. The peplum was made shortening the upper skirt panels of the dress. As you can see, there’s no back zipper this time: 
Editado para acrescentar: Podem ver-me a usar o top clicando aqui
Fiz este top com o tecido que sobrou do vestido estampado de beijos, usando o mesmo molde para o corpo mas alterando o decote. O folho da bainha também foi feito encurtando os panos superiores da saia do vestido. Como podem ver, não precisei de coser um fecho atrás:

The next photo shows the rather unusual armhole shaping of both the dress and the top: 
Na próxima foto podem ver o detalhe da forma da cava, um detalhe for a do vulgar no vestido e agora no top:

And this sums up my sewing projects during the past vacation week! Hope you all have enjoyed it! Hugs to all!
E assim termino de mostrar o que costurei durante esta semana de férias, espero que tenham gostado! Um abraço!
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2014#14: The lip print dress – O vestido estampado de beijos

I’ve made this dress for my birthday party (I turned 43 on the 24th of April and we celebrated with our close family on the 25th). You can see pictures of me wearing the dress on my wardrobe blog (click here). Again I used neoprene fabric which made the construction faster than usual because the armholes, neckline and hem could be left raw. It took about four hours to get the dress completed and I think it turned out quite well. The pattern is a designer pattern from the Milanese duo Aquilano & Rimondi published in the BurdaStyle 2014/01, model 124. I’ve made a few modifications, skipping the raised neckband and changing the zipper placement to the back. When the dress was finished I realized there was no need for the zipper at all because the neoprene stretches just enough to get the dress on without the back closure. Since I planned to leave the neckline, armholes and hem raw, I didn’t add SAs there. There was some fabric left so I was able to make a top out of it as well (to be reviewed next). Enjoy the pictures and thank you so much for visiting! 
Fiz este vestido para usar na minha festa de anos (fiz 43 anos no dia 24 de Abril, mas só celebrei no dia 25). Podem ver fotos do look completo no meu blogue de estilo pessoal (clicar aqui). Mais uma vez usei tecido tipo neopreno, o que fez com que a construção do vestido fosse mais rápida, pois o decote, as cavas e a bainha puderam ser deixados “a fio”. Demorei cerca de 4 horas a fazer o vestido e acho que ficou bastante bem. O molde é de um modelo de designer, do duo Milanês Aquilano & Rimondi, publicado na BurdaStyle 2014/01, modelo 124. Fiz algumas modificações: não incluí a gola subida e passei o fecho da costura lateral para a costura de trás. Depois do vestido terminado apercebi-me que o fecho foi desnecessário, uma vez que consigo vestir o vestido sema abrir o fecho. Como queria deixar o decote, cavas e bainha a fio, não adicionei estes valores de costura ao molde. Ainda me sobrou um bocado de neopreno, bastante para um top que mostrarei a seguir! Vejam as imagens e obrigada por visitarem!

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flower power

Well guys, spring has definitely sprung around these parts! And I for one could not be happier about it! This week also marks the end of what was a really busy couple of months for me at work, and I finally seem to have shaken off the respira…

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2014#13 – The Forest Dress – O vestido “Floresta”

When I saw this neoprene fabric I knew I had to make a dress out of it! The landscape print repeats every 90cm (approx. 35”) so this had to be a short tube dress. I copied the pattern directly from a RTW stable knit dress. This has to be the fastest dress I ever made: it took 40 minutes to complete, including copying the pattern from the original dress to paper. The neoprene knit doesn’t need finishing so I left the neckline and armhole edges raw, only stitched a narrow hem. Enjoy the pictures; they will do all the talking for me! 
Quando vi esta malha tipo neopreno, sabia que tinha de fazer um vestido com ela! O padrão da paisagem repete-se cada 90cm, por isso teria sempre de ser um vestido curto e para tirar partido do padrão, deveria ser o mais simples possível. Resolvi copiar o molde diretamente de um vestido de malha que comprei e creio que bati o meu record da peça mais rápida de fazer de sempre: demorei apenas 40 minutos a fazer o vestido, incluindo o tempo de copiar o molde para papel! Como este tecido não desfia nem desmancha, as orlas do decote e cavas foram deixadas “a fio”, apenas fiz uma bainha estreita para melhorar o caimento do vestido. Vejam as fotos, elas falarão por si próprias!

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2014#12 – Sky blue wide pants – Calças largas azul-céu

I’ve made these pants using the same modified pants pattern that I used for my navy&black set pants (BurdaStyle 2013/12 model 103), only this time I used a woven stretch fabric instead of stable knit. You can see me wearing the sky blue pants at my personal style blog (click here). 
Fiz estas calças usando o mesmo molde modificado das calças do meu conjunto marinho e preto (BurdaStyle 2013/12, modelo 103), só que desta vez usei sarja elástica em vez de malha estável. Podem ver-me a usar as calças azul-céu no meu blogue de estilo pessoal (clicar aqui).

Conclusion: This pattern is a winner! Using a different fabric gives it a completely different effect and I also love this version very much! I feel like using this pattern a few more times, perhaps altering a detail here and there,… I could see this pattern used to make some culottes and/or with lace on the side panels; the possibilities are endless when you find a pattern that suits your taste and style and fits perfectly like this one!
Conclusão: Este molde é sem dúvida um must! O facto de usar um tecido diferente dá-lhe outro ar, mas adoro igualmente esta versão, e creio que não me vou ficar por aqui… Consigo imaginar este modelo numas “coulottes” (calças largas curtas) e/ou com painéis laterais em bordado inglês, por exemplo,… Quando se encontra um molde que nos agrada na forma, no estilo e que assenta bem, as possibilidades para o aproveitar são imensas!
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2014#11: The owl sheer top – Top de tecido leve estampado com corujas

ETA: You can pictures of me wearing the top on my personal style blog (click here)

This is the first of my short vacation at home sewing projects; I had this cute owl print sheer fabric in my stash and since baby blue is so trendy for this spring I decided to make a top out of it; this top has an accentuated V shaped neckline, wide sleeves and in spite of the recommended fabrics being fabrics with some body like linen or satin, I thought it would perfect for a sheer fabric like chiffon or gauze as well. The pattern used was BurdaStyle 2014/02 model 117

Editado para acrescentar: Podem ver fotos minhas a usar o top no meu blogue de estilo pessoal (clicar aqui)

Este é o primeiro dos projetos concluídos durante a minha semana de férias em casa; tinha este tecido estampado com corujas que acho bastante engraçado e como o azul-bebé está bastante na moda para esta primavera, decidi fazer um top com ele. O top tem um decote em V bastante acentuado e mangas abalonadas, e apesar dos tecidos recomendados serem tecidos com algum corpo (como o linho e o cetim), achei que também ficaria bem com um tecido mais leve e fino como este. O molde usado foi o modelo 117 da BurdaStyle 2014/02:

I’m not going to extend this review because I have a few more garments to be reviewed; I’ll just say that this type of fabric is not easy to cut (I layered it on top of newspaper papers and used a rotary cutter and mat), it’s also not heat resistant, so I had to use the pressing iron on the lower setting and always use a press cloth between the iron and the fabric,…) Applying fusible interfacing to the neckline facing was an adventure on its own and after a few tests I found a low temperature sheer fusible interfacing that worked . The seam treatment was the simplest possible, after stitching (used the thinnest needle available on the sewing machine, size 60) I zigzagged SAs together and trimmed away the excess. 
Não me vou estender muito no processo de costura pois tenho mais algumas peças para mostrar; vou apenas mencionar que um tecido deste tipo não é fácil de cortar pois é muito escorregadio; estendê-lo sobre folhas de jornal ajuda a mantê-lo direito enquanto se corta e uma lâmina rotativa com tapete de corte próprio é sem dúvida o método de corte que resulta melhor. O tecido também não aguenta temperaturas altas, tive de o passar com o ferro no mínimo e mesmo assim usar sempre um pano fino entre o tecido e o ferro. Aplicar entretela termo-colante à vista do decote foi um filme: depois de várias tentativas lá consegui usar uma entretela muito fina que colava a baixas temperaturas. O acabamento das costuras também foi o mais simples possível: depois de cosidas (usei a agulha mais fina na máquina, tamanho 60), chuleei os valores de costura juntos com ponto ziguezague e aparei rente ao ziguezague.

Conclusion: A nice trendy top that I’ll layering over a strappy top! Loved the end result! Stay tuned for quite a few more garments to be reviewed next!
Conclusão: Um top bem na moda para usar sobre um top de alcinhas! Adorei o resultado! Fiquem atentos pois tenho mais algumas peças feitas para mostrar!
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Black Knit Winter Dress

It’s time for warm, snuggly dresses! I made these two ponte dresses last year here and here and wore them to death through winter with stockings and through the colder days in summer. In fact the geometric ponte dress is so pil…

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Completed: Sew Dolly Clackett Dress

What is so great about Roisin is that she knows what she likes, she does it well, and this seems to bring her a lot of joy. In fact, this is why I read her blog — to me, she radiates and embodies the pure joy of sewing. Mind you, her beautiful smile a…

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The new spring "Crinkle Gauze Duster" in Black!

Hi everyone!  I know it’s been a few weeks since my last post and in fact this post was supposed to be about sewing up my new KWIK Sew 3484 pattern with the new Hawaiian Fabric I had delivered.  As fate would have it Stephanie all r…

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spring robin

This is one of those garments that you love to wear despite knowing it is not necessarily that flattering nor well-made. Ha, I act like that’s a common thing for other people, too. I dunno, dude, I’m just on a baggy top kick and I don’t know what else I want to wear these days. There’s something pleasant and comforting about dressing like a frump. Let’s call it effortfully effortless, because a lot of effort goes into knitting a baggy sweater you can take a nap in.
This little mama is knitted from the Robin pattern by Josée Paquin. It’s a striped raglan-sleeve sweater with a dipped hem, knitted in one piece from the top down. It’s purposely slouchy, with VERY LOW armholes for a batwing look. Wait a sec… batwings. I think I understand why she called this the Robin pattern.
Another example of someone wearing something all the time despite it being unflattering.
I wanted a sweater that I can wear in the transition months between cold and hot weather and vice versa, so I chose to make this pattern using a cotton/modal blend yarn: Shine Sport from Knit Picks. I have leggings that are cotton/modal and are heavenly to wear, and this yarn is just as delightful. I spent a lot of time just squishing it against my face. I went with the cream and black colorways to keep it classic. I used about 9.5 balls of the cream and 2 balls of black. I eventually realized I couldn’t make it all the way through this sweater with so little black, so I shortened the arms to 3/4 length which is fine by me anyway.
I bought size 3 circular needles specifically to do this project, but my gauge was too loose. Instead of buying MORE needles, I just knitted the smallest size in the pattern and hoped for the best. It ended up being the size I was expecting, sooo I dodged that bullet. The insane thing about knitting garments is that you have no idea if it’s going to fit until you’ve already invested many hours over many days, weeks, or months. At least with top-down garments you can try on as you go, but it’s not like I would know how to make mid-knit fitting adjustment calculations anyway. 

It’s a cropped-head kinda day, folks.
Short rows are used to shape the neckline as well as the high-low hem. The pattern has you do yarn-over short rows, which I found I prefer over wrap-and-turn short rows because it’s easier to find them when you pass over them again. I don’t know if these things have technical names! For help with the YO short rows, I used this resource.
I don’t know what happened with my tension while knitting… or maybe it happened while weaving in all the ends (which I always half-ass) or blocking (I dried it in the dryer!)… but my stripes are a bit wonky. You can tell in some of the photos where they look jagged. Some of the white stitches above and below the stripes were looser than others, causing the black to dip or raise in random places. In one or two places, a black stitch just disappeared. Ran for its wee little life.
I’m still a rookie, okay?! I’m not that upset. I should just probably stop switching between English and continental style knitting so often, but I get hand cramps if I don’t keep it varied. 
All in all, this was a fun and relatively simple knit. I love the colors I used and find it cozy as hell to wear. As a seamstress, I appreciate that the stripes automatically match across the body to the sleeves. It’s the little things.
I doubt I’d make it again (do people knit sweater patterns more than once?), but if I did I would raise the armholes by a lot and streamline the fit if possible. 

Ravelry notes here.

I guess I’ve accomplished two of my six handmade “goals” this spring: I made a bag and now a spring-appropriate sweater. I still plan to tackle the others, except maybe the shorts, but I keep being lured in other directions. I’m less confident about Me-Made-May this year. I’ve been wearing fewer me-mades recently because I no longer work in an office (uh, hallelujah), so all the business-casual dresses and skirts I’ve made over the past 2+ years are starting to collect dust. More baggy tops to make, I guess. Who’s with me there?

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Pretty Frocks and a Top

 pattern:  Antoinette by the very talented Nele (I love the School Photo dress with scallops that she sewed)size:  128fabrics:  Robert Kaufman Kona Cottons in Crocus, Aloe, and Camellia  (from Pink Chalk Fabrics) This…

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Completed: A Second Beyoncé Dress

I hope you’re having a happy long weekend, and that it’s just as sunny in your corner of the world as it is in mine! We are spending the weekend in the countryside — it’s amazing how a simple change of scenery can give a whole new perspective on things. That’s why traveling is so important to me: for the perspective it brings, but also for stretching time. As Joshua Foer explains in this interview, routine activities can speed up time, and new experiences awaken our being. This is why, as children, time seems to trickle by, and as adults it flies.

Earlier this week, I made another second Beyoncé dress — comfortable and flattering, as the previous one.

Fabric: medium-weight ponté knit from Moods NYC
Pattern: Vogue 1314
Successful? Fairly. In terms of the pattern, I wrote TNT (tried and true) in big thick red letters on each pattern piece with great satisfaction. 🙂 But I was surprised to find out that this particular ponté knit was less forgiving than the double knit I used last time, probably because what makes the double knit so flattering is its foamy propriety, which the ponté lacks. This foaminess not only follows the contours of the body, but also smooths it out. SO: My next make with this pattern will definitely be in an extra-thick double knit.

Tell me, what are you doing this weekend and is the weather cooperating with your plans?

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Sew Sexy Modern Wiggle Dress

Sexy is not what I typically strive for in my everyday appearance, however I like most other women have my sexy days and then… my NOT so sexy days. That being said, what is more sexy than gals that can make their own garments? I say not much, but I m…

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2014#9 – Navy&black set: the pants – Conjunto marinho&preto: as calças

Description: Low waist wide pants with side panels, front-fly zipper, shaped waistline and in-seam pockets. 

Pattern used: BurdaStyle 2013/12, model 103B with modifications (click here for more details) 
Descrição: Calças largas de cintura descida, paineis laterais, carcela com fecho na frente, cós enformado e bolsos metidos na costura. 
Molde usado: BurdaStyle 2013/12, modelo 103B com modificações (clicar aqui para os detalhes).

Fabric used: thin stable knit in navy blue and black, with some Lycra in the composition. 
Tecidos: Malha estável fina em azul-marinho e preto (tem alguma lycra na composição) 
Front-fly zipper / Carcela com fecho:

The pockets / Os bolsos:

The back crotch reinforcement using lining selvage: 
O reforço do gancho usando aurela de forro:

Conclusion: I LOVE these pants, seriously (see me wearing the pants here and the complete navy&black set by clicking here)! I’m already cutting another pair using this same pattern (different fabric though, I’ll be using some stretch woven fabric this time). Have fun in the weekend you all!
Conclusão: ADORO estas calças (podem ver-me a usá-las aqui e fotos a usar o conjunto completo estão publicadas aqui)! Já estou a cortar outras calças usando o mesmo molde, mas um tecido diferente desta vez (um tecido elástico sem ser de malha, um pouco mais encorpado). Espero que tenham gostado, divirtam-se no fim-de-semana!
Couture et Tricot is licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license
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portside duffel bag

Duffle bag or duffel bag? I think they’re interchangeable but I’ve always used the -el version. Neither spelling is recognized by this spell check anyway. No, Blogger, I don’t mean “ruffle” and I certainly don’t mean “luffed.” WHAT IS LUFFED?It’s proba…

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2014#10 – Navy & Black set: The top – Conjunto Azul Marinho e Negro: o top

I’ve jumped ahead to the top, the pants review (2014#9) will be up next; 
Saltei diretamente para o top, ainda falta o artigo sobre as calças (2014#9) que será publicado a seguir.

Description: Close fitting cropped knit top with raised neckline, shaped short raglan sleeves and french darts; the original model has two invisible zippers, one on the side and another on the left shoulder. I opted for inserting an invisible zipper on the center back seam instead.
Pattern: BurdaStyle 2012/01, model 113; this pattern is for petite sizes; I transformed it into regular size (click here for the article detailing the procedure).
Descrição: Top justo tem gola subida, mangas raglan curtas e pinças francesas na frente, pinças verticais atrás; o original tem dois fechos invisíveis, um de lado e outro na costura do ombro esquerdo; optei por aplicar apenas um fecho invisível na costura central das costas.
Molde: BurdaStyle 2012/01, modelo 113; este molde é para senhoras pequenas, mas alterei-o para tamanho normal (clicar aqui para uma descrição sumária do procedimento)

Details&Alterations / Detalhes&Alterações
As mentioned above, I opted for an invisible zipper on the center back; I used this tutorial by sewing Diva Els for the zipper insertion and this other one also by Els to finish the zipper with the neck facing (I omitted the button and the lining loop, though).
Como já mencionei, optei por um fecho invisivel na costura central das costas; usei este passo-a-passo da Sewing Diva Els para aplicar o fecho e este outro da mesma autora para fazer o acabamento do fecho com a vista do decote (omiti o botão e a anilha de forro).

Front neckline and sleeve detail / Decote na frente e manga:

This pattern is for a crop top and since I plan on wearing it to the office, instead of having to layer it over another longer top I opted for adding a false layer in black, simply narrow zigzag stitching it to the previously folded hem:
Este molde é para um top curto (mesmo depois das alterações), mas como planeio usá-lo no escritório, em vez de depois ter de o usar sobre outro top mais comprido, optei por acrescentar uma camada falsa dando o efeito da sobreposição; basta coser com ponto ziguezague estreito à bainha previamente dobrada do top:

Conclusion: The top turned out great and pairs wonderfully with the pants (see me wearing the pants here); the pictures were taken in a hurry during the weekend, they don’t do justice to the top that looks much better on me than on the dressform. Now all I can do is hoping for warmer weather days to be able to wear it! Thank you so much for reading!
Conclusão: O top ficou ótimo e conjuga muito bem com as calças do conjunto (podem ver-me a usar as calças aqui); as fotos foram tiradas à pressa no fim-de-semana e não fazem justiça a esta peça… Garanto-vos que fica muito melhor vestido em mim do que no manequim! Agora resta-me aguardar por dias mais quentes para o poder estrear! Obrigada por visitarem!
Couture et Tricot is licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license
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Mexican Embroidery Transfer Patterns Vintage 1950s

If you watch old movies sometimes you’ll catch a glimpse of women wearing skirts with Mexican motifs around the hem or a single motif on the pocket that matches the thread in the embroidered peasant top.  The flower cart is my absolute favorite!

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New Fabric Delivered!

I’m pretty stoked today.  I just had my delivery from Hawaiian come in.  The last couple of weeks I’ve been pouring over all of the selections of fabric they carry until I finally came up with the last two contenders. &nb…

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Organizing My New Sewing Room…Part 1

Most of you have probably seen my new sewing room at Sew Passionista by DIANA and I thank you for the comments.To avoid a too long post, I’m doing only Part One of two parts, tonight.I wanted to give a few details of how I organized my new space in hop…

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Joan in Shocking Pink Mad Men Dress Challenge 3

Last week I described my plans to attempt a little va va voom for the Mad Men Dress Challenge 3. Here I am with a bit of wiggle in my walk; my version of Joan’s shocking pink dress. The fabric is a pink and black floral rose ja…

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summery separates

Hi everyone! Wow, I can’t believe it’s April already… time is really flying by! I had a very busy March – both at work and in the sewing sphere, and, perhaps most importantly, I had a birthday! I am now the ripe old age of 29! This month’s …

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Peggy’s Black and White Ribbon Dress Mad Men Dress Challenge 3

Mad Men Dress Challenge 3: inspiration for this dress came from the character Peggy in an office ready LBD with stripe ribbon detail. The dress was worn in Season 5, Episode 1.Obligatory office reprimand stance. My dress fabric is a solid bla…

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Mock Wrapped Mini Hounds Dress Simplicity 1686

As I was flipping through my closet to getting ready for work today I ran across this dress and it occurred to me that it had been photographed and never shared! I constructed it last month when I had clearly slipped into a houndstooth stitching theme….

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The Cutest Free Frame Fonts

Check out the cuteness of my favorite free frame fonts!! I love these free fonts that are super easy to download and use.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!


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