Sprout Patterns Blouse

This blouse was another excellent project I completed from Sprout Patterns.

The biscanye blouse is a simple and elegant pattern. The collar and placket add a touch of interest and detail, without too much complication. The instructions were very simple to follow, and easy to get a clean nice result. I left out the welt pocket this time around, but I love the option to add it in.

I reviewed this pattern here: Hey June Handmade Biscayne Blouse ★★★★

The fabric is spoonflower’s poly crepe de chine, which is always one of my favorites. It has such a light flowy drape, but still a crisp hand. The fabric was designed by scrummy things, and is unique and colorful without being quite as far “weird” as I frequently like to go.

This blouse is comfortable and flattering, and perfect for the office, or can be dressed up for a night out. It turned out great, and I’m definitely a fan!

The Cat’s Pajamas

The moment I saw the tulip-like construction on the back of these pajamas, I knew I had to make them. They’re another offering from Sprout Patterns, which I know I’ve written about before. Then I found the perfect collection of designs, and I couldn’t resist.

designs

Want to see what this project looked like at Sprout Patterns? Check this out! You can see all the designs, and the 3D model, and if you click “customize this project” over on the right you can even spin it around, see the back, play with the designs and even change it yourself. Its so much fun to play with.

The pattern was super easy and fun to sew, once I got finished making the miles of matching bias tape. The construction of the back is just as fun and interesting and flattering as I knew it would be. The shorts are comfy, and shorter than anything I’d normally wear to the gym, but not unreasonable for most people.

A big thank you to Caroline Okun, who took the photos for the Sprout Patterns website, and Paula who was kind enough to model!

 

When Life Gives You Lemon Fabric

…Make pajamas?

Especially if you know you’re going to get snowed in for a couple of days and wont need real clothes! After finishing off these pajamas a couple of weeks ago, I definitely put them to the test this weekend. They are comfortable, flexible, warm, excellent.

I created these pajamas for the release of a new fabric at spoonflower. This is a first in spoonflower’s fabric history, a cotton spandex blend in a jersey knit. It is an excellent fabric, comfortable, soft, lightly stretchy with a good recovery, but also with enough body to be stable and hold a seam well.

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The pattern is one from a maker I’ve never used before, but it was a great pattern. For the fabric release, the product team chose a selection of projects and fabric designs to show the full breadth of the fabric’s capabilities. I’d definitely use Closet Case patterns again after this project. She walks you through the complicated structure of the split collar with clear instructions. The fit is very nice and works with my body shape. And the result itself is comfy and classy all at once.

I’d say the only problem I really had was that I’ve been working on so many sprout patterns projects, I’d forgotten how truly endlessly irritatingworking from a print out pattern is… First you have to give up a ream of paper just to print it out. Then, if you’re like me, you have that awesome moment where you forgot to print only the first page first to check that it printed right:

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Yep. Then, if you’re like me, and you already feel guilty about the trees you’re killing, you decide to try to reuse the first paper and reprint the pattern on the backside. And then, you realize how THAT was a bad idea, and get extraordinarily paranoid about which side is the “right” side. And then you spend and eternity taping it together. And then you have to cut it out.

I decided to lengthen the shorts for this pattern. I have long legs and just generally find longer shorts more comfortable, so I added two inches to the length of the shorts. This pattern maker made it super easy, providing the classic “add length here” lines that so many people don’t bother to include. And it worked perfectly, and did not distort the end result at all. Professional and perfect pattern.

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And only THEN do you finally even get to touch the fabric. It definitely reminded me of why I love Sprout Patterns so much for removing all of the worst parts of working with indy patterns. Its so hard to get up the energy to use a new pattern when I think about all those steps that aren’t even the fun bits of sewing.

fabric

In the end, I think it was totally worth the angst though. These pjs are comfy and fun and unlike anything else I own or would normally make for myself. I was a little sloppy around the collar, I think if I were to re-do this project I would actually leave off the piping. I absolutely love the visual effect it creates, but the fabric was just a touch too bulky in some places, and it definitely created difficulties around the split collar area, and the pocket.

I reviewed the pattern used in this project here: Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas ★★★★

Pluviophilia Rain Dress

I mentioned my involvement in the new Spoonflower project called Sprout Patterns before, but to repeat myself: there is an amazing new thing out there called Sprout Patterns and you really really must go check it out. The idea is that Spoonflower will actually print the pattern for various garments and projects directly on the fabric for you, filled in with your chosen design. They’ve partnered with a whole bunch of indy pattern makers to bring you a really diverse and excellent set of options. In addition, you can actually see your project before you buy it, projected in 3D in your browser. You can even shift the pattern around if you care about design placement, and they’re working on allowing design rotation so that you can accurately place border prints. Its so cool. This is what my dress looked like when I built it in sprout patterns.

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The bit on the left is literally what your printed fabric will arrive looking like, with obvious cut lines, labels, et al. I find the sense of scale invaluable when trying to judge how a various project will look with a spoonflower fabric design. Not to mention, the bit where you have to print out a pattern, tape endless sheets of paper together, tediously cut out all the bits and only THEN start playing with your fabric is completely removed when you use Sprout Patterns for your project. I cut out the pieces for this dress while sitting on my couch watch tv. I just followed the lines on the fabric. And it turned out fantastic, if I do say so myself.

I actually designed the fabric for this project as well. I’m one of those people who actually really love thunderstorms, cloudy days, even sometimes just the steady drum of of a rainy wet day. You know, when I can sit inside, warm and dry with a book and just watch it. So awhile ago, I designed myself a set of curtains with watercolor and ink pen clouds, pouring forth a stream of words, all quotes about rain. When the sun is too bright and sharp and loud, I can pull the curtains closed and it all gets softer.


I re-used the cloud elements to create a fully repeating cloudy day fabric design. If you like it, you can buy it yourself on spoonflower in small scale like my dress below, and large scale.

The pattern for this dress is the Colette Myrtle, and it was perfect for this project. The fit is very relaxed, obviously, without a whole lot of pieces, or a need for exact fitting. Considering the steps that sprout takes out, it was also very very very fast to put together. I even did french seams on the side of the skirt! The fabric is Spoonflower’s poly crepe de chine, which is still one of my favorites. Light, flowy, slightly textured, super easy to sew.

I reviewed this pattern here: Colette Myrtle ★★★★★

Also as promised, more pictures of myself, wearing my creations. This one is definitely a crowd pleaser, a winner, and something I actually get to wear frequently.

A New Space

In the last few months I’ve lost two roommates, and gained another one. This has meant lots of shlepping furniture, rearranging and cleaning, and not a whole lot of time or space for any sort of sewing or reading. Now, however, that’s all changed…

The end result is a spare bedroom, which I have now claimed as a hoity toity fiber studio. Ooooo, Ahhh. I’m so excited, I’ve never yet had my very own space dedicated to crafting etc.

Its a smallish bedroom, but I’ve still managed to fit both looms, a boxy shelf/drawer/thing, a book shelf, an ironing table, a large warping board, and a large glass-top desk. Any any sort of room is better than stealing and cluttering up the downstairs dining room.

Oh, wait, “both looms”? Yes…. I bought another one. I already knew I’d have a spare bedroom, and then this LOVELY 45″ Nilus Leclerc was at the local weavers fall sale for $100?!?! How could I say no? Of course, the reason it was so cheap was because its currently in pieces. It even comes with its own bench though! And underneath the dust the loom is in good shape! I’m so excited. It’ll be a learning exercise to put all the pieces back together.

I already feel good in this space. The back wall has two windows, hidden by the sliding panel style ikea curtains. I can’t wait to play with various fabrics layered on each other, or weave my own intricate curtain panels (I’ve already got some great ideas there). I also managed to hide a desktop computer, and a monitor that can move back and forth between the desk, and an out of the way shelf corner. That way this is also my computer/gaming room, and I can binge watch netflix while crafting things, or rock out to music. The shelf above the desk was a “picture ledge” according to ikea. I took one look at it and thought that’ll be perfect for thread!. And it is! It fits perfectly, and is organized and close at hand, and even looks good! We also took the door off the closet in the back corner so that it still works as storage, without giving up square footage for the door to open.

Having the space be comfortable and highly functional really contributed to a ton of excellent christmas presents I’ll show off soon.

1920’s Christmas Dress

Well, here’s the yearly Spoonflower Christmas Party dress. The theme this year was the 1920s, so of course I had to draft my own pattern.

fabric

I found this amazing art-deco-ish embroidered net fabric at Mary Jo’s in Charlotte and couldn’t really resist. The lining, and the skirt, is a simple navy blue satin. It has a dropped waist, loose fit, handkerchief skirt line, and (my favorite bit) a cowled low back. I also, of course, bedazzled the crap out of it. The skirt moved really gorgeously when I walked and danced (and in the wind), which is obviously why I assume it was so popular for this era. And I had to make a gif of it.

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I didn’t use a pattern for this dress. I hand drafted a basic bodice sloper, and then used that as the base to drape the fabric directly on the dress form. Its a simple silhouette, but I am still ridiculously proud of how it turned out. The skirt is just a square with a slit cut in the middle. Then I used my old favorite hot-fix crystals in a deep blue all along the hemline to give it a bit of weight and help it move nicely.

 


It has always been a goal of this home-made blog to encourage me to take more and better photos of my work. Especially to take photos of myself wearing each sewing project. Well, here you are, proof that I wear what I sew! A little sloppy but better than nothing ;-). I really enjoy the one where I’m making crazy chicken arms, but I included it for shits and giggles, and because it shows the movement of the skirt quite well.

Sprout Patterns

So there’s a really cool new site out there! The perfect blend of technology and fabric. (And full disclosure here, I helped bring it into existence, so I might be biased. 😀 )

So, you know that horrible part of sewing where you actually have to pin that awful tissue paper to fabric, and it rips and wrinkles, and half the time you can’t tell which way the grain-line arrows were pointing? And god help you if buy your pattern online and you also have to line up and tape together every single sheet of 8.5″x11″ of paper first.

Now imagine for a moment that you didn’t have to do any of that. Imagine that the lines were simply printed on the fabric like magic.

Yes. Its true. Sprout Patterns can do that for you.

They’ve partnered Spoonflower with a bunch of indie pattern makers so that you can not only actually print the pattern lines on the fabric with your design, you can also even see your chosen pattern in 3D before you even buy it!

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Now here’s the best part. Until 12pm on October 30th, you can test drive a small lined pouch pattern for only $2 DOLLARS!

dress

(following photos from their flickr group.)
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Science Girl is Sour

Science Girl had the opportunity to attend a new event last week. The Museum of Life and Science had an After Hours event about the “Science of Sour.” It covered everything from fermentation, to pickling, to how your taste buds work. And of course I had to make a themed dress.

Spoonflower actually had a pickle design contest lately, so I had a lot of designs to choose from. My favorite was this design by pinky_wittingslow covered with watercolor cucumber slices, and even a hint of dill in the background. I used the cotton lawn fabric because of its soft texture and easy drape.

I used the same dress pattern you’ve seen plenty of other times on other projects. To switch things up a bit I hand drafted petal sleeves. I’ve been meaning to try them again in something more formal, and I’m so glad I did. It added an interesting element to this dress that I feel really drew attention.

I reviewed this pattern here: Butterick Retro Dress B5603 ★★★★★

Because the lining would show at the edge of the sleeves I wanted something perfect that would complement the colors of the pickles. I chose this design by brainsarepretty and printed it on satin. Slippery to sew, but perfect for linings.

 

Cotton Lawn Peplum Blouse

Spoonflower has a new fabric, that I’m actually really excited about. Its perfect for apparel projects. They made a video, and I made a blouse!

The fabric is, obviously, our new Cotton Lawn Ultra, and was designed by Chantale Pare. The pattern is the Colette Hawthorn, and was easy and fun to use. The photos were taken by the lovely Caroline Okun of Brains Are Pretty. (I know, its crazy what my sewing looks like when a professional photographer does it, instead of me with a cellphone on my back porch.)

I wrote a review of this pattern here: Colette Hawthorn Dress ★★★★

Spring Birthday Dress

So here’s my birthday dress for 2015.

The pattern is Dahlia by Colette Patterns. I used the sleeveless version and altered it a little bit to shorten the straps to raise the neckline, and I lengthened the hem in the back to create an asymmetrical hemline.

Its a great pattern, easy and fast to put together, with very little fitting involved considering the gathered bodice and six-panel skirt. I liked the use of self-made bias tape for the straps and sleeve binding, it was a nicely finished detail that didn’t require a lot of effort. I’ll probably try the sleeve version when it gets to be closer to fall again and I’m looking for warmer clothing.

I wrote a review of this pattern here: Colette Dahlia Dress ★★★★

The fabric was a spring green linen I found on sale at joann’s and simply had to have. But I wanted a bit of color to really give some detail, so I added the hand embroidery.