My True Bias Emerson Shorts

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Last year I made the Emerson crop pants.  I didn’t blog about them or photograph them because it was just as the pregnancy symptoms hit me like a ton of bricks and all creative projects came to a screeching halt.  The pants were the last garment that I made before my bump really started to show.  It was really the perfect time to start a sewing blog.  …

Anyway, I was super happy with the way they turned out.  The pants fit well but I wasn’t really all that sure of the fabric.   Linen wrinkles.  I don’t want to make time to iron…or use starch?  And my only experience with linen had been with RTW clothes that were pricey and did not wash well.  (Thank you, J. Crew.)  But I live in a very warm climate and I hear that linen is perfect for hot weather.  It’s both breathable and lightweight.  And, if you catch a good sale, as I did, it’s not too expensive.  Fast forward to now, almost a year later, and I am pleased to find that the crop pants still fit me postpartum and I’m 99.999% sure it’s because of my fabric choice.

So I decided to use the same pattern in the same size to make shorts in the same fabric even though I’m about 15lbs heavier.  Hmm?  Given my current measurements and the garment finished measurements,  my Emersons have negative ease! …so technically they should be super tight but they’re not.  Last year, I cut a size 8 pattern and adjusted the back per my usual flat seat alteration.  (I say “usual” but I’ve only done it twice and I’m not even sure it’s the right adjustment for me…especially now.)   I went ahead and made the shorts version the exact same way.

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It’s amazing what a good camera angle can do for your booty. I didn’t even arch my back.

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Admittedly, the shorts are pretty darn snug when I first put them on (as shown above) but after a few minutes of wear, the linen relaxes (stretches?) quite a bit and they become the perfect lounge-y, summer shorts.

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The linen that I used is from fabrics-store.com.  It is the IL-019 multi-purpose linen in the color MONUMENT.  It is pretty much as described and you can see that the color is on the cooler side.  I also purchased a lighter grey linen, the IL042 900 FS Premier Finish and if these shorts continue to work for me, I will probably make another with this linen as well.  I guess I’m into grey shorts…  I’m also curious to see how the different fabrics affect the final product even though they are of similar weight.

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Both the Odgen cami and Emerson shorts have become summer basics for me.  It’s not hard to understand why the patterns were released at the same time.  I will have multiple versions of each whipped up soon enough.  I’m also going to put some effort into really understanding what I need in my closet right now.  I hastily decided to get rid of all of my maternity clothes and for that reason, my everyday, stay-at-home mom gear is pretty drab.  I don’t need fancy but I do need them to fit well and meet the needs of my current lifestyle.  I think the Summer of Basics make-a-long will be the right motivation for me right now.  Those who participate have to “spend the next 3 months making 3 basic items for your wardrobe”.  One down, two to go!

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A simple summer nightie.

The idea of sewing clothes for my kid did not interest me at all.  But like many makers, I imagine, I find myself making things I never thought I would.  Children grow out of clothes so quickly and I’m a bit picky about the projects that I take on because I have so little time to invest…especially with a newborn. (Yes, he’s here.  Finally!)

My son is darling but he’s also another reason to sew children’s clothes.  My postpartum body is not the ideal starting point.  It’s tricky to make a piece of clothing that I will fit into now and later when I’ve lost the baby weight (fingers crossed!)  Am I thinking too far ahead?  This is my current struggle with making my own clothes but that’s a whole ‘nother discussion…and one that I’m sure others have dealt with.  I digress.

So, back to this project…

My daughter has been described as “strong-willed”.

She refuses to wear anything other than a dress.  T-shirts? Nope.  Shorts? No way.  Skirt???!  No.  Her indignation has carried over into nightwear.  Forget about the traditional two-piece pajamas.  I’ve nearly lost an eye to a flung onesie.

Her resistance to normal sleepwear began with a Christmas nightie that I purchased from Target, made of fleece with that annoying Elf on the Shelf guy printed on it.  A dress she can wear to bed?  Yes, yes, yes.  She wanted to wear it every night, far into the new year and even as temperatures here started rising.  I didn’t get it and like many other toddler battles, I lost and let her wear it over and over again.

Eventually, I got tired of waking up to a red-faced, sweaty little girl so I set out to find a lighter version.  With no desire to shop around after a look around Target, I convinced myself that it might be fun to make one for her.  I found this free pattern for a Summer Nightie on the Sew Much Ado website.

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The pattern calls for knit fabric with 30-40% stretch.  This being nightwear and with consideration for my daughter’s predisposition to sweat like a pig, I chose to search for a cotton knit.  I found a few options on fabric.com and settled on these three.  The first and third are 100% cotton while the unicorn print was a 95%/5% cotton/lycra blend.  I used another cotton/lycra blend, a dark grey heather jersey knit, for the neckband and armholes.  I would definitely recommend the princess unicorn print as well as the floral print.  They were super soft and a good weight.

The pattern is one size which could have been a bummer because I did not want to grade it to a different size.  I used it as is and got lucky.  It fit her perfectly.  The instructions were very clear and I was able to whip them up fairly quickly with my serger.  I sewed one in the funky, colorful fabric to check the fit and then I sewed the remaining two exactly like the first.

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I expect that they will be in rotation all summer and I hope they make it through.  My daughter loves them and I got some much-needed practice using my serger.  The best part was watching her, the excitement on her face as she twirled around in her new nightie.

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As for me, I’m on the search for patterns that will help me get through the summer as well as this body morphing miracle.  Fortunately, I see a lot of silhouettes in recent pattern releases that will work well and I’m excited to take on the challenge and get back to sewing my own clothes.

My Seamwork Akita, a post pregnancy blouse?

It’s been some time since my last post, so let’s catch up!

I am having a tough pregnancy.  Fortunately, we are in good health.  So far, so good.  But.  Thirty weeks in and I still feel pretty terrible.  There are good days and bad days but for the most part, I feel “pukey” most of the day and especially at night.  I have acid reflux and no appetite.  My belly is all baby, which is nothing to complain about if you fancy your skin being stretched over a basketball filled with varisized rocks that rotate around themselves and sometimes graze your bladder and impact your ribs.

It’s said that misery loves company.  And while I’m not so sure about that, the company I keep is a beautiful, sweet but equally messy and sassy, almost 3-year old girl.  She exhausts me.  The boy inside my belly exhausts me.  When I do get a moment to do what I want, my preference is to just lie down.  I am so done with pregnancy and I can’t wait for the evacuation of this baby boy from my uterus.  (And by evacuation, I mean, a safe and speedy, epidural-friendly childbirth.)

So, while I wait for the second sour patch kid to arrive, I dream of a new normal and the new handmade wardrobe that might make life just a bit sweeter.  And really, that’s all there really is to catch you up on.

Before I write about this latest project, I should mention that I have no interest in making or even buying maternity clothes.  However, making clothes that are comfortable and flattering post pregnancy, yes, for sure, I’m in.  I chose the Seamwork Akita blouse because I signed up for a subscription to Seamwork magazine (You get to download two free patterns per month with the subscription.) and the blouse intrigued me as a quick sew, one that I might be able to get away with wearing both during pregnancy and thereafter.

The first time that I made this blouse was not right.  I used store bought bias tape that was too bulky for the fabric.  I also skipped the stay stitching along the neckline resulting in a frumpy, neck-gaping top.  There is no mention of stay stitching in the instructions but frankly, I know better.  I chalk it up to having taken too long of a break from sewing and pregnancy brain.

This pattern instructions include the use of bias tape to finish the side seams, arm holes, and neckline.  I wanted to make the finished garment in a striped bubble crepe and the bias tape that I purchased was way too bulky (not to mention, unnecessarily labor intensive for me at this time).  I found the fabric at Joann’s and really liked the drape and feel despite it being a polyester blend.  It was also less than $5 a yard!

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Instead of using the bias tape, I opted to experiment with my new (second-hand) serger to finish the seams.  I used a rolled hem to finish the entire side seam and then stitched the sides closed on the sewing machine.  To finish the armholes, I simply folded the fabric over and stitched the hem in place.

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I made my own bias tape out of the same fabric for the neckline.  I would do this differently next time.  Instead of the same fabric, I would likely use a solid fabric of similar weight because you can clearly see through the neckline.  It looks messy, almost as if the colors are running together.

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There is enough ease in the pattern that it “fits” over my baby bump but it doesn’t hang in a very flattering way.  I am eager to try this on once the bump is gone.  And by “gone”, I mean, before the year or so it will take for my body to return to a new normal.

 

New Look 6881

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It has been over a month since my last post.  I’m bummed about this but I’m also a realist and there is just no way I can possibly have my shit together right now.

I was on vacation for a couple of weeks visiting family.  This is a picture of my daughter on the front stoop of my parent’s house.  She’s wearing a dress I made for her! (More on that a few paragraphs down.)

While I had high hopes of working on a quilting project and doing some sewing related reading during out trip, it did not happen.  Frankly, hanging out with my family and being lazy was just more fun.   Towards the end of my trip, I started feeling kind of crappy and my illness followed me home to Houston.

Three weeks ago all hell broke loose.  I had hoped that I would not get sick again but I did and while I am truly thankful for this time right now, it’s hard to keep it together when my health is compromised. I have the sickness.  The sickness that’s supposed to plague women in the early hours of the day, leaving them nauseated and retching.  Except that I’m truly special and it’s an all day, every day, extremely dehydrating enterprise.  With my first kid, it started at 6 weeks and ended around the 22nd week.  But at least it ended.  This is what I have to look forward to, the 22nd week when the smell of my own closet will no longer make me heave.

In the meantime, the posts will be light, my sewing will be less, and my husband and I will be in survival mode.   There will be really good moments and I’m looking forward to those.  And how can I not be over the moon to think I will have another as perfect as my first?

So back to the dress…

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The dress is made from New Look kids pattern 6881.  It seems that it is no longer available for sale.  This is kind of a bummer because it is adorable and a really good beginner project.  I did the view shown in white, View C, with quilting cotton, white ribbon and eyelet lace trim.

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I made this for her second birthday and I was super disappointed to find that it was way too big for her to wear to her party.  Since March, I have pulled it out of her closet to check the fit a few times.  When I started packing for NJ, I was excited to find that it would probably fit her.  The thought of taking pictures of her and having my parents see her in the dress was thrilling.  I must manage my expectations a little better.

Have you ever tried to take a picture of a two-year-old?  She knows me.  She knew that I desperately wanted to get some good shots.  She was not compliant.  This was the best I could do!

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Another perfect little one is on the way, ha!…I am in so much trouble.

Sewing withdrawal?

I’m heading to the East coast to visit my family for 2 weeks.  I won’t be able to sew and I’m kind of moody about it.  Technically, I can sew while I’m there.  While my mom doesn’t sew very much anymore, she still has her machine.   The last time I used her machine I had to use a miniature flat head screwdriver to push down the backstitch lever because the knob had broken off.  She told me it works but I’m skeptical.  (No offense, mom.  I love you.)

While I may pull out her machine even just for nostalgia’s sake, I have a few other things planned to keep me from getting cranky.

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1. Drop off my machine for service.  I’ve had it over a year and it’s never been serviced. I feel hella’ better knowing that I’m getting my machine serviced when I physically can’t use it. I should probably find out how much it will cost…meh.

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2. Read a sewing book…or at least page through it.  I bought Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear recently, on a whim, when I was frustrated with understanding how to tell if a pattern is actually going to result in a garment that fits.  My thought was that if I learned more about pattern cutting I might be more successful making my own clothes.  This idea really excites me!  The technical aspect of drafting a pattern is something I’m looking forward to geeking out about.

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3.  Cut itty bitty squares for this quilt that I have had in process since I realized my baby girl would soon be big enough to sleep in a big girl bed.  I’ve never made a quilt and the process seems long and humdrum but I like the idea of making it for her.  Besides, it’s easy to pack a few fat quarters and my rotary cutter.

I’m more likely to just veg and (hopefully!) enjoy the cooler weather but at least I have a plan!  A short respite from sewing will probably do me some good anyway.

Peace out H-town!

 

 

Some things are just worth​ the fuss.

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This is the Odgen Cami by True Bias.

You may be looking at this picture and thinking, well, what was all the fuss?  Let me ‘splain.

I have a tendency to make things more complicated than they really need to be.  It happens when I make mistakes and overanalyze.  In this case, I did both.

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My first mistake was choosing the wrong size.  (Sewing 101:  measure yourself, write it down and then do it again, and then again.)  I cut a size 8 when I should have cut a size 10.  The pattern instructions are very clear, listing both size and finished measurements.  I just messed up and made my muslin too small.

When I tried on the size 8, I noticed that the side seams were skewed, pulling to the front at the top. I tried the muslin on, looked in the mirror, took it off, and then tried it on again, looking several times before realizing my error.  The cami was riding up in the front causing the back to drape at an angle toward my waist.  Basically, I didn’t have enough room in the front.

And that’s when the analytic took over… The pattern has one piece for the front and another for the back. Simple enough!  But my concern was that even though the front was small, I felt like I had enough fabric at the back. I thought that if I cut a size 10, I’d still have a skewed side seam because the front and back pieces are very similar in width.  I thought that maybe I needed a bust adjustment to allow for more room in the front while keeping the same size in the back.  In the end, this was the correct solution for me but it took some trial and error to implement.

I was also curious about how to do a bust adjustment with and without a dart.  So I tried both.

Full Bust Adjustment, adding Darts

I did the adjustment with darts first.  Why add darts to a pattern that doesn’t have them?Well, again…”a tendency to make things more complicated than they really need to be”…but I saw this as an opportunity to learn a technique on a simple pattern.  This would have worked well, if I had done the adjustment to the right size.  But instead, I did the adjustment to a size 6.  What?!

Lesson learned:  if you’re going to do a full bust adjustment, understand how the rest of the pattern will fit first.

The instructions for a full adjustment with darts were very clear starting with how to select your size based upon your HIGH bust measurement.  When I made the size 6 (with the dart adjustment), the cami was tight across my upper back and high bust.  So again, I picked the wrong size.  If I had chosen the size correctly, confirming that it would fit across my high bust, I would have ended up with a cami that fit.

Full Bust Adjustment without Darts

The adjustment with no darts worked out well in the end but only because I learned a bit from the first.   I also did this adjustment to a size 6.  But unlike the version with the darts, this adjustment allowed for a better fit across the high bust by adding 1.5″.  My high bust measures 35″.  If I assume that the finished measurement of the high bust of size 6 is 33″  (36″ (chest) – 3″ (c cup) = 33″), then the added 1.5″ would still only equal 34.5″, short of the full 36″ (35″ + 1″ ease) that I really needed. So, instead of using a size 6 back piece, I used a size 8.  This gave me a high bust finished measurement of 35″ (33″+1.5″ + 0.5″ (from size 8 back).  Even though this indicated no ease whatsoever, I went for it.

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So what you see in the photos is a finished garment using a size 8 back piece and an adjusted size 6 front, no darts.  From what I gather, strictly from the tables in the pattern instructions and what I added, my finished garment has a 35″ high bust and 38″ bust. This allowed for zero ease in both places.  On paper this doesn’t seem like it would fit me but it does.

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There are a couple of other things to consider.  First, the fabric I used is thin and slinky.  Also, the adjustment allows for more room for my bust adding more fabric horizontally, “allowing” the shirt to ride up, as needed.  And then there are the straps.  I shortened my size 8 strap by 1-1/8″ to lift the back up so that it hung from the widest part of my back.  So, in the end, I don’t really know exactly where the true high bust and bust are falling BUT who cares! It worked!

I am still curious to see how the size 10 fits.  I will probably make one just to learn a bit more about the fit.  I fear that I made up a problem, i.e. that the side seams might skew forward at the top even with a bigger size.  Nonetheless, this is a great pattern to experiment with because it’s quick to sew up.

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The finished look is really lovely.  The facing adds such a clean finish.  I can’t tell without looking carefully (and once I have it on) which side is the front but that’s nothing a tag can’t fix.  I should also mention that I asked Kelli from True Bias to help with fit and she was kind enough to offer to take a look at pictures.  I was already deep into my shenanigans to really makes sense of what I was doing, so I didn’t follow through.  As a beginner, it’s nice to find this type of support!

I’m already planning my next Odgen Cami!

 

 

 

Yoga pants, yoga pants!

I did yoga today for the first time in months.  30 minutes of a Beginner Strength class from the Yoga Studio app on my iPhone.  My body resisted for the first 25 minutes and the last 5 were pure bliss.  It felt great to breathe, stretch and activate muscles that have been otherwise neglected.  After I was done, I asked myself, “Why don’t I do this every day?”

I could bore you with my excuses but I’d rather muse over what yoga outfits I might make.  Before my breath became full and my mind slowed, I thought about what I could sew that would allow me to, on any given day, get in a short yoga session, stay comfortable, and save my “real” workout clothes for when I really want to sweat.   Because there’s one thing I dislike more than strenuous exercise, laundry.

So I took a look at what was out there.  I think these may work.

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Grainline Studio Penny Raglan with True Bias Hudson Pants made by Sallieoh.

womens-racer-back-singlet-variationsRacer Back Singlet by Measure Twice Cut Once

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Named Alexandria Peg Trousers

And then there’s the real deal yoga pants…  Something to consider.

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Aries by Collette Patterns   I did this pose today.  And coincidentally, some of my favorite people are Aries!  And one of them loves cats!!!  It is meant to be.

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The lined petal cuff is a nice detail for these otherwise simple leggings.

There are lots of choices from the indie pattern makers!  Let me know if you have any recommendations.

Happy Monday!