Spring Trend: Sleepwear as Daywear

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I can’t tell you how much I can get behind this trend of wearing pajamas during the day and calling them day wear. Gucci, Alexander Wang, Roberto Cavalli- you have my attention! Check out this article written by sleepwear designer, Francesca Ruffini for Vogue Paris!

 

Mostly, I’ve seen daywear pajamas made in silk and the prints are as bold as they come! I just bought the Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas pdf pattern and I can’t wait to make them up to wear out DURING THE DAY and nod my head in that rock ‘n roll kinda way, all the while thinking, hell yeah, this is daywear.

I’m considering making them in this kelly green and midnight blue mod looking silk twill we just got at work. I’d add a self tie and a blue piping. Oh yeah. (It’s the one in the middle.) Oh, but an animal print pair would be amazing, too!

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I feel the same way I felt when I had shirt dress fever a couple of years back. This is all I can think about!!

Also, I am so in love with MILLY in general and Roberto Cavalli. I honestly didn’t know I had designer favorites. This realization does make me acknowledge how much thoughtful cutting makes a design a design, rather than my homemade dress or what-have-you. I may be slow noticing this but the more I make garments for other people, the more I see very basic patterns being the desire done up in gorgeous silks and laces.

Anyone else noticing this? Are you ready to wear pajamas as daywear? Come on! You know you wanna! Ok, back to sewing. So much to stitch up and so little time. Enjoy your sewing time!

The boy gets a jacket: Part Deux

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Here’s the Blank Slate jacket after the first fitting. I took in the sleeves to a six for width but left the length at the size 8, shortened the back and narrowed the neck to a size 6, and raised the armholes 2 inches which I’ll have to lower by about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch.

I had the boy try on the jacket with a sweater underneath. I’m liking the fit this way better. I’m going to add patch pockets instead of the welts.

Other than that, we’re good to go forward. We stopped in the dress shop and picked out a couple of linings.

The teal is a stretch charmeuse:

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And then this striped poly lining

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I think he wants the teal for his jacket so maybe I’ll use the stripe for the girl’s jacket when her number comes up.

Also got one button for the front closure. Yeah, I’m changing things up a tiny bit because the button the boy liked was so big. Here it is on the grid for size and next to the fabric we’re using for his jacket. It’s something I bought from Fabric Mart last year or the year before. Don’t ask what it is. All I can say is that it’s soft.

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What do you think of the fit? Anything I’m not noticing? He wasn’t feeling great when I took these pictures and felt warm inside with the jacket so I didn’t get a chance to close the fronts. Should I worry?

The boy gets a jacket

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A couple of years ago, I made my little guy the Oliver + S Secret Agent Trench. That was 3 years ago, and he still wears it!

Secret Agent Trench

This photo was from the summer. You can see that the sleeves are too short- an easy alteration if I wanted to add knit cuffs or something! Anyway, he loves his trench and wears the things I make him a lot, so of course, I am always excited to make him clothes.

I started on a new blazer for him- the Blank Slate patterns Basic Blazer. I did a muslin because I want to focus on fit and the blazers I’ve seen with this pattern all seem to be baggy.

Alterations:

I took up the back hem by pinching out the back length.

I need to raise the underarm seam by 2 inches. I’m not going for lab coat.

I’m bringing in the shoulder where I tucked and later pinned it as the shoulders were too wide. (I’m starting to think I should’ve gone down a size.)

I’m also moving the pockets up- I marked the new placement with chalk during the fitting.

I need to fix the sleeve width- he’s swimming in it- but I have to have him try it on with a long sleeved top first.

I’ll probably be shortening the length at the hem but for now we’re leaving it as is. I do want for the blazer to last him a bit- seeing that the trench was such a hit!

 

The boy would not be still for the fitting so there’s a bit of just-go-for-itness that I’ll be employing. Good thing he’s cute and blood related.

Next I’ll be cutting a jacket for the girl and then one for myself. We’re all getting tailored jackets this Spring!

Anyone else crazy enough to muslin clothes for kids? Please tell me I’m not alone!

Jungle January Bolero… with the help of Iconic Patterns

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First of all, how in the world is it already the end of Jungle January!?! I had so many plans, like every year I’ve participated. Last year I made up on a bunch of jungley clothes and barely posted them to IG! I was hoping to make more this year but c’est la vie!

Let’s get to the real meat of this post. Did you guys see Lena, of Iconic Patterns, post her gorgeous bolero on IG? Here’s hers:

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Absolutely gorgeous! Totally the kind of thing I’d make for a client at work, for sure!

The other day when we were on twitter for a #fabricchat revival (we’re trying- next chat is on Feb. 4th at 7pm EST), we were talking about jackets and Lena mentioned she liked drafting but didn’t enjoy writing instructions. That’s when I chimed in that I’d love to work with her to get more of her awesome patterns out into the sewing world! We’ve spoken since and while we’re not ready to make any promises, we do want to at least put out this bolero pattern!! Yes! #collaborationftw

I wanted to make up the bolero in a different fabric to see how it took. I chose this animal print twill I have in my stash. Everything is better in animal print! It looks different than Lena’s gorgeous, lux silk organza and beaded lace version, but I had to! I tells ya. I had to!

I made no alterations to the size 10 but for the next one, I’ll probably do some hollow chest/narrow shoulder adjustments in the front for bewbs sake. I do like the fit and I think it’ll be really fun to wear once things warm up in these parts. I used a wide horsehair braid as an experiment to interface the collar. Lena calls it my Dracula collar. I accept!

Next is my non-apology for asking my kids what they thought of the bolero. My son said it looked like I was a cowgirl and I needed a hat and a horse to ride. He also made me a toy gun for fighting off people as I cross the land. Basically, we had fun. (Photos by Juli)

More to come on getting your hands on this bolero pattern from Iconic Patterns!

Frustrated…and thoughts on being self-taught

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Working in bridal is a mixed bag for me. Most days I have clients coming in telling me and my boss how happy they are with the alterations and custom garments we make for them. What sadly sticks out are the people who come in demanding the moon. On one hand, I wish I could remind them that stressing your seamstress out is not going to produce great results. On the other, I get really frustrated and my confidence gets shot and I tend to blame the fact that I’m a self-taught stitcher.

As some of you know, my degree is in theater and post-modern dance. I took one costuming class and to be honest, the lighting class was more interesting to me at the time. I put my time in the costume shop but the scene shop with all the power tools made my heart sing.

Clients tend to want to know of my credentials. No. I don’t have a degree in fashion design. No. I didn’t start sewing for Barbie when I was a little girl. No. I haven’t always wanted to do what I’m doing right now. I started fitting and sewing garments 9 years ago, if that. After a lot of frustration, I got hooked. I liked the challenge and buying store bought for the postpartum body I had at the time was downright depressing.

I kept doing it.

I kept learning.

It got more and more interesting.

I liked the math.

I liked helping others get a clean fit.

Fast forward and all of a sudden, I found myself interviewing at the dress shop I work at now, clutching my handmade garments. The best of my work for my soon-to-be-boss to carefully inspect as I sweat the things I wish I had done different. I had a corset, a Victorian jacket, a lined dress. She knew I didn’t have formal training but she was impressed. Finally some validation! Validation from someone who had a fancy degree from FIT in New York. Someone who had worked with big names I even knew about.

So, when clients come in and don’t know how to sew and criticize my sewing, I shouldn’t let it bother me. But it bothers me. I should be better. Their garments should be perfect. The fit should be perfect. That’s my thing! Fit is my thing!

But sometimes it’s not perfect. And they zero in on the imperfections. The imperfections my hands have created. My self-taught hands. My measly, single mom-ish hands. The doubt sets in.

I don’t think these clients know how deeply I’m hurt when they belittle my work. Constructive criticism I can handle! Please! It’s not easy to swallow all the time but I want to keep learning and perfecting my craft. Fine tune me! It’s the rougher clients, the harsh clients, who don’t hear the way their own voices sound that burn.

Being self-taught, this means I have no day off. I don’t take a break. If I’m not called in to work, I still put in an 8-12 hour day. I fine tune myself.

For the rest of the year, I’m fine tuning my jackets. I’ll be making the Blank Slate Patterns Basic Blazer for my 7 year old son, the Blaverry Decklyn Jacket for my 9 year old daughter, and several fitted jackets for myself, with muslins for all three of us! Yes, even my kids.

I checked out a couple of Kenneth D. King videos from the library on fitting the upper torso and fitting jackets and I’m going to be studying those while I do my fittings.

I will not let the set backs of mean clients keep me from learning, sewing for myself or for others. I want to learn how to deal with people like this better but for now I’m an employee hiding out in the back.

Jungle January silk trousers, or How I Wore Hammer Pants and Liked it

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Hello! Meet McCalls 6514. I’ve had this pattern in my stash for at least a year. Maybe more. I always thought I’d make the wide legged trousers but then one day I changed my mind, bought this silk jacquard from work and after a couple of days, I have animal print silk hammer pants! Oh yes. Hammer pants. It was fugly.

That’s how they felt on at first. Waaaay to wide in the hip for my body so I took them in what seemed like an acre on each side! Probably a bit less and I wanted to keep the baggy design so I had to temper myself in the fitting room. Overfitting is a illness I used to suffer from and have to be vigilant of.

The back has a bit of elastic that gets stitched into the side seams and the front is flat which is very comfortable, tho I worry about looking like I’m wearing mom jeans!

Besides chopping off the length by about 3″ that’s all I did as far as alterations.

As I sat at the airport, on my way to two fabric markets in New York this week, I was loving my silk trousers! So super soft and comfy and I might add, styleeesh, but with a slight pajama feel to them. Win, I say. Win!

Huge shout out to my photographer Julieta Petrusa who did an amazing job capturing my new make! (She’s 9 and I call her mine.) The last photo was entirely stylized by Juli.

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His Girl Friday Jumpsuit

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If you haven’t seen the film, His Girl Friday, put it in the queue. It’s such a fun one! I bought this stretch pinstripe suiting from work, knowing I wanted to make Ralph Pink’s Luxe Jumpsuit. I’m loving everything pinstriped right now! I hit a snag when I got the fabric home and realized the stripes run from selvage to selvage! I was wooed by the stripes and can’t believe I didn’t realize this when I was cutting my yardage! Gah! If it were just trousers, I would’ve had enough but for the length of the pantsuit, I didn’t have enough! That’s when I turned to my buddy Christopher Laverty of Clothes on Film. In a panic, I asked him if he could send me in the direction of a cool pinstriped suit to inspire me! That’s when he suggested His Girl Friday and it was perfect! So I started cutting on the bias!

Back to Ralph Pink Patterns…Ralph recently did a massive overhaul on his site and is revamping his patterns. The new site is gorgeous and he’s making samples of all his old patterns and re-releasing them. You might remember my obsession with his skater dress, re-named the Prilla Dress as well as my Florence Play suit and my unblogged Cocoon Coat you can see in my post about the Gatsby Party I went to, which he hasn’t re-released yet.

Ralph Pink’s patterns print on A4 or full engineering prints, which may be more expensive but it beats having to tape the whole thing together. I did tape this one together and it matched up just fine! His patterns don’t come as nested patterns so you have to choose the size closest to your measurements and make alterations to one size. The thing I like with RPP is that the size is very close to my own with the exception of the bust. It’s nice to not have to shave off the hip! Small thing to be cheerful about but it’s the little things, amirite?

Alterations to the jumpsuit:

Since I cut the whole thing on the bias, I took out, at Ralph’s suggestion, some of the length. I did that at the shoulder. Other than that, I only cut the length of the leg and later added the horizontal striped band to tie the striped concept together. I couldn’t be happier with this make!

If you try one of the Ralph Pink Patterns, let me know. I’d love to see what you make! I highly recommend all the patterns I’ve worked up and I’m totally going to be making up more of his stuff. I love his eye for fashion and detail. Instructions are clear and Ralph is on Twitter and is very helpful!

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Vogue 8825: A Jungly faux wrap dress

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I absolutely LOVE this dress. I cut and stitched it up in about 5 hours. The next day, I did a slight adjustment to the bodice (more on that below), and hemmed the sleeves and skirt. If I had been a good sewcialist, I would’ve googled the pattern, Vogue 8825, to find out that the majority of people who have made it have found the bodice to be baggy- something that will work in your favor if you have a larger chest.

Pattern alterations:

Not having done my google fu duties, I went ahead and added 2″ to the length of the bodice. In two ways this was unnecessary. For one, like I mentioned above, this pattern has a lot of ease in the bodice. Not just in width but in length. I went down a size because I know that the Big 4 patternmakers are high when they go to draft knitwear. What is wrong with them, really? So much ease!  But once you know, you just go down a size or two and get a good fit. This dress does seem to be full of ease.

The second reason it was unnecessary was because I wasn’t paying attention and measured from the back of my neck- which is where the top of the front pattern piece reaches toward- down to my waist. The bodice is meant to end at the underbust and the skirt is high waisted. But, like I said on IG, better safe than sorry.

If you’re making this dress, add all you want to the length, baste the bodice to the skirt for a fit test and then just adjust accordingly. It’s an easy to fit dress on account of the cut on sleeves and the knit fabric.

Gripes:

The fashion illustration shows the ties to be a lot longer and wider than they are. Anyone who’s made this dress shows that the ties are shorter and they aren’t as wide. That said, never go off the fashion illustrations alone. The technical drawing always clarifies things and it did in this case as well.

I’m careful when I cut and mark fabric and the back bodice darts didn’t match up to the skirt darts. Totally could’ve been my fault- I was sewing around midnight- but just watch for that. I don’t mind that they don’t line up because of the very busy animal print.

The neckline couldn’t been shortened. I have a bit of a gap but it’s also not bothering me too much. If I made this again, I’d mess with it a bit more. I might also add a little stretch organza to the neckline before folding over the attached collar.

I was going to complain about the skirt back having a seam- cos, hello knits!- but it does have some shaping that’s making me look like I have an arse, so I’ll retract my criticism. But…darts in a knit? I dunno. Am I just being annoyed for no reason? #itsaknit

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This is a very quick make! I love the ties and the width of the sleeves! Loving the kimono-esque nod, obi belt and all. You probably noticed I didn’t go for the Bishop sleeves. Yeah, not for me. That also confused the design in my mind but that’s a matter of personal preference.

I would recommend a contrasting belt. I think the design pops better this way.

Fabric 

ITY from Fabric Mart Fabrics. It felt a little chilly outside wearing this and it’s about 40 degrees F. I did feel like this pattern was a bit of a fabric hog but since the envelop suggests you use at least a two way stretch, you can cheat. Just make sure you let the dress hang overnight so that the hem can drop. Try it on after that and measure for your hem.

The belt is made out of a silk jersey I bought from Preview, through work. So incredibly yummy!

Off you go now! Plan, shop, cut, stitch, press, blog! And make it a Jungle January!! Cheers!

Jungle January 2015: Shoes

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Disclaimer: I’m not selling shoes (ha!) so I’m only showing images I’ve pulled from my Google search. My apologies but none of these will click to a vendor.

My older sister posted an image of some cheetah print boots she’s looking forward to wearing after her baby is born-yes! My older sis is having a baby! Couldn’t be happier for her and her family. The added bonus is that I get to snuggle a yummy smelling baby soon!

Those boots of hers got me thinking about the lack of animal print shoes I have in my shoe collection. I do love shoes. I have a bunch of shoes that I’ve bought only for photoshoots. I’m one of those people. I love platforms and heels and all of that but on a day to day basis, I wear 2″ heels at the most! My hems reflect that reality.

Here are some ideas to get your Jungle January fully amped up so you can go big or go home sort of thing!

I am a huge fan of the bootie!

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What about these mid-calf sneakers! These, I’d wear to death. Maybe with a mini skirt and tights?

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This next pair is definitely an eye catcher!

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Can’t you see me wearing all the zebra prints together??

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Or maybe just add your jungle fever in shoe land with black? Very chic!

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Need something a little tamer? Safe in front, party in the back!

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I love the detail on this toe!

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Want something for those comfy, cozy days?

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What about a little cowboy boot action?

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I remember having some platform sneakers from Hot Topic in college that I just loved! They were hot pink and I wore them into the ground. Of course, these would hit the spot.

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What’s the verdict? Would you pump up your animal print jam with jungley shoes? Any of these calling your name? Or is this just too much animal print for you?

Alrighty, Jungly pals, off to make some clothes!

Images: from Google

Jungle January 2016: It begins.

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The first year I participated in Jungle January I was really hesitant. I didn’t wear animal prints ever and the thought made me shudder. Little by little, I found myself wearing animal prints more and more and now nearly every day. I had lots of encouragement from my fellow sewcialists and now I agree with them:

ANIMAL PRINTS ARE A SOLID.

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Oh, yeah they are! That was my Lolita Gunmetal if you want to reminisce with me. A lot of my animal print makes haven’t actually been made during Jungle January, but that’s part of letting a print take over your life. This year, I’m using this month to motivate me to blog. I’ve got a couple of jungley things half way cut and I just need to make the time.

What is Jungle January?

Anne started Jungle January to build camaraderie around making and wearing jungly prints. If you don’t already follow her blog, you really should. She’s hilarious and witty and is incredibly talented. She’s also really fearless, in my opinion. She’ll make anything!

It’s easy to join Jungle January!

Just tag your makes, work in progress, and fabric with #junglejanuary and go all out with your social media! That’s what a good sewcialist does, you know. Blast it! Everyone is welcome. You’ll probably make some new friends so get ready to have some fun.

Speaking of which…there’s a Jungle January swap going on, too. If you’d like to join, contact Anne and let her know you’re interested. I got partnered up with an Indiana sewcialist who I’ve met before! Sarah lives about an hour from where I live and works even closer at Rivars, where she designs show choir costumes. Fun fact: I interviewed at Rivars but didn’t get the job. Still, we got super close to working together.

Here comes the inspiration!

I’m curious about branching out and hitting some of the lesser known animal prints. Interestingly, 2014’s runway had a lot of animal print and 2015 had more out of the ordinary animal prints. It’ll be fun to play on that.

I’m finding that working with animal prints is largely about careful print placement…or, just throwing caution to the wind and put a Tiger head right where you shouldn’t! Ha!

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I do love the drama that animal prints can bring to a wardrobe. I know I just said they’re a solid…but they’re better than a solid! One of the things I’ve wanted to try more of is print mixing. The image below is very safe. I’m talking multiple animal prints. We’ll see what I can come up with.

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This just might be the year I put myself in an animal print body suit because Debbie Harry told me to! I’m pulling out my personal “stops” and going bolder than last year.

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I’ll also be putting together a Jungle January soundtrack this year. I’ll share it around in case you want to listen to what I pump in my ears. What is appropriate for Jungle January? I don’t quite know, yet. Feel free to link me a song in the comments. Youtube links work and I also use Spotify regularly.

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I hope some of you join up this year if you haven’t in the past. Regardless, happy sewing!

May you seam ripper be nice and sharp!

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