Linen Wrap Dress

Monday, October 16, 2017

My best friend is getting married in less than two weeks and I wanted to make the perfect dress to wear to her wedding. I've also been so excited for fall fashion and the colors that come along with that. I'm most excited about reds!

I found this pattern on sale (for $1!) and fell in love! I've been dreaming of wrap dresses lately for nursing convenience.
However, when I finally got the perfect orange-red linen/rayon fabric and had time to cut out the pattern, I noticed I got the larger sizes. Dang it! There was no way I would be able to grade the pattern to my size.
Since the pattern is normally $20, I figured I was better off just making my own similar pattern than buying a smaller size. I was looking forward to using a store-bought pattern (mostly just to see if I have the skills to follow a pattern, because I'm not so sure...), but self drafting is my jam and I am alway down to create a pattern!

A simple sketch I did a few months back of a wrap dress
I got started right away on making the perfect wrap dress pattern inspired by the one I bought. It took me ALL DAY to make it! My poor baby was crawling around trying to eat the tissue paper as I was drawing and tracing and calculating.
After cutting out the pattern, pinning it to the fabric, and cutting out the fabric, I spent a couple hours assembling the pieces. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the assembly was. I think this particular pattern might have been my most well made one to date!

This particular wrap dress has a full skirt, bodice princess seams, and a beautiful tie around the waist.

I made sure all of the darts matched up at the waist.

At the neckline, I used bias tape to finish off the edge. It gave it such a nice, smooth finish that I wouldn't have gotten if I simply turned under the linen fabric and sewed it down.

To finish off the raw edges, I used a zig zag stitch on my sewing machine. None of my serger thread colors came anywhere close to matching the color, so this was the best option.

After making the dress and finishing off all edges other than the hem, I attached the tie and created a hole under the left arm for the tie to pass through.

Once I tried the dress on for the first time, it felt a little casual for a wedding. The linen fabric is very soft and has a cozy vibe to it (plus, it wrinkles easily), but once I dressed it up with heels and jewelry, it looked perfect for the wedding! I tested it out and wore it to church this weekend and I love the way it turned out!

Birthday Tie for Jesse

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I made Jesse a tie a couple years ago and haven't made anything for him since (besides some minor suit alterations and patching a few holes). I've been planning on making him a tie for a long time. This new tie is long overdue.
He has been wanting some new ties recently, so I figured I would make him one or two for his upcoming birthday!

He has been noticing that bright floral ties are very popular lately. His tie he got from my brother is colorful and has some leaves and snails on it, but he has never had a floral tie.
I wanted to ease him into the floral trend with something fun, yet subtle.

When I said "subtle" I meant it! Hardly any flowers visible

My mom brought this fabric back from her recent trip to India. She got me a yard or two in a few different fabrics that are all so beautiful.
I've been waiting for the perfect project for this teal fabric.

The tan floral fabric I used for the lining was also from my mom's India trip
I used the same pattern that I have used for all of the ties I've made, including Jesse's first tie I made him. I think it is a great width for a tie.
I hand stitched the lining to the tie and also hand stitched the back closed. The reinforcement on the inside of the tie was from an old tie I got at a thrift store. I love to buy old, ugly ties and take them apart to reuse the interfacing.
I have grown to really like making ties. It only requires a little bit of hand stitching and some pressing and pinning. I will be making a trip to Goodwill soon to get some more old ties to reuse.

Patching Jeans

Monday, October 9, 2017

Throughout summer, I had one pair of go-to shorts. They are so comfortable, a length that I am comfortable in, and they are so cute!
The sad thing about them is that the holes are too big! Every time I put them on, unfortunately, my dang toes get caught in the hole and tear it a little bigger. They have gotten bigger and bigger and are now at the point where they need to be patched. Once they are patched, I will feel more comfortable in them and they will be more durable.

I love the distressed look and boyfriend fit of these shorts. However, the holes are a little too high up on my leg for my liking. Here is a before and after shot of the hole on the right leg.

I ironed on a large denim patch over the hole on the wrong side of the fabric. The large patch had a smaller patch ironed onto it in the exposed area of the hole. I stitched around the border of the large patch and then zig-zag stitched across the edge of the hole. Such a quick, easy fix!

Patching holes in jeans used to be the bulk of my project pile. In college, I would come home from classes some days to a pile of clothes that needed repairs sitting on my bed, most of them being jeans needing patches.
I lived in a house with eleven roommates and they kept me busy with projects!

Indigo Dying

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I have always wanted to try indigo shibori dying. So when my sister-in-law Rachel suggested we have a dying party, I was all for it!
We had it all planned for a weekend when the whole family would be in town. She and my mother-in-law brought white cotton to make quilts and some knit fabric. Some of the other siblings dyed various items, like shirts and socks. I brought some white dish towels and white burp rags.

We spent the morning scouring Pinterest to find inspiration and learn the different techniques. My technique of choice: dip dying! I recently attended a bridal shower where the table settings were topped with a beautiful indigo dip dyed linen napkin. I fell in love! The napkins were so simple, yet they made such a huge impact. I wanted to create that same look with my dish towels and burp rags.

I used flour sack kitchen towels. They are my favorite kind to use in my kitchen because they are super thin but still absorbent and have such a fresh, clean appearance. They are so simple and go with any style. 
The dip dye method turned out so cute! I used a few of my old, semi-stained towels (just to spruce them up) and a few brand new ones, too. 
I only dipped them two or three inches on both ends. The fabric only sat in the dye for a few seconds and the color still came out so vibrant and dark!  

This shibori dyed towel was one of my favorites. I folded the towel like an accordion. Once I had a square stack of folded fabric, I secured wooden blocks on the top and bottom with rubber bands. Then we used a c-clamp (for lack of a better option) to secure it real tight. Once it was dipped, untied and unfolded, the result showed a square pattern with the uncovered edges dyed blue. So pretty!
I'm all about white/mostly-white stuff around my house. Maybe not practical, but oh so pretty.

We have a burp rag laying across multiple pieces of furniture at our house. They might as well be cute!
The burp rags were so quick. I had a huge stack of thin, plain white burp rags that had hardly ever been used. Now that they are dip dyed, I use them all the time. 

You can see Rachel's post with more pictures and a cute video here to see the cute patterns and techniques that everyone else tried. 

Ruffle Sleeve Tee

Monday, August 28, 2017

All of the sleeve details this year have been so cool. I've seen bell, ruffled, trumpet, flutter, bishop, dropped bishop, and lantern sleeves. I have been wanting to make myself a top with bell sleeves since Spring!

Bodice front, bodice back, sleeve, and ruffle patterns
As I go through my fabric stash, it is getting harder and harder to find usable pieces. Most of my fabric is in smaller pieces, so sometimes I have to get creative with how I use a piece or pair multiple pieces together in one project.
In this case, I didn't have enough of the white fabric for the ruffle detail on the sleeve. Since that ruffle detail is the most important part of the design, I couldn't just remove that from the plans.
I used a white ribbing fabric for the ruffled sleeve.

Each pattern piece was cut on the fold. I measured the ruffle detail to be a 2:1 ratio to the sleeve. I always reference this ruffle ratio guide when sewing with ruffles. The ratio used can make a big difference in the overall look of the project.

Love the side slit look
Ruffle detail

I love the way the two different fabrics look together. I love the ruffle sleeve and the ribbing fabric adds even more interest to the sleeves. I also left the ruffle hem unfinished because the fabric was so thin, I didn't want a hem to affect the drape. I added a facing to the neckline rather than incorporating more ribbing fabric. It gives it a less casual look and has a very clean finish.

I can't wait to try another fun sleeve detail on my next project. I've got big plans for sleeves!

French Terry Shorts Remake

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

When Peter was super tiny, I bought him these shorts in a 3-6 month size, hoping they would fit him for the summer months. However, despite the fact that he is only five months old, Peter is already comfortably fitting into 12-18 month clothes. Needless to say, we are in need of some bigger shorts. (This project was on my to-do list on this post.)

I love these shorts I got at Cotton On Kids. They are so cute and comfortable and they are made of french terry fabric. Peter is so comfortable in them!

Peter's curious little hand exploring my pattern making station
I traced the small shorts, added about a half inch to each side, added more for seam allowance, and cut out my pattern. I know a half inch added on all sides is a lot to add, but I wanted these shorts to fit him for a long time, and the shorts I traced were a few sizes too small.

The shorts ended up fitting him great! The fabric I used is so soft and stretchy. I used the wrong side of the fabric for the waistband to match the cuffed hem on the legs.
I will definitely use this pattern again and possibly draft a larger size as well for when Peter outgrows this size. 

Reminiscing: High School T-Shirt Quilt

Monday, July 24, 2017

My first big project a few months after getting my first sewing machine for Christmas 2007 was a t-shirt quilt. I was beginning my senior year of high school and I had SO MANY T-SHIRTS that I would never wear again after high school. Throughout the course of middle school and high school I accumulated a lot of shirts in out school colors: green, white, and black.
I remember being pretty excited to graduate high school. Even though I had no use for these t-shirts anymore, we wanted to figure out a way to save them or repurpose them. A t-shirt quilt was perfect!

My friend Sadie and I got to work cutting all of our t-shirts into squares to make quilts. I didn't know much about sewing at that point and I forgot to take seam allowance into consideration, so I cut 12 inch squares which ended up being about 10 inch squares once sewn together.

I wanted my blanket to be oversized. I was sick of throw blankets that were only 5 ft. long. It turned out to be a little smaller than a twin blanket.

I love how comfortable this blanket is! The t-shirts were all soft and worn in, so the blanket is, too. For the backing I used a super dense fleece fabric that makes the blanket so heavy and warm. I was unable to find fleece fabric wide enough, so I had to do a little bit of piecing together, but it is hardly noticeable. I did not include batting because I figured it was already heavy and thick enough without it. Each corner is reinforced with a yarn knot.

Yarn knot at each corner
There are a few things I would have done differently. It would have looked better if each knit square was reinforced with interfacing. It would have taken away the stretch of the fabric and given it more structure.
I also would have made it the size of a standard twin quilt.

For years now this blanket has been my go-to for everything! It has spent most of its life in the trunk of my car and comes along on every beach trip.
Each time I use this blanket, so many memories come back to me about going to football games, serving on class council, the ongoing rivalry between Bonita and San Dimas, and the dreaded P.E. classes. I am so glad I chose to keep these shirts and repurpose them.

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