M6993 – gray 30s skirt

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photo by my wonderful cousin & artwork by Jessica Wachter (LOVE this painting!!)

I went into my blog drafts and found these photos waiting for me to finally share. I made this skirt quite awhile ago and it was one of those “I don’t know how this will turn out” experiments that actually turned out well. It’s M6993 skirt pattern from the 1930s which makes my American-Girl-doll-loving-11 year old-self very happy.

The pattern had some really fun details. It’s hard to see but View A has asymmetrical yoke (?) pieces on the front with the pleats that maybe aren’t called pleats because there are triangular fabric panels to give them shape. Basically, I’m an authority on sewing and fashion terminology.

I think the design of the skirt really shines in motion. The movement of the “pleats that aren’t pleats” are really fun and I always feel extra ladylike when I wear it.
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I didn’t lengthen the skirt at all and I think it hits me a little higher than the sample photo. You would need to be careful if you’re on the shorter side, though, since this isn’t exactly a chop the bottom off later kind of a pattern. The “pleats” would be really out of proportion if you had to shorten it once almost finished. I used some mystery (probably polyester) suiting fabric my mom picked up for me. I really love this neutral color. It goes with pretty much whatever color or pattern top you would want to pair with it. I’m not sure if I will make it again since it’s such a specific style, but it was a fun sew and I would recommend the pattern.img_1611

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S1693 – window pane top

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Hi from Alabama! Yes, that’s right. This North Dakota girl has relocated to a place very different from her home! My husband’s job being the reason. I never quite made it back on the blog after moving but I have been sewing a lot. Turns out there’s not a ton to do when you’ve left your 8-4 job and relocate far away to a somewhat isolated place! Fine by me. It’s an adventure and I have more time and energy for my little family and sewing 🙂

I made this top right before I packed up my sewing room. It was supposed to be simple. I made some modifications and that resulted in a gaping neckline. A few pinches of fabric sewn up afterwards resulted in this top. I think I’m still a little mad that this didn’t turn out to be simple that I haven’t worn it much since these pictures were taken back in October.

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I love this fabric though. I got it from LAfinchfabrics.com. I have some great tan stretch faux suede kind of fabric from them too. I ended up making a skirt out of it that is great with other pieces but looks really nice with this top, so once I find my ancient camera I will share. Or maybe just phone photos because this most certainly is all just for fun and looking for lost stuff most certainly is not.

So this project didn’t knock it out of the park, but I did go back the original pattern and made 2 tanks from it (I told you I’ve been busy). One of which I am wearing today because it was mid 70s for a high today. I’m guessing my ND friends are a little envious 😉

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M6465 – linen shift dress

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Photo by cousin Katie & artwork by Jessica Wachter

I made this shift dress this past spring as an experiment. I usually prefer more form fitting dresses…not fitted everywhere but dresses with some balance. Fit and flare probably being my ideal, I guess. A “shapeless” dress? Would it look ok on me? Would I like it? I wasn’t too sure, but I was inspired by this Inari dress from Closet Case Files and gave it a try. I actually bought the same fabric she used. I don’t typically buy indie patterns as I can buy a lot of similar patterns for a lot less. With indie patterns, you definitely get a lot more for the money (better instructions, sewalongs, often better styling so it’s easier to see the end product, etc.) but since I’ve gotten more experience with sewing, I can rely on myself (and the Internet!) to figure some things out myself. Sewing already a pretty expensive hobby, so I try to cut a few dollars out here and there.

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With that said, this particular pattern turned out so well (McCalls 6465)! It’s one of the easiest garments I’ve ever made and probably my most complimented. Of course I had to tweak it to practice my fitting skills. I think I had recently learned about the tissue fitting method from Palmer/Pletsch and wanted to try a couple things out on a simple dress shape.

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It’s more tent-like than I’m used to, but I think it works since it’s fitted in the top portion. It’s a pretty comfortable shape to wear. I wore this to work in the spring quite a bit, but with leggings & tall boots. Spring in North Dakota does not translate to this much skin exposure.

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As for changes, I lengthened the sleeves, created a center back seam to do a swayback adjustment and try to make it slightly more shaped. I did a forward shoulder adjustment and created 2 small darts at the back neckline because of my prominent shoulder blades/high round back. I’m wondering if something is off or I shouldn’t do a forward shoulder adjustment since I’ve had some gaping at the center of necklines. I will give this some more thought and experimenting. For this dress, I did french seams and bias bound the arm holes. I didn’t end up lenthening the skirt because I was concerned it would all come out looking like I was wearing a long bag. I think it works best with leggings and boots but would probably like a longer dress for everyday life when I’m not wearing tights or leggings.

On a personal note, I am moving soooo far away from my home state of North Dakota in a few days. We are excited for our adventure but busy. My sewing room is all packed up and won’t be set up again for awhile 😦 All of that said, I’m not sure when I will post again. I’ll see you when I see you, I guess!

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M6952 – another navy dress

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Photo credit to my cousin Katie & artwork by Jessica Wachter

Why do I have so many navy dresses? I didn’t intentionally set out to do this, but I guess I think navy is a neutral and goes with everything. Maybe I also think it’s not a “loud” color so it makes me blend in more? Maybe I just think it looks classic? I’m not sure, but I do have a navy dress posted here here with at least 2 more blue dresses in my closet.

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This particular navy dress is McCall’s 6952, a pullover, elastic waist dress with princess seams. I cut a size 10 in view B (minus the ruffle) for a more fitted look. I like the look but pulling it over my head is not my favorite. I should have lowered the arm hole as they are a bit tight on me, but I find that this often happens since I’m a little more broad than perhaps the typical size 10. Also, the facings tend to flip out so I could probably tack them down and/or top stitch them to make it better. I did create a center back seam and make a swayback adjustment so it wouldn’t blouse so much in the back. I also lengthened the skirt by 3″ I think. I also did French seams on everything.

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I used a mystery border print from my fabric I bought in France earlier this summer. It’s really soft and light so I’m guessing it’s rayon. Even though this is a summer dress, with leggings, this actually transitions to fall pretty well.

I do like this pattern and would recommend it. Marking where the elastic is supposed to go is a good idea, though. I did not and the back was WAY off so I redid it. The front is still a little uneven but I really didn’t want to redo the whole thing so I just left it. It’s a simple dress but has a lot of potential for customization and it’s pretty comfortable too.

Sigh. I miss warmer weather 😦 …

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M7433 navy 1940s dress

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Hey! I made up a retro pattern for fun. It’s McCalls 7433 in a navy and white polka dot mystery fabric I bought when I was in France while traveling with students this past summer. I didn’t have time to go fabric shopping when I was in Paris and I was able to go when the students were doing a homestay in another smaller city. Decision fatigue is a real thing, and helping lead a group of high schoolers around 2 major European cities involves a lot of responsibility and decisions. Thus, by the time I made it to fabric shopping, I hardly looked at the bolts of fabric…I went right for the tables of precut fabric.

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This was one of the 4 kinds of fabric I got. I had no particular plan for them, I just liked them and they were pretty sizable at about 2-3 meters apiece. The others are probably rayon since they’re so soft but this one probably has polyester in it since it’s not as soft, doesn’t really wrinkle, & has a slight texture. The contrasting collar and sleeves are scraps from another dress I made up from this same fabric trip. I couldn’t find anything in my stash that I liked until my mother in law (amazing sewer in her own right!) suggested I try the wrong side of a fabric and what do you know…that was perfect.

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I had to look up the yard to meter equivalent since buying fabric in metric units is forgeign to me. I thought they were about the same, but I had to check! I had a nice conversation with the salesman about where I was from and a few other things I don’t remember. It was one of those times where I thought “I’m not sucking at French right now!” so it was all around pleasant experience 😉

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One of the first times I wore this dress was to a family wedding. It was a gorgeous day, but pretty windy. I got out of my mom-mobile and went to get my daughter out of her car seat when ‘whoooosh’… a big gust of wind came and blew my skirt up I-don’t-even-want-to-know-how-high. Since the material is slightly transparent, I wore a full slip underneath – and thank God for that! With the design and the fact that it’s such a light fabric, it’s a little more prone to wind related wardrobe malfunctions. These photos were not taken at the wedding because I was too busy chasing after my cutie pie. The day I took these photos it was WAY too windy to do them anywhere less protected than the front porch. Why do I make impractical things? I live on the prairie. It’s always windy.

I cut size 10 in the bust and graded to a 12 everywhere else. I did a sloppy job on the side seams so I think it’s a little more snug than it should be, which makes the bottom button area gape a bit. The hem is pretty bad but after redoing in once, I’m just going to call it good enough. I’m still lacking some of those key finishing skills (patience being, perhaps, the most wanting), but I’m getting better.

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I can’t stand having yucky seams on the inside of the garments. I don’t own a serger and don’t really want one, so I make due in other ways. I used French seams wherever possible and bias binding most everywhere else.

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Can I just say that I like that this retro pattern didn’t end up looking straight out of 1940-something? The dresses on the envelope are cool but it’s a bit hard to look past the styling to see if it could look modern. With a less traditional fabric, it could look even more different, I think.

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Molly top – Aztec print

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No, really. This pattern is called the Molly top. I didn’t just name this shirt after myself. Independent pattern companies will give their patterns people names instead of numbers. It makes them more memorable and since they don’t produce as many as the big pattern companies, the numbers don’t really  make sense for them.

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In the evenings, to wind down, I’ve been watching sewing vlogs on Youtube and discovered the Sew Over It channel, a London based fabric shop that also releases patterns and has sewing classes. Part of why I love this channel as well as almost all sewing vlogs, is because of the lovely accents. It’s just so pleasant!

When I saw that they had just released an ebook with 5 patterns, I was so inspired and couldn’t stop thinking about the lovely photos and this particular shirt pattern. They shot photos in Paris and themed this ebook as “City Break” which in British terms, I think, means going on a short trip to some fabulous European city near them. Jealous! Well, that’s not exactly my life right now, but casual seperates are! With this new phase of life, I’ve realized I have no need of professional or fancy clothing and could use more casual, practical clothes.

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I had just ordered this rayon jersey fabric from lafinchfabrics.com & was super pleased with what I ordered and the generous extras they threw in. I only ordered a yard for for another project I had in mind, but absolutely “needed” to make this top ASAP. I had to settle for short sleeves since I didn’t have enough fabric, but I still really love it. I made a size 8 in the bust and 10 in waist/hips. I made a couple of tweaks in the sleeve for length, which don’t totally matter for this version. I will definitely have to lengthen the sleeves when I make the long sleeve version. I cut the neckband on the crossgrain and for the hems, I used knit interfacing cut on the bias and a twin needle.

In the meantime, I’m trying to find the same kind of fabric as their sample because they are gorgeous (but without international shipping prices!). I want to make at least a couple more of these comfortable tees. And this Molly should have a few more Molly tops, right?

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M7121 feather print dress

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Even though summer is gone where I live 😦 I’ve still got a few summer outifits to share. I wore this dress a lot! It’s incredible comfortable and an easy decision in the morning. It’s as comfy as pajamas but doesn’t look it (I don’t think…). It’s McCalls 7121 view C size 10 bodice & 12 skirt. I changed the back and I may have shortened the skirt. This Art Gallery fabric was another I had my eye on for awhile until I bought it this spring. I’m a little disappointed how the blue faded a bit…but maybe it got dried too hot?

Anyway, I will make more of these next summer, I think. I’ve not sewn a lot with knits and I don’t have a serger (which is why there are no pictures of the inside! It’s not too pretty.). I really like wearing knits so I suppose I will have to learn some more work arounds for not having that 2nd machine. Maybe I will get an overlocker foot for my sewing machine? (If you’re unfamiliar: There are 2 main types of fabric. Knits are stretchy fabric, used in things like leggings & cardigans. Wovens are not stretchy, like uh…anything…jeans, trousers, button up shirts)

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I did use a twin needle for the 2nd time. I used it on the neckline, armhole, & skirt hem, as well as stabilizing using strips of knit interfacing cut on the bias 3/8″ wide, I think. It was such a nice finish on the inside and out, in addition to making the seam sturdier. I got a bit of tunneling so I guess I will need to play with my machine’s tension a little more (?). Other modifications include raising the neckline a bit, forward shoulder adjustment, stabilized the shoulder, and maybe lengthened the bodice. I don’t remember.

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Nothing fancy about this one…just a useful & comfortable garment!

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S2215 bright green skirt

 

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Oh, hi Bison. Photos taken by my cousin Katie in her beautiful home 🙂

I survived 1.5 days traveling alone with my toddler! And I’m soooo exhausted. It was wonderful visiting friends, but I must admit I didn’t realize what it would be like taking care of my daughter as a continuation of a weekend away. She did great & I did pretty well too, but I was quite naïve about what we would get accomplished. I’ve had a lot of help taking care of her recently and didn’t realize that. I’m humbled (in a good way). These last 3 days I kept thinking “props to single moms! props to all moms of little kids!”. So much respect.

With that said, in the midst of chasing after my poufy princess at a wedding reception this weekend, I totally spaced on taking a few pictures of me in my dress. We even had a lovely outdoor location. Oh well! I’ll have to take some soon since it’s one of the newer McCall’s patterns. And I am nothing but timely, trendy, and of-the-moment! Ha.

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I did, however, wear this skirt the following day to church. I saw this fabric on a blog last year and kept it in the back of my mind until this past spring when I decided to buy some for a skirt. I was thinking about making a dress but decided against it. It would be fabulous, but I don’t know if I would get as much wear out of it being such a bright color. The downside to it being a skirt is that I have no clue how to style it. Black tank and another black shirt have been my only solutions. I don’t think a white shirt would make it through the day still being white. Chambray button up? I don’t know! Well, I guess I have until next spring to figure it out!

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The pattern I used is Simplicity 2215 by Cynthia Rowley which appears to be out of print. I did view C in a size 12 in a quilting cotton from Art Gallery Fabrics (Succulence collection). It’s got asymmetrical pleats which my symmetry loving self was unsure about at first but love now. I didn’t do too many modifications since it’s just a skirt. I added 3.75″ to the length since I’m 5’10″…length is a pretty standard modification for me. I did line it in a white rayon which feels so soft on the skin.

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I really love how this one turned out. The fabric is so striking and unique but still wearable. It took me a couple of tries to get the hook & eye in the right spot. It wasn’t sitting right where I wanted at my waist, so I just repositioned one part and the fit is perfect.

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Since it’s fall, this and many other things I’ve sewn won’t get worn for awhile. It makes me a little sad since this skirt got made so late in the summer, but fall sewing is fun too and I just got some new fabric in the mail. The best kind of mail!

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S1887 knit pants

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photo credit to my wonderful cousin Katie & artwork credit to Jessica Wachter

Since this is my first post in awhile, I thought I’d give a quick note about what kind of posts I will mostly be writing. For those that are unfamiliar with sewing blogs, it’s common to show off what you’ve made and to review the sewing pattern. Usually you post about what you liked or didn’t like, if you recommend the pattern and what adjustments to make. Also, posting specific details about fabric and size have been really helpful to my learning what works and what doesn’t, as well as my preferences. It’s helped me find new patterns and pick out fabric. With that said, that is exactly what I will do here! Also, I really was anticipating these photos would be so awkward, but they turned out surprisingly better than I thought.


I think these are the first pants I’ve ever made and I like them a lot! I intended them for slightly cooler summer temps and they’ve been perfect. They’re roomy and the fabric choice makes them feel cool on the skin and breathable. They also kinda feel like pajamas! I used Simplicity 1887 for my pattern, View A in a rayon knit from Nicole Miller at Joann Fabric. I cut a size 10 instead of my usual 12 because there is a lot of ease built in and I knew I was using a stretchy knit, so I sized down and I also lengthened the pant leg since I’m 5’10”. And then started the modifications.

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Somewhere in the middle of tissue & pin fitting, I decided I wanted a slimmer pant so I just tapered the leg until I liked the look. I then proceeded to tighten the waistband, because duh! it was so loose. Well, once I had done that and I tried it on as an afterthought…snap! snap! Threads popping. I fitted it to myself and didn’t account for the fact that it’s an elastic waistband. Yup. I felt so clever :/

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The damage was done. I had already clipped the seam allowances so I had to make it work. I decided on an invisible side zipper. I interfaced the area and installed it. The first day I went to wear it, my pants kept sliding down! They weren’t going to fall off (the waistband was too tight for that!), but I didn’t like where they sat and I didn’t feel comfortable in them. To fix that, I opened a side seam in the waistband and put some elastic along the back and it did the trick.

I’m really happy with them and they have been a summer staple in my wardrobe. I’ve worn this exact outfit (plus diaper bag!) many days these past few weeks. I’d like to make the pattern again but I just might keep the waistband the same next time 😉

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Everything else I’m wearing is old but I do love my newish bag from Duluth Pack, if you’re curious.

Hi, I want to make sewing friends.

You so want to be my friend now, right? 😛

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I’ve been away from my blog for awhile but have finally decided to come back because I want to share what I’m sewing and I want to make sewing friends. You see, I don’t have sewing friends in real life. I have a couple of relatives that sew mostly quilts, which is great! but I’ve really gotten into garment sewing and I’m not really sure why, but I do know how: the Internet. Turns out there’s quite an online sewing community that I’ve been following creepily and now want to actually be an active participant and share my makes. And having a record of my stuff would be fun too. I also think some of my real life non-sewing friends might enjoy seeing what I’m up to.

After looking through some of my old blog posts from 3-4 years ago, I thought I would just sit and cringe. I imagined it would be like hearing a recording of yourself and thinking your voice sounds awkward and not like you thought it did. It actually was kind of nostalgic…like reading old diary entries (if I had such a thing!). As I was preparing to start up the blog again, I was wondering, “How relevant is the name of my blog anymore? Have I strayed too much that I should just scrap the whole thing? Do I even want anyone looking back at old entries?” I’m not sure if it’s still a good fit, but I like my old content. I started this blog while reading through a book called The Artist’s Way. I saw this as a place where I could challenge myself and hold myself accountable to actively being creative. I had kind of forgotten that until I went back and read some early posts. I think this will mostly be a sewing blog since I’ve zeroed in on that, but who knows? I’m an enthusiastic amateur (or so I claimed & pronounced my newfound love of sewing 4 years ago!) so I could pick a totally new interest down the road.

 

Since I mentioned there is a great online sewing community, here is a very small sampling of who I follow (other than Instagram):

Closet Case Files – awesome patterns & blog

Inside the Hem & Sew Over It – vlogs about sewing!

McCall Pattern Company Facebook Group

 

Stay tuned for more. I just took some pictures of some of my sewing projects and the photos turned out way less awkward than I thought they would!