Ogden Cami

I love camisoles. I’m constantly on the hunt for the perfect thing, both in stores and with patterns. So far, I haven’t had much luck making camisoles, for various reasons. Usually there is something wrong with the neckline, or the finishing, or the shape. There was a camisole in a recent Burda issue that I meant to try, but then the Ogden Cami was released and everyone started making it and it looked great… I couldn’t resist.

I actually like it quite a bit! For this mock-up/test version, I used a loosely woven fabric that I think must be rayon. It was one of those online orders that doesn’t look very good in person, and I assumed this camisole would be pretty much unwearable. Turns out, it looks fine in the finished garment, maybe even a bit elegant! Since the fabric is a little sheer, I made a full lining rather than a facing. By the time I sewed the hems, though, I was running on autopilot and still didn’t believe this was a wearable garment, so I didn’t make any length adjustments. The lining peeks out a bit where the hems aren’t perfectly even, but I don’t really mind it when wearing.
I raised the neckline about an inch, based on photos of others’ projects. It’s the perfect depth now, and I absolutely love the soft v-neck shape. The rest of the camisole is rather swingy, which I like for the most part.
Excuse the rather lousy hemming job. I didn’t think the fabric would work out as well as it did! In a “real” version, I would hand roll the hems.
The project turned out well, however, if I’m being honest with myself I must do an FBA on the next one, as well as most other things I make. I don’t really understand what’s happened over the last couple years as my measurements haven’t really changed (slight bulking up from yoga pushed it over the edge? is that even a thing?), and I’m dismayed, but the truth is that my clothes don’t fit right anymore. I don’t really make resolutions, but a 2017 goal for sewing is to face facts and learn how to do an FBA.
Overall, this is by far the most successful camisole I’ve made, and I’m super excited to make a few in silk!

Linden and Coco, black ponte duo

Hi there! It’s been over two months! For some reason I’ve dropped off the internet for a while, both with posting my own makes and commenting on others. Part of me is bothered – I love reading and commenting on blogs! – but I’m also trying to accept it. I’m just not into the internet world right now. I’m sure it will pass.

I am amassing a backlog of projects, though, and I spent some time this morning taking and editing photos. Of course, lighting is bad in the morning and the fabric and fit of the clothes emphasize my dress form’s body irregularities. Oh well, this spring is just not a high point in the life of my blog.

Coco

First up is the semi-fail of the post: the Coco dress from the Little Black Dress book. I actually loved this dress at first, it was fun and easy to put together, I love the pockets, and it looked great on, but it’s not long for this world. The super soft ponte started pilling before I was even finished with the dress, and to make matters worse cat hair sticks to it like crazy. Even my heavy-duty pet lint roller doesn’t do much. The death knoll, though, is that it shrunk a bit more in the second wash, so now the waist and hem are a little high and I feel like a kid in it. I think I’m going to turn it into a skirt.

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Next up is a huge win out of the same fabric, plus a remnant of my beloved blue print sweater knit from JoAnn. It’s still piling and I don’t even try to get rid of the cat hair, but it’s just a casual sweatshirt so it doesn’t much matter.

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The pattern is the Grainline Linden sweatshirt, and I just love it. It’s simple, casual, and a little shapeless, but I wear it every single weekend without fail. I see more of these for the upcoming chilly San Francisco summer. If I color block with this pattern again I’m going to raise the seam a little, the seam goes right over the bustline and doesn’t lie perfectly flat, but I don’t even care with this one!

Linden

Finally, I leave you with a douglas iris that has somehow survived in this sea of ice plant. I love most plants and flowers, but the awful, invasive ice plant is not one of them…

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Flowery vogue top

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I’m just going to go ahead and start by talking about the fabric. Fabric Mart had a bunch of this large scale floral chiffon by J Crew for $2-4 per yard a while back, and despite the fact that no one needs that much poly chiffon I got it all. As in four yards of each of the four fabrics (two different prints, two colorways each). This fabric is the stuff of my dreams. Despite my shy nature I love large scale florals, especially when they are broken up by pleats and seaming, and the colors are fantastic. This colorway may be my very favorite – gray background with peach roses, dark purple irises, olive leaves, and flashes of yellow in the irises.

Vogue 1247, from Pattern Review

The design is pretty good too. This is Vogue 1247, the Rachel Comey pattern with that great skirt that everyone has made. I bought the pattern for the skirt, and actually planned on making both pieces at the same time. That would have worked except apparently I forgot how to sew by the time I got to the skirt. Despite having just made a fiddly chiffon top the cotton skirt bested me. Of course it’s totally fixable but I threw it in my scrap/UFO bin last weekend and figured I’d better just get the top up by itself. It could be a while before that skirt gets finished…

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My favorite feature of this design is the way the pleats form a bit of a sleeve cap in an otherwise boxy style. I tend to live on the edge and not look at Pattern Review before diving into a project, so that was a happy surprise. Otherwise the top went together as expected. I used quite a bit of hand stitching on this garment – the pleats and the neckline are secured by a running stitch and the hem is hand rolled. It may an Alabama Chanin influence, but I’m finding myself using hand stitching in visible, intentional ways lately. I’ve never had a problem with stitches showing, it’s sewing after all, and in this case it would have been hard to make machine stitching look good. Maybe I should strive for perfection on the machine, but eh, I don’t really care.

vouge back and side

I didn’t even think about pattern matching or not matching, but I should have because, ugh, that back. It’s not even the same flower, but it’s too close. Oh well, what’s done is done. The back view isn’t terribly flattering, especially on my stationary dress form, but the chiffon is sheer enough to show there is a shape underneath. I’ll probably wear this with a tan or gray camisole.

All in all I’m very happy with this top. Lightweight and loose floral tops are part of my work uniform, and this one is a favorite already!

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This was the first rainless January in San Francisco in recorded history. Dandelion has been enjoying the sunshine, but we’re all a little worried…

 

 

Coppelia pullover

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Papercut Patterns is a brand new company for me, but here’s two in a row! I’ve enjoyed both patterns quite a bit, and this one was one of those magical knit projects that goes together beautifully. The fabric, a cotton sweater knit from Fabric Mart, certainly deserves some of the credit for this sweater’s success, but I want to make up the pattern again too!

I made the long version straight version. A dreaming cat is on my lap at the moment so I can’t get up to see what sizes were used, but as always I graded from a smaller size to a bigger size that happened to match my measurement perfectly at the hip. While I think it fits as intended, next time I will add a little more room at the hip and lengthen the top a bit more. I think this top will work great with dresses and skirts that sit closer to the natural waist, but it’s a little too tight and/or a little too short to be totally comfortable with pants.

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My very favorite thing about this pattern, which would make it worth it to me even if the rest of the pattern didn’t work at all, is the sleeves. They are absolutely perfect. I have an ancient tee from Target that also has the perfect sleeves, and while I should have been able to figure them out myself there’s always been something not quite right with my own attempts. Coppelia’s long, narrow cuffs are my dream come true and the lower sleeve and cuff shapes will be added to every other knit pattern I own from now on!

The one thing I’m not totally happy about is the bulk of the seams and the resulting ridge that you can see in these photos at every seam. I graded and used the clapper, but there’s still a bit too much bulk. The fabric is somewhat thick and dense, though, so I guess I understand…

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Finally my little cat. I think he’s been cuter lately, somehow.

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Cat and moon sweater

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I am absolutely terrible at social sewing challenges and sew alongs, but when Erin announced the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge I knew I had to participate. I looked for cat fabric all over the internet, and settled on a Japanese print with little cats peeking through fields of flowers for a flowercat western Archer. But then I saw this double knit and decided to go ahead and get it too, just in case October flew by and I didn’t have time for a more involved project… and it’s a good thing I did because October is flying by. I may still get that Archer done, but it feels good to not have a looming deadline on something that’s supposed to be fun.

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These photos were taken in a southwest-facing room on a foggy morning. Even dress form photos are difficult in this house!

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I had visions of a cozy Cation Dolman Top, and ordered two meters of this 60″ wide cotton fabric to be absolutely sure that my sleeves would be long enough. Clearly that’s not what ended up happening – when I pulled it out of the dryer it had shrunk to half its original size! I ended up making a Renfrew instead, and made the sleeves as long as I could. I like the finished sweater, but I’m still a bit disappointed. The fabric is thick enough that I can’t wear anything over it, and with sleeves this short I’m worried about being too chilly…

For a knit tee this was also a difficult sew. The fabric has that double layer, and is so thick that the bindings are bulky and look homemade. The fabric also has a huge amount of stretch and near-zero recovery, which resulted in a seriously stretched out neckline. I added a hefty pleat center front, and I think it looks okay in the end, but ugh, this was not the breezy project I expected!

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I do love the print, though, and it’s very soft and cozy. I’m sure it will get wear, either like this or as a sleeveless tank under cardigans if this sleeve length proves to be too awkward. Hooray for cats!

Floral scouts forever

Photo May 21, 8 19 09 AM

I’ve been sewing a lot of silks, synthetics, and soft knits lately, and despite the common assumption that these fabrics are tricky to sew I really wasn’t having much trouble. But then I made up this Scout tee in a cotton voile… oh goodness. I forgot what it was like to sew cotton! The insides of this top display perfection I forgot I am capable of!

This is my third (floral) Scout and I actually remembered to size down, which resulted in much better fit everywhere but the arms. They are comfortable as is, but I prefer just a bit more ease. I really love this pattern – it’s just right for my life!

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The fabric is from Gather Here, a sweet little store in Cambridge, MA, acquired a couple years ago when my mom and sister visited from California. I wanted to make something special with this fabric, but ended up with the simplest pattern that I already know and love. That’s probably for the best!

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I’m writing this with a warm catball on my lap. Now that he’s a grown cat he only barely fits under the table and doesn’t often join me for breakfast. I am ready to go sew, but it’s just too special!

Finished: Scout in silk chiffon

2014 4 silk scout

This top was inspired by my work friend, Martha. She invited us over for brunch a couple weeks ago, and as we explored some of the shops in her neighborhood she started describing a lightweight chiffon top that would be ideal to wear to her son’s wedding in Chicago this summer, which inspired me to cut into this Anna Sui silk chiffon that afternoon!

2014 4 silk scout front
Yes, it’s still a size too big. What’s the point of taking notes if you never look at them??

I chose the Scout tee and just got started, despite being pretty intimidated by the fabric. Really, it went just fine, aside from a bit of trouble with the hems. In general, silk just isn’t as hard to sew as I thought it would be, even of the chiffon variety!

2014 4 silk scout side

I used french seams throughout, even on the sleeves, which was terribly exciting until I tried it on and found that I had definitely stitched the underarm seam too tight and couldn’t get the top off. Seriously, I’ve been in tight situations before, but this was by far the tightest. I came very close to cutting myself out before managing to wriggle out and survey the damage. I ended up just cutting off the sleeve and finishing the edges with bias. It’s sloppy, but without sleeves I don’t intend to wear it without a cardigan anyway, as if I even had a choice in this chilly climate.

2014 4 silk scout cardigan