I Still Sew: Cappuccino Dress

I’ve been meaning to sew for a while now, really. I haven’t forgot. Lately my spinning mojo has been in control. There was this one pattern though that was able to snap me out of my spinning trance for a brief moment, the cappuccino dress by Oliver & Co.

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I caught on to the Portfolio Dress bandwagon late and Simplicity left us all hanging after the initial pattern run was sold out. When Oliver & Co finally released a follow-up pattern, the Cappaccino Dress, I wanted it although I liked the original better. At $14.99 it is on the pricey end for me but after stalking for a year I figured I wanted it bad enough for the splurge.

The dress sewed up pretty easily and is very comfy. I definitely want to do more. I am surprised at how well the kimono sleeves fit even without a gusset. Cheers to the Cappaccino dress!…now back to my spinning.

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I also want to throw in this picture of me feeling saucy for my cousin’s wedding wearing my MCCalls 6770skirt. I made it last year to wear to a murder mystery dinner. It was I think, the last garment I had sewn before this dress. Still loving it.

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McCall’s 6770 skirt

 

Meanwhile a whole basket of sewing projects I cut out years ago await their turns on the needle. 101_2301

 

 

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I Could Use Another Bag, Maybe Two

I Could Use Another Bag, Maybe Two

I’m not much of a fancy, shmancy purse kind of girl. Usually when I carry a  bag it’s on one of two occasions. For everyday, I wear a small pouch on a long cord, just large enough to carry  my cell phone, keys, and cards. When I am traveling whether for a long walk or on my bike I use a drawstring backpack  for anything I bring along. This summer I realized mines were looking tired. This was the perfect excuse to get crafty.

Back in my college days I attempted to learn embroidery. What I actually learned was that I am not guru material. I haphazardly use a running and chain stitches in order to add doodles of color. It works for me.

For both the pouch and drawstring backpack I used this technique with 3 strands of cotton floss to embellish some denim scraps I had. The cord for the pouch  is cotton knitted eye-cord I made.20161127_112019

Things took an unexpected turn when I was deciding on straps for the backpack. Long ago, like literally 12 years ago, I became obsessed with learning to weave as a college student majoring in Apparel, Textiles, and Merchandising. At school we were learning to weave on a big, elaborately engineered dobby loom. In a search at the local library I stumbled across weaving that was a little more my speed. Apparently I could weave with just cardboard cards, tablets. The cards would act as harnesses to raise the threads for weaving. I was able to weave narrow strips, the first using 10 cards with 40 threads. I never did anything with that sample (or any of the other narrow bands I wove). All these years later it would be the perfect addition to my bag project.

Great! Well sort of great. I only had enough for one strap. I needed to make another narrow band to match my original. This proved trickier than I thought. I remembered the pattern was from the book Creating With Card Weaving by Sally Specht. I found the draft and threaded up my cards with the same #10 crochet cotton used in the first weaving.

In the end I realized that somehow I had managed to mix up the color sequence (not even realizing it). The two straps are different plus my old sample is more irregular with obvious mistakes. Oh well, I still think the bag turned out nice.

As a bonus, I am obsessed with weaving again. Time to dig out my old weaving hoard.

Sew Almost Victorian

gatzpI went to another murder mystery dinner a few weeks ago. As with the first one , I saw it as another excuse to sew.Fumbling through my first year of teaching has got me pretty strapped for playtime these days but I was determined to make my outfit. The theme this year was Victorian. I knew I wouldn’t worry myself with making something absolutely historically correct. I figured a lot of people would go with the steampunk style that is so popular right now so I aimed for something in between.

The Vogue 1132 vest I made a few years ago with the ruffle in the back immediately came to mind. It sort of reminds me of a bustle. The plan was to add a long skirt and badabing! I’d be victorianesk.

Peplum vest back

Vogue 1132 Peplum vest back

 

 

 

I found some shimmery, embossed velvety, polyester fabric from JoAnne fabrics for $3 and decided to make the Vogue vest with the flounced skirt from McCall’s 6770.Mccalls steampunk

Embossed polyester fabric. Not bad for $3 per yard.  My sister had these victorianesk shoes in her closet for some reason.

Embossed polyester fabric. Not bad for $3 per yard.
My sister had these victorianesk shoes in her closet for some reason.

I cutout both vest and skirt but ran out of steam after sewing the skirt. It went together nicely, but took me a while.

The skirt was easy to sew with only 3 pattern pieces. Hemming the flounce took forever.

The skirt was easy to sew with only 3 pattern pieces. Hemming the flounce took forever.

The lazy bones in me just thought well I don’t have to have the matching skirt and vest do I? I tried the skirt on with the houndstooth vest I made a couple years ago (it needed alterations on the side seams because whatdoya know, I lost weight!) and thought hey, this looks almost Victorian.20160312_185117

For accessories I pulled out a little ascot I knitted from a yarn of  blended angora and ramboullet fiber I handspun. The pattern is from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2007.

handspun ramboullet /angora blend ascot from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts

handspun ramboullet /angora blend ascot from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2007

It is still cold here in Indiana (like seriously today it snowed) so I decided to wear my favorite shawl. It is the most complicated and time consuming one I have made to date. I finished it back in 2008-2009. The yarn is a commercial millspun tencel that has a really nice, silky drape to it. The pattern is Pretty As a Peacock by Some Knitting Required.

Showing off my Pretty as A Peacock shawl made from Some Knitting Required pattern

Showing off my Pretty as A Peacock shawl made from the Some Knitting Required pattern

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Until next time..Cherrio!

Wardrobe Essentials: Japanese Styles for Everyday

It’s pretty safe to say that I am on a roll with sewing everyday casual clothes for my wardrobe. I found a blouse on Pintrest from a Japanese sewing book one day and ended up falling in love with the simplicity of the styles. I have found 3 books that I really like so far.

Stylish Dress Book: Wear With Freedom by Yoshiko Tsukiori Tuttle Publishing

Happy Homemade: Sew Chic by Yoshiko Tsukiori Tuttle Publishing

Simple Modern Sewing by Shufu To Seikatsu Sha

The books are translated into English  with easy to follow instructions (for advanced beginner) and have western sizing. Styles are fast to sew and comfortable to wear. Most can be made from start to finish in a couple of hours.  Here are some of the styles I’ve made to date. I have been wearing the heck out of them.

tylish Dress Book Wear With Freedom Book

Stylish Dress Book: Wear With Freedom Book

 

Stylish Dress Book View E instructions. I like the pleat but think I will use different sleeves next time.

Stylish Dress Book View E instructions. I like the pleated design but think I will use different sleeves next time.

Stylish dress book View E with pants.

Stylish dress book View E with pants.

Stylish dress book style E back

Stylish dress book style E back

Simple Modern Sewing drawstring casing

Simple Modern Sewing

Simple Modern Sewing 3c model from Book

Simple Modern Sewing 3c model from Book

Simple Modern Sewing 3C instructions

Simple Modern Sewing 3C instructions

Simple Modern Sewing 3C has a cool crossover sleeve detail (like a baby tee) I ended up tacking the flaps together though.  The neckline is wide enough without the flaps.

Simple Modern Sewing 3C has a cool crossover sleeve detail (like a baby tee) I ended up tacking the flaps together though. The neckline is wide enough without the flaps.

Simple Modern Sewing 3C

Simple Modern Sewing 3C with drawstring waist

Simple Wardrobe: Simplicty 1620 and Sew Chic

Simple Wardrobe: Simplicty 1620 and Sew Chic

Sew Chic View E, Simple Tunic with Ruffle Sleeve

Sew Chic View E, Simple Tunic with Ruffle Sleeve

Sew Chic view E

Sew Chic view E

This is style J modeled in the book Sew Chic

This is style J modeled in the book Sew Chic

Easy instructions with diagrams for Sew Chic Style J

Easy instructions with diagrams for Sew Chic Style J

Sew Chic Style J tied in the back

Sew Chic Style J tied in the back

Sew Chic style J Jacket tied

Sew Chic style A worn with pants

Sew Chic style A worn with pants

Sew Chic Style C

Sew Chic Style C

Sew Chic Dress C book

Sew Chic Dress C book

Sew Chic style C worn as a dress.

Sew Chic style C worn as a dress.

Sew Chic Style C with style A sleeves. The patterns are interchangeable so you can make lots of variations of the styles.  Sometimes I wear pant with the dresses

Sew Chic Style C with style A sleeves. The patterns are interchangeable so you can make lots of variations of the styles. Sometimes I wear pant with the dresses

Wardrobe Essentials: Make it Easy Simplicity 1620 and Sew Chic

Not too long ago re-making my wardrobe seemed pretty far-fetched. At my rate it would take forever. I got to thinking about what I wear on a daily basis. I realized that most of the patterns in my stash were more tailored than what I would typically choose for an easy, fuss free day.

Now this might be a Midwest thing but truth be told, when I’m not working, on an outing, or going to church you will most likely find me in some knit pants with t-shirt or jeans with t-shirt. I know, I know, I need to mix it up right?

I started looking for easy chill clothes and found Simplicity 1620. It is a simple wardrobe that has pull-on pants, a dress, tunic, short 2 piece jacket, long 2 piece jacket and a sash. No zippers, no buttons, no fuss. Fast and Easy sewing.

Simple Wardrobe: Simplicty 1620 and Sew Chic

Simple Wardrobe: Simplicty 1620 and Sew Chic

I bought linen blend fabric in different colors and got to sewing. I made no major alterations since the patterns have a lot of ease. In about 3 days I had made:

  • 2 pairs of pull on pants
  • 3 shirts
  • a short jacket
  • a long kacket
  • a dress
  • 2 sashes
  • Bolero jacket (from Sew Chic Japanese sewing book)
    Wow that's a lot of lint. Beware when you are drying Linen/Rayon blend fabric. You may want to clear the lint trap a few times while drying.

    Wow that’s a lot of lint. Beware when you are drying Linen/Rayon blend fabric. You may want to clear the lint trap a few times while drying.

    Linen/Rayon blend fabric. Very soft and drapey. I didn't even need to iron it.

    Linen/Rayon blend fabric. Very soft and drapey. I didn’t even need to iron it.

    Simplicity 1620 long jacket with 2 sided sash and brown pull-on pants

    Simplicity 1620 long jacket with 2 sided sash and brown pull-on pants

    Yellow top. I used the box pleated side. (Pattern calls for tucks)

    Yellow top. I used the box pleated side. (Pattern calls for tucks)

    Close-up of pleat detail. I also top stitched with a simple running stitch.

    Close-up of pleat detail. I also top stitched with a simple running stitch.

    Simplicity 1620 dress with sash

    Simplicity 1620 dress with sash

    Simplicity 1620 dress with short jacket

    Simplicity 1620 dress with short jacket

    I finally figured out what to do with 1/2 yard of this cool linen fabric I bought a few months ago

    I finally figured out what to do with 1/2 yard of this cool linen fabric I bought a few months ago

    Simplicity 1620 Tunic. I made one large pleat instead of 3 so that I wouldn't obscure the print as much

    Simplicity 1620 Tunic. I made one large pleat instead of 3 so that I wouldn’t obscure the print as much

    Simpicity 1620 tunic

    Simpicity 1620 tunic

Happy with the result I kept looking for more. Unfortunately I didn’t find too many more simple wardrobes like this one in the Big 4 pattern catalogs. Thank goodness for Pintrest though. I discovered Japanese clothing patterns.

My goodness. There are so many simple, easy to wear designs and they have started to publish them in English! My favorite Japanese designer at the moment is Yoshiko Tsukiori. I have her book Happy Homemade Sew Chic: 20 Simple Everyday Designs. Love it!

Simple instructions with diagrams. Jacket has only 3 patterns pieces

Simple instructions with diagrams. Jacket has only 3 patterns pieces

Simplcity 1630 dress with Sew Chic Jersey Style Bolero

Simplcity 1630 dress with Sew Chic Jersey Style Bolero

 

There are a few base patterns (graded up to American sizes) that have a bunch of style variations to mix and sew. The instructions are easy to follow with lots of diagrams. So far I have made the Jersey Style Bolero jacket. It only takes 3 pattern pieces to make. Easy, Peasy. I have more patterns cut out ready to sew. I will continue exploring  Japanese clothing style for sure.

Wardrobe Essentials: Summer Maxi and The Little Black Dress

Sewing clothing has got me rethinking my wardrobe lately. I am one of those rare creatures that hates to shop for clothes. I mean seriously I would rather buy plants and craft supplies. There must be some kind of treatment for this condition, right?

After looking through my closet I realized a few things.

1. Dang I have a lot of polyester stuff. Like most of it.

2. I hate how all 3 pairs of my jeans fit.

3. I only wear about 1/3 of this stuff. The rest is either uncomfortable, too small, or ready for Goodwill or trash.

4. I need more separates, everyday dresses and jackets, natural fibers, a maxi dress, and a little black dress.

5. I want more Handmade and less cheap mass produced.

So I have decided to be a little more strategic about what I sew for myself this summer. I started with the summer maxi dress.

Last month I found this cool rainbow, painterly looking fabric. It’s polyester but I I like the shimmery look of it. The pattern I chose is really simple, Simplicity 1355 which has jumpsuits and maxi dresses.

Simplicity 1355 has easy to sew jumpsuits and maxi dresses

Simplicity 1355 has easy to sew jumpsuits and maxi dresses

The dress went together fast. I probably should do another in a different color for variety sake or maybe the jumpsuit.

Simplicity 1355 View c

Simplicity 1355 View c

Simplicty 6184 (1)

Simplicity 1355 with rainbow fabric

Simplicity 1355 with rainbow fabric

My sister decided to try it on too. She is about 5 inches shorter than me so she had to blouse it up more at the waist.

My sister decided to try it on too. She is about 5 inches shorter than me so she had to blouse it up more at the waist.

For the little black dress I chose a basic sheath from Simplicity 2455. This is a really nice discontinued pattern for sportswear separates. I like the little collar pleat detail. The dress is very wearer friendly with a side zip and soft A-Line silhouette.

Simplicity 2455

Simplicity 2455

My new Little Black dress Simplicity 2455 with neckline pleats.

My new Little Black dress Simplicity 2455 with neckline pleats.

Simplicity 2455. I can wear it with my cowrie best to jazz it up a little

Simplicity 2455. I can wear it with my cowrie belt to jazz it up a little

Simplicity 2455 with neckline pleats

Simplicity 2455 with neckline pleats

I’m so happy I can finally wear what I want rather than just accepting whatever I can find on the few shopping trips I attempt thoughout the year.

Simplicity 1417:A dress fit for a wedding…in Vegas

My sister and brother-in-law recently decided to renew their wedding vows in Las Vegas to celebrate their 10 year anniversary.

I thought, well how cool! We would always joke about how they got married at a courthouse in plain clothes. They didn’t want to break tradition getting all fancied up. Afterall it worked for my parents and grandparents. No divorces to date.

This time my sister surprised me by wearing the pink and navy stretch denim dress I made for her a few months ago to her wedding. The pattern is Simplicity 1417. As far as she is concerned it is a dress fit for a wedding. I have to agree. She looked great!

Simplicity 1417

Here comes the bride in Simplicity 1417

Here comes the bride in Simplicity 1417

Vegas wedding. My sister and brother-in-law renewied their vows at the Las Vegas sign. 10 yrs and counting

Vegas wedding. My sister and brother-in-law renewed their vows at the Las Vegas sign. 10 yrs and counting

Just married in Vegas

Just married in Vegas

My sister all dolled up in her Simplicity 1417 dress for her wedding

My sister all dolled up in her Simplicity 1417 dress for the wedding

I Do Love This Dress!