Anthropologie Knock-off T-Shirt!

So remember when I went into Anthropologie and didn’t buy this shirt (sold out!) even though I wanted it with all of my heart?ImageAnd I didn’t buy it because my friend kindly reminded me that I can sew, and therefore do not need to spend $60 on a shirt?  Well, I did it!

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Dots and florals!

I looked around for a while for fabrics I thought would look cute together, and I had this floral in my stash from Girl Charlee (they don’t seem to have the same one anymore, but here is one that is kind of similar).  Then my parents got me a gift certificate to Mood Fabrics (aren’t they nice?) where I spied this super cute tiny polka dot!

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Please excuse that expression, it was insanely bright!

The polka dot from mood is SO SOFT.  I love it and want to make all of my clothes out of this fabric.  The floral is really pretty, but not as soft.  Also, it didn’t stretch as much, so this may not have been the perfect first knit garment to make, because sewing them together was slightly difficult.

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For the pattern, I used the Scout Tee from Grainline Studio and I used Jen’s Knit Scout Tutorial to make this top.  I cut a size 18 – I didn’t realize how much ease was in the pattern!  I think it is actually a really flattering cut for me, though!  And I think that this size would work well even in a woven, because the jersey isn’t actually stretching when I wear it.  I think it would have been helpful for me to have made the woven version first just to get a little more directions, but overall the tutorial was great.  Although, I accidentally but the binding on the wrong way at first!  But being able to work though much less detailed directions reminded me that I am probably not a beginner sewist any more.  Hooray!

ImageThe only thing I am not 100% happy with fit wise is how big the sleeves are, especially in the back.  This might be partially my fault, because it’s very possible I stretched them while hemming.  However, I might try to narrow them a bit on the next one.  I might also do a slight narrow shoulder adjustment, although I think in a slouchier style like this, it isn’t a big deal.  Here especially you can tell that I had a hard time sewing the two fabrics together – because the sleeve was made out of the stretchier fabric, I got some waviness on the back.  Also, although I feel ok about using the serger, I definitely am going to mess around with both that and my sewing machine a lot more to figure out how to use a twin needle so it looks nice and how to get all the seams to look good.

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All in all, I am super happy with this shirt!  I can’t wait to make myself a bunch of knit tops, especially interesting ones like these, that I can wear everyday with jeans, as that is basically my uniform.

Until next time,

Karin

 

Hoodie Sweatshirt!

Since my manfriend bought me a serger for Chanukah, I thought the nice thing to do would be to use it to make him a hoodie!

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And he graciously let me take pictures of him in it!

He’s just so cute.  I used McCall’s 6614 View D for the pattern, but obviously didn’t use contrasting fabric for the cuffs or hood.  He’s not really a contrast-y kind of guy. But I did use this super soft hunter green sweatshirt fleece from fabric.com.  Jeremy wears hoodies a lot, and until this year they were all black, but then he branched out to gray.  I thought I’d push him a little further and try for a nice dark green.  I think it looks really great with his eyes!

ImageThe serger worked out super great for most of the seams, but I definitely still need to work on getting my sewing machine to deal with knits.  This was especially difficult for it because the fabric is so bulky.  I think most of the top stitching turned out ok though.  I am planning to make one for my brother next, and hopefully that will turn out even better!

ImageThe only big issue I had was that somehow the 24″ zipper the pattern said to buy was 4″ shorter than the front of the hoodie!  I have no idea how that happened, although you’d think different sizes would require different lengths.  So I ended up creating little darts in the front so that it would attach in the right place.  As you can see the hoodie has a bit of a deeper neckline than it should, but since he will always be wearing a t-shirt under it it doesn’t matter too much.

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Back view!

The other thing I didn’t end up loving about the pattern is that the hood is super bulky.  Maybe the under layer would be better in cotton or something?  It definitely works, it just doesn’t lay nicely in the back.  But I think that’s something most people wouldn’t notice too much.  Hopefully.

Anyway, it was really fun making something for Jeremy, and he loves it and has been wearing it pretty much non-stop! In fact, he wore it on the day he proposed!

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Just before the proposal.

I definitely want to make more things for him as gifts in the future!

Until next time,

Karin

New Year Sewing Resolutions (and some other stuff!)

Hi all!  

I hope everyone had some really great holidays and breaks and time and stuff!  

I haven’t been posting but I have actually done some sewing over my break and so I will post those things soon!  If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen most of the stuff already!

For now, I wanted to post a couple of ideas for my sewing in the coming year!

Thought 1: Sew things I will actually wear day to day. I’ve been having a lot of fun sewing dresses and skirts and such, and while I wear dresses sometimes, the fact of the matter is I have a super casual life.  I work in a lab, I live in LA, I don’t go out much other than to friends houses or the occasional bar. This all means: mostly I wear jeans and tees.  I also wear easy, throw on knit dresses, especially in the summer. So!  More sewing that stuff.  I think the new serger will help a lot with that – I’ve already made a knit Scout Tee (to be blogged) and am about to start on a knit dress. I am actually applying for professor positions right now (yipes), but even if I move into that kind of position, I am a scientist and we’re a casual bunch. So at fanciest I’d be wearing slacks and maybe a slightly nicer top or even t-shirt. This brings me to…

Thought 2: Sew some pants! If the idea is to sew most of my own wardrobe, I need some pants. I am thinking about getting the Colette Clovers as this is the style of pants/jeans I usually like. I am also planning to look into a couple of more traditional jeans patterns. I’m expecting to have to do a lot of fitting to get pants to look good, but I am excited about the possibility of making things that I will wear every day. This is related to…

Thought 3: Work more on fit. One of the main reasons I wanted to learn to sew is to make clothes I really liked but that I wouldn’t be able to buy RTW because of my size.  So, what’s the point of spending all the time and money sewing stuff up if it doesn’t fit better than RTW would? I’m planning to both finish this Craftsy course on fitting for Plus Sizes, and just in general take more time to work on fit before I sew things!  

Other life stuff!

1) We got a cat!  Her name is now Donuts and she is the sweetest cat ever.  We went into the shelter planning to get two kittens, but we just totally fell in love with her, even though she is six and doesn’t really like other cats. Plans, right?

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Donuts, laying on my lap the day after we brought her home.

2) We got engaged!  My now fiancee proposed on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway on Christmas Eve (even though we’re Jewish :)) So that’s super exciting!  We have a while to plan but I am already scheming.  People have been asking if I am going to make my wedding dress. I am not, because I don’t think my skills are quite there yet nor do I want the extra stress of doing that!  However, I would love to make my rehearsal dinner dress so I will have to come up with some ideas for that one. Might be a good excuse to buy some insanely pretty but normally prohibitively expensive Liberty Lawn fabric :).  We’ll see!  For now it’s pretty exciting!

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Immediately post proposal – It was an insanely gorgeous day!

Until next time,

Karin

Hi everyone!

I’ve been really busy lately with non-sewing things, but if you follow me on instagram, you’ve seen a few exciting things re: sewing that have happened lately!

The first is that I made another Staple Dress, this time for my friend Elisabeth for her 30th birthday!

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She looks pretty cute, huh?

I made this one out of a buffalo plaid chambray from Sew L.A.  They are always so helpful!  It turned out super cute, so much so that I actually squeaked a bit when it was finished.  This time I used the elastic thread, which was really fun and worked out quite well!  I also made bias tape from the fabric and used exposed bias tape (as explained here) to finish the neck and armholes.  I thought it would be a cute detail and break up all that plaid!  This was my first time aligning buffalo plaid, which is probably one of the easiest to line up, but I used some tips from Lauren and it worked out great!  I forgot to get a picture of that so you will just have to take my word for it.

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Exposed bias facing!

The second very exciting news is that something I’ve been wanting forever was on super sale, so my boyfriend and I split it as my Chanukah gift!

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Meet Klaus!

This is of course the eponymous Brother 1034D, my very own serger!  Amazon happens to be selling them right now for $180, plus we got free shipping since my boyfriend has Amazon prime.  I knew I picked him for a reason.  I have been thinking about getting a serger for a long time, because I want to sew knits.  I know you can do that on a sewing machine, but everything I’ve seen/read/talked to people about says its much easier on a serger.  Plus it just looks so fancy and professional.  And I couldn’t pass up the great deal!

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I mean just look at how beautiful that is.

I probably won’t do an actual review here, since that’s been covered in a lot of places, but so far I love it with all of my heart.  The first item I’ll be making with it is actually a hoodie for my boyfriend, so stay tuned for that. I also bought the Beginning Serger Sewing class on Craftsy (which is also having a 50% off sale right now, FYI), and I can’t wait to learn more about my serger!  

Ok, that’s all for now.  I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving or Chanukah or weekend!

Until next time,

Karin 

 

Geometric Staple Dress

Hi everyone!  Life has just been doing everything it can to keep me away from my sewing machine lately.  But, I managed to finish this super great dress!

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Indoor pictures now that it gets dark at 5pm.

This is The Staple Dress by April Rhodes. And despite that look on my face, I love it so much! This was a super simple pattern to put together, and it is exactly the type of dress I want a bunch of in my wardrobe: loose-ish, comfortable, but cinched at the waist so that I don’t have to wear a belt.  I really hate having to wear a belt for something to look reasonable.

ImagePlus pockets!  Hooray.  The only adjustment I made to the pattern was the neckline – when I mentioned I was going to make it, Leila warned me that the neckline is drafted really high, and if you look at the photos on the pattern that is definitely true!  I cut an XXL, but used the XS neckline, then took another half an inch off of that.  I’m definitely happy with where the neckline is now!  The only thing I might do differently next time is try to do a size in between the XL and the XXL so it isn’t quite so drapey up top.  But I’m very happy with the dress as it is!  It probably took me about 3 hours total, including doing french seams on the shoulders which I’d never done before.  It could be made even faster if you didn’t include pockets (although why anyone would do that I don’t know) or used pre-made bias binding for the neckline and sleeves.

The only other difference from the pattern was that I used clear elastic and a small zig-zag stitch to attach it rather than the elastic thread shirring. This was just because I didn’t know where to get elastic thread and I had clear elastic on hand.  I picked up some elastic thread last weekend though so next time (and there will probably be a bunch of next times) I will try that!

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Let’s talk about this fabric.  It is a gorgeously soft and lovely cotton by Thakoon from Mood Fabrics (unfortunately sold out!).  This is by far the nicest feeling fabric I’ve worked with – it almost felt silky, but was super easy to work with since it’s cotton. I love how it feels, and I love the awesome geometric pattern.  It is super fun and will go with any number of jackets and sweaters in my closet.  Unfortunately it is a tiny bit see-through, but that can be remedied by use of the correct undergarments or not caring.  I chose the latter.    

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Fancy poses.

I wore this dress out on Saturday night with my utility jacket and got loads of compliments from my friends!  Luckily we don’t have much in the way of seasons here in LA so I think this dress will get worn year round!  I really love it a lot.  This is a great beginner pattern and I can see myself coming back to it when I just want an easy, new dress in between more challenging projects.

Until next time,

Karin

 

Corduroy Zinnia!

Welcome to fall in Los Angeles, where it has been 85 degrees all week!  Even though it is still crazy hot here, I wanted to get in the fall mood by sewing up some of the most fall-ish fabric around, corduroy.

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Checkers really liked my skirt.

This is, of course, the Colette Zinna, view A.  Even though I’ve made a few of Colette’s patterns, this was the first one that I bought the actual paper pattern for, and it was just so pretty!  The pattern, and especially view A I think, is a great beginner pattern.  The only fitting is the waist – I will get to that in a second – and it is all pretty simple.  The only thing that I had a problem with was the inverted pleat on the pocket, it took me a minute to realize that it should fold over completely and cover the back of the pleat.  If that makes sense.  But if I’d actually looked at the skirt on the model it would’ve been super clear.

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Unfortunately my waist is outside of the size range for Colette Patterns.  So I had to grade the waistband up.  To do this, I looked at the differences in waist size on their size chart, and saw that in the high-end of the range each size is 2 inches.  From there, I figured out how many inches I would need to add (8 inches in this case), which would make me a size “26.”  Then, I looked on the pattern piece, and measured the length between size 16 and 18 on the pattern, which was 1 inch (makes sense, since you cut it on the fold).  So, I just added 1 inch per size (4 inches total) in length to the pattern piece!  Since the skirt is gathered, I decided to not add any width, and just have a less gathered skirt, which I find is more flattering on me anyway.  I actually think I went a little too big, and the skirt ended up sitting lower than I wanted.  I’m hoping it might shrink a little in the wash!

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For the skirt I used this Robert Kaufman corduroy (it’s much brighter in person than it was on the website, but I love the color).  It is lovely and soft and lightweight and easy to work with except in a few spots where there were many layers.  I’m glad it’s not a heavy corduroy, because that means I could probably wear this skirt year-round here.  I think the pockets are really cute, but I might make them a touch bigger next time – I can’t fit my hand in all the way!  I used these super neat buttons – you can’t tell on the website but they are actually white squares inside of curved clear round buttons.  They look pretty cool.  Since the skirt itself can be pretty plain, depending on fabric choice, I think it would be neat to do some totally awesome wooden or leather buttons.

ImageThe only other change I made was taking 4 3/4″ off of the bottom of the skirt right before I hemmed it!  And it is still just below my knees.  I think this is partly a function of it sitting below my natural waist, and partly a function of me being super short (~5’3″).  I actually had to cut off a button-hole I’d made!  Next time I make the skirt I will do that at the actual shortening-line.

On a separate note, taking photos this time was really fun because my friend Elisabeth (owner of the lovely Checkers) did a little photo shoot for me.  Hence the props!  Thanks Elisabeth!  

I’ll leave you guys with one last photo of the most adorable dog.

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Until next time,

Karin 

 

 

Colette Patterns Survey for Plus Size Sewers!

On the heels of their post about drafting for plus-size patterns, the ladies at Colette Patterns have put out a survey asking about fit and sizing of sewers over a size 16.  I personally love their patterns, but since I am at the high end/slightly over their size range, it definitely takes some work to fit them.  For instance, I had to grade the waistband on the new Zinnia pattern a few sizes before I could start (more on that when it’s finished!).  I personally think any indie pattern designer who is thinking about expanding their size range should be encouraged!  If you’re above a size 16, head on over there, take the survey, and show your interest!