Yeah, so this one is long overdue for posting. This is the Grainline Archer Button Up Shirt which I made at a workshop with Lauren Taylor at Hello Stitch Studio which is the cutest and most welcoming studio you’ve ever been to. If I lived near them, ...
Pigs In Pajamas: 'I wonder what Piglet is doing,' thought Pooh. 'I wish I were there to be doing it, too.' -- A.A. Milne, Winnee the Pooh

Grainline Archer Button Up from Lauren Taylor Workshop

ArcherChickens 4

Yeah, so this one is long overdue for posting. This is the Grainline Archer Button Up Shirt which I made at a workshop with Lauren Taylor at Hello Stitch Studio which is the cutest and most welcoming studio you’ve ever been to. If I lived near them, they’d be like a second home.

Also, you can see my chickens above and my amazing chicken boots. They have chickens on them and I use them for taking care of my chickens. They are surprisingly comfortable actually.

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The Archer is a classic button down shirt. It doesn’t have any bust darts. I’m wearing it closed in these photos, but in truth I like to wear it open over a tank top so it doesn’t really matter too much that it doesn’t have bust darts. If I were going to wear it closed, most of the time that might be different.

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One of my favorite parts of the Archer is actually the back. I really like the yoke with the pleat. It makes it very comfortable to wear.

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I’ve got a couple of progress shots from the workshop like the one above which was when I had finished the body but not yet attached the sleeves. I made a size 2 with slightly shortened arms on Lauren’s suggestion. I think the size 2 was right, but next time I’d keep the longer arms because I like them to hang over my hands a bit. That being said, I do tend to roll up my sleeves so I don’t really notice it too much.

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I shrank my pockets down a fair bit — maybe 50%? — because otherwise they would have covered the entire chest area. I’m pretty pleased with the proportions of how they turned out. And no, I did not try to pattern match. It would have driven me nuts trying to so I just let it do its own thing.

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The fabric was a Robert Kaufman cotton lawn that I got from Califabrics. Califabrics ships super fast so if you’re like me and you realize the week of the workshop that you don’t have any appropriate fabric, you can order very quickly. I really liked working with this fabric. You can see on the collar that it’s a little sheer, but that’s the under collar so I don’t mind. But it pressed and stitched up quite nicely and has been wearing well through the wash as well.

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The workshop with Lauren was awesome and if you have a chance to take one with her, do it. She’s both a super cool person and a fantastic teacher. Above, she’s showing us how to mark evenly spaced buttonholes after positioning the first and most important bust button. She’s showing it on my top because I was moving pretty quickly during the workshop (I actually all but finished a second sleeveless version of the top which I also need to post) so I think I was the first to hit that point for demonstration purposes. This was one of many tips and tricks she showed us. I always walk away from her workshops with new skills under my belt.

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I’ve also taken a jeans workshop from Lauren (I’m actually wearing those jeans in the pic above because I couldn’t resist the photo op) and I would take this workshop or the jeans one again just because her workshops and the people who are drawn to them are so fun. I’ve actually kept in touch (albeit recently mostly on social media given the pandemic) with several people from both of her workshops. I was super sad when the workshop I signed up for last summer got cancelled, but fingers crossed the one at the end of this year works out to be safe!

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So there you have it, my Archer Button Up (and also some gratuitous chicken photos).

      

A Sewaholic Renfrew with my own touch

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This was the final project for the other class I took at Cañada College Fashion Department, Designer Techniques in Sewing. This was such a fun class. We basically spent the semester learning cool and fun techniques you could do to a garment to move from the basic pattern to something that is more “you.” You’ll definitely be seeing more of these popping up in my future makes! I had previously posted another garment from that class and the assignment for this one was similar: using the pattern of your choosing, apply one or more of the techniques you’ve learned in class to the garment.

I had great plans to draft another dress and add a keyhole back (one of the techniques that we learned), but my other project for the pattern drafting class ended up taking longer than I planned (not unusual for me) so I decided to go with a tried a true pattern and modify that which was a totally acceptable option and in fact even recommended.

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I used the Sewaholic Renfrew Top which I’ve made several times before (for example) and so I knew it would fit well. I also already had this lovely organic cotton and spandex fabric which I bought ages ago from Stonemountain and Daughter that I had actually bought with the intention of making into a Renfrew. So it actually was a pretty obvious choice in the end — get my project done and mark an item off my todo list!

The modifications I made using new-to-me techniques:

  • I changed the v-neck to be a cross over v-neck. The pattern already came with a v-neck bodice, but it had you do a v-neck with a seam down the middle. We had learned the crossover way which I had actually always been curious about. It’s actually not terribly difficult although I did still manage to get a tiny pucker. Not enough that it’ll keep me from wearing it though and I’ll definitely get it right next time!
  • I added v-slits to the cuffs and one side of the hem band. I thought to echo the v-neck. I really love this detail actually, especially on the cuffs when they’re rolled up. And I love that it’s only on one side of the hem. It just adds a little bit more interest.

Simple changes, but it makes the top much more interesting.

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God Jul Tree Skirt

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Due to the pandemic, we’re not celebrating Christmas with family this year, but I wanted to make it festive for my husband, especially since I usually do so much for Hanukkah. So I got a tiny tree and spent some time making a tree skirt to liven it up a bit. I did the text embroidery myself in Embrilliance using fonts from Jolson’s Designs and the festive designs are from Embroidery Library. It’s two layers with batting in between and then some decorative stitching to hold it together. Finally, bound with gold lame binding for a pop and to match the gold embroidery.

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There were also some edible celebrations:

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So if you’re celebrating today, God Jul and Merry Christmas!

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Self-Drafted Shirt Dress

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I am so excited to share this make with you! This was my final project for Flat Patterning at the Cañada College Fashion Department with Ronda Chaney. A silver lining to the pandemic was that I was able to save on commute time and take virtual fashion design classes. It also provided me with some structure and social engagement during these chaotic times.

Note to the reader: Ronda is a wonderful, knowledgeable teacher. My sewing has evolved so much because of her. Cañada is offering virtual classes again next semester and registration is open so if you reside in California and were thinking about fashion classes — do it!

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Back to the dress. This class was about designing your own clothes. We had many exercises, but ultimately the final project was to design an entire dress or blouse/skirt combo. I opted to go with a dress (obviously). The description I gave for the dress in the my final writeup was:

The bodice has curved princess seams with a button extension. The 3” partial roll shawl collar runs along the neckline with a breakpoint at the bust line. The cap sleeves have 2 small tucks for some fullness at the shoulder. Finally, the skirt is a flared skirt with extra flare that has a button extension added to match the top with narrow slash pockets.

Here’s the sketch of my idea:

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And here’s how it turned out:

PurpleShirtDressFront

PurpleShirtDressBack

 

Reasonably close, I’d say!

I did draft it from the moulage/sloper I made in my course with Kenneth King. He’s another amazing and entertaining educator and artist that I highly recommend taking a class with if you ever get the chance. I had made a test garment with my sloper so I knew that fit perfectly (as one would expect). But when I first started to do manipulations to the sloper and those also fit perfectly, that was when the value of taking a pattern drafting class really sank in — I could draft any idea that my mind could imagine! 

The most challenging part to draft was the collar. The first time I drafted it, it was far too high up on my neck and too tight around it. Since the original draft was of a shawl collar, that’s how it was supposed to be. But that wasn’t the look I wanted. What I wanted is a cross between a shawl collar and a flat collar. I opened the neck and flattened out the back by spreading the back collar. I ended up having to draft it 3 times, but in the end, it was worth it to achieve the desired look

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The beauty of drafting something yourself is you can make it exactly how you like it with all the little extra details that make it more fun/comfortable to wear.

Besides the collar, the first fun item were the sleeves. I went for a cap sleeve and I wanted a little something extra so I added 2 tucks at the top of each sleeve. They are self-lined. I am so happy with how they turned out — exactly how I wanted!

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The second fun item were the slash pockets. Pockets are a must have in my dresses, especially if I’m going to wear them to work, because I need somewhere to put my phone when I go to lunch/bathroom/meetings/etc. The slash pockets are even better than the more common in-seam pockets. First, they don’t add bulk right at the hips. Not a big deal if it’s a full circle skirt with a petticoat, but for a slimmer skirt like this, it’s really nice not to have the added poof at my widest point. And second, I can anchor them in the waist seam and side seam so they can hold a bit more weight and are more secure for something important like a phone. I rarely feel comfortable putting my phone in the curved in-seam pockets. So this is likely the pocket I’ll be using whenever possible.

I also added my other convenience feature, a loop for attaching my badge. When wearing a dress, there are rarely good places to hang one’s badge at work. Problem solved. And in this case, it can tuck discreetly away into the slash pocket when I’m not at work.

For those interested in seeing the actual patterns I drafted, here you go. It actually ended up being quite a few pieces once I had all the facings in there.

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So, yeah, I’m super proud of how it turned out. It fits. It’s comfortable. It has all the bells and whistles I want. Definitely going to get plenty of wear out of it. Of course there are a few tweaks I would make on the next one, but that may be a while because I have many more designs in my head that I need to draft and construct first.

      

Tinkerbell Wings

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This post is about how I made the Tinkerbell wings for the dog costume. I wanted to try making wings for myself, but figured dog wings were a good place to start. These were inspired by a pair of wings from Fancy Fairy Wings & Things. Her wings are gorgeous and if you want wings, I highly recommend hers for both beauty and quality. She’s also got tutorials up about how to make wings. This pair was made before she posted her tutorials, but her tutorials are great and I wish I’d had them back then as these probably would have turned out better. I do still have plans to follow her tutorials to make a set of wings and will post when I do. 

But back to these . . .

Tinkerbell 1

The first step was creating the vector file fo the wing shape. I looked at some photos of Tinkerbell and her wings and did my best to create a similar design. It had to be simplified a bit to deal with the minimum laser cutting size. I looked at getting this cut out of metal which would have been thinner and sturdier than the acrylic but it was super expensive (not worth it for a dog costume) so I decided laser cutting out of acrylic for free at work was the next best thing.

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Those are the final wing skeletons after removing the paper backing. I was able to get a side out of each piece of 12” x 24″ acrylic.

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Next was creating the diaphanous part of the wing. My plan based on scouring the internet for pictures and ideas was to sandwich the wing skeleton between self-adhesive laminating sheet (I used this one) and shimmery cellophane. So I laid the skeleton on the sticky sheet first.

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Then I rolled the cellophane over it. This sorta worked well. The acrylic was so thick that it kinda didn’t stick except at the edges.

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So I took a heat gun and attempted to get it to sticker together a bit. It sorta worked. The first time I tested this it, it melted the cellophane so I was very light with the heat gun.

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I’m very happy with how they turned out and thought they looked very tiny Tinkerbell.

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That being said, they did not survive being worn very well. Dogs can be a bit hard on costumes. This was actually right before the photoshoot when I was just trying them on for size and then I had to tape them together which is what you see in the first photo. So . . . next time we’ll need to reinforce them. But they served their purpose well.

      

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