A New Wardrobe Basic— The Ebony Tee

This week one of our favorite indie pattern designers, Heather of Closet Case Files, released her tenth pattern, the Ebony Tee! It’s a classic tee in a fun swing style that you can’t help but sway, twist and twirl in. As knits are always one of my favorite things to sew, I immediately started laying out fabric choices and planning a couple Ebony Tees for myself.

Ebony Tee Pattern | Style Maker FabricsThe pattern calls for just about any weight knit depending on the look and style you want. I love the movement of this swing style so I wanted something that would drape nicely and hang closer to my body. I have been eyeing this shibori bamboo knit for a while now (its just so soft!) and thought the large scale of design would be perfect for this pattern. It also is a beautiful weight— not too heavy, not too light, with great stretch, recovery and a fluid drape. I also thought this comfy basic would be fantastic in a French terry. Since I can never have too much grey in my closet I picked out this variegated French terry. It’s closer in weight to a jersey, giving it lots of drape and making it a great choice for a cozy Ebony dress.

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Heather includes three different variation in the pattern— a cropped tee, mid-length dress and raglan tunic. She also includes different sleeve lengths and neckline options letting you design your Ebony to suit your style and wardrobe. I decided to keep my first version simple and go with the mid-length dress (View A) with long sleeves and a jewel neckline for my French terry— might as well take the comfort to the max right? I changed up my cutting layout by flipping my back piece over and rotating it 180 degrees. This maximized the size of my remaining fabric and let me out two sets of sleeves. I often find that sleeves don’t fit me quite right on the first go and since I had the space I planned to do a test set of sleeves.

Alternate Ebony Cutting Diagram | Style Maker Fabrics

Alternate pattern piece layout for the Ebony dress.

This planning paid off as the first sleeve was quite tight and not long enough. If your fabric is a bit narrower, you don’t have this space or your fabric is directional and you can’t flip the back, you could always sew a separate muslin of your trouble piece or even of the whole garment to test it out. I ended up widening the sleeves by half inch on either side and lengthening them by three inches. This pattern did not have the handy lengthen/shorten line on the sleeves so I used the sleeve side-seam notches as my lengthening point.

Other than those few changes, my Ebony dress was a breeze to sew together. I serged the entire garment and finished off the hems and neckline with my cover-stitch. Start to finish, I was done in an afternoon and am loving the results! Secret pajamas is the first thing that comes to mind. Paired with leggings or tight and I am set for a comfy day at home or out and about running errands. As this dress has so much body, I also tried belting it for a more fitted look.

Jumping right back into sewing, I selected the raglan tunic version (View C) using my shibori bamboo jersey. The high low hem of the tunic will really show off the dye pattern and be perfect to wear with jeans, my ultimate go-to! I decided to add three-quarter length sleeves and used my altered sleeves from View A as a guide. For a bit more relaxed fit, I widened the sleeves another half inch on either side and kept the added three inches in the length. For this version, as the fabric was a bit more directional, I did follow the cutting diagram as directed in the pattern. Again, construction was a snap using the serger and cover-stitch. I didn’t even have to change thread colors as I used white for both of my Ebonys!

Shibori Ebony Hem | Style Maker Fabrics Shibori Ebony Back | Style Maker Fabrics

Shibori Ebony Twirl | Style Maker Fabrics

After sewing both of these up I can definitely see why Heather has been living in her own Ebonys over the past we months as she was finalizing the pattern! While we were taking these photos I couldn’t help but twist and twirl. And check out that back! I love how this tunic length shows off the fabric so well. Did I mention it is as comfortable as it looks, if not so?!

Closet Case’s Ebony is a great variation on the classic tee and a fantastic way bring a new silhouette into your closet. I can’t wait to sew up more of these this spring. I’m thinking a stripe jersey might have to be next, what do you think? I definitely recommend this pattern, with so many options to choose from you are sure to fine the perfect match for you and your style!

Happy Sewing~

Michelle

Keeping Warm with the Esme Maxi Cardigan

Bundled Up in Esme Cardigan | Style Maker Fabrics

Every once in a while, the planets align and you find the fabric of your dreams for the perfect pattern— almost like a match made in heaven. It doesn’t happen everyday but when it does you know that all of that searching, designing and sewing are worth it!

Just recently I experienced just such an occasion! On one of our buying adventures this fall we stumbled across the most amazing chunky sweater knit from Italy. Of course we had to have it for the shop, in two colors I might add. When it arrived and I got to see it in a larger piece in all its glory, I knew instantly that it needed to be a long, cozy cardigan. Enter the Esme Maxi Cardigan from Named— the ideal fabric for the perfect pattern!

Named Esme Cardigan | Style Maker Fabrics Sweater Knit

With everything going on in December, I wasn’t able to get to this project. Of course, the one that I really wanted to sew, right? So I made it my goal to get it sewn in the new year. One week in and mission accomplished! Now for a closer look at the fabric, the pattern and the slight changes I made to suit my style.

First up, this fabric! It is probably one of the most stunning pieces we have had in the shop. It is wonderfully thick and cozy but the best part about it is the texture and the pattern. The undulating lines and varying thicknesses and textures in the knit give it amazing movement, shape and feel. I washed it up like I would anything else and it came out even softer and more huggable. I could already tell this is going to be a cardigan that I am never going to want to take off!

Italian Chunky Sweater Knit | Style Maker Fabrics

Italian Chunky Sweater Knit

Now, the question of how to cut this maxi cardigan out? I decided to start with the back and have one of the curving designs go right up the middle. I did redraw the back piece so that I had the full back (instead of one half) and could make sure I got it centered correctly. The “straight lines” in the knit also proved to be quite helpful! With the back cut out, it was on to the front. Each side is made up of two piece, above and below the pockets, and I was able to cut these out so that not only they were mirrored but they also would match perfectly when I sewed them together.

The sleeves also got the smaller wavy pattern centered on each of them so they matched. With the fabric that I had left I cut out the front button stand, the cuffs and the pockets. I tried to play with the texture/size of the knit pattern and its placement on the cardigan. I went for the thicker texture down the front and back, especially around the shoulders and chose the lighter texture for the sleeves and the button band. A great use of the fabric and really shows off all its dimensions.

Esme Sleeve Placement | Style Maker Fabrics

Sleeve Placement on the Chunky Sweater Knit

Construction proved to be relatively easy. The only kind of fussy parts were attaching the pockets, which was actually very similar to my Tamarack jacket, and attaching the button stand. I used the stretch stitch on my machine as designated in the pattern but I think I could have just went with my serger for most of these steps. That would have saved a lot of time! That stretch stitch is a slow one! I also went with my cover stitch machine for the stitching the hem and finishing the button band. With the grey thread that I had, the stitches were barely noticeable and it helped give the back side a nice finished look.

Cover Stitched Cardigan Hem | Style Maker Fabrics

Cover Stitched Hem and Button Band

Now for the changes… I find myself always tweaking a pattern slightly to suit what I have envisioned for it. My first change on my Esme was the length. After perusing Pinterest for styling over-sized cardigans, I settled on knee length or just above. Before I even cut anything out I took 6 inches off the back, lower front and button stand. After getting my cardigan “mostly” together I decided another 6 inches needed to come off. This gave me the perfect length and I think it is a change a lot of people have made as well.

Pinterest Cardigan Inspiration | Style Maker Fabrics

Pinterest Styling Inspiration

The next change came in the fit. In trying the cardigan on after it was assembled but not finished I thought there was way too much bulk under the arms. I think that is the style for this cardigan, over-sized and slouchy, great for an overcoat but not the “sweater” I was going for. The thickness of this knit also made it kind of bunching under the arms and felt a little weird.

To adjust this I laid the cardigan flat and marked about 3 inches along the sleeve seam at the underarm. Using chalk, I then drew a line tapering down the body and back out to the original seam, roughly just above the pocket seam. In the other direction I tapered down the arm and back out to the original seam about mid arm. I then serged along this line, taking care to match up the sleeve seams as I went. The results were perfect, they gave my cardigan a bit more of a fitted look while still keeping it relaxed and a little slouchy.

Altered Cardigan Underarm | Style Maker Fabrics

Altered Underarm and Removed Bulk

Last but not least, I threw out the cuffs and skipped the buttons! I attached one cuff and decided to just hem the sleeves instead— less bulk and much simpler. I also decided to go with an open style cardigan so the buttons were unnecessary (and it saved me from making button holes!).

Let’s see the results! I absolutely love how this cardigan turned out! Not only does it show of this fabric better than any other pattern could, it is also the warmest, coziest thing I have ever made. Perfect for the below freezing temperatures we have had this winter. And, yes that is snow in the pictures and it is over a week old. That is how cold it is!

Esme Cardigan Side View | Style Maker Fabrics

Esme Cardigan Front | Style Maker Fabrics

Esme Cardigan Back | Style Maker Fabrics

Bundled Up in Esme Cardigan | Style Maker Fabrics

Overall, my maxi cardigan turn out exactly how I imagined it— don’t you love it when that happens? I will definitely be revisiting this pattern and hopefully soon! I’d love to try a lighter weight knit, like a jersey or lighter sweater knit. Maybe try something like True Bias’ recent make. Anyway, definitely check out the Esme Maxi Cardigan, it is perfect for this mid-winter weather!

Stay warm and happy sewing,

Michelle

P.S. We are so excited to announce that a selection of Named patterns are now available in the shop, including the Esme Maxi!

 

New Year Plans: Make Nine 2017

Over the past few weeks my social media feed has been filled with fellow seamstresses making plans and goals for the new year. Rochelle, of Lucky Lucille, started #2017makenine and is encouraging the sewing community to pick nine patterns that they want to sew this year and set the goal to make that happen. I started thinking about what projects I would pick and it is harder than your think narrowing it down to just nine! Here is what I settled on, along with a possible fabric choice for each. Plans may change but I think this is an excellent start!

No. 1 | Papercut Undercover Hoodie

Since our Fall Style Tour this past September I have wanted to “copy” Abbey’s Undercover Hoodie. I pretty much live in sweatshirts and hoodies when I am hanging around home and I love these two fabrics together! I think this will become a new go-to pattern that I make in a whole variety of French terry and sweatshirt fleece. (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | Papercut Undercover Hoodie

No. 2 | Named Esme Cardigan

Sometimes fabric just tells you what it should be sewn into. When I found this chunky sweater knit I knew it needed to be a long over-sized cardigan just like this one from Named! This project is in my near future… I can feel it. (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | Named Esme Cardigan

No. 3 | Closet Case Kelly Jacket

Since it’s release early this fall this pattern has been near the top of my to do list. I even have out ready to go and the fabric washed. My goal is to have this jacket done for spring. Perfect for the rainy weather here in the Pacific Northwest. (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | Closet Case Kelly Jacket

No. 4 | True Bias Roscoe Blouse

I sewed up this blouse last summer and will definitely be revisiting it this year! I love the drape and style and I can’t wait to add many more to my handmade wardrobe. With so many fabric options it will be fun to play with different colors, patterns, etc. (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | True Bias Roscoe Blouse

No. 5 | Hey June Cheyenne Tunic

This is one pattern where I love every version I see! From Adrianna’s button up version she made during our Spring Style Tour to Kimberly’s tencel tunic, shown below, I don’t know what I have waited so long make my own. Well, it is happening in 2017 and that’s a promise! (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | Hey June Cheyenne Tunic

No. 6 | Megan Nielsen Sudley Blouse

Another pattern on my “wish” list, the Sudley blouse is a gorgeous tunic style dress or top that has a bit of feminine flare without being too dressy. I definitely want to try it in a fun floral or ditsy print rayon for this spring (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | Megan Nielsen Sudley Blouse

No. 7 | Closet Case Ginger Jeans

Since sewing my own jeans last year I have wanted to try a couple other patterns, including the Ginger skinny jeans. In reading this blog you know that I live in jeans (no, seriously!) and I can never have too many pairs. This year I also want to branch out and try adding some other handmade pants to my wardrobe. They might all be “jean-style” but I vote that that counts! (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | Closet Case Ginger Jeans

No. 8 | Cali Faye Hampshire Trousers

This pattern had been waiting patiently on my computer to be sewn up and added to my wardrobe. This year I am excited to make a muslin and hopefully a whole range of these trousers. I hope they look as good on me and that they fit the way they do in my head! (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | Cali Faye Hampshire Trousers

No. 9 | True Bias Hudson Pants

This Christmas I sewed up matching Hudson pants for my friend and her 2 year-old daughter. Now I need to make some for myself, don’t you think? I’m dreaming of a cozy version in sweatshirt fleece! (Pattern | Fabric)

Style Maker Make Nine 2017 | True Bias Hudson Pants

That wraps up my Make Nine List for 2017… now to just get sewing! If all goes according to plan I should have a pretty nice capsule wardrobe by then end of 2017. I’d love to hear what you all have planned for 2017! Any of the same patterns? Maybe you have some other suggestions for my 2017 list. Leave them in the comments below!

Happy New Year and Happy Sewing!

Michelle