Planning a Spring Wardrobe

As spring approached I found myself anxiously dreaming of all the new clothes that I would make for the coming season. All the patterns I had on my wish list and the amazing new fabrics that were coming into the shop were calling my name. The ideas quickly spiraled out of control- there were way too many options! I decided to take a more thought out approach and actually plan my wardrobe and new projects. Keeping the “capsule” concept in mind here is the start to my new spring wardrobe.

Spring Fabric Choices

To begin my planning I thought I would start with color and fabric- two of my favorite things! This spring I am all about aqua and coral– stripes, prints, tonals and solids- I love them all! Throw in some grey (my favorite neutral), maybe a touch of navy and I will be all set.
For fabrics, I first picked a couple of plush solid knits, perfect for cardigans and layering.

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Next, I selected a variety of wovens and knits to coordinate as tanks, T-shirts and other blouses. I went for different patterns, color combinations and scales to keep things interesting.

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I rounded out my fabric choices with a few other standouts that fit in with my color story. While I still have to tackle the subject of pants/bottoms, I love what I have laid out for potential tops and layers!

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Now that I have an idea of what I want to make, let’s look at pattern options. There are so many choices out there, I decided the best place to start was in my pattern stash. I also took a look at the Seamwork patterns since I had a few credits waiting to be cashed in! Here are some of the options that I settled on.

I have been wanting to add more layering pieces to my wardrobe. I have already done some investigating on T-shirts but need to try out more tank patterns. Here are three that have been on my wish list for a while. Perfect for my combination of knit and woven fabrics I have selected.

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Here are a few new additions to my Seamwork collection as well. I think the Wembley cardigan will be perfect for summer layers. And these Moji pants are so cute- maybe I will have some new handmade pants after all!

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I am off to an excellent start for my spring wardrobe, I even stayed up late last night cutting a few things out. Watch for more posts tracking my progress in the next couple of weeks! I can’t wait to see how this comes together.

We’d love to hear what patterns you have on your spring sewing list. Are we missing something that we absolutely must add? Please share!

Now time to sew!

Michelle

Styling the Linden Sweatshirt

I am a huge fan of sweatshirts! I would live in just a sweatshirt and jeans or yoga pants if I wasn’t so into sewing clothes and fashion! This Fall/Winter I really wanted to make a comfy cozy sweatshirt that didn’t really look like a sweatshirt. With so much inspiration on Instagram and some incredible knits to choose from in the shop I set to work styling and creating the perfect “secret pajama” top.

Linden Sweatshirt

Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studio (View A)

For my pattern I selected the Linden sweatshirt from Grainline Studios. I haven’t been disappointed yet by one of Jen’s patterns and this one was no exception! For fabric, inspiration struck in the form of a sluby black sweater knit with printed silver metallic houndstooth print.
Strange combination I know… but subtly striking and perfect for an elevated Linden. I’m not an all out flashy person so I paired the metallic sweater knit with a super soft black sweatshirt fleece for the sleeves and neckline. A yard of each and I was ready to sew!

Metallic Houndstooth Sweater Knit

Metallic Houndstooth Sweater Knit

Drawing inspiration from Lauren at Baste & Gather, I decided to loose the band at the hem and sleeves and create a slit at the side seam. Using the helpful lengthening lines on each of the pattern pieces I lengthened the front by 4-1/2″, the back by 7″ and the sleeves by 3″. This would make up for the missing hem bands and give me enough length to create a 4″ off-set slit that hits right at the hip. With the help of a tutorial Kelli of True Bias posted on the Sew Mama Sew site I sewed up my Linden and created two perfect side slits.

Linden Side Slit Variation

Linden Side Slit Variation

I finished it off by hemming the sleeves and hemline with my overlock machine for a very professional look. I have to say I am very happy with the results and it is so comfortable to wear! Dress it up or down for just about any occasion.

Metallic Houndstooth Linden

Metallic Houndstooth Linden

Truth be told, I loved the results so much I immediately sewed up another version using an amazing lace overlaid sweater knit pared with a grey sweatshirt fleece. A yard of each, a quick sew and I had another Linden to add to my wardrobe rotation! So quick and easy, I love this Grainline Studio pattern and will definitely be making more variations in the future!

Lace Sweater Knit Linden Sweatshirt

Lace Sweater Knit Linden Sweatshirt

I think for spring I will try a lighter weight sweatshirt fleece and make a basic solid Linden in a fun Spring color. Maybe this beautiful rose… Perfect for my wardrobe basics I am on a mission to sew.

Happy Sewing!

Michelle

P.S. One last picture… I love how the houndstooth metallic shows up in this one!

Love this Houndstooth Metallic Sweater Knit Linden

Love this Houndstooth Metallic Sweater Knit Linden

A New Closet Staple: Montlake Tee

My goal this year is to continue to build my handmade wardrobe with the goal to one day have my handmade garments make up the majority of my closet. This month I really started thinking about my foundation or staple pieces that I can mix and match with other more statement makes or with each other for a fun everyday look. The question was, which patterns to choose?

New Montlake Tee

New Montlake Tee Pattern

Enter Kimberly at Straight Stitch Designs! She must have heard me and other makers like me because a couple of weeks ago, she put out a call for pattern testers for her latest pattern, the Montlake Tee, the perfect closet basic! Read more

Cuddle Up with Sweater Knits

It keeps getting colder and colder here in the Pacific Northwest and I find myself gravitating towards warm, cozy garments to sew up and wear. Lucky for me we just received an amazing batch of sweater knits which are all now available in the shop. We even created a new category just for them! There is so much variety available in “sweater knits” that I thought I would run through a few of the different types, some tips for sewing with them and a few patterns they would pair nicely with.

First, let’s check out the thick chunky sweater knits. A sweater knit is any kind of knit that you would use to make a sweater, cardigan, pullover, etc. They are usually a looser knit than say a jersey or interlock giving them that more hand-knit sweater feel. For the heavier sweater knits, these are the fabrics that are going to remind you the most of a knit sweater- they are plush and warm and may have larger stitches to go with the thicker yarn. Some chunkier sweater knits may have more of a felted texture making it feel more like a stable piece of fabric but still have that great density and warmth. <Learn more about the knits shown below HERE>

Any of these thicker knits don’t need as much special attention as others. You may want to still stabilize the hard working seams, such as the shoulders, to prevent stretching but you typically don’t have to worry as much about fraying or unraveling.

Oslo Cardigan from Seamwork Issue #1

Oslo Cardigan from Seamwork Issue #1

One of my favorite patterns for these type of sweater knits is the Oslo Cardigan from Seamwork Magazine’s Premier Issue. This issue also included lots of great tips about sewing with all kinds of sweater knits- including those really loose lacy ones perfect for layering or during the warmer weather months. Check out all of Seamwork’s amazing versions of this cozy cardigan!

Jamie Christina's Lark Cardigan

Lark Cardigan from Jamie Christina Patterns

Another great pattern is the Lark cardigan from Jamie Christina Patterns. While you can use any type of sweater knit or any knit really, I think it lends itself well to those thicker sweater knits- especially the long version! So warm and cozy- pair it with boots for an awesome winter look.

Next, let’s look at the mid-weight range of sweater knits. These are typically your cotton and rayon knits that are a little bit heavier than a standard T-shirt jersey but have a similar drape and hand. These are the perfect knits for cardigans in any style. I’m partial to the more relaxed flowy cardigans that I can pair with skinny jeans and boots. Dress them up or dress them down- they are pretty much up for anything! A classic button up cardigan is always a wardrobe staple and another great use for these mid-weight knits. <Learn more about the knits shown below HERE>

For these more jersey-like knits you can probably still get away with just serging your seams if desired. If you are worried about fraying or unraveling, you might want to take a bit larger seam allowance (1/2″ or larger) and stitch using a small zigzag stitch and then finishing with the serger or another row of zigzag stitches. It might be helpful to test a small sample and see which result you like better.

Straight Stitch Design's Laurelhurst Cardigan

Laurelhurst Cardigan from Straight Stitch Designs

Straight Stitch Designs’ Laurelhurst cardigan is one of my favorite draped cardigans that comes with a few different sleeve lengths and variations. It looks great in stripes, textures or even solids. Another great option is the Beautiful Dreamer Cardigan from Shwin Designs. I love the back detail and this one is for sure on my list to make this season!

Beautiful Dreamer Cardigan from Shwin Designs

Beautiful Dreamer Cardigan from Shwin Designs

Thread Theory's Camas Blouse

Camas Blouse from Thread Theory Designs

One more pattern option for a classic button up is the Camas Blouse from Thread Theory Designs. I have seen some really cool versions of this pattern made out of a mid or light weight sweater knit for a perfect cardigan. Love the shape of this top and so versatile.

Last but not least, the lightest weight sweater knits. These often have a very delicate texture and can be very loosely knit or lacy. Although a bit more difficult to work with, these knits are quite stunning and often are able show off unique stitches in the knit better than the other weights. With these knits you want to take extra care as they do tend to fray and unravel due to the looseness of the knit. Add a bit more to your seam allowance and use your zigzag stitch for stitching seams and finish the edge with your serger or another row of zigzag stitches. A knit or mesh interfacing will also be your friend- especially when hemming to prevent fraying and stretching. <Learn more about the knits shown above HERE>

Aurelia Cardigan from Sew Liberated

Aurelia Cardigan from Sew Liberated

Any of the patterns listed above would be suitable for even these light-weight sweater knits. One more pattern I would like to throw in the mix though is the Aurelia Cardigan from Sew Liberated. I love how classic this cardigan looks- perfect for showing off a more delicate sweater knit. Rather than use a contrasting or matching fabric for the trim, I would use another layer of the sweater knit for a delicate layered look.

I hope that helps demystify all of the types of sweater knits and helps inspire you for your own creations. Now is the perfect time of year to really enjoy this fabric type! Be sure to check out all of the stunning sweater knits available now in the shop HERE.

~Michelle

Jamie Jeans and Denim Blues

This Spring/Summer DENIM has been everywhere in fashion- all different shades, weights and types. I have loved seeing all different styles and combinations, and as a devoted jean lover, it doesn’t hurt my feelings at all to have an extra excuse to wear mine everyday. Here are a few of my favorite denim looks that I have put together on one of our Pinterest boards (P.S. Are you following along with us?)

Denim Fashion Inspirtaion

Denim Fashion Inspiration

It only makes sense that jeans have been trending among sewists as well. My Instagram feed has been filled with so many amazing versions of handmade jeans I couldn’t help but be inspired to make my own. While I have been anxious to make both Closet Case Files’ Ginger Jeans and Named Clothing’s Jamie Jeans, I decided to tackle the Jamie Jeans first.

Named Clothing Jamie Jeans Pattern

Named Clothing Jamie Jeans Pattern

With the help of the beautifully written pattern directions and the great Sewalong put together by IndieSew, I completed my very first pair of handmade jeans in a couple of afternoons. I used our Super Stretchy 8.6 oz Indigo Denim from Robert Kaufman Fabrics and paired it with a matching chambray for the pockets. I also decided to use a denim blue jeans thread so that the accent stitching blended in a bit more. At the time I was hoping to hide any potential mistakes but in the end I really like the softer look it gives as well.

Completed Pair of Jamie Jeans- First pair of handmade jeans!

Completed Pair of Jamie Jeans- First pair of handmade jeans!

A couple of notes I discovered in making my Jamie Jeans. First, I followed IndieSew’s recommendation to baste all of the pieces together to check the fit. I was very fortunate in that when I pulled my basted, skinny jeans on for the first time they fit like a glove! I didn’t have to make a single change (crazy I know!). But I would have been so upset if I had taken the time to finish every seam and add all the details and have them not fit. While it added an extra hour or so of sewing time- it is well worth the price for great fitting jeans.

Great fit on my Jamie Jeans.

Great fit on my Jamie Jeans.

Second, once I got my Jamie Jeans all sewn together I noticed a bit of gaping at the fly- when I would sit or whatever the fly flap would open a bit exposing the zipper. I figured out that at the bottom of the zipper there was very little “flap” covering it so any little stretch exposed the zipper. To help prevent this from happening I back stitched across the flap and the zipper about 3/4″ up from the bottom. That helped take the overlap from only about 1/8″ to a little more than a 1/4″ and losing that little bit of length in the fly opening didn’t make any difference.

Last, I decided not to add the belt loops. Since my Jamie Jeans fit so nicely I don’t see myself ever wearing a belt with them (I’m not really a fan of belts to begin with). I did cut the strips used to make the looks and stashed them in my sewing drawer just in case I change my mind after wearing them for a while. So far I have only missed the loops when pulling my jeans on, but that is a bad habit I need to break anyway!

Love the front detailing on Named Clothing's Jamie Jeans Pattern

Love the front detailing on Named Clothing’s Jamie Jeans Pattern

Overall- I love my new pair of handmade jeans and I wear them just about every chance I get. I am already dreaming of future pairs and maybe some variations on them as well. Check out this amazing stretch printed denim… can’t you just picture them as a new pair of skinny jeans for fall! I also have Closet Case Files’ Ginger Jeans waiting in the wings for another pair. Now that I have made one pair of jeans there is no stopping me now!

Out and About Dress

This is a project that I have wanted to make for some time. Sew Caroline first released the Out and About Dress Pattern early last year. It is such a versatile dress and can be made in all different variations in a variety of knit fabrics.

I have been holding out for just the right fabric to make my Out and About Dress… and this season I FINALLY found it! An amazing Jacquard Ponte Knit that gives the illusion of an elegant rose lace overlay. I love the color, the feel, the pattern and just about everything about this fabric.

At first I debated about what version I should make- Maxi? 3/4 length sleeve? Cuffs? No Cuffs? I settled on knee length with long sleeves- perfect to pair with leggings or tall boots! Also the heavier weight of this ponte knit makes it comfortable and warm in the cooler weather.

Sew Caroline's Out and About Dress in a cozy "lace-look" ponte knit.

Sew Caroline’s Out and About Dress in a cozy “lace-look” ponte knit.

Once I actually got sewing, this dress went together so quickly! I was done in one afternoon and ready to enjoy my new outfit “out and about.” I would definitely recommend this pattern and will be making more versions of it this Spring.

Here are just a couple of tips that I learned along the way.

1) I would rethink the pockets in this dress- At least for me, they ended up being a bit too low- I would either move them up a couple inches or not include them at all as mentioned in the pattern. In the heavier weight ponte knit, the pockets are a little bit bulky. I still love them! But just something I might alter in future versions.

2) I love Fuse ‘N Gather- One of my secret weapons for a long time has been Clover’s fusible gathering tape called Fuse ‘N Gather. I really don’t like to make gathering stitches on my machine! It seems like they always end up breaking, they gather unevenly or I have to pick them all out at the end so that they don’t show. Solution = Fuse ‘N Gather! Just fuse to the wrong side of your fabric and pull the threads. Perfect gathers every time and it worked wonders on this dress!

Perfectly gathered using Fuse 'N Gather and then sewed right into the seam.

Perfectly gathered using Fuse ‘N Gather sewed right into the seam.

3) Try out Double Needle Stitching- I haven’t invested in a coverstitch machine yet, but as I experiment more and more with my double needle I am loving the results. It is perfect for finishing off the hemline and sleeves on this dress and gave my project the professional, finished look I was hoping for.

Sew Caroline's Out and About Dress in a cozy "lace-look" ponte knit.

Completed Out and About Dress- ready for a day out on the town or a causal night in.

Here are a couple more of the fabrics I was considering for the Out and About Dress. Who knows, I might just need to make another one!

A few other fabric choices for the Out and About Dress.

A few other fabric choices for the Out and About Dress. Click to see MORE.