Friday, 27 June 2014

Completed: a Muumuu Refashioned into a Sewaholic Pendrell Blouse

I have a confession to make: I love muumuus.

Especially muumuus made out of lovely drapey rayon that are on sale for $5 at thrift stores, like this one, because they are so easy to refashion.

Flattering, no?

It was a homemade muumuu, so I almost felt guity unpicking it! After a while, though, I figured that whoever made it would probably be happier to see it unpicked and made into something else than thrown away. After I unpicked it, it was basically two big rectangles and the yoke. I straightened the edges, and then just used it like any other fabric, and cut Sewaholic's Pendrell Blouse from it.

Side note: I only just learned that muumuu is spelled that way... I always thought that it was spelled mumu. 

I've made this blouse a few times before, and I love it! It's quick to put together and fits me very well, so I figured that it would be a great blouse to compliment my denim Hollyburn skirt as my entry for the Monthly Stitch's Indie Fan-Girl contest.

As much as I love the sleeve options that come with the blouse, they're not very easy to layer over, so instead, I borrowed the cap sleeves from view A of the Alma Blouse. I'm really happy with how they turned out! It was a very easy switch, since the armhole of that view of the Alma is finished with bias binding, exactly like the Pendrell. I've done this before, when I made my knit Pendrell top.

I ended up doing a lot more hand sewing on this blouse than I anticipated, since I decided to slipstitch all the bias binding at the neck and armholes, rather than stitching it by machine. It took more time, but I'm glad I did - it gives such a clean look to the edges.

I also catchstitched the hem, after turning it up 3/4" twice (rather than 1 1/2" once). I think this is a neater finish than serging the edge, and the fabric is thin enough that it doesn't show through.

I love how neat the insides look with the bias binding! I usually prefer facings (yes, I'm one of few), but when done by hand, finishing with bias binding that matches looks really nice too. I only wish that I had also finished the seam allowances of the princess seams with bias binding! I'll make a note to do that next time - it would make the insides look so nice.

I really love this blouse! It pairs very nicely with this skirt, but it will be very versatile over the summer and into the fall with a cardigan over top, and it's flattering untucked with jeans as well, although I prefer it tucked in.

If you like this outfit as much as I do, I'd love it if you'd vote for me on the Monthly Stitch! Thanks!

Blouse: Me-made (Sewaholic Pendrell)
Skirt: Me-made (Sewaholic Hollyburn)
Belt: RTW (can't remember the brand)
Shoes: Vintage

Completed: Denim Hollyburn Skirt

What's a girl to do when she finds a cute blouse at a thrift store, but doesn't have anything to wear it with?

Make a skirt to match, of course!

Only joking. Sort of. I did come up with the idea to make this skirt because of this blouse, but mostly because I needed a casual summery skirt that I could wear with everything.

I don't usually buy tops at thrift stores unless they're silk or really well made, but I fell in love with this print - it's teacups! It feels like a cotton blend, and it was a few sizes too big, but I took in the sides, the darts and the straps quite easily, and it fits me pretty well now, considering that it's only a semi-fitted blouse. It'll be a nice casual piece for summer, and great for layering! Not bad for $2.50 and an hour's work.

Right after that trip to the thrift store, I went fabric shopping, and while I was there, I realized that I didn't have anything except jeans to wear it with, since all my skirts are either black (which I don't like wearing with navy, or with bare legs in the summer) or printed. I happened to be standing near the denim section at the time, and I had the idea - why not make a denim skirt? It would be casual but still my style, and it would go with just about everything.

That's how this skirt started, and it later turned into an idea for an outfit for The Monthly Stitch's Indie Fangirl Contest (I will post about the blouse that I made to go with it tomorrow).

The denim that I bought is a lightweight (I believe it was 5 oz) denim from Fabricana, which probably wasn't the best choice. It wasn't expensive, and I soon discovered why! It gives off a funny smell when it's ironed (even though it's 100% cotton), and it's quite loosely woven, so pulls a little at the seams. In retrospect, I could have chosen a slightly heavier weight denim, but I do love the drape of this one.

The pattern is the Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt, which is a great simple skirt. I've made it once before (before this blog, but you can see it in my Me-Made-May posts and my 2013 Round-Up post), and I've worn it out completely. I made view C in size 0 since I had already traced that view, but lengthened it an inch, and added the belt loops from view A. 

I love how quick this skirt is to make! Even with all the hand sewing (which is optional), I finished this in probably about five hours? I didn't really keep track! 

Rather than the centered, machine-sewn zipper called for, I put in a hand-picked lapped zipper - my favourite kind!

I hand stitched the waistband down rather than topstitching it, which takes more time but looks really clean and polished. 

The hem was probably the hardest part - I still struggle with curved hems! I took a really narrow hem, but decided to use contrasting rayon seam binding, for fun. Next time, I'll try hemming it with bias binding, because I found the seam binding difficult to ease in. I catchstitched the hem, and I'm happy with how it looks from the outside, anyways! I really love the looks of hand-sewn hems.

I'm really happy with this skirt! It came together quickly, and I think it will get a lot of wear. I'm glad I tried out this pattern again, because I love it! I can see myself making many more this summer. 

Blouse: Thrifted and taken in (brand unknown)
Skirt: Me-made (Sewaholic Hollyburn)
Belt: Thrifted (brand unknown)
Shoes: Thrifted (Arnold Churgin)

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Completed: Colette Moneta Dress with a Tie Collar

I once said that I had a love-hate relationship with knits.

I lied. There was no love. 

Every time I sewed with them, I would end up so frustrated that I would swear to never sew with them again... but I never learned. 

And now? I decided to give knits another go with Colette's new Moneta Dress pattern, and I honestly can't get enough of them. They are so fast to sew, and so comfortable to wear!

There's a bit of a story behind this fabric, first of all. My friend, who is learning to sew, found an ad on Craigslist for a whole bunch of surplus fabric for sale by a fashion designer, so we went to check it out, and the prices were amazing! Her focus was on eco-friendly, ethical clothing, so nearly everything was natural and, from what I can tell, excellent quality. 

This particular fabric is a bamboo jersey knit that we bought 4 metres of for $3 or $4 a metre. It's super soft, and not too flimsy like a lot of the bamboo you can buy. I only used about 1.8 metres of it for this dress, so you'll be seeing it again! Possibly as a Bronte Top?

This fabric was so easy to work with... I don't know what went wrong in the past when I've sewed with knits, but this sewed up beautifully. I used my serger for everything except the shirring at the waist and the hemming, and it went very smoothly.

The pattern itself is great. I made version 2, with the short sleeves, and added the tie collar that's part of the Moneta extras that you can download for free. I love the collar! It stops a solid colour dress from being too boring.

I sized down the upper bodice, but left the waist as-is, because I didn't want to size down the skirt pieces. What I didn't realize is that it wouldn't have mattered if I had sized down the waist, because the skirt is gathered. Oops!

This would have been a super fast make, if it had fit. The shoulders, not surprisingly, were too wide (they are on nearly everything), so I took them in a bit, but that was simple enough. The problem was the waist... 

First of all, I attached the skirt, and realized that the waist was far too low. I cut off my serging, shortened the bodice by 1 1/4", and then tried again. By this point, though, the waist was huge! I ended up taking about 1 1/2" out of each side seam at the waist, tapering to the armhole and the bottom of the skirt. This meant that I lost the pockets, but I wasn't too worried about that. I thought that the pockets, in a knit, would be too stretchy to be useful, so I cut them in a woven instead. This might have worked, but the woven was an off-white, which looked pretty bad. I wasn't expecting them to be so visible! So, this version is without pockets, which is too bad, but not the end of the world.

Since I had to take so much out at the waist, the part right above the waist ended up being a little tighter than I might normally like it, but it's still comfortable and wearable.

I love the method of shirring with the clear elastic - it's so much faster than sewing gathering stitches and pulling! My machine, on the other hand, didn't like it. The thread kept breaking, and the tension would suddenly go way off. Then, when I serged the skirt to the bodice, most of the elastic came off anyways. I wanted the elastic there to stabilize the waistband, so I sewed some more on, although I'm not so sure that was a great idea. I don't like the clear elastic that I used very much... it's quite solid and makes the waistband a little scratchy. I used a different brand for my second dress (yes, I've already sewn a second), and I like it much better.

All in all, my gathering at the waist is pretty wonky (as is my seam matching under the arms) if you look closely enough, but I'm still really happy with how this dress turned out. I was particularly proud of my hems! I used Stitch Witchery to stabilize them, and sewed them on my mom's machine that has a walking foot, with a twin needle. 

I originally lengthened the skirt by 2", but ended up taking off the extra length when I hemmed it. I prefer my skirts below the knee most of the time, but this just seemed like a fun, summery dress that needed a higher hemline.

Oh, andI can still layer over it! I was a little worried that the collar might make that difficult, but I have a few sweaters and cardigans that go over it well.

The collar can be double-knotted or single-knotted, and although I thought I liked single-knotted better, looking at these photos, I really like both! What do you think?

I also had fun planning and making notes about this project in my new 110 Creations notebook! I won this when Colette had a giveaway, so I thought it was appropriate to have a Colette dress as the first project in it! This notebook isn't the kind of thing I would go out and buy for myself, but I'm having fun with it nonetheless! (Plus, it did actually get sent to me, unlike the last prize I won online. They never responded to my email about how to claim the prize, even after I sent a second one a couple months later.)

And a side note... how do you pronounce "Moneta"? In my head, I was saying it "mon-AY-ta", but when I started saying it out loud, that sounded weird, so now I'm saying "mon-EE-ta", but that sound odd too. Is there a right way to say it?

Anyways, regardless of how it's pronounced, I absolutely love this dress! I feel like it will get a lot of wear this summer, and even into fall, if I make a half slip so it doesn't stick to my tights. It's super comfortable, and I started my second before I even cleaned up the fabric scraps around my sewing room. And, I don't know what I disliked so much about sewing knits before. Now, I can't wait to sew with more of them!

Has anyone else recently discovered (or rediscovered) the wonders of knits?

Dress: Me-made (Colette Moneta)

Shoes: Vintage
Bolero: Thrifted

Monday, 2 June 2014

Me-Made-May 2014: Days 26-31

This is it for Me-Made-May! It's gone by really quickly, and I've really enjoyed participating (although it's nice to be able to wear some of my favourite RTW/thrifted clothing again, without having to figure out how to pair it with something me-made). Here's my outfits from the past week, and within the next few days I'll do a round-up post with some photo outtakes... just for fun.

Monday, May 25

Shirt: Thrifted (Armani Exchange)
Skirt: Me-made (Sewaholic Hollyburn, pre-blog)
Tights: Hue
Boots: Steve Madden

This top was one I found for $10 at a thrift store... a little pricey by thrift store standards, but it is an expensive brand, and it fits me quite well. It's a cotton/nylon/spandex blend that's a lot more comfortable to wear than a lot of poly/cotton shirting fabrics.

Looking back at these photos, it definitely needed a press before taking them. Oh well!

Tuesday, May 27

Camisole: RTW (Dynamite)
Bolero: Mom-made
Skirt: RTW, me-modified
Tights: Hue
Boots: Steve Madden

Pretty much an outfit repeat, but with a different (but very similar) camisole. When my mom drafted the camisole that I wore with this outfit before, she modeled it after this one and used a remnant that we bought that happened to be pretty much exactly the same colour. This one is getting really worn out (it was really cheap, and I bought it a few years ago), so I don't mind having two camisoles that look practically the same.

Wednesday, May 28

Shirt: Me-made (self-drafted, pre-blog)
Skirt: RTW, me-modified
Hoodie: RTW (Maha Devi)
Sandals: Orthaheel

Again, not my best day... although I don't particularly like this top, this is becoming one of my go-to outfits this May. I think I need to sew a little more with knits, because I clearly wear them a lot!

I actually didn't wear the hoodie most of the day... but by the time I took pictures, it had cooled off a bit.

Thursday, May 29

Shirt: Me-made (Sewaholic Pendrell, modified)
Cardigan: Thrifted (Cynthia Rowley)
Skirt: RTW, me-modified
Tights: Hue
Boots: Steve Madden

By this point, I was getting a little bored with taking daily photos, so I was trying to have a little more fun with them! 

Friday, May 30

Dress: Me-made (Sewaholic Cambie)
Cardigan: Consignment (Jackpot)
Sandals: Orthaheel

I realized on this day that I still hadn't worn one of my favourite me-mades, my first Cambie dress! It was a little cooler today still, so I needed the cardigan, but I really like it with this dress. This cardigan goes with everything! I feel like I want to knit a cropped cardigan in every colour of the rainbow now.

Saturday, May 31

Camisole: Mom-made (self-drafted)
Skirt: RTW, me-modified
Cardigan: RTW (Line for Mendocino)
Sandals: Orthaheel

I think I've worn this skirt more than anything else this month! I think I really need to sew some more summery skirts, because I obviously wear them a lot, and this is really my only one. All my other skirts are black, and don't feel very summery!

So that's it for Me-Made-May 2014! I really enjoyed participating, but I'm kind of glad that it's done. It's been really interesting to keep track of what I wear, and I've learned a lot about what works for me and what doesn't. Stay tuned for one last post!

If you participated in MMM, how did it go?