Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Things I've Sewn Lately: Victory Patterns Lola

 Greg and I finally made it out to Seattle. Though the weather has been a bit rainy today, the sun made a brief appearance late in the afternoon and we were able to snap a few photos of my Victory Patterns Lola dress.

The fabric, like my red Lady Skater, came from Girl Charlee. This fabric is actually why I placed an order in the first place. It's a Primp-brand sweatshirt fleece with a mouse print. And the mice have hearts for eyes. I swoon. 

This is the absolute softest fabric and it was really inexpensive (I think they've sold out, sadly, because I no longer see it on their website.) I bought two yards without a project in mind -- which I almost never do -- but inspiration came when I started seeing Lolas popping up in different blogs. 

I opted to buy Lola as a PDF and I will say it was super easy to assemble. The pieces joined together much more easily than more PDF patterns I've used. And the construction method and style lines remind me a lot of my beloved avocado hoodie, so the process seemed really familiar. I always think princess seaming is so flattering. Sweatshirt dresses I've owned in the past have been very boxy, so it's nice to have one with a little shape. 

There is an underbust seam, which made for an easy way to grade the sizes. I cut a four in the top and an eight at the bottom. All the bottom pieces are graded from a six at the waist to an eight at the bottom to accommodate my pear-shapedness.  

The dress has enormous pockets, which can only ever be a bonus in my book. I was worried about drawing attention to the aforementioned pear-shapedness, but instead of leaving the pockets baggier at the top, as they're supposed to be, I left them to mirror the shape of the bottom of the dress. The fabric is stretchy, though, so I can still put my hands in my pockets. 

The pattern directs you to use ribbing for the hemline, neckline and sleeve bands, but I just used self bands -- I'm not a huge ribbing fan, to be honest. 

The dress is super warm and comfortable, and, of course, wearable with my Jalie leggings, which seems to be a theme in my sewing this winter. 

I sewed the majority of the dress on the serger and did a little top-stitching with a ballpoint needle and wooly nylon thread I bought at Sil Thread in NYC on my last trip there.

In case you were wondering about the backdrop for these photos and the "interesting" lighting, we took these pictures with the Fremont Troll in Seattle (he lives under a bridge.)

We had a nice chat. ;-)

And as a bonus, Mr. Troll lives near a brewery Greg likes, so Greg got a growler of beer to share with his sister!

If you've made a Lola dress, share it in the comments -- I'd love to see some more takes on this. I feel like there has to be a cute way to turn it into a regular (non-dress) sweatshirt, right?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Things I've Sewn Lately: A Valentine's Day Lady Skater

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! 

We've had tons of snow here the past two days -- there's about a foot of it out in our yard right now. As a result, our flight out to Seattle to spend some time with Greg's sister and her fiance got canceled. We were all supposed to go out for a lovely dinner tonight, but clearly that won't be happening. And I couldn't seem to make reservations for anywhere tonight. So a lovely night in it is! At least we were able to reconfigure our schedules with work and get a new flight out for tomorrow afternoon, so that's something! 

Anyway, back to a more cheerful topic: sewing! This is the lovely Lady Skater dress by indie pattern company Kitschy Coo. I'd never heard of Kitschy Coo until I started seeing this dress pop up on lots of blogs, but I can see why it's been making frequent appearances around the interwebz. It's amazing.

The fabric is a cardinal red ponte de Roma from Girl Charlee. I ordered from Girl Charlee for the first time right after Christmas and I could not be more pleased with the service and fabric. Plus, they give you 10 percent off your first order. I will caution you, though, in case you order this fabric, that it definitely can snag. But the upshot is that ponte is just a dream to sew.

The Lady Skater goes together exceptionally quickly. I actually made it the night before a party. I wasn't rushing or anything -- this dress is just that easy! 

It's also a good base for accessories, so I felt totally justified in buying the leather bow belt I'm wearing in these pictures. 

 It must also be said that this dress is super comfy. It's like wearing pajamas.

The one and only thing I don't like about this pattern is the sleeve length, which is a touch awkward on me. I love three-quarter sleeves, but I feel like these are hitting in an awkward place -- probably because my arms are a bit on the long side -- and bunching in my elbows. I think in my next version I'll either lengthen them a bit or shorten them to just above the elbows.

Make no mistake: There will be a next version. Or six.

I'm really proud of the top-stitched collar on this dress, too. I've been trying to do my top-stitching more neatly lately and I think it's paying off!

I definitely recommend both the Lady Skater and Girl Charlee -- I'm really pleased with the way they worked together for this dress (if you couldn't tell.) 

I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day! Please do share if you have any exciting plans so I can live vicariously through you. ;-)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Things I've Sewn Lately: Plaid on Plaid on Plaid!

Oh my goodness, ya'll. I've cracked the shirt. 

My love of plaid flannel shirts goes deep. But I've rarely been able to buy any, because they are always -- ALWAYS -- too short for me in sleeve and in body. Thankfully, I've learned to sew.

I ordered this plaid flannel from Mood with the Archer shirt in mind, and it's delightfully soft and snuggly. I pre-washed it about three times, though, because flannel is so shrinky. And I intend always to dry this shirt on the line.

It must be preserved at all costs!

I'd never used a plaid fabric before, but, after reading multiple tutorials, including one by the lovely Lladybird Lauren, I decided to give it a try.

I made a muslin of view A of the Grainline Studios Archer Shirt and, somewhat predictably, decided to add five inches to the body of the shirt before take two, which got me to the perfect length for me. I wanted to be able to wear the shirt with my beloved Jalie leggings and still cover my toosh.

I also graded between sizes at the top and at the bottom, as we pears are wont to do.

Do you see my mistake at the back? (Other than not pressing the pleat after washing/before photographing, woops.) I did the collar upside down! I decided just to go with it, though. It doesn't bother me at all since I don't usually look at the back of my neck, and I was out of fabric by this point.

I also somehow ended up with the buttons on the wrong side. But who cares about that? I can't even tell anymore.

I cut the back yoke, front button placket, collar and cuffs on the bias.

The buttons I used are simple tortoiseshell-look plastic buttons from JoAnn Fabrics.

I loved my first version so much that I scurried right out to JoAnn's to buy some more plaid flannel. I wore the first shirt something like three times in three days and decided I desperately needed a backup.

Enter the buffalo check Archer!

I got the button band on the right side on this one!

And I put the cuffs in like a ninja. (Bridesperson Kelly was visiting this weekend and was present for the photoshoot; he insisted on the ninja hands. This one's for you, Kelly!)

I, like everyone else in the sewing blog world, can't say enough good things about Archer.These are by far the best plaid shirts I've ever owned -- and the only ones I've ever had that fit!

These were fun to make and a nice break from wedding obsession! Though, speaking of wedding obsession, which of these two hairstyles do you like for wedding hair? Either? They're my current top contenders. 

Anyway, go forth and conquer the Archer if you haven't done so yet! I'm already planning to make it a third time -- solid grey flannel, I think. Hurray for clothes that fit!