Last October, I made myself a spider web costume using the Lila+June free wrap skirt pattern. I loved the skirt so much that I decided I needed a non Halloween version in my closet.
I originally thought I'd make this second version out of a plain fabric so that it could be a very versatile piece in my wardrobe. But when I rediscovered this vintage fabric in my stash, it was just begging to be a wrap skirt. The vintage look of the fabric pattern fits the vintage feel I get from this skirt pattern. And the stiff hand of the fabric gives a little more umph to the skirt than my first version.
So I have a bad habit of picking out fabrics for a pattern and paying absolutely no attention to the amount of fabric the pattern actually calls for. If it looks like it would be enough fabric, I figure I'll make it work somehow. And it honestly usually works out!
This skirt calls for 6 panels. The four you would normally expect for the front and back right and left, and then two more for overlapping when you wrap it around. Well....I didn't actually have enough fabric for that. So I eliminated one of the overlapping panels. I figured it would be just fine in terms of coverage, and I was right.
I also didn't have enough fabric to create one entire waistband. So I ended up piecing several strips together. And even then, it wasn't as long as the recommended waistband. But that is also due to the fact that I used up some of the fabric to make.....pockets!
OK so I was super excited about adding these pockets. But it turns out that pockets in a full circle skirt are not actually that convenient. They are kind of hard to find in all that fabric. And since it's a wrap skirt, and can very easily be put on not quite centered, this leads to more confusion and sometimes slightly awkward pocket positioning.
But, in the end I'm still glad I put them in, because that meant I had a chance to learn how to do an inseam pocket with all the seams frenched!
I knew it was possible to do, but I couldn't quite wrap my head around how to do it. So I did some googling, and found this helpful tutorial on Sew Mama Sew. Honestly, even with a tutorial, I still had trouble visualizing how everything would fit together. But I just followed along step by step and my pockets turned out great! There is something so immensely satisfying about not being able to see any raw edges anywhere on this skirt.
It may look nice and springy in some of my pictures, but in reality it was absolutely freezing. And snowing.
Pattern: Lila+June wrap circle skirt, free.
Fabric: vintage fabric (may have once been a curtain?), free, from my stash. I've had it for so long that I don't even remember or where I got it.
Alterations: No left side overlap, pieced waistband, added inseam pockets.
Details: Everything is finished with French seams!
Next Time: Skip the pockets, make it in a basic color, and be sure that I have enough fabric for long enough waist ties before I decide to get fancy.
This scrappy pouf pattern is a freebie from Closet Case Files, and one of my #makenine projects for 2019.
This really was an ultimate scrap buster. The grey outer fabric is scrap, sewn with the scrap cording wrapped in scrap bias tape, and it opens with a scrap zipper. Then on the inside, I made a bag from scraps with a scrap drawstring closure. And then of course the entire thing is completely filled with scraps!!!
When I go grocery shopping, I bring my own bags so that I don't have to use the plastic ones. But in the produce section, I still use the plastic bags to hold my fruits and veggies. And every time I do, I think to myself that I should just make some bags of my own to use instead of the plastic ones. Because it seems like such a waste!
Of all the holidays, Halloween has always been my favorite. And of all the silly things that Eddie and I have been excited for about having a baby, dressing up for Halloween was one at the top of the list. which is why i decided to make two costumes this year. Which is slightly insane. I'm definitely the person who ends up finishing a costume on Halloween night, if at all. But I couldn't resist aiming high! And believe it or not, I finished them both. Before Halloween! It's a Halloween miracle!
For those of you who are new around here, I live in Indiana. And I love where I live. Soooo I tend to create a lot of fun little projects that use the shape of Indiana. And I recently realized that Indiana makes a perfect tote bag shape!
For those of you who are NOT new around here, this newest creation will come as no surprise. I'll admit, I am slightly obsessed.
A few weeks ago, in the midst of a lot of long term projects, I got the itch to sew something quick and simple. So I looked through my bin of patterns and pulled out Butterick Fast&Easy 3383.
It's a really boxy, oversized t-shirt pattern with three sleeve length options, a pocket option, and the option for side seam slits. I'm not usually a fan of really oversized t-shirts, and I considered altering the pattern from the get go. But I wanted to see what it was going to be like without alterations, and figured oversized was exactly what sewing for my bump called for.
I picked out some scraps I had in a sturdy navy mystery knit, and some bias tape that I'd had laying around for ages (seriously, I think I've had it since I was like 12) and went to work! Of course, being scrap fabric I didn't actually have enough to cut the pattern out as it was intended. So I decided to split the front into two, and try to make it look intentional. To make it look more like a design detail, I used 1" seam allowance for the center front, serged the sides separately, and topstitched each side. I think it turned out pretty well!
Actually, the whole shirt turned out better than I expected. A lot of times when I jump into a project and finish it really quickly it ends up turning out pretty terrible for one reason or another. But this boxy look is indeed super comfy for being pregnant. And the slits in the sides help give even more room as I go into the last few months of my pregnancy. I really like the stability that the woven bias tape gives to the scoop neckline, and I love the pocket detail. The only thing I'd change for next time around is to make the sleeves shorter, since every time I wear it I end up rolling them up a turn or two anyway.
I can't say that it's my favorite make ever, but it was the perfect pick for a quick and easy project, and it's a great basic to have in the closet!
Oh! And p.s. this is my Retro Topknot Headband in case you were wondering :)
Sometimes it is so exciting to create a totally new me-made garment! That excitement can get other things pushed to the bottom of the list, like repairing the clothing I already have.
I'm pretty good at repairing anything me-made, I think because I really appreciate those pieces more. But I've been trying to get better at repairing, altering, and refashioning not just the things I've made, but the rest of the clothing in my closet as well. I've been doing better (see my invisible jeans mending post) but there is still a lot of room for improvement.
I would say that about 80% of my closet is second hand clothing, which I love, but they often come with little things wrong with them that, if I fixed them, would make me love them even more. A lot of them are easy fixes too! But my intentions to fix them often end up leaving me with a pile of mending that sits there for months at a time.
Me Made May has been very inspiring for me in terms of finally getting these things mended and altered. I decided that since my me-made wardrobe is pretty limited while I'm pregnant, that I would include
wearing things that I've mended and altered as well as the completely self made pieces. And I'm loving it! It has really motivated me to do those
alterations, and to appreciate those pieces more!
Here are a few examples of my alterations:
The polka dot top:
I got this shirt at a second and shop, and I love the color and pattern, and the style of the shirt! Whenever I go swing dancing, it always pops into my head as a perfect little retro looking top to wear. The problem is, with swing dancing (as with many things in life) you have to be able to raise your arms with ease. And this shirt did not allow for that. What an easy fix! I just had to take off the sleeves, and turn under the raw edges. And yet... it sat in my mend pile for about a year before I touched it.
The Striped Dress:
This dress is another second hand piece of clothing that just wasn't quite right. It was a strapless dress, but had absolutely no support on top, which led to a lot of yanking up to make sure everything was covered. On top of that, the white of the bust area was not only slightly see through, but also had some staining in the pits.
Solution: take off the top!
This was another really simple fix. I seam ripped the top from the bottom, cut the zipper down, (safety pinned the zipper down so I wouldn't accidentally pull it off during alterations) and then hand tacked the zipper in place and a hook and eye at the top of the elastic. Voila! Skirt.
Altering the ready to wear clothing that I already have is such a quick easy sewing project. Sometimes it's nice to sit down and be able to accomplish an entire project in a half hour. I also feel like RTW clothing often gets the short end of the stick. I know the quality isn't always great, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be using all the discarded second hand clothing that already exists. Wear it out. And then repair it! RTW deserves to be repaired too! I just need to make it more of a priority....
I can't tell you how this pattern fits on a baby, if it is easy to take on and off a baby, or show you a picture of what the options look like on a baby. Because my baby won't be here for another 4.5 months. But I can tell you how easy the pattern was to use, how quick it was, and how much fun I had!
Simplicity 2291 came into my hands because a friend of mine was getting rid of some of her pattern stash. I immediately snatched up all her baby patterns. Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I knew I'd want to make at least one outfit for when little Stage arrives. This pattern was perfect because it offers great unisex options and we aren't going to find out what gender our baby is! I ended up making a unisex onesie, little unisex sweatpants, and a skirt (just in case!). It took so little time to cut and sew them all, and SO little fabric! I think I've discovered the perfect scrap busters! Now it's going to be even harder to part with my scraps...
I made a few adjustments to my little memades. First, I made the onesie short sleeved instead of long sleeved (since baby stage is going to arrive in the summer). Second, I adjusted the sweat pants to accommodate my lack of fabric. I made the legs a bit narrower at the bottom, and left off the pockets. I also cut them shorter than the pattern called for, but used extra scraps to create cuffs on the bottom. An extra little strip of fabric became a fake drawstring bow. I love the result even more than the pictured pants on the envelope. I didn't have any lace for the skirt, so I just left that out as well.
Now I just hope that these adorable little makes will fit well enough to be worn at least once!
While at my selfish sewing retreat, I ended up making myself a top from Simplicity pattern 1113. It's a tank top with a high-low hem, and a very flowy silhouette. I figured it could be a good maternity top for me!
Not intending to sew this top, I hadn't brought any fabric for it. Which meant that I ended up using fabric scraps from another retreater. But Whitney's fabric scraps are beautiful and relatively sizable. I found two coordinating fabrics (although one was woven and one was knit) and managed to cut just about all the pattern pieces out. I only ended up missing one of the back hem stripes. So I decided to just go with it, and adjusted the seams at the sides to make sure that at least the bottom stripe lined up correctly. I also had to piece together the banding for the neck and armholes. I really like how the color blocking ended up looking on this top! I also ended up with armhole banding that was significantly wider than the neck banding. I'm not sure if this was a pattern detail or a mistake on my part, but I wasn't digging it. I ended up turning the banding onto the right side of the tank and top stitching in place to make the banding look smaller.
If I made it again, I would make the arm holes a little larger, and make it narrower across the shoulders and upper bust area, and also fix the arm banding issue from the start. I would also skip my length alteration, assuming I had enough fabric this time. I think my alteration caused the top to lose some of the beautiful drape that was meant to be in the top. Or maybe I would lengthen the entire top, seeing as my growing belly will need more fabric in the front. But overall, it was a quick easy make, and a very forgiving pattern because of the cut and fit!
A cabin in the woods, complete with sewing machines, hot tub, and more delicious food than you could ever eat in a week. If that sounds like a hot slice of heaven to you, that's because it is.
Once a year, in January, when the rush of the christmas season is over and the rush of prom season hasn't yet begun, my ASDP group (Association of Sewing and Design Professionals) spends 4 days at a selfish sewing retreat. There are around 8-12 of us, and we each bring our machines, and projects, and we each take a meal to be in charge of. That way we only have to cook once in the four days. Just going four days with fantastic home cooking that I don't have to do myself is heaven enough. We set up the ping pong table as a cutting station, and set up our machines in the beautiful sunroom, which got cozy enough that we ended up cracking open the windows even during an Indiana January!
I call this the Selfish Sewing Retreat because the one rule is that you cannot sew anything for clients. Which is pretty much the best rule I've ever heard. Because despite what you may think, owning a sewing business does not mean that I make all my own clothes. Ever heard the saying "The cobbler's children go unshod"? that pretty much sums up my wardrobe. I spend so much time sewing for my business that extra sewing is rarely on the list of things that I want to do after my work day. Even when I want to, my back sometimes has other ideas. You can only take so long sitting a sewing machine or leaning over a cutting table!
But once a year, I let myself off the work-sewing hook and become a completely selfish sewer. Honestly, I need to just start implementing this into my monthly schedule. Because it feels so good! And that way I won't be bringing the same project back to the retreat year after year because I still haven't found time to finish it (I think most of us ended up bring back a project from the last retreat haha).
I went this year with every intention of finishing up my wedding quilt (just like last year). Because it has been over 4 years now. Come on! So I only brought supplies for that one project. To keep myself from getting distracted. Fat chance!
Between the fabric scraps that Whitney brought me, and the patterns Diane and Cathy shared with me, I ended up coming home with two new maternity tops and three little baby garments. All out of scraps! The baby clothes are especially satisfying because they take up such a small amount of fabric that it is so easy to use up scraps this way! I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of baby clothes in my future. And there will be some blog posts soon about these makes :)
I did actually get some good work done on my wedding quilt... just not as much as I'd hoped. I'll just have to finish my quilt on my own this year. Or bring it back next January....we'll see.
creative business owner. designer. hoosier. crafter. runner. sewer. swing dancer. outdoor enthusiast. entrepreneur. wife. material hoarder.
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Madeline Stage email@example.com
"Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway."
- Earl Nightingale