Saturday, July 26, 2014

fun summer shorts!

I actually made these a few weeks ago and have just gotten around to photographing them. Aren't they cute?! Inspired by Oonapalooza I decided to work on the things in my "to-sew" queue that involved a fun, bright print, and so it bumped these fun shorts up to the top of the list! You know how sometimes you have so many sewing projects swirling around in your head that you can't pick and none of them get made? A project like Oonapalozza is great for those times as it gives you some criteria to help you get over that what-to-sew-next hump! I'm so glad, too, because they are really comfortable to wear, and just plan fun.

I used a PDF pattern by GreenStyle Creations called the Taylor Shorts, and some fun, bottom-weight fabric from the Joann's clearance rack with just a tiny bit of stretch. The pattern was purchased through a Bundle Up Sale hosted by Pattern Revolution. It was very easy to print and tape together, and the whole thing took an afternoon to make from pattern-printing to wearing!

I made a size 4 with the 2" inseam with no pattern alterations.... and they fit! Even in the butt! The only thing I would change next time is to take out probably an inch and a half from the front rise, but for this pair it's no big deal.

I ALMOST had the pattern matched perfectly!

The fly instructions seemed very clear... until I realized I had sewn everything only to one side of the opening... so they wouldn't close. I started to wing it at that point and ended up sewing the whole thing to both sides... so then it couldn't open! Third time I got it, and overall with very little unpicking. I used a couple of flap trouser hooks-and-eyes and a recycled zipper taken from the ankle opening of a pair of pants I shortened.

Overall, a great pattern that I would totally recommend to anyone wanting shorts! It comes in three inseams with nice pockets, and the instructions are great! (as I suspect if I had paid more attention the fly instructions would have worked out perfectly the first time...)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

best. sister. ever.

That's me.... BEST SISTER EVER... in case you didn't know. Why? Because I made my little sister this for her 26th birthday:

A cotton jersey, peacock feather, maxi-dress! With a racer-back!

The fabric is from This was my first experience with them. Their fabric is very affordable and the service is excellent. You can get up to four swatches free, just ask. The pattern is McCalls 6744. What's great about sewing for my sister is that I usually don't have to make any pattern adjustments. She is a perfectly proportioned for the most Big-4 patterns, and even the design height at 5'7". Despite out different heights and body shapes, we have about the same bust-waist-hip measurements, so I can make her dress right out of the envelope, try it on me and know what I'll need to adjust when I make a version for myself (navy with polka-dots maybe?). 

This dress is very easy, and you can get a maxi-dress out of just 2 yards of 60-wide fabric. The whole dress took me 3 hours, including cutting out the 4 pieces. The neck and arm holes are finished with a simple narrow hem; a breeze on stable, cotton jersey. I didn't measure, press or pin before stitching, just eye-balled it as I sewed and it came out pretty good!

My serger needs a new cutting blade, otherwise I totally would have done the side seams on it. Instead I did two lines of narrow zig-zag stitching then clipped my seam allowance close. 

I'm quite pleased and hope she is too! I suspect a cool cotton jersey maxidress will get a lot of wear when the days get hot in Philadelphia. And given the timing... would Oona approve of this make?

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Hey sewing/blogging friends! It's been a while! I wanted to let you all know that I haven't forgotten you, and to let you know what I've been up to in the last three weeks. Part of my blogging absence has been due to some sadness. Mr. Sew Rachel and I lost our very special pet Filbert to a difficult illness. He was such a little fighter! He will be very, very missed but I'm glad he doesn't have to fight it anymore. At the same time my grandfather took very ill, and the hardest part with that is the lack of answers regarding what the future holds. We are very close, so it's been tough stuff...

Filbert (grey) with his best buddy Parfait (tan) about 6 weeks ago when we first started fighting what started as a small ear infection. That wooden hidey-house in the background was his favorite hangout. 
It's been really nice to be able to sew during this time. I made my sister a neon, coral top out of the same rayon fabric I used for my 2nd Ella Tank. I used my McCalls 6751 pattern, adding about 4 inches of length to front by copying the shape from the Ella Tank hemline. Of course, it looks great on her! I also sent her some undies made from the Ohhh Lulu Grace Pattern and some awesome feather-print fabric.

She also sent me this picture the other day, rocking my first Ella Tank and the fold-over tote I made for her for Christmas! And the Grace Hipsters that you can't see :)

I have been working on a bombshell-inspired tankini, which originally I was altering a dress pattern to create. So I was pretty excited when Simplicity came out with pretty much the exact look I was trying to achieve!

I measure at size 14, which according the pattern showed the negative ease you want from a stretchy fabric, but when I stitched up the bust it was GINORMOUS! I took out about 4 inches all together from the side seams, and it's still too big. I sewed in some bust cups that I had cut out from an old bra... and still too big!

So I tried on the test garment I had started last year for modifying  Kwik Sew 3761, and found that this had more bust support without cups than the Simplicity pattern had with cups! Plus, the Kwik Sew pattern has separate bust lining pattern  (vs. just a second layer of ruched fabric the same as the main fabric) pieces which not only supply more support on their own, but are the perfect shape for sewing in swimwear cups. So I'm ditching S1374 and continuing with my original plan.

I've also been working some more on my project combining my fine-art practice and my sewing practice. I won't be fully revealing the project until early fall, but until then here's a sneak peak!



A hand-painted screen for printing, not yet dry!