Thursday, June 21, 2018

Finished Project: Swing Tank Dress


It's been almost a year since my last blog post. If you've been following along on Instagram, though, you know I've still been sewing and thrifting and drooling over vintage patterns since then.

Sunglasses: Target
Necklace: Anna Joyce
Sandals: Nisolo

I'm here today to document an easy, satisfying pattern mash-up I made recently. It's a twofer! All you need is the free Lago Tank (by Itch to Stitch) and the Ebony Dress (by Closet Case), which I happened to have received last year as a Christmas present.

From the shoulder seam to the armpit, this is the Lago Tank, and from the start of the side seam (just under the armpit) to the hem, it's a lengthened Ebony tunic. Well, I say "hem" but I did not bother hemming this -- just didn't feel like dealing with it, so I chopped it to the length I wanted once I was done with the very quick construction.

The fabric is a medium weight, stretchy performance/athletic knit, which would be good for leggings, but which I'd bought to make workout tops from FabricMart who knows how long ago (have I mentioned my ridiculous fabric stash?).  I sewed this up on my regular sewing machine, using a ball point needle, a zig-zag stitch for the seams, and a lengthened straight stitch to top stitch the neckline and armhole bands after they were inserted, since the openings are wide enough to not need to stretch a huge amount. I learned this technique while making the Nettie Bodysuit a while ago, and I find I like the look better than top stitching a tiny zig-zag for those parts.

I'm really loving wearing this dress! The swingy-factor makes this one fun to twirl in and super easy to wear (dress up or down! eat a huge meal! sit in a car or at your desk for hours!). It pairs conveniently well with my Blackwood Cardigans, being sleeveless, and even when I wear it alone, the back shoulders don't cut in too much, so my bra doesn't show like it does on other, more pronounced racer-back style tanks. It is easy to wear to work, or wherever.

You could definitely come up with this style without the Ebony (or another swing dress/tunic) pattern involved, I just liked knowing the shape I was creating wasn't way off base!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Too Much of a Good Thing?

The first time I came across a Rifle Paper Co. product, I think I audibly gasped. Maybe I was at Paper Source, or a stationary store ...or was it Anthropologie? I loved the style instantly and I'm sure I thought something like "FINALLY!-- A brand whose aesthetic perfectly matches my tastes!" (yes, these are how my thoughts sound).

I think my first purchase was a set of "thank you" cards. It was several years ago, back when they were mainly doing stationary and paper products, and were just starting to dip their toes into other accessories, like phone cases and small zippered bags. 

After that, as soon as I (also finally) jumped on the iPhone train, I got a Rifle Paper Co. phone case, and I would get the odd compliment on it, from other fans of the brand, who sometimes weren't even aware that the product existed. "I love your Rifle phone case! Where did you get it?!" I think the brand was still kind of flying under the mainstream radar at that point?

Over the past several years, I've gradually accumulated RPC stationary, greeting cards, calendars, coasters, art prints, cosmetics bags, phone cases, and anything else I could reasonably get my hands on. I just found myself in love with everything Anna created and I wanted to sprinkle it everywhere in my life.

It felt like the designs added a clever, interesting, artistic touch to my style. Modern yet retro, with enticing color schemes and a dash (but not too much) of whimsy. I loved it!

Like most sewers, back when I was re-entering the sewing world, as an adult (um 8 years ago?), a significant issue for me was finding fabric that I actually wanted to wear -- it needed to be interesting and cute, but also appropriate for garments. Not quilting cotton. Exploring online, and occasionally at JoAnn's, I found some suitable fabrics here and there that helped somewhat quench my thirst for eye-catching prints and colorful designs I could make into clothes.

I remember wishing back then, "If ONLY Rifle would design FABRIC." That would be amazing and I could then proceed to make ALL the clothing of my dreams, obviously.

When RPC eventually released their first fabric line, I was delighted. Hallelujah! I can make my own Rifle clothes! The possibilities are endless! My clothing will be unique AND exactly the style I want it to be. Also, rayon everything!  This is THE BEST!

I pre-ordered some Les Fleurs rayon as a birthday gift to myself and, once it showed up in the mail, I promptly tucked it away in my embarrassing fabric stash to await the perfect project. 

Somewhere along the way, before even cutting into the fabric, I started to feel less excited.

Over the past year or so, I found that clothing other bloggers and IG users made from the same, bold Rifle prints really started to feel boring and all the same to me, regardless of the actual style of the garment. Interesting details became invisible to me. The fabric appeared to be wearing the person, no garment even making a blip on my radar. It seemed like all I could see was Rifle fabric. Rifle, Rifle, Rifle, Rifle. 

Fast forward to present day. I now cringe as I scroll through Instagram (numerous times a day because I'm addicted). Rifle's latest (third? I've lost count) line of fabric is out and it feels like everyone's starting to use Rifle everything... yet again. (Also they offer Keds now, too?!) I can't escape it. It's like I'm suffocating in the pretty, painterly, detailed, perfect-color-combination, prints. It feels like too much

I didn't know that I could get sick of a style that seemed so well-suited to my own.

My beautiful periwinkle fabric is still siting in my stupid fabric stash and now I'm realizing I'm officially sick of all things Rifle Paper Co. I'm hoping to wait this out and fall back in love with my treasured cloth -- maybe next spring? 

I'm dismayed to admit I'm experiencing #RPCOverload and am totally burned out. How are you faring?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Finished Project: Carolyn Pajamas

Hi, friends! I'm marching right along (get it, it's March!) with sharing my backlog of yet-unblogged makes. Today, we have the Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case Patterns. I bought this pattern right when it came out because I've always loved classic PJ sets like this, and had just been debating pulling the trigger on some at J.CREW. Nope! I can make those! So, I (finally) actually did.

The fabric is a huge bed sheet I got at Goodwill. It's 100% cotton and feels great. The print is some kind of painterly style tropical setting amid trees and flowers with ladies holding parasols, standing before scenic views, sitting on benches, and little girls chasing little dogs. I have a bunch left, so I'm thinking about making matching long PJ pants, too. And also maybe long sleeve/pants Christmas PJs? Yes.

As you can see, I made the short sleeved top and shorts version. The shorts have a faux fly, which I like the look of and was happy to have Heather's well-written instructions for, since I'd struggled with that when I'd attempted to tackle (then abandoned) a Big-4 pattern with one, some time back in my sewing career.

By the time I'd actually gotten around to sewing up this pattern (a year... or years?) after impulsively purchasing it, I was under a self-imposed deadline to complete it before I left on a girls' trip to New Orleans for one of my best friends' bachelorette trip/celebration back in September. In the interest of time, I opted to omit the piping at the sleeve and shorts cuffs, as well as at the collar and center fronts. I even went so far as to skip the buttons and just stitched the front closed at a place that felt right. I personally never unbutton PJ tops anyway, but pull them on over my head, like a little kid. Yes, I also sleep with the teddy bear pictured. Adults can do whatever we want!

I don't have any super special construction notes and I did not make any real changes to the pattern, apart from skipping a couple aesthetic steps. I did somehow manage to line things up so that there is a big palm tree centered above my bum (when I'm not twisted sideways like in the above photo) and on the back collar, too. OK by me!

I wore these PJs all fall and have just recently started pulling them out again on warmer nights as spring edges nearer. I will definitely be making another set, just a matter of time (which could be a while because I'm easily distracted by new/shiny). Next time, if I use this fabric or fabric of a similar weight, I'll likely skip the interfacing, as it makes things around the neckline a bit bulky when I'm tossing and turning in bed. I actually like the look of only piping the pocket, but I've always wanted PJs with classic coordinating piping at the collar and cuffs, so I'm sure I'll try that at some point. So many PJs possibilities, so little time.