Ginger Made: Simplicity 1690 Crop Top + Gathered Skirt!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well! I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve blogged- it’s been a strange month and life sort of got in the way of blogging for a while. But it’s good to be back!

So, this month’s Mood Sewing Network project is a bit of a different one for me. I’ve been wanting a full, mint green skirt for the longest time and it’s finally warm enough to wear one! I chose a creamy cotton voile, thinking it would be nice and light for summer.

Simplicity 1690 | Ginger Makes

You don’t really need a pattern for a skirt this simple, but I was inspired by Pattern Runway’s free Easy Gathered Skirt- it has a flat front waistband with elastic at the back. I don’t usually like elastic waists, but it’s nice to have the adjustability (and the freedom to eat a big lunch without fear of popping a button or breaking a zipper).

Simplicity 1690 | Ginger Makes

Cotton voile is SO easy to sew- I love it! It’s not totally opaque, but I left it unlined- I can always wear a slip if I want to. It’s not too sheer to see the pockets through it, so that’s fine. Since it’s a light, fine fabric, I used silk pins inside the seam allowances and did a blind hem by hand. That’s it! Piece of cake.

Simplicity 1690 | Ginger Makes

Next up, the top. I was immediately attracted to this beautiful silk print. It’s such a great combination of colors! I’d planned to make a buttondown with this, but I changed my mind after seeing a few girls rocking the crop top + midi skirt look (check out the République du Chiffon Anne-Marie pattern! It’s got a fun hipster-does-80’s-mom vibe!). It’s a bit of a different look, but I thought I’d give it a try.

Simplicity 1690 | Ginger Makes

I used Simplicity 1690, a simple kimono top that I’ve made before, and shortened it by 7″ to create a crop top (it’s actually 9″ shorter than my first version, but I had lengthened that by 2″). Now that I’m looking at the photos, I think it needs to go a little shorter, even, so you can see the waistband of the skirt. I tried to carefully plan out the print placement, but I’m not certain I was successful. Ikat is tough, dude! It often ends up looking a bit too anatomically correct! Annoying!

Simplicity 1690 | Ginger Makes

I feel about 50% trendy and 50% frumpy in this look. I may try shortening the top even more to see if I like it better. If not, I’ll just mix the pieces up and wear them separately. I have a feeling the skirt will look super cute with my Nettie bodysuit! I am really loving easy-to-wear separates for summer this year, though. They’re a fun change of pace from sundresses!  How about you guys? What are you making these days? Any favorite summer trends?

OH- before I forget, here’s the winner of the Fashionary giveaway!

Excluding my replies and duplicate comments, there were 125 entries before the deadline. The winner was #28, Rox Guillemette!

I hear that- I ALWAYS want to jump ahead to the next new project! Rox, I’ll be in touch!

Ginger Made: The Rambo Project!

Hi, guys! I’m already giggling a little bit because this garment is pretty funny. A while back, Seamstress Erin asked me if I wanted to take part in The Rambo Project. You can read more about it on her blog, but in a nutshell, she received a box of old turbans, costumes from Rambo III, and sent them to a bunch of sewing bloggers so we could refashion them! I’m super excited about this! I love that we’re taking old, unloved items and reusing them, I love that there’s a Hollywood connection, and I love in particular that it’s to a schlocky action movie. I’m an action movie junkie, and I remember my dad watching Rambo on his Betamax player after I was in bed when I was a little girl. I tried to sneak peeks, but alas, he always caught me and sent me back to bed!

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes

I wanted to make something really over the top with this, since it was such a fun project. I had a vision of a shorts jumpsuit or little shorts with suspenders. I thought and thought and thought about how to accomplish this out of a scarf-sized strip of fabric, and started realizing that I was descending into one of my patented Ginger Overdoes It moments. I mean, I’m all in favor of overdoing it, but when you start having trouble sleeping because you’re trying to work out in your head how to cut out all your pattern pieces, you’ve probably gone too far. I decided to scrap that idea and keep it simple.

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes

The fabric is stretchy, very narrow, and had lots of holes and snags. It had a fun stripe on either end, and solid fabric in the middle (really should’ve taken a before pic!). I planned to utilize the stretch and make a fitted tank top, but it was looking very 1930’s men’s swimsuit-y and, well, that’s a bit too unisex, even for me!  I decided instead on my yoked Sorbetto Top hack.  This worked well with my limited amount of fabric and allowed me to have some fun with the stripe placement.

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes

I sewed this up much like the last version, splitting the front and back so I could have yokes and slashing and spreading the lower front bodice before gathering it into the yoke. But this time around I decided to skip the bias tape and finish it off with inner yokes. This makes the straps narrower and gives a more summery look to the top, which I like. It’s also about 1000x less fiddly than dealing with bias tape- win! Well, it helps if you don’t sew the yokes together in such a way that it’s impossible to turn them right-side out, but, you know, you win some, you lose some. It wouldn’t be a sewing project if I didn’t have to pull out the seam ripper at least once!

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes

All in all, this is super wearable! I know that I’ll snicker a little every time I put it on, which is an added bonus. Action movies hold a very dear place in my heart (I’ve seen Terminator 2 so many times that an old coworker had a t-shirt printed for me that reads “I’d rather be watching T2″, ha!), so I’m excited to combine two of my obsessions in one project! I’m also really looking forward to seeing the other turbans-turned-magical-garments as they pop up on blogs!

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes

 

Review + Giveaway: Fashionary Sketchbook + Tape Measure!

Hi, guys! I have a fun giveaway for you today, hooray!  Vikki from Fashionary contacted me to see if I would like to do a review and giveaway of the Fashionary Sketchbook, and you know I don’t like to turn down an opportunity to give away stuff on this blog!*  Vikki asked if I wanted to give away the classic women’s sketchbook, or the “Tiger Mania”. Um…

MEOW!

Please don’t laugh at my terrible sketches… or my stubby baby fingers… or my disgusting iron burn…

If you haven’t seen it before, the Fashionary Sketchbook is really cool. It was designed to make fashion sketching easier and quicker by printing the pages with faint outlines of models. You can trace/draw/paint over the outlines as you feel inspired! This is great for me- although I’ve always been into fine art, I’ve always been terrible at drawing, so this book helps my little sewing idea sketches look better. Also, I tend to doodle ideas on scraps of paper whenever inspiration strikes, but then I have weird loose papers stuffed into notebooks. This is a much more organized approach! I’ve been wanting to try one of these for a long time, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to test one!

The Fashionary also has a dictionary of fashion terms, tons of little drawings of different design details, and even a chart that tells you what the care symbols on RTW garment labels means! Those have always mystified me… so I choose to believe that they all say “Wash in one giant load on hot, dry everything together, and leave in the laundry basket for at least a week before folding”.

Vikki also sent me their tape measure to review. It’s a tape measure marked on one side with standard measurements for a woman’s size 38, and on the other for a men’s 48. It’s meant to aid you when you’re patternmaking or draping without a live model or a mannequin handy. This would be nice for a fashion student, but probably not very useful for most home sewers.  It’s interesting to look at, though, and might be fun for those of you who are into patternmaking.

I’m not really into sewing with a plan (well, I make plans, but they generally derail), but I’m enjoying jotting down garment ideas in my Fashionary. It feels more flexible than lists of garments, and it’s nice when you see something that you like and want to get it on paper before you forget it (I’m recently obsessed with a crisp striped shirt I saw on a chic elderly Manhattanite… it looked AWESOME and I wanted one just like it the moment I saw it).  So I’m looking forward to using this to collect my sewing ideas in one place.

I’m basically just typing in the word “crotch” here so I can disappoint a few perverts… or maybe hook them on the joy of sewing?

OK, if you wanna win your own TIGER MANIA (OMG, I LOVE IT!) Fashionary, let me know in a comment below! I’ll close the comments at noon EST on Friday 6/6 and pick a winner at random soon after. I’m happy to ship internationally, but I’ll probably send it the slowest/cheapest way. OK, do you use any kind of sketchbook? Do you like to plan your sewing in advance? How do you organize your ideas?

*NOTE: Actually, I do turn down giveaway offers. I love being able to give away free stuff to you guys, but I also want to make sure that they’re responsible products and things that my readers would be interested in (sometimes I get approached by sketchy RTW clothing companies or people with books that have nothing to do with garment sewing… that’s just not what we’re about over here).

Me-Made-May 2014 Round-Up!

Hey, there, buckaroos! Hope you all had a great weekend! I did, until the Blackhawks lost game 7 in OT, and now I’m a little crabby! :)

So, did you do Me-Made-May this year? If so, are you glad it’s over? For some reason it feels like such a difficulty to wear handmade clothes every day! I’m not much of a stylist, so I didn’t go to any great trouble putting together fancy outfits, but it still felt tough to wear something me-made all the time! I documented the month on my Instagram account, but I thought I’d share a quick pic roundup here on the blog now that it’s all over.  Here’s what I wore!

Day 1: Megan Nielsen Briar Top

Day 2: Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress

Day 3: McCall’s 6553, v.2

Day 4: Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt + Style Arc Romy Anorak

Day 5: Sewaholic Renfrew top (unblogged)

Day 6: Papercut Patterns Bellatrix Blazer

Day 7: Knit skirt from Workroom Social‘s pop-up class

Day 8: Papercut Patterns Petrouchka Top… you’ll just have to take my word for it!

Day 9: Tessuti Anita Ponte Pants

Day 10: Colette Patterns Sorbetto hack

Day 11: Colette Patterns Laurel dress

Day 12: Colette Patterns Sorbetto top

Day 13: Sewaholic Renfrew top (again)

Day 14: Grainline Studio Scout Tee, v.2

Day 15: Plaintain tee (again)

Day 16: Grainline Studio Archer Shirt

Day 17: Colette Laurel, v.2 + Megan Nielsen Virginia Leggings, v.2 (both unblogged, whoops)

Day 18: Bellatrix Blazer (again) + Victory Patterns Lola dress

Day 19: Papercut Patterns Anima Pants

Day 20: Cation Designs Dolman Top

Day 21: Megan Nielsen Briar Top (again)

Day 22: Tessuti Anita Ponte pants (again)

Day 23: Sewaholic Renfrew top (AGAIN) + Style Arc Romy Anorak (again)

Day 24: Republique du Chiffon Michelle Blazer

Day 25: Grainline Studio Archer Shirt (again)

Day 26: Papercut Patterns Petrouchka Top (again)

Day 27: Colette Patterns Hazel dress

Day 28: Plantain Top (AGAIN)

Day 29: Cation Designs Dolman Top (again)

Day 30: Republique du Chiffon Michelle Blazer (again)

Day 31: McCall’s 6553, v.1

Some Observations:

  • I wear jeans every day. Or rather, I wore them 21/31 days. I’ve never made a pair of jeans. I’ve been saying I need to sew a pair for a really, really long time now.
  • Because I wear jeans, I wear tops. I prefer to wear woven tops. I wore woven tops 5/31 days. I only have 4 me-made woven tops! Need more of those.
  • Related to that, I wear knit tops all the time, because they’re easy to wear with jeans. But I don’t like to wear them very much- I look over these photos, and the days that I really don’t like how I look, I’m wearing a knit top.  If it wasn’t Me-Made-May, I’d probably be wearing a RTW buttondown with my jeans most days. So I find myself wearing things that I don’t feel that good in because they’re handmade. Hmm.
  • Lots of the garments I wore this month were from patterns I’ve used more than once (10/31). That’s probably a good indicator that they’re wearable.
  • Wow, I’m really not a skirt girl! I only wore one once! It was a bit colder than usual this May, or there probably would’ve been a few more dresses in the mix, but I really prefer them to skirts.
  • This May I made four (4!) pairs of stretch/sweatpants (well, one went to my sister, so only three are in my wardrobe, but still!). This was partly because I was pattern testing, but also because I was tired of being dressed up on lazy/housecleaning days!
  • Confession: I didn’t wear my favorite garment, my Victoria blazer, because it was dirty… the entire month. :o
  • I thought I have a fairly cohesive style, but looking over the pics, I’m not really seeing it! Weird!

Well, that’s about all the thought I can put into this for the time being. What are your thoughts on the Me-Made-May experience? Any new conclusions?  What items are missing from your handmade wardrobe? What’s your favorite everyday look?

 

Dude Sewing: McCall’s 6044!

The unthinkable has occurred. I sewed something for Man Friend!!!

What? You didn’t think I’d ever get around to it?  I finally decided to use our anniversary two weeks ago as a firm deadline and I actually finished it in time!

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

This is the ubiquitous McCall’s 6044. There are so few sewing patterns for men, and even fewer of them are styles that Man Friend would wear. Luckily, this western-style buttondown is really close to what he likes in a RTW shirt. The pattern also includes options for a yoke-less, regular buttondown, with the option of short or long sleeves.

I’ve had this plaid flannel stashed for quite a while with the intention of making a men’s shirt with it. It was $5/yd at one of the cheap, small stores in the Garment District. I’m really not in love with it, although I like the colors- cheap flannel just doesn’t stay on grain at all! It stretched, sagged, and just generally made matching the plaid really unpleasant. Even after spending tons of time lining everything up, it doesn’t look all that great. Ugh!

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

I cut the front and back yokes, the pockets, cuffs, and the top button placket on the bias. I only had two yards of fabric, but I was able to squeeze all those pieces out with just tiny scraps remaining. So I cut the undercollar, the inner collar stand, and the inner cuffs from a contrasting fabric (the chambray-look flannel I used for my Meissa blouse).  I really like the subtle detail of the contrast, actually.

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

Just a little bit of contrast at the collar stand!

I cut a straight size medium and didn’t make any fit alterations (I treated this as a wearable muslin). I could probably narrow the shoulders just a touch, but other than that, the fit seems OK, or at least as good as his RTW shirts. Do you guys see any fit problems in these photos? I’m not very confident diagnosing them in men! The only changes I made were eliminating the pocket flaps (I sewed them on, but Man Friend didn’t love them), shaving 1/8″ off the undercollar and inner collar stand (this makes it easier to roll them to the inside), and adding tower plackets to the sleeves. I followed the Four Square Walls tutorial for sewing on the collar, and I sewed on the cuffs the exact same way.  This technique really makes sense to me.

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

Let’s talk about those tower plackets!  As drafted, the sleeves are two-piece, and you stop sewing the seam a few inches before the cuff edge so you can narrow hem the opening you’ve created instead of using a placket. That’s a simple way to construct a shirt and good for someone who’s intimidated by plackets, but I wanted it to look a little nicer. First I changed the two-piece sleeve to a one-piece (I just overlapped the pieces and taped them together), then I downloaded Lisa’s tower placket template instead of drafting my own (thanks, Lisa!!).  I have David Coffin’s Shirtmaking, the primer for techniques like this, but my reading comprehension must not be that great as I struggled to understand how I was supposed to sew it on.  Luckily, a Google search brought up a photo tutorial from the Colette Hawthorn dress sewalong, which really helped me to make sense of the process.  This would’ve all gone pretty smoothly, but I made an idiotic mistake that complicated things. You see, when you do things differently from the pattern instructions, it’s wise to make sure that your construction order will still be the same. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that it’s way easier to sew sleeve plackets when you haven’t yet sewed the sleeve seam, and I’d already sewn the seam, serged and topstitched it, set the sleeves in, and serged the armhole seams! I had to wrestle and wrestle and wrestle to get the placket sewn in with the sleeve closed, and it really wasn’t fun at all. Whoops!

My next dumb mistake was that I didn’t realize that adding a tower placket made the sleeve edge larger (since you’re sort of binding the edges of the slit you make, instead of turning them under and hemming like the pattern instructs you to do- does that make sense?), SO, when I went to attach the cuffs, I had to sew with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. Super scary! I realized later that I should have just increased the intake of the pleat to make the sleeve the proper size, but at the time I was too frazzled to think it through clearly. Live and learn!

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

Man Friend: “Whoa, it looks like I’m peeing!” It totally does.

After my great debacle with pearl snaps on my Archer shirt, several commenters mentioned the Snap Source snap setter as a better option. I ordered it and used it for the first time with this shirt. It’s a much easier process, and way less frustrating than the Dritz snap pliers (I’m not even going to link to them because I hate them and don’t recommend them at all). But I must not have been getting them on tightly enough or something because twice since I finished the shirt one side of a snap has pulled out of the fabric and I’ve had to fix it. I think the real solution here is to just use buttons! I used a button and buttonhole on the top collar stand button- I inspected his RTW shirts, and the ones with pearl snaps all had one button in that position.

I’m just glad I finally made something for Man Friend! He’s so supportive of my sewing, and it’s about time that I took the time to make something for him! He’s looking forward to the “real” version of this shirt, a blue and red plaid flannel that he picked out from Mood a few months ago (just a word of advice, ladies, if you take your fella into the fabric store, you MIGHT end up leaving with a bag full of fabrics for him and a whole bunch of crazy requests! I may have agreed to make him a pair of pinstriped dress pants… eek!). Next time around I’ll know what to look out for!

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

I had to tell an idiotic joke to get one real smile in the entire batch of photos!

Alright, let’s talk about dude sewing! What have you made for the men in your life? If you’re a sewing fella, what do you like to sew? Are there any patterns that you wish existed? Any favorite men’s patterns?

Ginger Made: République du Chiffon Michelle Blazer!

Hi, guys! Bon weekend! OK, so I suppose that after my last couple of posts you’re expecting me to be sporting some kind of muumuu this time around (wait, now I’m tempted to make one), but it’s back to my regular programming!

This month’s Mood Sewing Network project is a fun one! Now, I don’t wear much black, I never wear white, and I DO NOT wear black and white together. I just don’t! But for some reason, this print just called my name and I went with it!

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

This is a Theory poly-cotton blend, soft and with lots of drape, that I found at Mood Fabrics NYC.  I knew immediately that I wanted to make a statement blazer with it, and I thought the black and white would be fun for spring paired with bright colors. I also thought I would make a pair of matching pants, buuuuuuuuut I made a mistake that involved recutting a couple of crucial pieces, so I don’t think I have enough fabric leftover now.  Ah well, no use crying over spoilt ikat!

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

Could you tell there were pockets?

I picked out the new Michelle pattern from République du Chiffon, a French company with really fashion-forward designs. It’s an easy-wearing, boyfriend-style blazer with a shawl collar and patch pockets (there’s even a teeny-tiny chest pocket!). It’s an oversized style, which probably isn’t the most flattering shape for me, but it keeps things casual for everyday wear.  I can’t say enough about my love for RDC!  Geraldine’s designs are super, super cool and I kinda want to buy every single one of ‘em.

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

I spent approximately 1000 years matching up the print at all the seamlines. I cut everything out in a single layer to make and used my walking foot to keep things lined up. It takes time, but the results are worth it. It’s never perfect, but it’s good enough for me- the patch pockets are nearly invisible, and the center back seam is pretty closely matched. But I’ll tell you a little secret: I picked out a lovely silk ikat print for the lining, and after spending an unbelievable amount of time matching up the jacket shell, I just didn’t feel like matching the lining, so I opted for a grey silk from Chic Fabrics. Sometimes you just need a break from all that detail!

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

I really enjoy sewing blazers- every time I try a new pattern, I learn new techniques! They’re just so fun to sew! However… this was one of the most difficult projects I’ve taken on in recent months. It wasn’t because of the style, or because of the fabric, but because the instructions for this pattern are entirely in French (and there are only a couple of illustrations)! My rudimentary French was stretched to the max, and I spent LOTS of time with my handy French-English dictionary! Wow, what a brain workout!  Luckily, Geraldine posted a step-by-step photo tutorial right before I started working on this. It was invaluable! If you make this, be aware that the photo tutorial uses a different construction order than the pattern instructions call for, so don’t get tripped up by that.  I really like the results of the photo tutorial.  This is the nicest, cleanest finish I’ve ever had in a blazer!

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

Center back seam looks pretty good…

I don’t usually gravitate towards poly-cotton for blazers, but I really liked how it worked for this project- it’s not stiff, it doesn’t crease or wrinkle, but it’s still easy to press. Perfect!  I’m not 100% sold on the oversized shoulder look on me, but that’s not enough to keep me from loving this.

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

OMG, a tiny little pocket for all my itsy treasures!

I’m a complete blazer addict! I just love how they can dress up any outfit! I really like making statement blazers- they’re so fun to wear! I’m especially excited about this one since it’s a little outside the box for me. I’m looking forward to finding ways to pair this with clothes in my wardrobe.

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

How about you? How do you like to wear blazers, if at all? And how do you like to style and accessorize black and white garments? What’s on your sewing table?

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

Have a wonderful weekend, especially if you’re in the States and have a three-day weekend ahead! And a very happy wedding day to Nic and Roisin!!!

 

Ginger Made: Papercut Patterns Anima Pants!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all having a great day!  Like many of you, I’m participating in Me-Made-May this year, and it’s revealed some holes in my handmade wardrobe. I find myself looking much dressier in May than any other month of the year just because my handmade clothing tends to be on the nicer side! I love having an excuse to run errands in the neighborhood wearing a dress and high heels and just generally feeling and looking like a total boss, but sometimes I just want to walk the dogs and/or watch Law & Order re-runs (let’s face it, the Briscoe/Logan pairing is the best) in sweatpants. So the release of the new Papercut Patterns Anima Pants was really welcomed Chez Ginger!

Papercut Patterns Anima Pant | Ginger Makes

I definitely didn’t know I looked this gross, but I’m completely invested in journalistic integrity so you’re stuck with my ugly pics! ;)

I was a tester for this pattern, and I don’t want to congratulate myself TOO much, but I picked out kind of the best fabric ever for this. I found a remnant on the end of the bolt at Mood, a 100% cotton, super squishy, super thick, RIDICULOUSLY soft knit. It feels like, I dunno, wearing a cloud? It’s so soft and amazing that I never want to wear real pants again! I knew I’d made a good choice when Markese at Mood unrolled the bolt and got upset that he couldn’t reorder the fabric.

Papercut Patterns Anima Pant | Ginger Makes

Since this fabric is really dense, a ballpoint needle wasn’t working right on it, so I used a universal needle and a zigzag stitch. I don’t know what’s going on with me right now, but I’ve been sewing all my knits on the sewing machine instead of my serger. Sometimes I feel like serged seams can be a little scratchy (maybe it’s my thread?), so I wanted to just zigzag this one. The seams pressed open beautifully and seemed to magically meld into position. MAGIC FABRIC, DUDES! I want MORE! Wahhhhhhh!

I really like that these pants have pockets. I often skip them in dresses, but with my Anita ponte pants, I regretted not having them every time I walked the dogs or ran out for a coffee when I didn’t have anywhere to put my wallet or keys. So these pockets are great! I stabilized the openings with my new knit stay tape, Extremely Fine Fusible Knit Stay Tape from SewKeysE. I wish I’d started using knit stay tape sooner- it’s really, really great.

Papercut Patterns Anima Pant | Ginger Makes

The downside of this thick knit is that, holy crow, my sewing machine did NOT want to make buttonholes on it. I stabilized the wrong side behind the buttonholes with regular interfacing first, and even that wasn’t enough. They really look disgusting. Maybe next time I will use a grommet instead- it couldn’t be worse than these awful, awful buttonholes!  I also didn’t have fun stitching through the elastic on the waistband. My machine wasn’t loving it and the results are a little sloppy, but hey, I’m making sweatpants, not a wedding gown, so, you know, whatevs.

Papercut Patterns Anima Pant | Ginger Makes

There’s a drawstring waist with a channel for a waist tie, but I used a fun neon yellow elastic from SIL Thread instead of a shoelace-style tie. I’ll be honest- I bought the elastic because it had a fun cartoon of a gecko with a long tongue on it and lots of Japanese writing, so I’m not really sure what it’s meant for, but, gecko!  It’s stretchy, so I can leave it tied and it stretches to fit when I slip the pants on or off. Yay!

Papercut Patterns Anima Pant | Ginger Makes

The pants are finished with a cuff, which I really like. You might want to check the length before you get started if you don’t like the blousy effect of the pants scrunching up at the cuff, but I think that looks cute. I’m 5’6″, just for reference, so you can see the length on me.  One thing to keep in mind when you’re finishing with cuffs is the stretch of your fabric.  If you’re using a really stable knit with very little stretch, you may need to cut your cuffs a little wider.  You don’t want them to be too tight!  Also, I am a size larger in the waist than I am in the hips, so I chose the larger size, just in case my fabric wasn’t stretchy enough.  This seemed to work- I’m happy with the fit.  These are about the easiest pants you could sew!

Papercut Patterns Anima Pant | Ginger Makes

I guess it’s bad that I really love these, but it’s nice to be able to wear me-mades and still feel like my usual trashbag casual self.  I’ll try to take these off from time to time and actually wear real clothes… but I won’t make any promises.

Oooh, I keep forgetting to announce the winner of the Nettie giveaway! After excluding folks who didn’t want in and my own comments, there were 150 entrants. The winner was #78…

Amy of Sew Well! Congrats, Amy! I’ll have the pattern to you by the end of the day!

Alright, confession time: what do you wear when you’re lounging around the house?  Do you wear fluffy skirts and lipstick when you walk the dogs, or do you put on a baseball cap so hopefully the neighbors won’t recognize who it is still in pajamas at 11AM?

Ginger Made: Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank!

Hey there, party dudes! Hope you all had a great weekend!  Today I have something a little bit different to show you- exercise wear!  Before we get started, I’ll just warn you that you’re about to see some pasty white limbs… it’s been a long winter!

When Katie at Papercut Patterns asked me to test her new collection, I was really excited.  I guess I’m a bit of a shallow person, but I hate working out in old t-shirts.  I’m already red and sweaty- I definitely don’t need frumpy, disgusting clothes to make me look even worse!  But I’m also a bit of a cheapskate and don’t want to pay premium prices for things I’ll only wear to run in.  So this collection really addresses a wardrobe gap for me.  (Sidenote: Melissa at Fehr Trade has a nice collection of workout clothing, too, if that’s something you’re interested in, but I don’t like to wear super fitted clothes for running.  But if you do, check out her patterns!)

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

Seems like a regular tank top…

The Pneuma Tank is a sports bra with attached tank panels.  You can make it as just a sports bra, too, but I like having more coverage when I run.  From the front it looks like a regular tank, but there are openings at the side and back that show the bra underneath.  The pattern is available as a paper pattern or as a PDF, which is nice, since Papercut Patterns were previously only offered as hard copies.

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

… but what’s that peeping out?

I used a nylon-spandex blend from Spandex House for the bra, which gives nice compression.  It takes just a tiny amount to cut out the two pattern pieces, about 18″ x 18″!  You could make a matching bra from leftover scraps any time you make a pair of leggings!  I love that it uses so little fabric!

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

Why, it’s neon leopard!!!

The pattern calls for bra strapping instead of fabric straps, which is a cute touch.  I chose this fun pink color from Pacific Trimming and used less than two yards of it.  The jersey I used is thicker than what I should have used, but I wanted to use up something from my stash (it’s some sort of double knit from Mood Fabrics, leftover from my very first knit garment, this Renfrew top!) and I had just enough to make this.  It’s a little bit bunchy right under the straps where it’s gathered and stitched to the bra- using a regular-weight jersey would solve this problem.

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

Sewing this is really straightforward.  I stitched it up on my sewing machine, using a stretch needle for the bra portion and a regular ballpoint needle for the tank part.  The tank openings are just turned and stitched, and the bra openings are finished with elastic.  It’s nice to be able to decide how tightly you want the bra to fit around your rib cage so you can really customize the fit.  Mine is supportive enough that I can run in it, but I have a small chest, so may not work for running if you need more support.  This would also be nice in a softer fabric like a cotton-lycra for lower-impact activities like yoga.  You could even sew this up as a swimsuit top!

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

It’s a little tricky to get into the top without twisting up the straps, but that’s easily sorted out.  One thing I’ll be keeping an eye on is the stretch recovery of the bra strapping.  I can imagine it stretching out over time, which could be annoying, but the straps are the last things you add to the tank, so you could go back and shorten them easily if you needed to.

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

I’m excited to have some fun with my workout wardrobe, so I’d like to make a few more of these!  Since I used stash fabric for the tank, I only used about $6 worth of fabric and elastic for this top, a far cry from what stores like lululemon charge!  I’m going to keep an eye out for nice stretch mesh- wouldn’t that be breezy for sticky summer running?

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

Love the curved hem!

Now all I need is motivation to run! Last year I really enjoyed running, but this year I’m struggling to force myself to do it.  I’m having a really hard time getting up early enough to run and shower before the dogs need to go out.  Any tips or tricks from my running readers?  Or are there other kinds of exercise that you prefer?

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

This is a stretch, right?

*Bonus points to Kat for pointing out that the names of the pieces in this collection (Anima, Soma, and Pneuma) mean Mind, Body, and Soul.  Deeeeeeeefinitely did not know that.  Can we just blame my ignorance on the American public education system?

 

Ginger Made: Anita Ponte Pants!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re having a great week!  I started out this month swamped with projects. Between pattern testing commitments, lack of focus, and ill-advisedly cutting out multiple projects at once, my sewing space was trashed and I felt completely overwhelmed. I finally forced myself to sit down and start working through some unfinished projects and I feel much better now! I’ve still got a few to go, but at least I’ve made some headway!

Tessuti Anita Ponte Pants | Ginger Makes

These pants were one of the oldest unfinished projects in my collection- I’ve had them sitting around for over a year!  All I needed to do was hem them and add the waistband- I just got scared of using my twin needle and left them unfinished! Silly! (Sidenote: don’t be scared of the twin needle! It’s really straightforward! Check out Marie‘s tips here if you’re new to using one!)

Tessuti Anita Ponte Pants | Ginger Makes

The pattern is Tessuti’s Anita Ponte Pant, a PDF pattern. They’re a step up from leggings, which I like, but they’re still really casual, so I’ll probably only wear them around the house. I made a size 6, and the only change I made was to lower the rise by about 2″ as the waist is higher than I like as drafted.  The pattern is really, really easy to sew and really quick.

Tessuti Anita Ponte Pants | Ginger Makes

The fabric I used is a fantastic glazed ponte from Mood Fabrics NYCCarolyn convinced me to buy it when we were shopping together one day, and warned me that I would regret it if I didn’t.  Now I regret that I didn’t buy more!  Here’s the sad story: I was a total dope, and I tossed it in the washer and dryer to pre-treat it. I stupidly didn’t realize that the heat of the dryer at my laundromat might affect the finish, and much of the glaze was gone after I pulled it out of the dryer! Ugh!  So the fabric isn’t quite as cool as it was before, and the pants are more boring than I’d planned, but I still like them.

Tessuti Anita Ponte Pants | Ginger Makes

I’m glad I finished these in time to wear them for Me-Made-May! I’m sure they will get lots of wear! And I’ll be on the lookout for cool ponte prints to make more of these!

Tessuti Anita Ponte Pants | Ginger Makes

Alright, confession time- do you have any unfinished garments that just need a little work before they’ll be wearable? Are you scared of any new sewing techniques?  What’s keeping you from finishing up lingering UFOs?

Tessuti Anita Ponte Pants | Ginger Makes

Lots of stretch, in case you get caught up in a street fight and need to kick somebody in the neck!

Ginger Made: Nettie Bodysuit x2 + Giveaway!

Readers, I’ve gone down the bodysuit rabbit hole. In my defense, it’s not entirely my fault. When a favorite blogger/seamstress (Heather) makes a hot new pattern inspired by another favorite blogger/seamstress (Wanett), I’m basically hooked. Add to that the fact that everyone who’s made one looks super-duper mega-sexy, and, well, I couldn’t help myself.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

Just in case you haven’t seen the pattern yet, this here is the Nettie bodysuit.  For my first version, I chose the scoop neck/medium scoop back/short sleeves combo, and used a soft, stretchy cotton-lycra blend from Mood Fabrics NYC. This fabric was crazy easy to sew, and feels amazing on. I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern, but sewed up a straight size 8 and it totally works.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

Action shot!

I sewed this entirely on my sewing machine, using a narrow zigzag stitch (1.5mm wide x 2.5 mm long) for seams and a slightly wider zigzag (2.5mm wide x 2.5mm long) for topstitching. Yes, I have a serger, but sometimes serged seams feel kind of scratchy to me, and I definitely didn’t want something this close-fitted to be itchy. So if you want to try this but don’t have a serger, don’t be afraid! Dive right in!

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

I tried to use a scrap of silk as the crotch lining, but I just couldn’t get it ironed into a nice, clean rectangle, so I scrapped that and used some grosgrain ribbon that I had lying around that happened to be the right width. This is probably a little stiffer than desired, but it works and the snaps are concealed nicely.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

I never, never, NEVER wear anything this fitted (honestly, I just don’t wear fitted knits… negative ease WHAT?!), but I feel really comfortable in this.  When I slipped this on and added the skirt (it’s from American Apparel and I’d had it in my wardrobe for YEARS, but haven’t worn it much because I just don’t have anything that looks right with it) I suddenly felt so, so chic. I immediately thought of Sophia Loren and started swanning around like a crazy person, much to Man Friend’s chagrin. I don’t know why, but the scoop neck and back just make me feel so feminine and pretty, in a weird dress-up way (WHICH I’M TOTALLY FINE WITH).

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

So, I fell in love and immediately wanted another Nettie in my life.  This is where things went off the rails a bit.  I made a trek to Spandex House, lose my mind completely, and bought an armload of very questionable prints. I mean, I think I did pretty good considering that I didn’t come back with any jewel/bullet/glacier/pot leaf/French fries/guns AND roses/skeletons on surfboards prints when I had the option for all of those.  I stand by my choices and love them all, but I’ve officially entered Man Repellant territory.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

I chose my favorite print of the bunch (you can find it here if you’re desperate for the same print) to dive into and sewed up another version, this time swapping out the long sleeves for three-quarter length. This is a four-way stretch nylon-spandex blend, so it definitely feels less like normal clothes and more like weird sportswear (I keep rubbing my belly when I wear this because I feel like I’m petting a marine mammal or something).  It definitely feels tighter and less breathable.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

I sewed up this puppy on the regular sewing machine, making sure to use a stretch needle (rather than a ballpoint). I used a scrap of cotton in a coordinating color for the lining, which worked really well.  It was a super quick sew and again I didn’t need to make any adjustments.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

Something to think about when you’re sewing up something like a bodysuit is the stretch of the fabric. This is probably pretty obvious for most people, but if you’re new to sewing with knits, you may not realize how much fabric choice affects the fit.  I sewed both of these in the same size and modeled them on the same day, but the printed one feels much tighter than the other because of the varying amounts of stretch in the fabric. If you’re on the fence about if your fabric is stretchy enough, definitely refer to Heather’s post about fabric here. You don’t want to waste time sewing something you feel sausaged into!

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

One thing I’m not happy about with this bodysuit is the styling. I planned to wear this with my grey Moss mini skirt, but I forgot how low the skirt sits on my hips. It looked completely silly with it! I’m really not loving this with my tight jeans, but I’m not sure how else to wear it! Should I make a skirt similar to my AA skirt (worn with the blue bodysuit)? Or wear it with wide-leg jeans, definitely running the risk of looking SUPER 90’s? Sallie’s bodysuit/jeans pairing looks super sexy, but it’s just not working on me.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

A word of warning: as I alluded to before, this sort of garment elicits STRONG feelings from the menfolk in my life. I got the worst review ever from Man Friend:

“It’s a monstrous garment. It’s not your fault. No one should want to wear it… unless you’re about to ride the pommel horse in the 1996 Atlanta games”.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

Monstrous? You meant fabulous, right?

Which, PSHAW, everyone knows that only dudes use the pommel horse, so, I mean, who’s obviously wrong here?  Of course, it’s no secret that Man Friend Criticism (MFC) just empowers me to go as far as I can in the direction of the loud, tacky, and generally ridiculous, so bring it on, mister!  #CLOTHESBEFOREBROS

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

In other news, today is my third blogiversary! I never thought three years ago when I wrote my first post that anyone would be interested in reading my blog, and I definitely didn’t know how passionate I would become about sewing! Thank you so much to everyone who reads my blog, to everyone who blogs, and to all of y’all who just generally make the internet a happier, sweeter, and more well-dressed place! You guys are the best!

Also, as I was typing this up today, I noticed that this will be my 200th post! Dang, I talk a lot! So, I think a giveaway’s in order, huh?  Leave a comment below if you’d like to win your own copy of the Nettie bodysuit! Because I’m nosy, tell me what fabric you would use for your Nettie!  I’ll choose a winner at random on Friday, so I’ll close the comments at 12PM EST on Friday 5/16. Yay!

So tell me- bodysuits, yay or nay? And wild prints- yes? No? Maybe? How would you style a bodysuit?

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

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