Happy New Home!

Hi, guys! Welcome to my new home! I’m hoping to make the transition really smooth, but I definitely don’t know what I’m doing, so please bear with me! Bloglovin should be sending everyone over here automatically, but if you guys notice anything weird like duplicate posts, please let me know!

Also- I wanna talk for a minute about my new logo! My friend Dana Wulfekotte is a really talented illustrator and animator (and knitter!!), and I’ve long admired her animal drawings. So when I thought about doing a new logo, I knew right away I wanted to commission some work from Dana. I really, really love it, and if you guys do, too, you should check out her Tumblr and her Instagram. I smile every time one of her drawings pops up in my IG feed!

Thanks for your patience and for putting up with any strangeness during the move. Hopefully everything will be back to normal in a day or two. :)

Ginger Made: Alder Shirtdress, v. 2!

Guys, I’m addicted to this pattern! As soon as I finished my first version of the Alder Shirtdress, I cut out a second one, this time in a treasured print! This is a Vlisco cotton that’s been in my stash for nearly a year, just waiting for the perfect project! Sadly, this particular print is sold out, but there are tons of gorgeous ones just waiting for you (look at this beauty!!! LOOK AT IT!!! Just don’t look at the price… I’d have to sell an organ to pay for this fabric, but WOW, it’s lovely!)

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

Part of the reason this fabric has been in my stash so long is that it’s such a large-scale print. It really looks cool when it isn’t broken up, but it’s a little challenging to use in a garment. I thought this pattern would be a nice one for it, but now that I’m looking at the photos, the effect in the front of the dress is kind of dizzying. There’s just a little too much going on! If I’d thought of it in time, I would’ve changed this up to make it a popover (instead of buttoning all the way down) to dial back the chaos. Since I didn’t do that, I may go back and remove the pockets. I like the pocket detail, but the dress looks so busy!

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

I really like the back, though! Seriously, look at the size of that starburst pattern! Crazy! I love it so much!

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

OK, here’s another nitpicky thing- I didn’t notice in my first version, but I’m getting some bubbling in the front high bust area. I probably need to adjust the pattern to fix that, but I felt like the shoulders fit well, so I’m not 100% sure what to do there. It’s not a huge problem, but I should probably work it out before I cut #3 out.

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

I decided to try a different method of finishing the armholes, but it didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. I shouldn’t have strayed from the instructions! Other than that, I didn’t change anything in my construction. I forgot to mention last time, but I followed Andrea’s collar construction order- that’s become my default process for collars!

Pug belly!!!!!

I’m forcing myself to set this pattern aside (long enough to make a shirt for Man Friend, at least), but I’m really tempted to go straight into version #3! It’s true love!

Peggy says hi!

What are you guys sewing? Anything fun?

 

 

Ginger Made: Alder Shirtdress!!

It’s official. This is my new summer uniform!

Guys, I’ve been looking forward to the release of this pattern since I heard rumors that it was coming (in fact, I crushed hardcore on the original version of this dress in Jen’s rtw line, Hound). It’s the Alder Shirtdress from Grainline Studio, and it’s just the perfect summer dress! There’s even a lovely print version for the PDF-averse! When I heard the launch date was in July, I picked out fabric for my July Mood Sewing Network project, then waited semi-patiently for the pattern to be released! I’m not even kidding when I say that knowing this pattern would be waiting for me on my return helped me to avoid post-vacation depression (that and seeing the pugs again, of course).

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

I’ve really been going crazy with prints lately, so I decided on a nice navy instead for my first go at the pattern. Navy is my go-to neutral color- it’s not as harsh on my pale skin as black, but it’s still pretty chic, in my opinion- and when I found this shade in a crisp cotton pique, I was over the moon! (This Japanese cotton pique looks exactly like the one that I used, although I picked mine up in-store at Mood Fabrics NYC).

Look at that great texture! It reads a little sporty in person, in a courtside-seats-at-a-tennis-match kind of way.  The fabric has lots of body and not much drape, so it really gives you a crisp a-line shape in this dress. It’s really, really breathable, a must for a summer dress! It’s a medium weight and it’s nice and opaque, so it doesn’t need a lining- perfect!

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

OK, back to the pattern. This is view A, and it’s a really fun sew! It’s like making a buttondown shirt, but without having to set in sleeves or worse, sew the sleeve plackets! It’s a simple silhouette, but it’s got nice lines, and the drafting is great. Not to geek out too much, but the armscyes are just the perfect depth! Not too low, not too high- just right!

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

I sewed a straight size 4 without any alterations (my bust is a 4 and my hips are a 0, so there’s a bit more ease there than there would be if I graded between sizes, but I decided just to sew it up and see how I felt about it). I don’t mind the additional fulness at all. You get a nice clean finish if you follow the pattern instructions. There’s an inner yoke to clean finish that seam and the armholes are finished with bias binding. The side seams are the only exposed seams, so I serged them, but I would use French seams on thinner fabric for a completely immaculate finish.

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

There’s a subtle difference between the right side and the wrong side of this fabric, so I was careful to mark all the wrong sides with chalk. Isn’t it annoying when you forget to do that and you end up with one part of your garment that’s just a little different than the rest? Ugh! Other than that, I didn’t use any special techniques! This was a really straightforward project. :)

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

Overall, I’m really happy with my new dress! Quite a few of my other dresses are just a little too flashy for wearing around the neighborhood or even to work (ummmmmmmmm PIRANHAS, I’m looking at you!), but this is just right. It’s nice to have a basic dress in my closet.

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

But don’t worry- I haven’t completely reformed! In fact, I’ve already cut out a second Alder in a gaudy large-scale print. Mwahahahahahaha!

This was the exact moment when an SUV full of beach-going ladies pulled up next to me and one of them shouted, “Work it, girl!” A second later they turned up their dance music and Man Friend laughed so hard he almost fell over.

What’s on your sewing table right now???

Ginger Made: Belladone, v.3 (Or, the “I Call the Big One Bitey” Dress of Maximum Happiness)

Duuuuuuuuuuuuudes! I like this dress very much. Very, VERY much. IT HAS PIRANHAS ON IT. I felt completely and totally exuberant the moment I put it on!  Can you tell?

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

But let’s back up for a minute. So, if you’ve been involved with the sewing community for a while, you probably know that people who sew are some of the kindest, best, most generous people around. True story! I’ve made so many wonderful friends through this here blog that have come to mean so much to me, and even though I know sew-y types are amazing, I’m STILL continually surprised by their kindness. Just one recent example: I commented on Mary‘s Sweden-inspired dress post that I had a trip to Stockholm planned, and the lovely and sweet Naomi Molly emailed me a gazillion tips about her town. Man Friend and I have enjoyed SO much good food, window shopping, and delicious coffee this week thanks to her expert recommendations. Take it from me- people that sew are amazing!

Deer & Doe Belladone Dress | Ginger Makes

In that vein, this AMAZING fabric was a gift from Jennifer. I skipped the #NYLon2014 trip because of the aforementioned trip to Sweden, but Jenny saw this fabric in London, thought it was my style, (should I be worried about this, readers? Heeheehee!) and grabbed some for me as a surprise. How awesome is that?! I can’t even tell you how much I love this fabric, dudes! But I especially treasure it since it was a gift from a friend.

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

Here’s the thing: I know that it’s easier for me than most to get to know other people who sew since there are quite a few who live here in the city, and even more who trek here for visits from all over the world (it’s a perk of living here that I remind myself of every time NYC gets me down). But, I’m guessing no matter where you live (OK, except for maybe you, Em!), there’s SOMEONE in your area who sews (and if not, internet friends are awesome, too!). I think I’m one of only a few major extroverts in the sewing community, but even if it’s a struggle for you to make the first move, I really encourage you to reach out and get to know someone who shares your passion. It’s really worth it! It’s just so energizing to spend time with other creative people. So, if you’re feeling too shy, nervous, or busy to connect with other people, but deep down you’d like to get to know someone, I really encourage you to take a small step today. Tweet about your next project! Email someone to tell them how much you like something they made! Offer to walk a friend through an easy sewing project! You can do it!

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

OK, I’m done cheerleading. FOR NOW. Let’s talk dress! When Jenny gave me the fabric, I wasn’t sure what to make, but I knew it needed to be good! Oona suggested I make the Belladone dress since I really love the pattern, and I loved the idea! So this is my third Belladone (here’s #1 and here’s #2)! I just love this pattern. It’s so cute and wearable!

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

I didn’t really do anything differently than I did on round 2. I stabilized the bias edges of the back cut-out with Hug Snug (I bought two rolls from ZipperStop ages ago and it lasts FOREVER) to keep them from stretching out like I did last time, and I just serged all the seams (no lining this time around). I love how easy it is to sew a garment from a pattern you’ve made before!

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

I didn’t bother matching the print since it’s so random, but I did place the pattern pieces on the fabric carefully to feature my favorite dudes. I also lined up the waistband pieces so the waistband would be a row of ferocious teeth, which is fun, but probably not too noticeable. I made yards and yards of matching bias tape- not my favorite thing to do, but I like how it looks.

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

So yeah. That’s the story of this dress! It’s a fun, fun, fun dress, and it will always be extra special to me. Thank you, Jenny, and thanks to all the rest of you for being so supportive, kind, and generous. Now, tell me! Have you made any friends since you began sewing? If so, was it easy for you to reach out and make friends? What tips would you give to someone who’s looking to make friends? Have you ever received an awesome sewing-related gift?

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

 

Meet the New Baby: Juki TL-2010Q!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well! I’m traipsing around Iceland at the moment, but I thought I’d share a little review of my new machine with you while I’m away. I’ve had my new Juki TL-2010Q for several weeks and have constructed quite a few garments on it.  There are already a few reviews of it online, but most seemed to be written by quilters and I thought a garment sewing perspective on this machine might be useful to someone who’s considering this guy.

So, long story short, this machine is entirely Oona‘s fault. I visited Sew-Right in Bayside, Queens with her when her machines were on the fritz, and friends, I had NO intention of buying a new machine. NONE. I was just there to play with a Bernina or two and to gab about sewing! I’d heard the Thread Cult podcast episode, “Boost Your Sewing Machine IQ” with Harvey from Sew-Right and was intrigued to visit the shop. I expected to be completely blown away by the Berninas as I’d always heard so much about them, but nothing really clicked for me (although the Bernina 350 Special Edition made a buttonhole so beautiful it nearly brought tears to our eyes… you guys, it was ART). What DID click was this machine! I placed my foot on the pedal and was smitten! I tried fabric after fabric on it, placing layer upon layer of thick denim under the presser foot, and he chomped away happily! Impressive! I managed to tear myself away from the machine, thought about it for about a month, and did some research to see if I really wanted it. I noticed in a photo on Cloth Habit that Amy owns this Juki, too, so I sent her a long, annoying email with many, many questions, and after her kind reply, I knew this was the machine for me!

Juki TL-2010q | Ginger Makes

So, some facts about the machine: it’s a straight-stitch semi-industrial. What this means is that it only does straight stitches- no zigzags, no buttonholes, no fancy stretch or embroidery stitches. It’s also much, much faster than the average home machine (about 150% faster). This thing is FAST, like an industrial, but doesn’t take up as much space (and isn’t as loud). It has a speed control lever, though, so you can cap the speed if you’re worried about getting used to it (or letting a child or newbie sew). Also, it has a knee lever to raise the presser foot and a thread cutter (for both needle and bottom thread) in the pedal- you just press with your heel and it cuts the thread. Between the knee lever, thread cutter, and faster stitching, I feel like I whiz through garments now!

Juki TL-2010q | Ginger Makes

This machine is a BEAST. It’s a SOLID machine, and is insanely heavy, so it doesn’t shake at all when sewing. It topstitches beautifully, and stitches together garments really quickly. Mary Ann at Sew-Right uses it to sew bags, and I can see why- it has no problem getting through thick fabric (I tested it with six layers of heavy denim and it sewed without complaint). It comes with a MASSIVE extension bed- good for big projects, but a bit too big for my workspace- and several feet, including a walking foot, a zipper foot, and a 1/4″ foot (dudes, this makes topstitching super easy). I love that it comes with the walking foot- I love using one, and buying them separately is annoying. It uses Juki industrial feet, which are really cheap, so that’s nice.

On the negative side, this probably isn’t a good stand-alone machine for garment sewers. Like I said before, it’s straight stitch only, so if you want to sew knits/buttonholes/etc, you have to use another machine. I’ve been really happy with my basic Janome mechanical, but have wanted something heavy duty as a second machine, so this really fits the bill, but I couldn’t have just this machine. It’s been a nice luxury to be able to say, stitch on one machine, and do all my topstitching on the other without having to stop to re-thread. Another thing that’s different/slightly annoying is that you have to oil this machine before you use it every. single. time. It’s very quick and easy to do, but I struggled at first to remember to do it.

Juki TL-2010q | Ginger Makes

Now, I know you could find tough, reliable straight-stitch machines in the used/vintage market, and it was every bit my intention to buy one as a second machine. But I couldn’t shake a nervous feeling about it. I grew up with used cars and appliances that always felt like they were inches from death, and it kind of stresses me out now to think about spending money on something that’s not under warranty (especially after my previous car, a 1976 Volkswagen purchased on eBay… an awesome set of wheels, but it was just too nerve-wracking to have to mutter a prayer before turning the key every single time!). I know it’s a luxury, but I wanted to invest in a machine that’s covered by manufacturer’s and dealer’s warranties, so that’s why I splurged on this machine. I absolutely get the appeal of vintage machines and I really wish I had the guts to get one this time around, but I’m just terrified by the thought of buying something used and having it crap out on me right away! I also really liked buying this from a dealer. It’s really nice to have someone show you different machines, help you decide what works for you, and run you through the paces with a new machine. My Janome Magnolia 7318 was a gift, and was purchased online, and while I love it, it would’ve been nice to have someone to show me its capabilities in person. :)

So, that’s my new baby Juki! Hope this review is helpful to someone! Now, tell me, what’s your philosophy on sewing machines? Top of the line with lots of bells and whistles? Cheap beginner machine? Vintage all the way? Too many machines to count? Dish!

Ginger Made: Hazel, V. 2 (Or, the “Insert Portlandia Joke Here” Dress)

Hi, guys! Hope everyone had a lovely and safe long weekend, and those of you in the U.S. enjoyed the holiday!

Today’s dress is kind of a funny one. This is my second version of the Colette Hazel dress- here’s my first version. When I made it two years ago, I wasn’t in love with it and ended up putting it on my top 5 misses of 2012 list because I just didn’t like it. The funny part is that, despite not loving it, I wore that dress a fair amount that summer and over and over and over again last summer. It ticks the right boxes for a summer day dress- easy to wear, easy to launder, doesn’t make me hot and sweaty, doesn’t need special shoes… perfect! So I found myself wanting another version!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

I was so excited to use this fabric, despite the fact that I’ll be a walking hipster joke (everyone’s seen this, right?). It’s a gorgeous wax print from Vlisco- they still have the print, “Speedbird”, in a couple of different colorways. I really love the colors and the striking design. I should warn you, however, against checking out their website- the fabric is SO, SO beautiful that you might find yourself ordering more than you can afford! I’ve admired Vlisco prints since I discovered Cathy‘s amazing creations from her days in Benin, and when Susan of Moonthirty fame told me over Instagram that they ship to the US, I lost my mind and ordered two pieces. It’s been in my stash for a while, just waiting for the right pattern! Right now I’m trying to talk myself out of this print. It’s so beautiful! Must not… buy… more fabric… stay strong… stay… strong…

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

Here’s the problem. When I made this dress back in 2012, I noted that the darts are way too long, but if you shorten them to the proper length, they stick out terribly and look worse than when they’re just too long. Welllllllll, I forgot about that when I was making this version- it’s not that noticeable in the soft, light-colored fabric I used originally. Vlisco prints are medium weight cotton with lots of body, bordering on stiff. So, the too-long darts were a pointy DISASTER in this! Sadly, I didn’t realize how bad it was until I had already sewn the dress up completely and trimmed the seam allowances. I resewed and resewed the darts, steaming them, curving them, everything I could think of, but no dice. I finally followed Anne‘s suggestion and didn’t stitch the dart, instead catching the excess for the dart in the stitching line like a pleat. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the alternative. If I ever make this dress again, I’ll figure out a way to change the dart to gathers, but I didn’t have enough SA left to do that and true things up correctly. Ugh!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

Another problem is that I can’t get the positioning of the straps right. I wasn’t really satisfied with how I placed them in my first version, so I decided to make them more comfortable. I futzed and futzed with them this time around, and thought I had them positioned correctly, but after wearing the dress all day, I’m still not loving them. I think they need to be straightened out entirely. Oh, and, I didn’t notice until I edited these photos that the darker stripe of the fabric gives an unflattering shadow to the bust area! Ugh!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

I spent lots of time working out the print placement to avoid any embarrassing birds and to match across all the seamlines. But before I cut it out, I decided to relax and just cut things out carefully, but without going crazy. I could’ve matched everything, but it would’ve used up all the fabric and it felt kind of wasteful. Usually I would annoy myself with matching everything up perfectly, but I decided to just match it across the center back bodice and call it quits. I’m happy with how this looks and I have enough fabric leftover to make a special garment for the next baby girl born into my friend group. Somehow it felt like better stewardship than throwing away tons of odd scraps. But I may not feel that way the next time I’m dealing with a large-scale print… I dunno! Let’s see, what else… I used scraps from my Roller Skate dress for the pockets to conserve fabric, and it’s a fun detail, too.

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

This dress isn’t perfect, and I’m not sure I’ll revisit the pattern again, but I still like it and I know I’ll wear it lots. I mean, there are birds ALL OVER this dang thing- how can I not like it?! Also, it matches my adorable clutch so perfectly! Gail made it for me and brought it when she visited NYC a few weeks ago… she’s the kindest, most generous gal around (and talented to boot)! Thank you, Gail! ETA: I made this dress as part of Heather‘s Summer Sundress Sew-a-long… but I’m forgetful and didn’t remember that when I was writing the post, oops!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

Alright, your turn! Are there any patterns that you have a love/hate relationship with? Are you obsessed with wax prints, too? What are you sewing right now? OK, I’m out- it’s time to finish the 4th of July weekend with our annual Jaws screening! Who’s better than Robert Shaw?!

Yoke + Gathers Sorbetto Hack Tutorial!

Ginger Makes | Yoke + Gathers Sorbetto Hack

Hi, guys! I’ve been meaning to share the tutorial for my Colette Sorbetto hack with you for a while (see my Rambo top and my Watch This Lace top) and finally got organized enough to photograph it today! Before we dive in, let me just make it clear that I’m not a professional, so there may be better/different methods for pattern alteration, but this is what I did. Also, if you don’t already have this pattern, you can download it for free here! Got it? Allons-y!

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

First things first: take your bodice front and fold it back along the pleat line, eliminating the pleat.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

To create your yoke, draw a straight line perpendicular to the fold line, below the armhole and above the dart. I drew my line 5/8″ below the armhole- this was a flattering yoke placement for me.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

Trace around your bodice above the line you’ve just drawn, and add a 5/8″ seam allowance below this line (the seam allowance for the neck and armhole is already included in the original pattern so you don’t need to add it). Be sure to mark your fold line so you don’t forget it! This is your front yoke piece.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

Next up, the bodice front! First, you need to decide how much fulness you want to add to create your gathers. For both of my versions, I added 4.5″ to the flat pattern, resulting in 9″ extra in the piece. You could add more or less- your call! But once you’ve decided, trace along the line you drew to create your yoke and continue it the desired amount past the center front/fold line. Then, draw in your new CF/fold line, making sure it matches the length of your original pattern and marking the fold on it. Next, fold out your dart and crease it so it stays closed. Then trace over your side seam, beginning below the yoke line.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack tutorial

You’ll notice that your side seam is slightly shorter than your center front line. Use a hip curve to gently blend the hem line and give it a nice curve. And before you cut your pattern piece out, be sure to add 5/8″ seam allowance above the yoke line!

Ginger Makes | Colette Sorbetto tutorialNext, take your back bodice piece and draw a line (again, perpendicular to the CB/fold line) to create your yoke. IMPORTANT: your back yoke line needs to be positioned the same distance below the armhole as your front yoke line! It’s going to look super janky if it doesn’t match at the side seams!

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

Now, trace around the back bodice piece, beginning and ending at the yoke line.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

Add your seam allowance to the yoke line, mark the fold line, and you’re good to go! Now, you need to decide if you want gathers on the back of your shirt or not. I didn’t add gathers to the back on mine because I didn’t want any extra volume, but you could if you liked.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

If you DON’T want gathers, just trace around the back bodice below the yoke line, trace the yoke line, and add 5/8″ seam allowance above it. If you DO want gathers, extend the yoke line beyond the CB line the desired amount like you did for the front bodice.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack tutorial

That’s it! This is a good time to double-check that your side seams are the same length, and if they do, congratulate yourself!  To sew, gather your lower bodice piece with basting stitches and stitch to the yoke. Press the seam up carefully, using the tip of your iron, then stitch the side seams together. Finish the neckline and armholes with bias binding as directed by the pattern. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can finish the top with a second yoke like I did for the brown Rambo version. Cut second front and back yokes, and stitch them like you’re sewing an all-in-one facing (tutorials here, here, and here). This will give you thinner straps and a lowered neckline- you can see this in my brown top.

Hope this is helpful! Drop me a line if you have any questions! Also, I’d love to see your finished top if you make one using this tutorial!

 

 

 

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