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: 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

Ginger Made: By Hand London Flora Dress!

Hi, guys! I’m so excited to show you my newest dress! Yay! I was lucky enough to be a tester for By Hand London‘s newest sewing pattern, the Flora Dress.  I’ve had the hardest time keeping my trap clapped- I wanted to spill the beans so badly!

Flora has two bodice options, a fitted tank with a high neckline, or this faux wrap. I generally don’t like wrap dresses (I know, I’m alone in this) and I rarely even wear a v-neck, but I thought it would be fun to try something different from my usual style. You can also choose between a pleated skirt and a pleated skirt with a dipped hem (I chose the latter).

By Hand London Flora Dress by Ginger Makes

I used a bright polyester taffeta from Mood Fabrics NYC. It was kind of a strange fabric, very tightly woven (it was really hard to get pins to pierce it!) and almost like windbreaker material, so it might be kind of an unusual choice for a party dress, but it has lots of body and I thought that would make for a fun, billowy skirt. I used a sharp needle and low tension, which worked well.

By Hand London Flora Dress by Ginger Makes

The pattern is very easy and quick to sew up. I understitched the lining very carefully along the bodice and used a lining that was very similar in color to minimize flashing the lining, which worked really well.

By Hand London Flora Dress by Ginger Makes

Here’s my perky pink lining, made with cotton shirting from Mood. You could easily add a skirt lining, but I didn’t feel like I needed it. I used French seams where I could, and where I couldn’t, I used ready-made bias binding from my stash that coordinated perfectly!  If you make the version with the dipped hem, you need to make sure that your center back seam is nice and pretty since you’ll see peeks of it! Hooray for pretty seams!

By Hand London Flora Dress by Ginger Makes

I haven’t made a lined bodice with a faux wrap before, so I was glad to have it explained clearly as figuring it out on my own would have melted my brain (but that’s just me). You need to press under the lining and dress shell seam allowances at the arm holes and then slip stitch them together. I’d never done this before and try to avoid hand stitching as much as possible, but I couldn’t figure out another way to finish the seam allowances! To avoid puckers, I ran a basting stitch just inside the seam allowances around the arm hole, then clipped every 1/2″ or so around the arm hole before pressing them under. I left the basting stitch in because I was worried about fraying- hopefully that will work!

By Hand London Flora Dress by Ginger Makes

I’m a little bit unhappy with the fit, sadly. I made a silly mistake, so it’s all my fault. I made a muslin and decided I wanted the waist to be more fitted (I tend to under-fit rather than over-fit to avoid this, but I thought the dress would look nicer if the waist was more emphasized). But when I made the changes to the muslin, I must have stretched it out a bit because the final version in the fashion fabric is too tight (the polyester has absolutely no give whatsoever).  There are diagonal lines pulling from the waist to the bust, which is kind of annoying. I also didn’t think about the fact that taking in the waist pretty drastically would pull the bust darts closer to the side seams, so they’re not quite right now, either. I’ll know better next time!

By Hand London Flora Dress by Ginger Makes

Fit issues notwithstanding, I’m really happy with this dress! It’s a fun party dress, and I feel like a princess when I’m twirling around in the skirt (even if I look like an idiot in reality)! I’m looking forward to making another! I know I sound like a total fangirl, but the By Hand London girls have a knack for designing patterns that I didn’t know I really wanted to wear. I just love their aesthetic!

By Hand London Flora Dress by Ginger Makes

This is what happens when I try to twirl.

So what do you guys think? Do you like this pattern? What’s your perfect party dress? Have you made it already, or is it something you’re still dreaming of making one day?

Ginger Made: Papercut Patterns Meissa Blouse!

Hi, guys!  I hope your Mondays are off to a great start!  Don’t be too jealous, but I’m having the best kind of Monday– a day off of work!  :)  Before I dive into my patternmaking homework and hopefully some sewing, I wanted to share one of my newest projects with you!

Papercut Patterns Meissa Blouse

The lovely and talented Katie of Papercut Patterns asked me to test one of her new patterns, and I jumped at the chance to try out her Meissa Blouse pattern!  I love, love, love buttondowns and wear a basic plaid buttondown to work basically every day, so I was really excited to try out a shirt pattern that’s a little different.  The Meissa Blouse has feminine details like a gathered yoke (in the front and the back), a rounded collar, and a curved hemline.  Fun, right?

Papercut Patterns Meissa Blouse

My plan was to make this with peach-colored voile (which existed in my mind), but when I got to Mood NYC, I couldn’t tear myself away from this Theory brushed cotton.  It’s SO soft, like, CRAZY soft, and definitely what you want to wear in cool November weather.  It’s solidly medium-weight, which I knew was pretty risky for this blouse.  It would probably look a lot nicer in a lightweight fabric– the gathers would sit nicely and the whole thing would be really floaty and sweet– but I wanted to push the envelope and see if I could get away with this heavier fabric.  It probably looks a little sloppy, but I like my buttondowns really slouchy anyway, so I can live with it.

Papercut Patterns Meissa Blouse

Honestly, I’m a little surprised by how much I enjoy sewing shirts.  They seem difficult and fiddly, but it’s really fun to put them together.  This pattern came together really quickly, despite the fact that I’m really terrible at gathering.  I probably spent more time trying to get the gathers even than I did on any other step in this process (again, this probably would have been easier if I’d used a lighter fabric).

Papercut Patterns Meissa Blouse

Love that hemline!

I made a size XS, my size according to the chart, and I didn’t make any alterations.  The shoulders are maybe a little wide, but I get the same thing in my RTW shirts– not sure if I have narrow shoulders or if this is just a style thing.  I might lose a little width through the upper arms and add a little to the lower arms next time– it fits nicely through the forearm/wrist, but because they actually fit, I can’t roll the sleeves up very far, which is my preferred way to wear a buttondown.  I topstitched the shirt with gold thread to give it sort of a denim look.  Actually, that leads me to a question– how should I style this shirt?!  I generally wear jeans to work, but I don’t really like the denim-on-denim look, and I don’t have much else besides jeans to wear this with!

Papercut Patterns Meissa Blouse

I think this pattern is super cute and I’m excited to see more versions of it popping up on the blogosphere!   Actually, I really like the whole collection, but the Bellatrix blazer is definitely high on my list for fall/winter sewing!  I’d like to make a longer version to wear over jeans and a cropped version to wear over dresses!  Not to tempt you too much, but there’s a 15% off sale right now, plus free worldwide shipping, PLUS the listed prices are in New Zealand dollars, so the blouse, for example, is about $17 USD.  Not as bad as it looks at first sight.  (NOTE: I’m not paid to shill for Papercut and I don’t get a cut of their sales or anything– I’m just a fan!).

Come to Mama… Is it weird that I want a metallic version just like this?! Love it! [photo stolen fro Papercut Patterns]

Also, I’m SUPER tempted to try the Rigel bomber, too, after seeing Sophie’s version this morning.  How cute is this jacket?!  And how cute is she?!  Answer: the CUTEST.  I’d love to rampage through Sophie’s closet just once!  :)

Adorable! Check out Sophie’s blog, if you’re not already following it! [photo stolen from Cirque du Bebe]

Alright, how about you guys?  Any new patterns you’re excited about?  What’s your favorite of the new Papercut collection?  What’s on your sewing table these days?  My next project is a dress for my neighbor’s granddaughter– it’s been pushed to the back burner for a while, but I really need to knuckle down and make that next!

Ginger Made: Grainline Studio Moss Mini Skirt!

GUYS.  Someone please check my vitals because I think I’m ill… I’m having fun sewing wardrobe basics!  What?!  I realized during Me-Made-May that I didn’t have a single skirt that I wanted to wear– not one!  I downloaded this pattern the day it was released, but kept setting it aside in favor of shinier projects.  I’m so glad I finally made it!

It’s a well-known fact that I have a red-hot girl crush on Jen from Grainline Studio (EEEEEK, have you SEEN her new Lakeside Pajamas pattern?), and this pattern, the Moss Mini Skirt, just adds fuel to the fire!  I love, love, LOVE this skirt!  It’s semi-fitted, casual, and ultra wearable– everything I need and want in a skirt!

I used organic twill from Mood Fabrics, the same type (but a different colorway) that I used for my sister’s Kelly skirt.  I love this twill– it’s just the right weight for skirts.  I bought this fabric months ago, planning to make a jacket, but you’ve gotta live in the moment, right?  CARPE DIEM AND CLEAR OUT THOSE STASHES, SEWISTS!

This was my first time putting in a zipper fly, so I was a little nervous, but Jen’s photo tutorial is really helpful if you’re a scaredy-cat (or you’re super brave, but you just want more visuals).  To close the skirt, I used a jeans button from Taylor Tailor and I LOVE how it looks.  It’s just so professional-looking!  Taylor’s tutorial for inserting rivets (same process as jeans buttons) is great, too.  I followed his advice and added two extra layers of twill between my button halves, so it’s nice and stable.  I should have finished the edges of the center front seam before installing the fly, but since I didn’t, I ended up with a portion of the raw edges visible.  I ironed a little square of very lightweight interfacing on top of the raw edges to seal them in.

I made a muslin, but the skirt fit quite well without any alterations.  The yoke in the back makes for a really nice fit and looks very RTW.  The only change I made was to shorten the hem band, and thus, the skirt, by 2″.

And look!  I finished it off with a pug!  My sister had these labels printed for me… aren’t they cute?

I’m really excited to have a new skirt in my wardrobe!  I can see myself wearing this basically ’round the clock.

What is your favorite skirt or skirt pattern?  And what are you working on right now?

What is happening with my face here?

Sewing for My Sis: Megan Nielsen’s Kelly Skirt!

Guys.  I should’ve known this day would come eventually, but somehow I never thought it would.  I’ve sewn something for my sister that I really, really don’t want to send to her!

OK, I want to send it to her.  But is it wrong that a part of me really wants to keep this for myself?  My sister has lost her baby weight really fast so we can wear the same size!  It’s meant to be!  Alright, alright, I’ll just have to make another for myself.

This is Megan Nielsen‘s Kelly skirt pattern, and I love love LOVE it!  I’ve always loved pleated skirts, but sometimes they can be a bit too “Catholic schoolgirl”, if ya know what I mean.  This pleated skirt is super cute, but definitely not Lolita-esque.  I’ve loved this pattern ever since I first spotted it, but hadn’t pulled the trigger and purchased it in my attempts to defeat the BUYITNOWNOWNOWNOWNOW thing I’ve had going on the last few years.  Luckily, my sister picked it out when we started planning her new wardrobe, so I had an excuse to order it (from Sweet Little Chickadee, my favorite indie pattern supplier)!

I used this organic twill from Mood Fabrics that I bought a year and a half ago or so, intending to make pants, but I am too scared haven’t gotten around to that yet.  It’s the perfect weight– not to heavy or thick, but with plenty of body to hold the pleats.  It’s halfway between navy and gray, so I think she’ll be able to pair it with many different tops.

This pattern comes together really quickly!  I was momentarily stumped by how to get the pleats to lie flat on top of the pockets, but I found Roobeedoo’s post and realized my mistake.  I just assumed that I needed to baste the tops of the pockets to the skirt front, but if you do that before making your pleats, they won’t sit right.  Once I unpicked that, it was smooth sailing!

The only thing I’m not super excited about is my buttonholes.  I think I might need to pick up a buttonhole cutter as cutting them open with embroidery scissors seems to leave messy buttonholes.  They look pretty unprofessional if you look up close.  I guess I could douse them in Fray Check, but that stuff smells kinda gross.  Luckily I doubt that many people will be looking at the buttonholes up close, so I guess it’s alright.

Lest you think I’m a slacker, I’ve also made her a Renfrew top in her favorite color.  In all my iterations of this pattern, this is my first time making one with short sleeves!  I made her a size 4 and shortened the bodice by 1/2″ (she’s petite), and I’m told it fits her perfectly!  Now that I know for sure that it fits, I need to set aside a day and cut out a half-dozen versions of this top and put them together assembly-line style.  You can’t have too many tees!

So… what do you think?  Should I send this to my definitely-deserving sis, or should I move, change my phone number, and keep the thing, living as a fugitive for the rest of my days, clutching the tattered remnants of this skirt until I die alone in a border town?

Charlotte-y Wiggle Dress!

What comes first– the pattern or the fabric?  It’s an age-old question, really (no, it’s not)!  Me, I go to Mood Fabrics armed with a plan and a pattern every month, with a pretty decent idea of what I’m looking for, but I’m invariably assaulted by a beautiful fabric of a completely different variety and end up leaving with her!  It’s a pretty good bet that if I come in looking for gold brocade, I’m probably going to leave with fuchsia voile.  This fabric was no exception!  I had completely different plans for this month’s project, but when I saw this Nanette Lepore neon green houndstooth, what was I supposed to do?  Leave the gal behind?  No way, Jose!

The drawback to buying fabric on a whim is that it often takes me a while to decide what I want to make!  I had my heart set on a little romper or two-piece playsuit, but finally talked myself out of that when I realized it would literally NEVER step outside my closet.  So then I settled on By Hand London‘s Charlotte skirt for its suuuuper wiggle-a-bility.  But then I thought about how much fabric I would have left over, so I decided to make a peplum top, too!  Fun, right?  Only, I dug through my notions and I only had a 22″ zipper that matched, and that was enough rationale for me to make a dress instead of separates.  This seems RIDICULOUS now that I think about it, but let’s move on.  So, I opted for the Charlotte skirt bottom, with the peplum, and I added the bodice from Vogue V8511 (OOP), which I’ve made once before, which is KIND of like a skirt with a peplum top.

This became one of those projects that I couldn’t stop tinkering with!  I fitted the skirt like a glove and felt super hot until I figured out that I couldn’t sit down in it!  Whooooooops!  Obviously I should have realized that if I wanted a REALLY wiggly skirt, I should’ve followed BHL’s recommendations and used a fabric with stretch.  I have to admit that it took two days of contemplation before I let out the seams!  I kept thinking through scenarios in which I could wear this dress and not have to sit or climb stairs (cocktail party!).  But these scenarios all ended in my mind with me toddling around on heels, trying to get into a cab at the end of the night without sitting down– disaster!  So the seam ripper was the only way to go, so I resewed the side seams with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Sadly, then I felt really frumpy, so I took it in a bit more between the hips and the waist.  But then I STILL felt frumpy, so I took it in from mid-thigh to hem, leaving the extra room I needed in the seat area intact.  THEN I fidgeted with the length, pressing up and down different hem lengths.  Crazy!

The dress is fully lined with rayon bemberg, which feels awesome!  I hemmed it with rayon seam binding, which was really fun to use.  I love the pink paired with neon green– it makes me feel like a secret watermelon (that sounds weird, doesn’t it?).  It’s not very subtle, but then again there’s nothing subtle about this dress!  I laughed because when my mother-in-law saw this dress, she remarked that it looked like a dress one of her Barbies had when she was a little girl (only Barbie’s dress was a classic white).  I do feel a bit like a Barbie doll or something in this dress– it’s not a very serious outfit.  But it’s fun to wear.  If I made this again, or just the skirt, I would take some of the volume out of the peplum and lengthen it so it hits a little lower on the hips to sort of fake an hourglass figure more.  As it is, it makes me feel kind of thick around the waist, which isn’t really the goal.  But I love this fabric so much!  It’s unusual and really fun to wear.

Now I want to know– when you’re sewing, do you choose the pattern first, or the fabric?  Are you seduced into impulse purchases, or do you stick to your plan in the fabric store?  Be honest!

Second Blogiversary Giveaway!

*****THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED*****

Hey, guys!  Happy Wednesday!  May is one of my favorite months– the weather really starts to get nice here in the northeast, and there are so many things to celebrate!  Last week was my seventh wedding anniversary, next week is Man Friend’s 30th birthday, and we’re just a few days away from celebrating our first Peggy-versary (one year since we adopted our cheerful girl dog from Animal Haven)!  But amidst all the hubbub, I missed my second blogiversary on May 11th!  But don’t worry– I didn’t forget about you guys!

I picked out some amazing fabric for you guys on my trip to Mood over the weekend!  It’s two yards of a gorgeous silk charmeuse, with one matte and one shiny side.  My (grainy due to the crappy, dark weather) photo doesn’t really do it justice, but it’s a lovely gray with a hint of lavender in it.  Suzanne at Beau Baby made an awesome blouse with a different colorway of this print in chiffon (Mood often carries silk prints that are offered in both chiffon and charmeuse, which is fun)– check it out here!

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment!  If you already know what you would make with it, let me know in the comments, too– I always love to snoop!  I’ll ship it anywhere.  Just enter by 11:59PM next Wednesday, May 29th, one week from today.  Hooray!

Thanks so much for reading my blog over the past two years!  It’s been so much fun getting to know you guys through your comments and blogs (and in person, whenever I get the chance!)!  Thanks to you, sewing is a fun, communal activity for me and not just solitary time spent hunching over my machine, cursing and seam ripping!

Ginger Made: Naughty Kitty Petrouchka Top

It’s still January, right?

OK. I may have technically missed Jungle January, but I was with you in spirit and have been dying to add some animal print madness to my wardrobe! As soon as Anne announced the month-long extravaganza, I pulled this jersey out of my stash and started plotting. I picked it up at Mood several months ago during a mega shopping expedition with my sister, and the whole time I couldn’t stop saying to her, “This is so awful… I HAVE to have it!” It’s neon leopard print jersey, people! It’s too obnoxious NOT to bring home with you (ladies: this mantra does not apply to dudes). I found out at the cutting counter that it’s Betsey Johnson… makes sense, right? Homegirl loves her crazy prints!

I used Papercut Patterns‘ new(ish) Petrouchka Top pattern, a raglan-sleeved peplum top with a curved seam at the midriff (totally obscured by the print, but it’s an adorable detail). It was mondo easy to put together– seriously, the most difficult part was trying to figure out what 1cm seam allowances are equal to (I spent a ridiculously long time trying to do that math… before I figured out that there’s a 1cm mark on my sewing machine…). I made an XS, and I had to remove a ton of excess from the side seams and sleeves (like, as much as 4″ in some places). I wish that there was a chart of the finished garment measurements (OH WAIT, THERE TOTALLY WAS BUT I IGNORED IT BECAUSE, AGAIN, HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT 99 CM EQUALS IN REAL NUMBERS???). So yeah. After I’d already made all the alterations, I spent 3 seconds Googling “99 cm to inches” and realized that 39″ in the bust would never work for me, so I should’ve known better and just sized down from the get-go. Live and learn. Let’s see… I also re-serged the seam joining the peplum to the bodice to raise the waistline a little. I still think it’s a bit too low, but I don’t want to lose any more length in the front, so I’ll just leave it. I’ll shorten the bodice and lengthen the peplum if I make this again.

I’m still not 100% sold on the peplum trend. This doesn’t emphasize my hips, luckily, but I’m not sure how flattering it is to have all that fabric hanging from the waist. But I definitely wouldn’t have tried a peplum at all if I hadn’t loved this pattern so much, so that says a lot. I will probably make this again before ye olde peplum’s 15 minutes of fame in 2013 is up. I’ll say this, though– I definitely feel like a bit of a naughty kitty in this top.

Wicked, wicked kitty…

I’m so glad I finally have a reason to get this out of my stash and onto my body! It’s so trashy and fun– I feel like throwing a cosmo at someone when I’m wearing it! I’m sure Anne would approve this message– if she’s not president of the Sewing Bad Girls Club, I don’t know who is.

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