Ginger Made: Ginger Jeans!!!!!

Guys. I made jeans.

This is a big deal.

Here’s the thing. I wear jeans every day. Like, every single day. I’m wearing them now. I wore them yesterday. Honestly, I have no idea when I last wore something else outside the house! But I have to admit that I’ve never, ever, EVER wanted to sew a pair! They’re right up there with bras for me- I know some of you sew these successfully and beautifully, but I just don’t have the precision, patience, or fitting skills to do it myself.  Then, way back in May, Man Friend and I visited Montreal for his birthday and snuck in a wee brunch with Heather Lou (sidenote: if you want to see an example of saintlike patience, it’s Man Friend calmly and pleasantly eating while Heather and I talked and talked and TALKED about sewing on HIS birthday weekend). This is what went down:

Heather: “Did I tell you I’m naming my next pattern after you?”

Me: [super touched by this gesture]

Heather: “It’s a skinny jean”

Me: [@#$%]

Confession: I had zero confidence in this project the entire way through. Jeans just seem so… impossible! Annoying! Un-fun to sew! I didn’t think I could get them to fit correctly or to be tough enough for everyday wear. I thought they would break my sewing machine. I figured there was about a 97% chance that I’d quit midway through in a puddle of tears and snot… not a pretty thought! Spoiler alert: sewing jeans is totally doable!

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Makes

Without further ado, meet my Ginger jeans! These look pretty gosh darn good for a first pair of jeans, yeah?

Let’s talk construction! I made view A, with the lower waist and stovepipe legs, which closely mimics the style of my favorite Levi’s. Everything I needed to know was covered in the pattern instructions. I’ve never made pants before, and I’ve only sewn a front fly once (in my Moss mini), so this was all pretty new to me. But I just took it one step at a time and everything went together smoothly. There were one or two things that were confusing to me, but Heather addressed all of these concerns in the final pattern instructions.

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Jeans

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it was WAY easier to sew these with two sewing machines. I think this is the first project I’ve done with contrast topstitching since getting my Juki, and it was a breeze to stitch the seams on my Janome, serge them, and then topstitch with the Juki. I’ve done contrasting topstitching before, but I had to keep switching thread spools and bobbins and it was annoying. If you only have one machine, this is the perfect excuse to set up a sewing date with a friend and pool resources! Or just carefully consider your construction order so you don’t have to swap thread as much. :) Speaking of topstitching, I bought a 1/8″ compensating foot for my Juki which made it a BREEZE (and it was only $6… the benefit of your machine taking industrial feet!). Previously, my attempts at even topstitching have been… sad. So if you have an edgestitch/topstitching/compensating foot, this is a great time to use it! Or take a good look at the feet you do have and see if there’s one that can help you get straighter lines than your regular presser foot (I’ve heard that blind hem feet can be good for lining up with your seam/edge). It’s worth it to practice before diving in, especially if you’re using thread in a contrasting color.

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Makes

My machines didn’t break, and actually both performed like champs! I used denim needles on both of them, and they happily sewed through everything. The only problem I had was attempting to do bar tacks- I could have easily gone through the layers with my Juki, but it doesn’t do a zigzag. When I tried it on my Janome, with topstitching thread in the bobbin, my machine was like, “You’re hilarious. I’m not doing that.” [ETA: I did my topstitching with regular thread in the bobbin… I just thought I needed topstitching thread in the bobbin to do bar tacks). I can’t adjust the presser foot pressure, which might have solved that problem. I settled for backstitching a few times on my Juki. Fine by me! Otherwise everything was easy- I didn’t even have trouble making a nice buttonhole with my basic Janome! Yay!

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Makes

Next up, materials. I used denim from Mood that I bought a couple of years ago. I’m not certain what the stretch percentage is in the fabric, but I compared it to a pair of Levi’s that has 2% Lycra and it felt similar to me, so it’s in the right ballpark. I used regular navy thread for the seams and a spool of Mettler topstitching thread. It was my first time using that heavier thread, and it looks really cool! I’m glad that I tried it! I had jeans buttons and rivets in my stash from Taylor Tailor (I used them for my Moss mini and my Romy anorak). I felt pretty bad pounding on the rivets (using a hammer and the back of my cast iron skillet)… my poor neighbors were probably wondering what on earth that sound was! Unfortunately, I didn’t get the jeans button on securely enough, so it popped off right as I was heading out to take blog photos. I decided to scrap the photo op and just take the jeans to Star Snaps so they could set the button, something Puu recommended to me (she told me it’s Kenneth King’s favorite spot for snaps/rivets/etc!). It cost me all of 45 seconds and $2 and I had a snug, secure button! I used scraps of cotton shirting for the pocket bags… actually, every single thing I used for these jeans I already had! Stash-bustin’ win!!!

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Makes

OK, let’s talk fit! This is the thing I was most scared about. I’ve seen many sewists discuss pants fitting, and they bandy about all kinds of terrifying terms (ex: “crotch whiskers”. I WANT NO PART OF THIS.) So I dove in with more than a little trepidation. My waist and hip measurements match the size 4 measurements, so I was able to cut a straight size. When I basted everything together, I noticed that I was getting some gaping in the back (a frequent issue for me… I used to have to take my RTW jeans to the tailor’s to have them taken in back there, ugh). So I pinned out a dart in the back yoke and altered the pattern piece by slashing and overlapping 1/4″ to remove the excess I took out in the dart. Then I took out a 1/4″ tuck in the same spot on the waistband, twice (once for each side since you cut two back yokes and only one waistband). If anyone needs a visual for this, let me know and I’d be happy to show you what I did. I could probably have taken out a smidge more, but I didn’t want to risk things getting too tight after a big bowl of spaghetti!  After altering the pattern, I just recut the yoke and waistband pieces and my muslin became a wearable pair of jeans! OK, full disclosure: I had to cut the waistband THREE times… once for the original muslin, once after changing the fit, and one more time after I accidentally sewed the pieces together upside-down, completely ignoring the instructions and notches WHOOOOOPS).

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Makes

Oh, you know, just relaxin’ with my hands on my head awkwardly so you guys can see the top of my waistband…

On my next pair, I plan to use flat-felled seams for a cleaner finish. Since this was a muslin, I basted the seams to check the fit, then just serged the seams and topstitched them down. I may give myself a little more room just through the knee so the fit is just like my favorite pair of RTWs. And, here’s where I could use some advice- there’s something a little strange happening at the front crotch (I don’t think they’re crotch whiskers… at least, I really hope not) but I don’t know what’s causing it. Too much length? Any thoughts? Also, I didn’t realize until I was nearly done with my jeans that the topstitching thread was getting all gross and birds-nest-y on the underside when my machine needed to go over something thick like a belt loop. This problem was easily solved by folding up a piece of denim and placing it behind the belt loop so the presser foot wouldn’t have to go over it at an angle. I’ll be sure to use this every time on the next pair! You can also buy a “humpjumper” (STOP SNICKERING) just for this purpose for a couple of bucks, so that’s an option if you want something more professional. :)

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Makes

If you can’t tell by now, I’m a jeans sewing convert! I’m so, so impressed by this pattern, and I’m really glad I had the opportunity to sew these up! I really appreciate the way that Heather has taken garments that are scary (swimsuit, jeans) and made them approachable and even fun to sew. Thanks, Heather, for the fun pattern, and for letting me be your muse! So if you’re thinking about sewing a pair of jeans, but you feel skeptical or nervous, I really recommend you give the Ginger jeans a try! I was so pleasantly surprised by how easy this process was, so much so that I’ve already planning a second pair [whispers] in a novelty denim! You can buy the pattern here, if you’re interested!

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Makes

Guys. What do you think? Do these look like real jeans? Would you sew your own jeans? Have you already? If so, how did it go? What’s the scariest thing you can imagine sewing?

Now, Heather, PLEASE don’t release a bra pattern because I really, really, REALLY don’t want to sew one! ;)

Ginger Made: Undercover Hood + Hudson Pants!

Hi, friends! Hope everyone’s had a wonderful weekend! Question for you: those of you who blog, do you find it hard to blog basics? I often find that I start wearing them right away, and once I’ve worn something a few times it feels kind of silly to blog about it! I’m also not sure if people are interested in reading about basics- too boring, maybe? But I decided to finally share these garments as I wear them ALL the time and it just doesn’t seem polite to ignore them.

Let’s start with the pants! These are the True Bias Hudson Pants. Kelli is a blogger I’ve admired for a long time- her style is just so cool. I kinda want to break into her house and steal everything out of her closet (and her daughter’s… Kelli’s made her some awesome clothes!!!).

I tested this pattern when Kelli was developing it, but these pants were made with the final pattern (I made two pairs during the testing process, but the fabric I had in my stash was earmarked for my sister, so I sent them to her. Then I somehow lost or threw away the test pattern, so I printed out the new one when I made these up). I am one size smaller in the waist than in the hip for this pattern, so I went with the larger size since it’s fitted through the hips and the waist is elasticized.

There’s not much to say about constructing these puppies! They’re very straightforward and quick to sew, and the end result is really cute. I’ve also made the Papercut Patterns Anima pants (Kelli and Katie developed their patterns independently at right about the same time, coincidentally… great minds think alike!), and compared to those, the Hudsons are a much slimmer fit (here are my Animas for comparison). I used a thick, strange knit from Mood. It’s definitely something synthetic as it feels almost… squeaky?… against my skin, but the print is so cool that I couldn’t resist it! I really like how they look in this print!

The top is the Papercut Patterns Undercover Hood… minus the hood! Katie sent me the PDF as a thank-you for testing the Anima pants, and I was really happy to check it out. It’s got the option for a hood (obvs) as well as a kangaroo pocket, and there is a cropped version, too, but I decided to do a basic pullover this time around. I used a wool jersey from Mood, an end-of-bolt remnant I’d had in my stash for a really long time, so I was glad to use it up! I made this for our trip to Iceland in July and it was absolutely PERFECT! We spent most of our time outside in kinda crummy weather, and it kept me nice and warm layered over a buttondown and under a waterproof shell. It was nice because at the the end of the day, I could take off my jacket when we sat down to dinner and I actually looked pretty presentable and not rumply and gross. I wish I had taken some photos of it in Iceland, but I think I had my rain jacket on the whole time! You’ll have to hop over to Cashmerette if you want to see awesome handmades-frolicking-in-Iceland photos. :)

I’ve worn the grey sweater so much that I decided to make another! I’ve had this grey and white stripe in my stash for a while and was planning to make a Breton-style dress with it. But let’s be honest- I’d wear that dress every once in a while, but I’d wear a pullover constantly! So it became another hood-less Undercover Hood! (Lladybird made a dress with the same fabric… cute, right?)

Papercut Patterns Undercover Hood | Ginger Makes

Here’s where fabric is funny: the striped fabric is stretchier than the wool, so the sweatshirt felt way bigger. Strange, right? After sewing it up, I took off the cuffs and hem band, shortened them by 2″ and 1″ respectively, and it looked much better. It was just a bit too slouchy before! Sidenote: is there a way to perfectly match stripes on a raglan sleeve? I just. couldn’t. do. it. Ugh! Hopefully it’s not too noticeable.

Papercut Patterns Undercover Hood | Ginger Makes

Now, this fabric is a really nice weight, and I didn’t want the little bit I had leftover to wither away in my stash, so I did what I had to do: I sewed a pug sweater.

I know.

I’m sorry.

Milla Milla Dog Hoodie & Sweatshirt | Ginger Maes

Somebody isn’t happy about his new sweater.

Pretty sure I’ve now officially entered Crazy Dog Lady status. I didn’t want to fuss around with drafting a pattern, so I downloaded one from Milla Milla, a Japanese company that offers PDF dog sewing patterns. It’s Very Purple Person‘s fault! She made matching shirts for her son and her dog that turned out really cute, so I downloaded the same pattern. Pugs don’t fit well into regular ready-made dog clothing because their proportions are different. Hear me out! They have thick barrel chests and basically need dog FBAs (OK OK OK I know I’m crazy!)! But this pattern was drafted specifically for French bulldogs  and since they’re also squat, chesty dogs, I thought it would be perfect!

Milla Milla Dog Hoodie & Sweatshirt | Ginger Makes

This is the Hoodie & Sweatshirt pattern, and it was surprisingly complicated! Once I watched the video showing how to sew it up, it was a breeze, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how the pattern pieces went together before watching it. Fellow pug owners, if you’re looking for the right size, just select “FB” from the drop-down menu. There’s also a version drafted specifically for dachshunds… it even comes in two sizes! So Anne, Juli… you’re covered!

Now let’s play a little game of “Who Wore It Better?”! Feel free to cast your vote!

I have no idea how to wrap this post up so I’m just going to stop talking. What’s on your sewing table? Have you ever sewed for your dog or cat? Be honest!!!

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!

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