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: 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?!

Dude Sewing: McCall’s 6044!

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

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

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

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

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

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

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

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

Just a little bit of contrast at the collar stand!

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

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

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

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

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

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

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

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

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

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

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

Ginger Made: Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank!

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

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

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

Seems like a regular tank top…

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

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

… but what’s that peeping out?

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

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

Why, it’s neon leopard!!!

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

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

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

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

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

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

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

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

Love the curved hem!

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

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank | Ginger Makes

This is a stretch, right?

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

 

Ginger Made: M6553, V. 2!

M6553- Ginger Makes

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well! I often plan to make multiple versions of patterns that I like, but I rarely get around to it- too many shiny new patterns to distract me from my plans! But I so love my first version of M6553 that as soon as a glimpse of spring appeared here in New York, I got to work on a second version!

M6553 | Ginger Makes

I used a Marc Jacobs silk/cotton twill for this dress- fancy, huh? Meredith spotted it on sale at Fashion Fabrics Club for $4/yd, labeled as rayon challis, but her eagle eyes recognized the fabric and knew she’d seen it used for Marc Jacobs pieces!  I’d planned to make this pattern in this fabric last summer, but realized that the back skirt piece, cut on the fold, wouldn’t fit on the 42″ selvedge. I wadded the fabric up and shoved it back in my drawer in a fit of rage, where it sat and sat and sat. I just couldn’t envision it as anything other than this dress! I pulled it out again last week and decided to just cut it out on the cross-grain. Victimless crime, right?  Cutting it on the cross-grain used up three yards, so this dress only cost me $12! Score!

M6553 | Ginger Makes

I cut a size 6 again, which fits just fine since there’s so much ease.  This time around I omitted both the self-belt and the pockets, so I was able to French seam it. It’s so nice and clean on the inside! The only problem is that, being a silk twill, it frays like the dickens, so even though I trimmed the seams right before sewing them the second time, I still have little bits of fraying edges poking out from the French seams. So annoying! I suppose I could re-sew the seams at a slightly larger seam allowance, but I just can’t be bothered at the moment.  The back yoke closes with a button and thread loop, which isn’t my favorite, but I covered a button, so at least it looks nice. I made no attempt at all to try to match up the print- just didn’t feel like it.

M6553 | Ginger Makes

I know this dress isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I really like it.  The print is very ’90’s and evokes weird, fuzzy memories of my childhood (maybe because it looks like it belongs on a Trapper-Keeper?).  Man Friend, of course, hates it (“Can I get one of those boxes you use to look at eclipses before you put this on?”).  But it’s just so happy and bright, especially paired with this swingy silhouette. Now I just need the weather to warm up enough that I can run around town in this dress!

M6553 | Ginger Makes

Have you been up to any happy sewing lately? What’s on your sewing table right now?

Can you tell I live in a Greek & Cypriot neighborhood? Anybody hungry for some halloumi?

Ginger Made: Simplicity 1690

Hi, guys! Hope you’re well! I’ve been feeling really scatterbrained in the sewing room lately. After a string of duds, I set aside my slow-going projects and whipped up a quick top. Sometimes you just need to feel some sewing satisfaction instead of just plodding along, you know?

This is Simplicity 1690, a Leanne Marshall design. I bought the pattern because I thought the skirt would look cute on my little sister, but I think I’ll stick to sewing her things with an adjustable waist for the time being as the last skirt with a fitted waist that I made, well, didn’t fit (sewing long distance isn’t easy!). I liked the simple lines of this top, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Big 4 patterns often run big, in my experience, so I checked the finished measurements before cutting. Lo and behold, it runs true to size! I’ve heard that the designer patterns sometimes do- has that been your experience? I wanted to use French seams, but the pattern has splits at the side hem, so I just turned and stitched the seam allowances to finish them. The neckline is finished with a bias facing- you fold the bias binding in half, match it to the raw edge of the neckline, stitch, and then press the whole thing underneath before topstitching it down. I really liked this- it’s a tidy, clean finish, but without all the tedious fiddling around you have to do with a bound neckline. The bias loop was too long for my neckline, though, so I had to shorten it, but maybe I stretched it out too much with handling.  I thought the pattern looked short, so I lengthened it by 2″, which might have been too much. Next time I think I’ll reduce that by 1″.

The fabric is a cotton-silk blend, and it’s really special to me because it was a gift from Stephanie! She sent it to me with the yarn for my grandpa cardigan and a few other goodies. I really like the abstract print, and it feels really nice on my skin. I’ve had it in my stash for a while, so I’m really happy to be wearing it instead of hoarding it.  The only thing that’s kind of weird is that the print sort of… flattens me? See what I mean? It looks like the shirt hangs straight down from my shoulders! I promise I’m not really THAT flat! But I’m guessing that wearing a longish necklace would sort that out. :)

I really, really like this top and would love to make a few more. It’s easy to wear, and the neckline is really flattering, in my opinion. Plus it’s a quick make and doesn’t take much fabric. Hooray for easy sewing!

I think I’m walking on an invisible tight rope here?

A few more items of business: first of all, the Felt Dogs giveaway winner, chosen by random.org, is Show and Tell Meg! I’m a little worried that my mom, an avid corgi-ist, will be inspired to do like Meg and make a corgi out of corgi!  ;)

Next up, there’s still time to sign up for my sewing class and for the Sewing Swap Meet & Party! I have it on good authority that Gail will be in town and attending the party- I can’t wait to meet her!

Finally, I shared this photo on Twitter, but I was tickled pink when my mother-in-law sent me a pic of this dress:

It’s a dead ringer for the dress Megan wore in the season premiere Sunday night! She’s had it since 1969! Pretty cool, huh?

Well, that’s all, folks! What are you up to these days? Any special sewing on the docket?

Ginger Made: Coco Dress!

Tilly & the Buttons Coco Dress by Ginger Makes

Sooooo… I really didn’t mean to buy another pattern.  I’m really trying, people, honest!  But when I saw the latest from Tilly and the Buttons, the Coco pattern, I couldn’t help myself and downloaded it right away.  I printed it out, dug up some stash fabric, and sewed it right up!  It was just too cute to wait!  The slowest and hardest part of the process was finding time in my photographer’s busy schedule!

Tilly & the Buttons Coco Dress by Ginger Makes

As you can see, I made the dress variation with three-quarter sleeves, cuffs, and a funnel neck.  There are also variations for a top, long sleeves, and a standard Breton top slash neck.  Plenty of options!  The pattern was super easy to stitch up and takes no time at all.

Tilly & the Buttons Coco Dress by Ginger Makes

I used a sweatshirt-weight French terry that I bought with a Living Social coupon at Paron Fabrics nearly two years ago.  It’s been hogging up space in my stash for way too long, so I was so happy to stitch it up!  I probably shouldn’t have made the version with cuffs and a funnel neck since the fabric is so thick, but I loved them so much that I tried it anyway.  The seam allowances are a bit bulky, but I can live with that.

Since the fabric is so thick, the seam allowances didn’t want to lie flat- I could press them flat, but they would spring back almost immediately.  I solved this problem by topstitching them down.  Let’s just call it a design detail!  I hemmed the dress by turning it up and twin needling it.  I don’t know it if was because of the weight of the fabric, but the hem sagged at the side seams instead of standing out, so I just trimmed it even before hemming.

Tilly & the Buttons Coco Dress by Ginger Makes

I don’t usually wear skirts that are flared or even A-line, so this is a little different look for me, but it’s really fun!  It’s super easy to wear, and since it’s made from French terry, it’s really, really comfortable.  Man Friend was pretty jealous of getting to wear something so cozy as actual clothes (he kept telling me I needed to make more “housedresses”… um, let’s not call them that… maybe “secret pajamas”?).  This dress and the pattern is a total win! I’m excited to make more- it’s a quick make and I have a few other pieces in my stash that are now Cocos-to-be! Plus, I just realized that this works for #sewbluefebruary!  #Win!

Tilly & the Buttons Coco Dress by Ginger Makes

Do you love this pattern, too?  What are you sewing right now?  Anybody else made any accidental pattern purchases lately?

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