Top 5 of 2014: Hits + Misses!

Hi, guys! A belated Merry Christmas to you, if you celebrate, and an early Happy New Year! Hope the holiday season is finding you well and with plenty of time to hang out with loved ones and just relax!

One thing I’ve loved about the end of the year the past two years has been participating in Gillian‘s Top 5 posts. It’s really fun to stop and reflect on the previous year, and to move forward into the new year with a better idea of what you love to make and wear. So I’m excited to do it again this year!

OK, let’s start off with the misses. They’re the most fun, right?

5.) Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

I got tricked by the fun fuchsia animal print into buying a fabric in a color that I hate hate HATE wearing. There’s something about pale grey that makes me look and feel gross (which is weird, because I love medium and dark greys). Also, this shape was a new one for me, and I fell into the old trap of sewing something that I would never buy in a store. I wore this a few times, but ended up giving it away. I can’t even stand looking at these photos! I hate black pants (they’ve also been given away) and my skin looks LAVENDER in these pics. Yuck! Well, at least it was fun to sew!

4.) Nettie Bodysuit #2

I couldn’t think of a single way to wear this- it doesn’t go with anything in my closet and it looks especially idiotic with my usual low-cut jeans. I never sewed anything to pair it with, which probably tells you how much I liked it. Dumb fabric/pattern pairing!

3.) Colette Geometric Laurel-ish

Here’s another garment I didn’t wear even once. There’s just something about it that I don’t like, which is a shame, because I loved the fabric. It wrinkled when you just looked at it, and was kinda messy as a result. Plus, looking back at these pics, I just don’t think I got the fit right. I’d love to have a go-to shift dress in my arsenal, but I haven’t achieved that yet. Blerg!

2.) Honey Cardigan

Why did I spend hours and hours and hours and hours knitting a cardigan when I don’t even like wearing them? Why did my buttonholes only fit buttons better suited for a clown? Why do bad sweaters happen to (basically) good people? WHY?

1.) Simplicity 1690 Crop Top + Gathered Skirt

OK. IN MY DEFENSE, everyone on Pinterest wearing a crop top + midi skirt combo looks super cute! But my proportions are off and this is Frump City, Population Me. Also, HOLY COW, my FAR too anatomically-correct pattern placement!!! Try and tear your eyes away from the, uh, headlights. TRY. This whole outfit is an atrocity.

Let’s turn to happier topics, shall we? Here are my top 5 hits of 2014! [Sidenote: I wanted to cheat and choose extras, but, this post is already long enough, so know that I had some runners-up that I spared you from. I’m looking at you, Gerard!]

5.) Style Arc Romy Anorak!

This project was a real learning experience for me, which I loved. I had never really been into more detailed projects, but after this, I could totally get the appeal of taking on something difficult. It’s a real confidence builder to work through something without good instructions and to find your own way of doing things when you want to change up a pattern. Best of all, I really like the end results! I wore this tons and tons this year, and loved that it replaced an ugly “technical” jacket that I never felt good in.

4.) Ebony + Nanette Scout Tee

I made this at the tail-end of warm weather (like, late October), so I didn’t get to wear it much this year, but man, oh, man, do I love it! I love the exaggerated shape, the color combo, and the bold print. It’s just so fun! Plus, it felt like a collaboration between myself and several cool, fun bloggers, none of which I’ve ever met in real life, and I love that it’s a testament to the strength and warmth of the weird and amazing online sewing community. I’m so excited to wear this come spring!

3.) Alder Shirtdress, v.2

This was my jam for summer 2014! I looooooved the Alder Shirtdress pattern, so much, in fact, that I made three versions! This one is my favorite- I finally worked up the nerve to cut into a treasured piece of Vlisco wax print, and I’m so happy I did! The large-scale print pairs happily with the loose silhouette and it’s just so fun to wear. This was my summer uniform and I felt so happy and at ease in it.

2.) Isabel Undercover Sweatshirt

I made a concerted effort to sew more wardrobe basics this year, and I’m really happy that I did. I’m a really, really casual dresser 90% of the time, but you would never know that from the way I used to sew! The unfortunate side effect of not shopping, but also not sewing basics, was that my everyday wardrobe was in terrible condition at the beginning of this year. You could find me most days in some sort of ugly, worn, free, unisex t-shirt, paired with an ugly, worn, free, unisex hoodie. It’s hard to feel confident dressed like that! Enter the Papercut Patterns Undercover Hood, the other pattern I made three versions of this year. It’s wearable, looks really different made up in different fabrics, and has made dressing easy and fun during the week. This wool jersey version, based on an Isabel Marant sweater I saw a picture of and loved, is my favorite by a mile.

1.) M6553, v.2

It should be hard to choose a favorite garment for the year, but this was a no-brainer. Every time I look in my closet, it just jumps out at me… I love it! If I could only use a single piece of clothing to tell people who I am, it would probably be this dress. It’s bright, fun, and relaxed, things that I hope describe me (on good days). I love love love this fabric (another peer pressure collaboration THANKS CHARLOTTE) and I’m so glad I used it on a favorite pattern! It was another occasion when I finally had the courage to cut into a beloved stash fabric, and I was so pleased that I did when the dress was done. Yay!

Alright, guys, I’m really excited to hear about your hits and misses this year. Tell me! What were your biggest triumphs? Worst disappointments? Anyone else have a pattern placement problem that made a garment a bit too anatomically-correct? Do share!

Ginger Made: Ebony + Nanette + Scout Tee = Happiness!

Hi, guys! Hope your week is off to a great start! Let me start off with a word of explanation: I really, really, really didn’t mean to buy a summery print so late in the year. But I stumbled across this Nanette Lepore linen/silk blend (!) online and immediately fell hard for it (good news- it’s still in stock!!!). [Sidebar: while I can’t afford to wear Nanette Lepore, I would love to- I’m such a huge fan of the Garment District, and so I really appreciate her commitment to bringing garment production back to New York. For more about this, check out Overdressed, if you haven’t already read it!] But, it’s October, so I tried to talk myself out of it. I left the browser window open for two days when I saw Mary‘s tweet that she had just ordered the same print and, well, that little nudge, plus some encouragement from Roisin, was all I needed to pull the trigger! Friends, I’m telling you, Twitter is a DANGEROUS place sometimes! So, my October Mood Sewing Network project looks a bit like an August project! Oops!

I’d planned to use this gorgeous fabric to make a really special dress (check out Kelli’s dress made with a different colorway of the same fabric!), but after I thought about it for a bit, I just couldn’t justify making a dress that would be stuffed in my closet until May. I’ve recently noticed a major hole in my wardrobe- cute tops for everyday wear! So I figured a top would allow me to wear this fun print with a greater degree of frequency.

Haha, this photo shoot was made difficult by the wind swirling around… things don’t usually look this tent-y!

Since the print is so large-scale, I knew that I needed something with a lot of surface area to show it off. I remembered Ebony’s hack of the Grainline Studio Scout Tee pattern, something I’d been meaning to try since I first saw her post. Ebony has the best style and everything she makes I immediately want… she’s just so cool (#girlcrush)! Now, Ebony used a knit, but I thought I could get away with using a woven since the original pattern is designed for wovens and the fabric is quite drapey.

Ebony details how much width and length she added to her pattern, but I didn’t want to do quite as much as she did (plus, I suspect she’s taller than me). So I dropped the front hem by 3″ and the back by 8″ (blending from 3″ at the side seam of the back piece to 8″ at the center back, giving it a nice curved hemline). I also lengthened the sleeves by 4″ (Jen at Grainline has a tutorial for how to do this if you need some pointers!). I slashed and spread the front and back pieces by 8″ each (the most I could do and still fit the pattern pieces on 44″ wide fabric). That’s plenty of extra volume- 32″ total added to the sweep of the hemline! Whoa!

The fabric was super easy to sew and didn’t fray as much as 100% linen, luckily. But it tends to relax and rumple just a bit when you wear it, which I really like. Since it wasn’t fray-crazy, I didn’t bother with fancy seam finishings and just serged the seams. Sometimes you just want to keep it simple! The neckline is finished with bias binding, and the curved hemline got the narrow hem treatment.

I know this isn’t the most flattering garment, but it makes a big splash and is really, really fun to wear. I just feel so happy when I put it on! And isn’t that the best thing about sewing your own clothes? You can wear whatever you like! And, you can channel inspiration from as many sources as you like (in my case, Ebony, Mary, Roisin, Jen, Kelli, and, of course, Nanette Lepore! And the finished garment even makes me think of Liza Jane, somehow) and turn it into a cool garment! I’m really looking forward to seeing what Mary makes with this fabric!

What are you making these days? What are your favorite top styles?

I saved you my derpiest photo as a treat. DERRRRRRRRRRRP.


Scout Tee, Once Again

Hi, guys!  Hope you all had a lovely Canada Day and/or 4th of July, if you celebrate!  I spent the long weekend at home, hunched over the sewing machine (OK, OK, maybe I took some breaks for pug snuggles and movie watching).

Here’s one of the products of my weekend sewing.  It’s another Grainline Studio Scout Woven Tee, photographed just in time for the Kollabora Scout Woven Tee Sew-Along deadline!  This wasn’t at the top of my to-sew list, but I love Kollabora (even though they’re basically evil because they bombard me with so much awesome inspiration each day that my to-make list is absurdly long!), I love Wanett (the head honcho of the sew-along), and I’m basically a Grainline addict, so I couldn’t help but join in on the sew-along fun!

I used a length of chambray that was left over from my first sewing project— a super stash-bust!  My plan was to use the sweet birdie fabric that Sew Busy Lizzy sent me for the Sew Very Merry Christmas Swap, but I wanted to try out some modifications on less precious fabric first.  I rounded the hem line a little bit and tried to give it a hi-lo hem, but it’s so slight that you can’t really tell (whoops!).  I also added a pocket (from Jen’s Tiny Pocket Tank pattern) since the chambray is pretty boring on its own.

This isn’t the most exciting top I’ve ever made, but it’s super wearable and will hopefully last a long time (since I French seamed the entire thing so it’s nice and tidy inside).  I’m hoping to make a few more versions of this top in the near future!

What are you guys sewing these days?  Anything exciting?  Who’s made the Scout Tee?  Wanna be my friend on Kollabora?

Ginger Made: Scout Tee

Hi, guys!  Happy 4th of July, Americans (and a belated Happy Canada Day to my neighbors up north)!  You may notice that I’m posting on the LAST POSSIBLE DAY for the Summer Spark Sew-along (unsurprising).  I made it (but just barely)!

You may remember that my grand plan was to sort out the Iris Shorts pattern for this sewalong, buuuuuut… I’m telling ya, they licked me!  I just don’t have the chops to figure out why they don’t fit.  I even had a private lesson at the Sewing Studio, after which I transferred all the changes to my pattern, cut a new muslin, and they looked worse than before!  I was so frustrated that I couldn’t even stand to look at them!  So.  I decided to try out a different kind of summer staple and made Grainline’s Scout Tee.

I used a lightweight cotton from Paron’s that I really like.  It’s a sort of irregular, geometric print, but it’s fairly subtle and interesting.  It makes for a breezy, cool tee, which is awesome.  The style, however, is probably not the best for me.  I really like that it’s an easygoing, casual fit,  but it doesn’t really do any favors for my kinda rectangular shape.  My poor choice, not the pattern’s fault. The combination of the boxy shape and a fairly crisp fabric makes it stick out a bit.  Not my favorite, but not awful.

I thought this pattern was drafted nicely and the sleeves went in easily, which is a huge bonus!  The neck binding is nice and neat (a first for me!), but it sticks out a bit (every time I bind a neckline, it always sticks out!  What gives?!?!).  Overall, it was super quick and easy to put together– yay!

Even though I don’t think this top is super flattering on me, I’m sure I’ll wear it a lot.  It’s hot and sticky today, and the loose fit is really comfortable for this kind of weather.  I may try this one again in cotton jersey and size it down one step, or maybe I’ll try it with a drapier fabric, perhaps a silk.

This was the BEST photo of the back view… eek! Maybe I just made it a size too big?

Big thanks to Ali, Alessa, and Sarah for hosting the sewalong!  I really liked the idea– one month to make one pattern that will be a nice summer basic!  Did anyone else participate in this one?