A-Line Linen

I made this cutsy little dress with some details that I’ve spotted in pinterest. In fact its a almost copy of the second dress. The pattern I modified is burda 2010 January, dress #130. Its a very simple pattern with a dart at the chest. I had to do some hand stitching at the collar to make sure it stays flat, which was surprisingly enjoyable.   The pocket detail was not too hard to figure out as well. I made sure to make the pocket deep enough to fit the ever growing smartphone. I also happened to have the exact shade of red for the zipper in my stash! The dress came out exactly as I had envisioned. I love the contrast between the beige and pop of red! Unfortunately hubby is not a fan of this dress. He thought it looked too 70s (the shape), cutsy (the collar), and sack-y (the fabric+shape). But I cant help but love this little dress for all the little pops of reds and how well-made it is (if i may say so myself). I think he’s looking forward to me getting bored of it and giving it away :P Do you have any sewn garments that your SO just abhors but you wear anyways?

Upcycled Sweaters

I made these two about 2 month ago, but currently hubby and I are both quite bored of backyard photos. So we decided to make sure to wear hand-made clothing on trips and take photos of them with more scenic background.

This is from our trip to Pajaro Dunes. It was a wonderful trip and we stayed at this condo literally right on the beach. Of course, being a beach in north california, i had to hide all my sundresses and bust out my sweaters. I took off my jacket for these photos :P Though the cold did not hinder our fun on the beach!

Made from hubby’s old sweat shirt. Again – I love having existing matching ribbings to work with. I used Burda 2010/2, #112 again, just lowered the neckline. not much else to be said – except that I will be eyeing hubby’s unworn sweatshirts with darker intents ;)

Also an upcycled sweater – same pattern as above. This is a cashmere find from goodwill, it was very oversized, but got a hole in the armpit after a few washes (yes, i wash my cashmere sweaters in machines – they generally cost $5-$10 from goodwills and I just throw them in and cross my fingers).  I just serged all the seams together – and re-used existing ribbings by including them on my cuts. For the neckline, I actually serged a folded piece of black jersey to the neckline, and then hand stitched it down. Very comfy and a more modern cut to wear.

I am also wearing my maternity linen pants here. They fit rather well after pregnancy :P  (Should i really count that as a win? I am hesitating here. but oh well, two good pairs of wearable pants are two good pairs of wearable pants)

And here’s little A wearing the bonnet I made back in the days.

Upcycled Hoodie

Just a quick project that only took, maybe an hour or so? Hubby found that one of his hoodie shrunk too much. I actually loved that hoodie on him, and kept it around to maybe upcycle it for little K.

But lately I’ve been wanting a few sweaters for the summer (CA has chilly nights) that’s long-ish on the body. Its hard to find a sweater thats long on the body but the right length on the arm for me. So I cut up hubby’s sweater to make this for myself. I kept the hoodie, pocket and shoulder seams and cut up and re-sew everything else. I used my TnT burdastyle generic top pattern for the bodice and arm. (its been used over and over again for my tops, but I cannot figure out which issue the top is from!)

One thing I love about upcycling hubby’s old sweater is that there’s already matching ribbing. The fabric is already shrunken (and often shows that it was cut off-grain but can be corrected when I sew it up). And I often can skip a few steps like the neckline and pocket. Plus, It fits me very well :)

Linen Alexander McQueen Kimono Jacket

OMG You guys!! This could be the best project from me for 2015! I learnt about this awesome pattern from smvphotography‘s projects in 2008, and was immediately smitten. I made an attempt to make one then, but being only a year into sewing, it was literally impossible to understand the instructions and I gave up after cutting up the fabric.

Fast forward a few years I saw Carolyn’s version and was smitten again. Her version is made from plain fabric and very cleanly executed, which made me want to try the Alexander McQueen pattern again. So with my 8 years of experience in sewing under my belt, I picked up this pattern again. I downloaded a fresh copy – I wonder if the instruction/pattern had been updated, because everything made so much more sense this time around. I also (intentionally) chose a plain fabric that can be marked with washable pen, and a linen that can be pressed very easily and have no stretch whatsoever. They made it so much easier to work with!

I was always pretty confused that the back looks flat on Carolyn’s Leo and there’s  a little bump on smvphotography‘s version. It turned out – I think its rather dependent on how tight garment is on the person. I thought this is flat on me, but according to the photography, if I open my arm (so the garment is a little tight on me) a little boxy bump would form. if I keep my arms down (so its loose) its flat. I love that feature!

Close up of the back. There was one step that I did that was not in the instruction, that I think most other people who made this project also added. I stitched the seams next to the center back, on the bottom. It prevents the jacket from opening up its fold on the back too much.

I am IN LOVE with how the front is drafted. The pleats near the center front is drafted such that it would accommodate both a curvy figure and a lean figure with ease. The jacket can be easily taken in on the side since there are no pleats or darts on the side seams.

And seeing Carolyn’s version, I decided that a pocket is indeed very much needed for this jacket. It was very easy to add one.

Close up of the front – after the photoshoot I moved the buttons down about 2 inches and things fit a lot better – the location in the photo causes too much stress on the bust area.

I am very much in love with this jacket. I thought this is something one would make just once. But I think I will be making it again, at least a version with the same front but maybe simplified back. I didnt think my husband would like this jacket, since its very “design-y” and complicated and he usually prefers a girl-next-door kinda look. But he loves it! Whenever I want to wear it out with the kids around, he protests because he doesnt want this jacket getting dirty :P  Its now reserved for just dates and work.

When i make this again, some changes i would make:

  • i would re-draft the collar/front panel piece such that it sticks out of my neck a little; or maybe this is a change needed on the neck hole. Right now the collar collapse on my neck instead of sticking out like collars on a kimono.
  • I might cut the front pieces separately from the back. It is easy to change the pattern to do that as there’s already a shoulder seam that almost slashes the two pieces apart
  • I would bound all the seams on the inside more prettily. This one is just finished with serger, but there are so little seams exposed on the inside that one might as well put in some effort to make it pretty.
  • a lighter way of finishing the shoulder seam – i did Hong Kong binding for the shoulder seam, and its a little too heavy and make the seam too pronounced.
  • closure: instead of two little buttons, i think i want to try a thin, separating zipper in the front for closure.

Some answers I was looking for about this pattern before I started but couldnt find anywhere:

  • Seam allowance:  yes the pattern does not have any seam allowance – you need to add your own
  • Size: I made the pattern up without any size adjustment here except for taking in about half an inch in the front seam, since I wanted a narrower band in the front. I have about 33/34 bust and 28 waist, and 4″11 here, and the jacket fits just fine. If your measurements are smaller, the jacket can be taken in on the side seam extremely easily. If you are slightly bigger, i think you can extend the side and it would work as well
  • recommended fabric: a fabric you can mark on with washable ink/chalk, that doesnt stretch – these two makes the pattern a lot of manageable to make up!

Last note: this was made after my brother sewing machine stopped working. I made it on my old singer 201, and boy, I am in love with it again. Comparing to a modern machine, the old stuff just runs so smoothly. Hubby commented that sometimes he doesnt realize that I am sewing since the Singer201 is so silent. I still need to see if the brother machine can be fixed, but if not, i might just keep using my Singer 201 instead of buying a new machine.

Black and White

This is a small collection of two tops that I made recently. I had this from Happily Grey and was very much inspired.

I modified Burda 2010/2, #112 to make pattern for this. The front is made from knit, back upper panel from eyelet (rayon for the while and cotton for the black), and back bottom from rayon (challis for white and twill for black). The black version had been widened a little – I wanted to make it more relaxed and not as fitted.

I am rather happy with them. Due of the project I looked for a ragan sleeve pattern in my collection. I am very glad to find the burda version – it fits me super well, and I’ve been making sweaters and cardigans from it since these two tops. You will be seeing it very often as a TnT from now on!

Baby Blue Statement Coat

This was made waaaaay back in January this year. But life got in the way and we didnt have a chance to photograph it until now!

I wanted to try another oversized look for my next coat. I was still far from my original weight so I didnt want to make another fitted coat just yet. I had gotten this very thick, mostly-poly-some-wool coating from hancock in a $6/yard wool sale. Its not a color I would usually wear but for $6/yard, its really soft and has a beautiful color. I also had McCall 6445 in my collection and had been wanting to try its gusset-sleeve. So a powder blue coat was born!

I made the xs. I shortened the sleeves as well as the body. And I also modified the front pieces so that it has a shawl collar. I initially drafted a hoodie piece but decided a shawl collar looks better – took me a few tries with muslin to figure out how to make a shawl collar. Two in-seam pocket is inserted in the front as well. It was interesting figuring out how to make the gusset sleeve and mine isnt as perfect as it could be, but in the end I was glad I learnt how its done. The wool was really thick, so it was rather difficult keeping me stitches straight sometimes.

Its also got a powder blue lining. I went through a phase in my sewing where I love crazy linings. The crazier the better. But recently I’ve been swinging into the more conventional RTL look – matching lining and coating for a cleaner look when its worn open. I am not sure which one I like better. What do you prefer? Fun or sophistication?

All in all, I like the coat, though I think it looks a little like a bathrobe with the shawl collar and the belt. But I still like it anyhow and its a different shape than my usual fitted production. There are no buttons on it yet, which bothers me a little. But there isnt a great place to put buttons and avoid the pocket and allow the shawl collar to start its fold as low as I like. So I am still thinking about it – perhaps it would happen someday.

Its all summer and sunshine in the bay area, but we took a trip down to Monterey for our anniversary and the beach was FREEZING! I was glad to have this coat on hand. Its so weird that you can drive just 30 minutes and go from a hot 90F to a cold 55F weather. So California!

Little Black Dress

I saw this in pinterest and fell in love with the look:

So I made my own version. I drafted  the entire thing myself, but the bust area is a little wider than I like. Other than that its what I was looking for! I might end up making this again – with a lighter fabric and a more see-through lace. This one is made with rayon twill, which is a little more rigid than challis despite its drapery-ness. In the photoshoot, I had pulled the back straps tight. But in reality its looped through 4 little loops, therefore can help make the bust area tighter or looser. When my boobs shrink back to a smaller size and stop leaking so much, i hope they dont need as much support and i can wear the dress looser, like my inspiration.

Summer is almost here in the west, which means beautiful golden grassland with dark green oak trees. A beautiful,  beautiful time!


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