Watercolor McCalls 6696

McCalls 6696

Springtime in December! Although we’ve been having a really mild winter so far, so this dress actually isn’t too seasonally inappropriate!  Last month I was contacted by Art Gallery Fabrics to see if I wanted to make something with fabric from Pat Bravo’s DARE collection. I was really drawn to this Rebel Brushstokes print so I took them up on their offer. Not exactly a wintry fabric though, so I went with a more summery silhouette that could be layered when it’s chilly.

I decided to use the ever popular McCalls 6696 shirtdress pattern which I scored for $1.50 at a Hancocks sale a couple months ago. I haven’t used a Big 4 pattern in a long time, but this design was too cute to pass up! I made View C (sleeveless and straight skirt) and added the belt loops from View A. I knew it ran big so I went down a size (from 10 to 8) and used the A/B cup bodice pieces. I’d also read that the gathering in the back bodice can get kind of poofy, so I reduced it by two inches. The only other change I made was shortening the skirt by 3 inches (I’m 5’4″). Luckily it fits pretty well! The bodice is still a little roomy and I need to do a swayback adjustment, but overall not too bad. Construction was straight-forward. I used the instructions more as guidelines and used my preferred shirt-making methods where I saw fit. It’s a great design, and I’ll definitely use this pattern again!

McCalls 6696

McCalls 6696

McCalls 6696

This colorful dress-and-cardi look is a little outside my comfort zone, but I think I like it! It’s a nice change from jeans and neutrals.

This fabric was really nice to work with and I love the pretty watercolor print!

McCalls 6696

McCalls 6696

McCalls 6696

I’m also wearing my Seamwork Wembley cardigan which I made last month with the leftover fabric from my first AGF make. Totally unplanned, but I think the fabrics go really well together! Wembley was a super quick make and it has a shape that looks great with dresses.

McCalls 6696

McCalls 6696

McCalls 6696

Anyone else doing some seasonally inappropriate sewing? Or maybe rushing to get Christmas presents done? I’m being totally selfish and finishing up a couple holiday dresses for myself!

<3 Lindsay

The fabric for this post was provided by Art Gallery Fabrics. All content and opinions remain my own.

Quilted Sweatshirts Duo

Quilted SweatshirtsWith the weather finally getting chilly around here I decided to make quilted sweatshirts for myself and Nathaniel: Named’s Sloane sweatshirt for me and Seamwork’s Paxson raglan for him.

With other knit Named patterns I’ve sized down, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that with this one, especially if your fabric doesn’t have a lot of stretch. I made my true size (34) and I’m really happy with the fit. It’s definitely a pattern I’ll be using again! The long darts give it a bit of a slimmer fit than your traditional sweatshirt, so you may even want to size up if you’re planning on wearing it over layers.

The thing I’m not terribly happy with is the fabric. It looks great and the outer layer is super soft… but the inner layer is kind of itchy. It’s not too bad when worn over a t-shirt, but it’s definitely not as cozy as I was expecting. The funny thing is that I got the end of the bolt with my fabric.com order, so I have over a yard of this fabric left. I’m not sure yet what to do with it… maybe pillows since the outside is so soft?

Quilted Sweatshirts

Quilted Sweatshirts

Quilted Sweatshirts

I’m also wearing my “wearable muslin” Ginger jeans. For my first pair, I’m really surprised how well these fit! From my Jamie Jeans experience I knew that there were three main pattern alterations I’d need: shortening the legs, taking in the inner thigh, and doing a swayback adjustment on the waistband. I did all these to the paper pattern (guessing at the right amounts) before cutting it out  and basting the jeans together. The basted fit was good, so I didn’t make any further adjustments.

The denim is super soft, but also fairly lightweight. That would be great for summer, except this fabric has one fatal flaw: it attracts cat hair like crazy. One sit-down on the couch and it’s all over. A lint brush helps a bit, but this fabric is seriously a cat hair magnet.

This is View A: low rise and straight leg. I definitely want to try the high-waisted version next! I’ve ordered some Cone Mills denim from Threadbare Fabrics for my next couple pairs.

Ginger Jeans

Quilted Sweatshirts

Quilted Sweatshirts

The fabric I used for Nathaniel’s sweater, on the other hand, is much softer on the inside. The issue here was with the fit. His measurements placed him at the low end of the size medium, so I thought I’d be fine sewing the size M even though the fabric didn’t have quite as much stretch as called for. Incorrect. Especially since I think Paxson is meant to be worn as a shirt rather than layered on top of something. So it ended up a little tight, but not unwearably so.

The other issue was with the cuffs and hemband. The sleeves (and therefore the cuffs) ended up too short, while the hemband ended up too long and frumpy looking. Luckily these were easy to fix: I cut off the hemband and shortened it, and re-cut new, longer cuffs.

Quilted Sweatshirts

Quilted Sweatshirts

Quilted Sweatshirts

Quilted Sweatshirts

So neither project turned out quite as expected, but I think they’ll get a lot of wear anyway! And they were quick to make at just a couple hours each.

How’s your winter sewing coming along?

<3 Lindsay

Chambray Birthday Shirt

Chambray Birthday ShirtIt’s become something of a tradition to make my husband Nathaniel a new shirt for his birthday. He picks the fabric and the style, and I do the rest. Button-ups are one of my favorite things to sew, so it works out well for everyone!

There’s not much to say about this pattern that I haven’t said before. It’s the Frank Shirt from Burdastyle: Sewing Vintage Modern and I must have sewn it at least 15 times by now.

Alterations this time:

  • reduced the collar height and flare
  • added buttons to the collar
  • used the tower placket piece from my Quinn shirt instead of doing a continuous sleeve placket
  • made two pleats instead of one at the cuff
  • added an (almost invisible) pointed pocket

Chambray Birthday Shirt

Chambray Birthday Shirt

Chambray Birthday Shirt

Chambray Birthday Shirt

Chambray Birthday Shirt

The fabric is a Kaufman chambray with woven dobbies. I love Kaufman chambrays, and this one was no exception.

My favorite part of this shirt is the double pleat + tower placket combo. I think it ended up looking really sharp.

Chambray Birthday Shirt

Chambray Birthday Shirt

Chambray Birthday Shirt

Overall a successful and satisfying make!

In related news, have you seen Joost’s new Singular Shirt pattern? It’s available for free and has 38(!) different options. I’m really curious to try it out. You input about 15 different measurements and are given a custom-fit shirt pattern. There are no instructions, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you have prior shirt-making experience. I’m definitely going to give it a go for Nathaniel’s next shirt!

Has anyone else been sewing menswear lately? I know Katie’s been making some awesome stuff for her guy – check out these rigid denim jeans! I’m also really excited about Thread Theory‘s new foray into selling tailoring supplies and fabric!

<3 Lindsay

My First Quilt

Log Cabin Quilt

My first block.

I’ve been interested in making a quilt for a few years now, but somehow making clothing always seemed more tempting. When a local fabric store went out of business last year I picked up a couple bundles of coordinating fat quarters with the intention of finally learning to quilt. The bundles took care of the hardest part – choosing which fabrics to use! Months passed, but eventually I decided on making a log cabin quilt – an easy design good for beginners.

Log Cabin Quilt

Log Cabin Quilt

Laying out the blocks.

I checked out the book Modern Log Cabin Quilting from the library for inspiration and guidance. I ended up doing a classic log cabin design using some of the dimensions from the book: 4.25″ center squares and 1.75″ logs for a finished block size of 9.75″. I then made as many blocks as I could out of the fabric I had and ended up with a 4 block x 5 block throw size quilt.

Making the blocks was actually pretty fun. First you cut a bunch of long strips of fabric (the “logs”), then you sew as much as you need on one side, cut off the extra (which you’ll continue using on other blocks), turn the block, and repeat. It’s best to do the same step on multiple blocks at once, so you can get a good rhythm going.

After I finished the blocks I tried to arrange them so that the same fabrics weren’t touching on adjacent blocks. Then I sewed all the blocks together.

Log Cabin Quilt

Log Cabin Quilt

The bundles were all Art Gallery fabrics by Leah Duncan. They’re definitely good quality fabrics and easy to work with!

For the backing I couldn’t resist buying a yard of this Art Gallery bunny print! There wasn’t enough to cover the whole back, so I broke it up with a couple wide ivory stripes. I made the bias binding out of the same ivory fabric.

For the quilting itself I did diagonal lines in both directions that meet in the center of each block. My little machine isn’t meant for quilting, and I definitely wouldn’t want to do a project larger than this on it. Even with a walking foot it was difficult to keep the quilt moving smoothly through the machine – the weight of it kept messing with the thread tension and stitch length. Now I can definitely see why there are quilter-specific sewing machines!

Log cabin quilt

Log cabin quilt

Log Cabin Quilt

As soon as the quilt was finished I washed and dried it, and the fabric shrunk up nicely. I like the pop of color it adds to my living room, and it will certainly be nice to cozy up with now that it’s finally getting cold!

It was fun trying something new and I definitely learned a lot. I don’t foresee making many quilts in the future (especially not big ones!)… although I have had my eye on this constellation quilt kit for a while. I have a feeling hand-quilting will be an entirely different adventure!

Do you prefer to stick to clothing, or do you enjoy other types of sewing as well?

<3 Lindsay

Quinn Shirt

Quinn ShirtOver the summer I had the opportunity to do some pattern testing for Named. I tested the Augusta Hoodie for their last collection, so I was really excited to be asked back. Laura and Saara are super nice, and I can tell that they really take the feedback into consideration and make changes accordingly. I chose to test the Quinn Shirt from the New Black collection.

I love sewing button-down shirts, and this was a great opportunity to try out some new techniques. The french cuffs, overlapping collar, tower plackets, and rounded button stand were all things I’d never attempted before. I think Named always really nails the details in a way that makes their patterns both flattering and fashion-forward. You can tell that even little things like the pleats at the back yoke and cuffs are well thought out and perfectly placed.

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

An intermediate-level sewist should have no problem making this pattern. I found the instructions easy to follow, and the collar instructions in particular are some of the best I’ve come across.

I don’t believe any major changes were made to the pattern after I tested it, although the instructions were updated in a few places to be more thorough.

Making the button cuff links took a couple tries to get right, but I think they’re pretty clever. You just stitch some thread through the buttonholes for looks, and then attach the two buttons together with elastic thread. I would like to get some real cuff links, but the button ones are certainly cheaper, especially when you need four!

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

I sewed my normal size 34 with no alterations. I think next time I’d shorten the arms by 1/2″. There’s also some drag lines/tightness at the upper bust when the shirt is buttoned, especially when I move my arms. I think I may need to go up a size at the bust and then do a SBA?

The fabric is a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton in “lichen”. Shot cottons, like chambray, are woven with different colored warp and weft threads, in this case green and blue. I think it gives the fabric more depth and makes for a really pretty effect.

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn ShirtConclusion: I love this shirt! And I’ll definitely be making this pattern again. I like that it’s a bit more fitted than the Archer, and I love all the cool details. Button-downs are definitely a fall/winter staple for me, so it’s great to have a new pattern to add to the arsenal.

Have you sewn anything from the New Black collection yet? The Sloane Sweatshirt and Olivia Wrap Dress are both on my list for this fall! I also think the Isla Trench Coat is gorgeous – I can’t wait to see some more versions of it pop up!

<3 Lindsay