silk

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

This winter I had the opportunity to test a design from the new Named collection, and I chose the Ansa Dress, a modern and feminine cocktail dress!

I think the style lines for this pattern are so interesting! The raglan butterfly sleeves, the waist pleats, and the curved bust panel are all really fun elements that I’d never sewn before. It’s an untraditional take on a cocktail dress and I love that about it. The waist pleats are my favorite element – they provide the perfect amount of shaping and visual interest. And the lack of a waist seam means this dress is seriously comfortable!

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

As usual with Named patterns, everything came together really smoothly. I had a few suggestions for the instructions and they were all incorporated in the final pattern – it’s nice to see that Named really cares about the feedback process! The only pattern alteration I made was to shorten the dress by 2″. I probably should have shortened the bodice above the bust as well, as there’s some extra fabric there. I’ve come to realize lately that I often need that adjustment, but I haven’t gotten in the habit of doing it yet.

The fabric is a stretch silk satin that I picked up at Les Coupons de Saint Pierre a couple years ago. It was a three meter cut, so I still have enough left over to make a blouse – I’m thinking another Melilot! It’s really nice to wear and wasn’t too difficult to sew. It does show creases and puckers pretty badly though, which is especially evident around the zipper at the back. Ah well, I’m not too worried by it!

One thing I am really pleased about is how neat my neckline binding turned out. That’s a skill I’ve definitely improved on lately!

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

Have you added any of the new Named patterns to your queue? I have the Reeta midi shirt dress on my list, and I also love the look of the Ronja dungarees!

<3 Lindsay

Selene Skirt & Alexi Turtleneck

Selene Skirt & Alexi Turtleneck

Even though I’ve made quite a few Seamwork patterns and the Cooper backpack twice, this is the first time I’ve actually sewn with a Colette apparel pattern! I made this Selene skirt all the way back in July, so the construction details are a little bit fuzzy, but I do remember that the instructions were great and I don’t think I encountered any difficulties.

The skirt is made from some lovely raw silk that my grandma gave me. I decided to use some of it for this project, but I knew it would be a bit too lightweight for a structured skirt like this, so I underlined it with Kona cotton. Underlining really made a huge difference – it made the silk feel much more substantial, and it also keeps it from wrinkling too badly!  For the lining I used bemberg rayon.

Selene Skirt & Alexi Turtleneck

Selene Skirt & Alexi Turtleneck

Selene Skirt & Alexi Turtleneck

This is definitely one of the best garments I’ve made in terms of finishing. Lining, underlining, lapped zipper, vent, hand-sewn hem… these all make the skirt feel very high-quality. This was my first time doing a lapped zipper, and I think it turned out pretty well! I like that Colette includes vintage-inspired techniques like that. The notched pockets are my favorite feature!

White’s hard to photograph, so unfortunately the construction details don’t show up too well! I lowered the highlights, so hopefully you can make them out okay.

Selene Skirt & Alexi Turtleneck

Selene Skirt & Alexi Turtleneck

The turtleneck I made toward the end of last winter. The fabric is a lightweight merino wool from The Fabric Store. I used Style Arc’s Alexi pattern and the fit is pretty good, although it’s a bit too big through the shoulders and bust. I also shortened the sleeves and the body by an inch or two.

I actually just made another Alexi turtleneck last weekend from Kaufman Laguna jersey, and the fit is much better and tighter, so I guess it just depends on your stretch percentage. The pattern says it’s “suitable for any stretch knit fabric”, so not a lot of guidance there. It is a great basic though!

Selene Skirt & Alexi Turtleneck

Selene Skirt & Alexi Turtleneck

Selene Skirt & Alexi Turtleneck

Selene Skirt & Alexi Turtleneck

I have about two yards of the raw silk left, so if you have any pattern suggestions that it would work well for I’d love to hear them! I think I’ll try dyeing it a darker color for whatever I use it for next.

<3 Lindsay

V8903 Silk Shirt Dress

Vogue 8903 Shirt Dress

It’s been a while since I’ve sewn with a Big 4 pattern, but I was looking for a new shirt dress pattern and was really drawn to this one, Vogue 8903. I wanted something casually loose-fitting that would work well with silk. Specifically this gorgeous Jason Wu crinkled silk crepe de chine (sold out, but available in an almost identical colorway here) that I bought with my Mood Fabrics gift card last spring.

As far as silk goes, this one was pretty easy to sew with due to its textured nature. And it’s such a beautiful fabric; I love the tiny metallic polka dots scattered throughout. Plus it’s crinkled, so it can’t wrinkle – a definite win!

Vogue 8903 Shirt Dress

Vogue 8903 Shirt Dress

Vogue 8903 Shirt Dress

Vogue 8903 Shirt Dress

I finished this dress weeks ago, so the details are a little hazy, but I know I didn’t make any major pattern alterations. I sewed up View A sans collar. The one feature I was unsure about were the arm bands, so I basted them on to check the fit. They ended up being extremely wide and droopy on me, so I reduced the width by an inch or two before I sewed them back on. I also shorted the dress by a few inches (as I usually do).

I didn’t make a muslin since I figured this would be an easy-fitting kind of dress, but there is one major fit issue. Luckily the patterned fabric hides it pretty well, but there’s some definite drag lines going on in the shoulder/upper chest region. Weirdly, they’re sloping in the opposite direction than the ones on my Granville shirt (which indicated I needed a square shoulder adjustment), so I’m not sure what’s going on there.

Vogue 8903 Shirt Dress

Vogue 8903 Shirt Dress

Vogue 8903 Shirt Dress

I went down one size to a size 8, and the fit is pretty good except for the shoulder issue. I like that there’s some gentle shaping from the back darts, but since there’s no restrictive waistband the fabric just skims over the body.

Overall I love the casual cool vibe of this dress. It’s insanely lightweight and comfortable, and it pretty much feels like I’m wearing nothing at all, which is perfect for hot and humid summer days.

Vogue 8903 Shirt Dress

Vogue 8903 Shirt Dress

Vogue 8903 Shirt Dress

I think this might be the last hurrah of the summer dress. I had planned on making one or two more, but the early arrival of some very rainy and unusually cool weather has me more in the mood for fall sewing. Plus, I’m about to be spending a lot of time in cold air-conditioned buildings at grad school, so I’ve definitely got cardigans on the mind!

Does anyone else get super excited about wardrobe planning every season? I think I like making lists almost as much as I like sewing!

<3 Lindsay

Silk Gingham Skirt

Silk Gingham Skirt

Ever since I saw this Madewell skirt I’ve been planning on making my own version. So when  I was contacted a while back by My Fabric Designs to try out their fabric printing service I realized it would be the perfect opportunity to create the exact fabric I was after.

I recommend ordering the swatch book first – it’s a lot better than just guessing what the fabric will feel like, and it’s kind of a fun reference on its own! I made a simple gingham repeat in Illustrator at the scale I wanted (.6″ squares) and uploaded it to the website where I could see how it looked as a full repeat on the fabric. I chose the silk crepe de chine for this skirt and I’m really pleased with the quality. I was worried the fabric would be a bit see-through in the sun, but happily it’s not at all. I was also glad to see how dark the black ink is – sometimes the black on printed fabric looks kind of washed out and gray, but it seems that the silk takes the dye really well.

madewell gingham skirtThis was the inspiration – a flowy, gingham skirt – but I didn’t copy most of the particulars. I considered a few different patterns, but eventually I decided that I just wanted a simple gathered skirt. It’s “self-drafted” in that it’s two rectangles – one for the skirt and one for the waistband. I used approximately three times the width of my waist in fabric for fairly full gathers. Even though it’s a simple design I took my time with this make and made sure to finish everything neatly: french seams, invisible zipper, waistband finished by hand, etc. It turned out exactly as I imagined, and it’s so lovely and floaty to wear!

Silk Gingham Skirt

Silk Gingham Skirt

Silk Gingham Skirt

Silk Gingham Skirt

To go with the skirt I made a sleeveless black Nettie bodysuit. I’d forgotten how much I like this pattern – it really is perfect to wear with skirts! I thought I might have to alter the shape of the armhole when I made it sleeveless, but I actually liked it just how it was. To finish the armholes I made bindings the same width as the neckline binding (1.5″) but attached them with a 3/8″ seam allowance rather than a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Silk Gingham Skirt

Silk Gingham Skirt

I’m really happy with My Fabric Design‘s service and how my fabric turned out. It seems like they’re in direct competition with Spoonflower, but since I’ve never printed fabric there I can’t really compare the two. Their pricing seems comparable, though they each have a few unique substrates not carried by the other. It’s always good to have options, so I’m glad there are more companies like this popping up!

If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, they currently have a coupon running for 25% off with the code “photo25” through April 30th.

<3 Lindsay

The fabric for my skirt was provided by My Fabric Designs. All thoughts and opinions remain my own.

Asaka Kimono

Asaka Kimono

No time like a wedding to bust out the silk, right?

A few weeks ago I posted the silk Belladone dress I made to wear to a wedding rehearsal dinner, and now this is the main event: the Wedding Guest Dress. As soon as I RSVPed I started plotting what I would wear… I wanted to make something fun and out of the ordinary, that I wouldn’t normally have a good excuse to make. What immediately came to mind was Named’s Asaka Kimono pattern – which I’d fallen in love with the minute I laid eyes on it – and this seemed like the perfect occasion to try it out!

Asaka Kimono

Asaka Kimono

Asaka Kimono

The fabric is a super-lovely silk crepe de chine which I won in last year’s Anima Pant Contest. I’m so glad I finally found the perfect project for it! It feels amaaazing to wear, and was surprisingly not too difficult to sew. I think the slightly raised texture of crepe de chine makes it the easiest type of silk to sew – it was certainly much less shifty than the silk twill I used for my Belladone dress.

The hardest part of making this kimono was cutting it out. I had about a 1/2 meter less fabric than was called for, so pattern piece placement was crucial. Silk’s not easy to cut out at the best of times, and with the added fabric shortage pressure the situation was a little stressful and time-consuming. I was just barely able to eke it out of the fabric I had, but the inner collar pieces and belt had to be pieced together, and there were only the tiniest of scraps left over.

Asaka Kimono

Asaka Kimono

Asaka Kimono

After the cutting drama thankfully the kimono itself came together pretty easily. The construction’s actually fairly simple. The instructions are thorough, and there really aren’t any tricky bits at all – not even a zipper or bias binding to deal with. It’s a loose fitting garment, so you don’t have to worry too much about fit. I didn’t want it to be too loose, so I sized down to a 32 from my usual 34, which seemed to work well. I didn’t make any other alterations.

If you want to wear the kimono as a dress, you’ll need to address the center front situation. A kimono’s basically a robe, so the collar will definitely gape open. I just stuck a pin through a couple layers of the collar, and it worked well for me. It’s not visible from the outside since you’re only sticking it through the under layer, and I didn’t have any issues with the pin poking me or falling out even after hours of dancing/eating/etc. A more elegant solution would be to tack the collar pieces together or maybe add a snap, but the pin works! The kimono overlaps enough at the bottom that I didn’t have any flashing issues there.

Asaka Kimono

Asaka Kimono

Asaka Kimono

I can 100% recommend wearing kimonos to weddings! With the adjustable belt you can eat as much cake as you want (I might have had three slices…) and the flowiness of the kimono makes it so fun to dance in! The sleeves are basically the best ever.

I’m not really sure when I’ll have an opportunity to wear this kimono again (it’s not exactly an everyday kind of garment) but I’m very glad I made it! And if you can think of any kimono-appropriate events other than summer weddings let me know!

<3 Lindsay