Big Blouse Weekend – return of the Blue Squares

After working through a series of fabrics that I had accumulated in my summer fabric pile (the podcast I listen to calls it a fabric collection) I felt like I had gotten to a place where I could think about some transitional pieces for fall and winter and try to make some nicer work dresses with sleeves. I got a few things at mood… stay tuned.

First though, I also wanted to make a few more basic work tops that I could match with all of my skirts and continue to use all of my fabric as resourcefully as possible.

I try to bring some balance to my sewing with this approach too. So if I buy new fabric, I need to make sure I’ve used most of the earlier stuff. Similarly, I try to keep an eye on old fabrics and see if there are cute projects I can use for the leftovers.

A while ago, I had discovered that my blue poodle Carolina Herrera fabric seemed to match the blue squares. I had said I’d make a top. Before I dig into my new fabrics, I decided I needed to make this top so that I still had time to wear it in the summer. From there, I could make another blouse with something new.

See below for the process and final look!

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Vacation Sewing Part 2 & Finished Polka Dot Americana Dress!

As mentioned it was tons of fun to visit the local fabric stores and explore using my father in law’s sewing machine. He was the sewist in the family! Next time, I will take a few pictures of his projects!

A Fashion Mate 275

I wish I had taken even more in progress photos but overall this was my first project drafting the pattern from scratch for someone else. It is so exciting to have an opportunity to try sewing for someone else and to see how different adjustments can make the design better for each of us.

It was really exciting to see how much my mother in law liked this dress! She is very into accessorizing – and I see why – she’s fantastic at it!

See more pictures below! And thanks for being such a great muse!

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Red Shorts part 2

It was time to do the fly and start the welt pockets! (With a new technique)

Click through to read more

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The Vancouver Dress – Finished Project!

While I am also working on this Simplicity dress with my friend, I wanted to understand the fit of this pattern better before we completed the project. I hope that this will let her have the most positive experience and not be discouraged by any type of fit issue.

With that in mind! It seemed like a great pattern to use for the linen I picked up in Vancouver at Atex Fabrics.

I cut this fabric perpendicular to the graneline so that I could take advantage of the floral ombre effect.

From here – it was sewing time! This pattern is actually quite nice and pretty easy. I had never sewn with linen before and the weave of this fabric was definitely looser. This meant there was some chances to get wavy seams and cutting straight lines was a bit odd a challenge too. Through lots of pinning and pressing I managed to still make it through pretty quickly.

Mmmm side gather…

Next time, I may make this dress in an even lighter silk or a wintery fabric! Or crop it into a top! I liked this first version.

Here was a process picture pretty far in where I was double checking the fit ahead of finishing the french seams.

I think the ombre makes this looks really nice!

There was one other REVOLUTIONARY element of this project. I finally cut my bias tape for finishing the arms… on the bias. This has always seemed so wasteful to not use straight strips of fabric bit I realized I was starting to get wobbly necklines because the bias tape didn’t have enough give and stretch… I know it’s so obvious… this turns out to be one sewing corner you should not cut. The more you know!

Ta da! The Vancouver dress!

With pockets!

Finished Blue Squares!

I forgot to post a picture of this finished shirt!

Everything came together well and I added some bright red buttons to complete the look. D was interested in something colorful and he looks nice!

The graphical lines of this fabric turned out pretty cool.

Part 5: Blue Squares continue!

Today I’m going to try and alternate between 1hr of sewing and then 1 hr of chores and by the end of the day I’ll hopefully have completed a lot of both!

I started with kicking off some chores and going through my closet to pick out old clothes that I can donate because I’m just now wearing them anymore. I have a nice pile to send to Goodwill. I also pulled aside a few pieces that I’m going to try and remake into something new!

10:30am time to start sewing! First I will tackle the plackets for the sleeves. These are something that I’ve definitely gotten much better at over time.

Similar to a welt pocket this is something that you flip around a cut in the fabric
Here it is flipped through with the inner side sewn down. From here I just have to sew the main outer part. This creates the gap in the arm hole that you can use to roll up your sleeves.
All done! Also – this fabric is officially too random to have a hope of matching the lines. These squares go in different angles all over the place.
I then added the pleats in the sleeves too

11:45 stop and break for chores and lunch and life things… until 4:36pm start sewing again!

At this point, it was time to attach the sleeves to the body of the shirt. I decided to do all of this with french seams which means all of the raw edges will be tucked away within the seam. I think this leads to the garment lasting longer and also being the most comfortable.

This edge of the inner arm becomes the inside of the arm seam. Remember always sew the wrong sides together first so that you can flip it inside out to finish the shirt seam next! (I’ve learned this the hard way lol)
Here is the finished arm hole!
And full sleeve. Also a peek in the corner at my new red ink peckled working shirt

5:26 break to cook dinner with the eventual shirt receiver 🙂

8:00 start! It was time to do the cuffs. Oh boy they are always a hurdle because it feels like you’re so close to being done but they require quite a bit of sewing in the tight space at the end of the sleeve. Going slow is key! I think I’ve learned I sew pretty slowly. No lead foot here.

Haha I didn’t even really take pictures of doing this lol. I think I’ve taken photos for other shirts in the past.

Last for now I hemmed the bottom of the shirt and here’s what we’re looking at as of 10:00pm:

I will do the buttons soon and this shirt will be done!

Total sewing today: approx 4hrs today

Total project time: 8hrs 40 min

Blue Squares – Shirt Part 2

9:30 PM start! And the new Love to Sew podcast is blasting. These are two joyful women from Vancouver! It is so wonderful and a pleasant mix of detail and fun. I am really looking forward to continuing to listen and learn more. Maybe one day they’ll visit NYC or I’ll try to visit their shop in Vancouver – too bad I learned this after I was just there…I happened to listen to an episode about taking care of scraps! This is perfect timing because tonight I cut out all the pattern pieces. An interesting piece of advice included not being afraid to cut off some of the really small stranger pieces. This helps make a shape that’s easier to store and use in a future project.Good bye to this little straggler.This pattern involves 10 pieces and I’ve used it many times now (see menswear shirt category)By 10:10 I had finished cutting all these pieces out – Ta da!At this point – it was time to go to bed. I was staring at the front panel and thinking about starting to iron down the placket but a little voice in my head again said “nope time to go to bed on a work night” But! There was still time for one fantastic discovery! Look at how this matches. I think I will make a color blocked peplum to match my poodle skirt! I can’t wait!

Total project time so far 1hr 10min

Vacation Clothes Part 2

The wedding day was lovely! We looked at the small crabs, clams, and hermit crabs in the tidal pools and I wore my retropom pom 50’s dress.From there we headed to the local farmer’s market and bought some local jams. It was then time to get ready for the ceremony and I decided to wear my mushroom outfit.

The ceremony was beautiful and my cousin wore the veil I had made. She looked so beautiful and it was wonderful to see her and her husband so happy together. Stay tuned for more pictures once I get access to my mom’s photos 🙂Everything about the wedding was beautiful and there was a really cool gigantic long table that looked out onto the small bay.What a fun day to celebrate with family!

Cotton Flower Shirt Part 2

Why make one shirt when you can have two???

Fresh off the sewing machine and ready for our summer weather! This is a new version of a boxy blouse that I bought in my old store-shopping-life from JCrew.

Paired here with the latest Carolina Herrera poodle print cotton pencil skirt. See more pics below!

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Cotton Flower Shirt Part 1

I wanted a nice white blouse to go with some of my new skirts.

It was time to get sewing! Read more below!

Continue reading “Cotton Flower Shirt Part 1”