Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sewaholic Nicola Dress

Introducing one my my new favorite dresses- the Sewaholic Nicola dress! I was instantly drawn to this pattern. I just love the design. It is very feminine and has a 70's vibe. I knew it would fit perfectly in my Work-Wear Inspired Capsule

I love working with prints! I know some people struggle with them but I think I've developed a good eye for what print works with what style. I discovered this print at Joann Fabrics. It is a rayon fabric with these beautiful Fall colors. I knew in an instant that it was meant for this dress. Joann Fabrics isn't one my favorite places to shop for fabrics, but sometimes you happen to find a treasure among all the polar fleece, lol! I spent about $20 for the fabric. 

I printed this pattern as a PDF. I used to dread PDF patterns, but not so much anymore. They are instantly delivered and at a better price. I'm sure with all the paper printing and ink used, it's a wash. But I tell myself I'm doing a better thing for the environment anyway. My ritual includes putting on my favorite show, pouring a glass of wine, and taping that monster up!

The instructions and illustrations are great. I didn't have any issues sewing this up. As for fit, I sewed up the size recommended by the pattern without issue. This dress is meant to have a flow and some ease so is quite accommodating to different sizes and shapes. 

I love the end result. This will look great with heels as pictured, or paired with some boots. I don't mind the fabric belt but I can always switch this out for a different look. It's very easy to wear and will be great for long work days. I'm going to have to make the short sleeved version when the weather warms up again.

And that's probably it for 2015! I've got some other makes that I need to post but don't think they will be up before the new year. I wasn't as productive this year but I feel like everything I made was high-quality and will get tons of wear in my new position coming up this next year. And as school comes to an end this next year, I should have much more time to get back to the sewing room more often. 

Wishing everyone a fabulous and blessed 2016! 


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Black and White Peplum Top

This is a long time overdue. I finished this top several weeks ago as part of my business-casual inspired wardrobe. I'm in a love-hate relationship with it. 

Pictured here with my pencil skirt. Don't mind my curly hair fly-aways. 

I used Vogue 9056. I was drawn to this pattern because I really like the shape of this design.There is a gap in my capsule that needs to be filled with comfortable but stylish tops. 

Photo-bombed by a 4 year old. Hey kid, don't you know that modeling me-makes is serious business?

The fabric is from Joann Fabrics. It is a sweatery double knit fabric. I really like the print. Sure, it reminds me of draperies but I think that's what drew me to it. 

I did need to make a few changes. I'm guilty of not always reading the description and did not realize that this is designed to have a raw finish- yuck! I finished the neckline with seam binding. I hand-sewed the seam binding down to create a cleaner look. And I hand-sewed the hem on both the sleeves and bottom hem. The top as drafted has quite a bit of ease. I took in approximately another 5/8" on each side seam, blending the sleeve seam allowance with the bodice seam allowance. 

Worn with my favorite slacks- from Loft. 

So I've worn this a couple of times already. It is comfortable and goes with different things in my wardrobe. The one drawback is that at certain angles, I'm pretty sure I give off the pregnancy vibe. I'm more vane than I like to admit and not sure I can deal with the insta-pooch. 

What do you think? 


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Jersey Wrap Dress

Wrap dresses are probably one of the most universally flattering styles. I've made this dress before- apparently back in 2009! I love how blogging has allowed me the opportunity to journal my makes! This is a timeless, classic style that will never go out of fashion. And I decided I needed one for my business-casual inspired capsule. The pattern is Vogue 8379.

The fabric is an ITY jersey print from www.LowPriceFabric.com. I ordered a couple of prints during a sale and this was one of them. The colors are black, burgundy, and white. I love the print- it reminds me of some of the classic DVF wraps. I spent about $15 on the fabric. 

I made one size smaller than my first attempt. I also have a serger now and serged most of the seams up. I interfaced the dress from the neck facing, down to the hem along the front edges. And I shortened this a bit by taking up a 2" hem instead of a 1 1/4". 

I think this will be a great piece in my new work wardrobe. It can be styled with different jackets and cardigans, or worn as is. 


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Work Worthy Button-up and Pencil Skirt

And here are two more additions to my work inspired capsule collection

For this shirt I used Simplicity 1941. The fabric is a white specialty cotton from Joann Fabrics. It was $19.50 for the fabric. I really love the texture of the fabric with its embroidery detail- you may not be able to make it out in the photos. 

I like the princess seams of this pattern. This pattern includes fit-as-you-go instructions. I ended up nipping it in a little here and there for a more fitted look. I also like the pleating of the sleeves. It gives it a more feminine look without going overboard. 

This was very easy to sew and a great addition to the work wardrobe. It will go with a variety of bottoms, toppers, and accessories. 

For the skirt, I used Hot Patterns 1011. First let me reminisce- this is the very first pattern I blogged about here! Man, I looked young! I still have the denim version of this skirt and continue to wear it. 

The fabric was out of my stash. It is a gray, stretch suiting from Gorgeous Fabrics. I don't remember exactly how much I paid but I would imagine between $10-$15 a yard. I used about 1 yard for this.  I love the feel of this fabric- the perfect weight and stretch for work-wear. 

This skirt was super easy to sew!

I've already worn this skirt several times. It works great with several different blouses I own. 


Monday, August 3, 2015

Black and White Wrap Dress

I've actually been doing quite a bit of sewing! Lately, I've been sticking to a capsule-wardrobe plan for everything that I've been making. As a nurse, I really don't put much thought into what I wear to work. It involves solid colored scrub pants in a small variety of colors and a solid, white scrub top (yes, white!). When I graduate from my master's program to become a nurse practitioner (9 months away!), I will actually have to put some thought into what I wear. I've created a sewing plan that includes a wardrobe of several pieces that can be mixed and matched with each other to give lots of variety. As I continue to post more and more items, I will add them to my capsule page, which you can click on at the top to visualize all of the pieces together. 

So my first piece, is this black and white faux wrap dress. The pattern is New Look 6097- apparently out of print. 

I used a black and white ponte knit from Girl Charlee. I no longer see this print, but they have several other options. I spent about $19 for fabric. I love the beefy hand and graphic print! 

The construction was quick and easy. I made a few design/constructions changes: 

  • I wanted the longer sleeves without the extra bulk of the cuff and tabs at the hem. So I simply omitted those details. 
  • I opted against the belt buckle and made a tie belt instead. I added length to the belt piece so that it would be long enough to tie. 
  • I initially top-stitched the neck binding down as the instructions would have you do. It ended up looking bulky and the binding tended to flip out. I ripped out the top-stitching and hand stitched the binding down instead. This made for a much cleaner look. 
  • I added about an inch to the overall length with wide hem tape. 

One change I wish I had made that I didn't was to add more length to the hem before cutting the dress out. I intend to wear this dress in an office setting and it's just a bit too short in my opinion. I wish it hit a little below the knee. It's not terribly short, but as a matter of personal preference, I would prefer if it were a bit more longer. 

Overall, I really like this dress. It's easy to wear and the wrap style is super flattering! To change up the look, it is easy to throw a cardigan or blazer on. I've shown it here with a black blazer I picked up at Target. 


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Maritime Shorts and a Renfrew

It is quickly getting warm around these parts, and I desperately needed a well-fitting pair of shorts. I've shed some weight over the last few years and many of my shorts have quickly taken on the dreaded "mom" look. I'm no longer actively participating in a RTW fast. However, since fasting all of last year, I've become more critical of the things I buy in stores. I've become more aware of quality workmanship, or the lack thereof. Simply put, I can make things that are better fitting, and of higher quality than the things I can find in stores on the same budget. This was true of finding a perfect pair of shorts.
I used a dark blue, stretch denim that I had in my stash. I couldn't tell you where or when I got it, other than I know it came from an online purchase. I do recommend the stretch as these are a close fitting pair of shorts.
I haven't had the greatest luck with making pants or shorts in the past. I came across the Grainline Maritime Shorts pattern. The pattern had all of the details I was looking for. After a quick Google search, I found several cute, well-fitting pairs on other women. So I decided to give it a go.
These went together quickly and without any hiccups. The instructions are adequate. There is a tutorial available on Jen's blog where she shows you step by step how to complete them.
I chose the size according to my measurements on the size chart. As far as fit, I did not have to make any changes. They fit great around the waist and hips. For personal taste, and for a more flattering look on myself, I added enough length to give me a 5 inch inseam. The hook and eye closure on the waistband lasted one wearing before popping off. So I added a buttonhole and jeans button for a sturdier closure.
My final verdict: the perfect pair of summer shorts! They are well-fitting and flattering. I seem to always have rear-view issues but these really are flattering from all angles. They have received repeated wear already. I will have to make another couple of pairs for some variety.
I paired this with my latest Renfrew Top from Sewaholic Patterns. I think this is my favorite style: short sleeved, with a V-neck. My summer uniform! I used a cotton/lycra print from Girl Charlee. This particular print does not appear to be in stock anymore. This is my 5th version so I won't do a full review. But you can check out my other versions:
And while we are on the subject of knit tops, I recently purchased a Brother serger machine. I got the DZ1234, which as far as I can tell is the same as the 1034D, but came with some extra feet. Holy moly, I never knew what I was missing out on! After about an hour of getting to know my new serger, I was ready to get going on the Renfrew. My top went together in about half the time I was used to. There were no tension or other stitching issues. AND... My top is more comfortable to wear! This I was not expecting but it only makes sense. The stitches are made to give and stretch, allowing for a more flexible, comfortable top. I really don't know what I was waiting for other than a little thing called money... lol!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Colette Laurel in Ponte Floral

Long time, no see! For those of you who missed the first story, or want an update... I've been scarce lately because I'm in graduate school to become a nurse practitioner. I still work full-time as a nurse, and have two small children. Studying means late nights, after the kids go to sleep. I'm about half way done with my program- a little over a year left to go.  I haven't been able to sew anywhere near as much as I want to. I've started to designate one night a week to sewing so hopefully I can be a little more productive now. And blogging the projects is a production as well. Right now the kids are parked in front of the tv while I ignore their demands distracted.
I first made the Colette Laurel in an underlined black eyelet. Still one of my favorites! I love the easy shape and always get compliments whenever I wear it.
I decided to make a second one in a floral ponte knit. I got this one through Girl Charlee Fabrics. Looks like this print is sold out but they have other lovely options.
I won't write a full review, just click back to my first one. For this version, I added an inch or so to the length. I also omitted the back zipper (only after sewing half of it in and then realizing I didn't need a zipper with the knit-doh!).
I really like how this version came out. It's perfect in the cooler months with boots and tights. I can wear it in Spring/Summer with sandals. And I don't think I'm done with this pattern yet! It's so classic, easy to wear, and can be done in many different fabrics.