Thursday, May 4, 2017

Maternity Non-maternity Tops

As part of my maternity sewing plans, I made some woven tops that will fit for much of my summer pregnancy, and will still be wearable when I am no longer pregnant!

Inspired by Erica Bunker's version of McCall's 7542 and spurred on by McCall's Sewing Contest, I made view D of M7542 (trumpet sleeves, longer bodice):
The fabric is a printed cotton blend from a thrift store. It was originally a salmon pink, but I dyed it with some brown Rit dye and got a lovely dusky rose.

I lengthened the bodice by 1 inch, and could probably have used at least another 1/2 inch. I graded from a size 10 at the bust to 12 at the waist (usual for me in Big 4 patterns). The neck is finished with bias binding in a soft pink cotton (I'm not a huge fan of facings) as is the hem (to keep every centimeter of length). Rather than a hook and eye, I used a button and thread loop at the back of the neck. I set the sleeves in flat, then added the trumpet portion after sewing up the side/underarm seams. This shirt will definitely be worn when I am no longer pregnant, though I may take in the sides a bit.

Inside finishing
Working with the original free Sorbetto pattern from Collette (here's the new version, which I haven't tried), I lowered the neckline and underarm seams, omitted the front box pleat, and slashed/spread both the front and back bodice to create an A-line shape. Next time I will also lower the bust dart. I used a floral light-blue linen from Vogue Fabrics Outlet in Evanston, IL, which I bought last spring (not available online). I used French seams for a clean finish and self bias binding for the neck, arm, and hem finishing. I will certainly make this again!

Wrinkles from wearing all day!
Inside finishing

My next post will outline my entire pregnancy sewing plans!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

My #MMMay17 Pledge

I have a growing collection of me-made clothes, and generally do a fairly good job of working them into daily rotation. I'm excited to see if I can keep this Me Made May pledge (the brainchild of the inspirational Zoe):

"I, Michelle of "House of White" blog and @mdelilahcarlson, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I will endeavor to wear at least 1 item of me-made clothing at least 4 days of each work week, and to document my outfits each week."

Friday, April 28, 2017

Testing the Anza Jumpsuit

I was very lucky to be able to test the Anza Jumpsuit by Itch to Stitch. This was my first experience testing, and it was quite fun to see the pattern "first" and see my feedback incorporated into the final product! Kennis was a joy to test for, and it was fun to see the inspiration of everyone else's makes coming together on the Facebook testing page. I am very pleased with the final result of my make, but I have definitely been inspired to plan another jumpsuit version and a dress version as well!

Love the pockets!
Things I particularly like about the PDF are the "layers" feature, the tile layout on page 7, the table listing tiles for specific views to save paper (page 6), and the complete body and finished garment measurements on pages 3 and 4. I always like to calculate the designer's ease to compare it to my own preferences, and often adjust this. However, as I was testing I cut the recommended sizes for my measurements, and I find the amount of ease perfect. I cut a 2 at the bust and a 4 at the waist/hips (the size at the hips must be followed at the waist as well to ensure that the jumpsuit will fit over the hips!). I lengthened at the bodice by 3/4 inches and at the legs by 1 inch, but I ended up not needed the extra inch in the legs. I did make a thin thigh adjustment, shaving about 3/8 inch off the inside of each thigh (taking it off the outside affects the fit in the hips instead).

Pleased with fit in the rear.
The instructions were very clear and beautifully illustrated with diagrams, which I prefer to pictures. I used a cotton blend from my stash, with colors and a pattern I love. I cut the waistband and the pockets on the bias for contrast. The only other deviations from the pattern were to leave off the pocket buttons because I didn't have enough buttons and to omit the elastic at the cuffs. This was because I made a poor fabric choice, and selected a fabric with insufficient drape (despite Kennis's clear instructions!), making my jumpsuit legs look like pirate pants when gathered with elastic. I should have taken pictures so you could have a good laugh--you'll just have to take my word for it. I will definitely be making a jumpsuit in a drapier fabric in the future, since I love the way everyone else's gathered legs look!

I especially love the cut-on cuffed sleeves.
I hope to be able to test again for Kennis (and for others as well!). I really enjoyed the experience, and ended up with a lovely garment from a pattern that I might have been afraid to try otherwise. I am now totally into the whole jumpsuit thing!

Baby bump
I am now almost 20 weeks pregnant, so my sewing plans for the year have been somewhat interrupted! I have not been blogging, but I have been doing quite a bit of sewing, and even got some of my #2017makenine makes done before my tummy intervened! Now I have a whole new ambitious set of maternity sewing plans--I will try to share those soon.

Monday, January 9, 2017


I've been really inspired by everyone's #2017makenine's on Instagram! I like the idea of focusing my next year of sewing around a few patterns that I know will fill gaps in my wardrobe. Some of them will also challenge me to improve my sewing skills! Of course, other makes will find their way into my queue when I'm inspired by a pattern or fabric or event, but I'd like to prioritize these makes given my limited sewing time. Here they are:

As you can see, I have included a mix of Indie and Big 4 patterns. Many of the patterns have been highly reviewed on blogs I trust, but some have simply been pulled from my pattern library. From top left, they are:

(1) Butterick 5526 button-up collared shirt: Inspired by the amazing Lauren and her collection of B5526's. I'd like to have a go-to tailored shirt pattern. I want to make this in a navy blue polka dot fabric as well as a turquoise plaid.

(2) Simplicity 2446 Amazing Fit jacket: I want to make a jacket, pants, and skirt in matching black wool suiting from Vogue Fabrics. Perfect for mixing and matching for professional talks/interviews/etc.

(3) True Bias Ogden cami: I've seen so many beautiful versions in the blogosphere! I have at least 2 versions planned, one in navy blue flowered rayon and one in brown rayon.

(4) Simplicity 2154 vintage suit: This will provide the pencil skirt for the black suit. I selected the pattern after snooping around Scruffy Badger's blog. I may also use the jacket pattern for a black Chanel-inspired jacket. And maybe that bow blouse...

(5) In the Folds Acton dress: Not sure which fabric I will end up using! Fleurine, Helen, and Caroline each used a different fabric, and all are beautiful.  

(6) McCalls 5400 two-piece bathing suit: One of my New Year's resolutions is to learn how to sew swimwear! I was looking for a two-piece with simple style lines, and Rachel's post convinced me this pattern is worth trying.

(7) Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt: I have a lovely gray woolen plaid in my stash (I have no idea where I got it) that will be perfect for a long winter version of this skirt.

(8) McCalls 3128 high-waisted pants: I found this 1970s vintage pattern on Ebay. Excited to see how these turn out as part of my suit.

(9) Closet Case Ginger skinny jeans: Another one of my goals for the year is to learn how to sew jeans! I got Heather's Sewing Your Own Jeans Ebook to go with her pattern.

Looking forward to a more focused year of sewing, with some new techniques and new wardrobe basics by the end of 2017!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Frocktober No. 1

Inspired by Froctober on The Monthly Stitch, I made two dresses on my Fall 2016 Makes wish list. The first is Vogue 8766, view D. Vogue describes it as a lined dress with a fitted, sleeveless, underlined bodice, French darts, and a scooped neckline.

You can see the style lines well in this drawing:
I used a cotton fabric purchased at The 15th Annual World's Largest Textile Garage Sale. The dates for 2017 are already on my calendar! This is an awesome awesome event. The fabric feels like a quilting cotton, so a bit thin for a fall dress. However, the bodice is underlined, which adds to the warmth (not to mention decreasing wrinkling, with the heavy cotton blend that I chose to use). I intend to wear this dress with sweaters, cardigans, and tights for the next few months. The rich jewel tones are so cozy for a fall/winter wardrobe! 

I used size 6 at the bust grading to 10 at the waist and hips. I thought I could get away without a toile, but this was a poor decision. I had to use a 3/4 inch seam allowance at the bust and 3/8 inch seam allowance at the waist! The bodice was also too short, so I added a waistband cut on the bias (to avoid pattern matching and because it looked awesome). Lesson learned: a toile of the bodice for a new pattern is always indicated! (Although I really like the waistband, so I'm kind of glad I made this mistake.) I added some tucks on the front of the bodice--I think it gives it a vintage feel:

Since this was intended to be winter appropriate, I had originally planned to make view F, with the 3/4 length sleeves. However, the bodice for both sleeved and sleeveless versions was the same, so, not surprisingly, I did not have enough ease to move my arms easily! Here it is on my old dressform, Ms. Blueberry, before I took the arms off the dress:

I wanted a clean, demi-couture finish on the inside, so I turned the seam allowances under and hand-stitched them to the underlining. I don't know if there is a special name for this technique! The neckline and armholes were finished with bias binding made from the fashion fabric. The waistband is interfaced with a lightweight fusible interfacing (Pro-Woven Light Crisp Fusible Interfacing) as well as a stiff interfacing (Pro-Woven Super Crisp Fusible Interfacing), then hand-sewed on the waistband lining after ironing under the seam allowances (per the "Couture Waistband" instructions in The Dressmaker's Techniques Bible). 

I used a dark red invisible zipper purchased from Joann Fabrics. So proud of my pattern matching at the back!


The lining for the skirt was Ambiance Bemberg rayon in Cardinal. I chose the color based on my Vogue Fabrics swatch card, but was able to find the right color at Joann Fabrics and avoid the cost of shipping (my local Joann's is hit or miss in their color supply for Ambiance). The lining was hemmed by machine, but I used lace hem tape for the skirt and made a 1.5 inch hem by hand, rather than the narrow hem recommended in the pattern. I know some people find lace hem tape to be "Becky Homecky", but I love it! It reminds me of homemade dresses and skirts I had as a child. There was a disaster when I was trimming off the extra hem after sewing on the hem tape. I make a large cut several inches above the fold of the hem! I was not about to make the dress any shorter. I used Pro-Sheer Elegance Light Fusible Interfacing to hold the cut together from the inside and applied Fray Check to avoid any loose threads from the outside. The repair is pretty subtle (especially down at the hem) and I'm hoping it will continue to look good after washing!

Here it is from the side:

And with a sweater, as it's being worn in the winter! I think it's probably easier to layer without those 3/4 length sleeves. (I really do have legs--the navy blue tights are just blending into the dark floor!)

I'm happy with this dress--a nice project to follow the failure of my denim Ginger skirt! Next up, my #2017make9, then another dress from Frocktober (I am a couple months behind in posts!)

Sunday, December 25, 2016


<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

A Tale of Two Pouching Pockets

I had high hopes for this make, but I'm not pleased about how it turned out! I used the Ginger pattern, version 1, from Colette Patterns and indigo denim fabric from Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL. I'm not sure which denim it is--it's pretty heavy, with minimal stretch and minimal recovery. That might have been the source of some of my issues.

I interfaced the denim for the waistband to support the center point, but used fabric from an old skirt for lining the waistband to prevent it from getting too thick. I used the same fabric to add in-seam pockets.

I finished all the exposed seams with a 3-thread overlock stitch to prevent fraying. I topstitched using normal thread in a double thickness. I wanted something more subtle than the usual gold or yellow topstitching usually used with denim, since I wanted to be able to wear this skirt in a more professional setting. I combined navy thread and a brighter blue thread for a bit of contrast, and I like the way it turned out! The hem was turned over twice and topstitched.

I think that the bottom of the skirt--especially in the back--sticks out in a funny way. The skirt wrinkles quickly and obviously. Finally, the pockets pouch out and interfered with the smooth line of the side seam.


As you can tell by these pictures, I am several months behind on blog posts! I had hoped that a few washes would help things hang better, but this doesn't seem to be the case. If anything, it's gotten worse:

I think that by taking in all the seams and making the skirt less A-line, it might hang better. Perhaps this fabric is just not right for a Ginger skirt! I have about 1.5 yards of the fabric left--I plan to wash it a few more times and find a more structured pattern without any bias-like seams (if I bring myself to try again).