Thursday, 12 May 2016

The not-boring pants

Life's too short to wear boring pants
When I asked my husband where these pants sat on the cool/crazy spectrum, his immediate response was "somewhere in the middle." His follow-up to that statement was something like "they're definitely not boring."

Boring, they ain't. These are the tailored track pants by Hot Patterns, described as "a fabulous hybrid of slouchy, comfy trackpants and slick tailored trouser." They're exactly as described: a weird, wonderful mashup of sweats (elastic waist) and dress pants (cuffed legs).

I can't remember where I first came across this pattern, but it had been hanging about in my stash for far too long without seeing any action. In my head, I pictured something like this: a cool, kinda slouchy pair of secret pyjamas I could wear either for work/church or to the park with my kids.

Girl's got style
The fabric is a lovely spandex jersey knit from Fabricland. The only downside is that the busy floral hides the bottom cuff (which I just zigzagged because I couldn't be bothered to get out my twin needle). I kept asking my husband if it looked like I was wearing pyjama pants, and he assured me that the cut is slim enough to convince people that I didn't raid my pj drawer while getting dressed in the morning (though let's be honest..don't we all do that from time to time?).

See? There's a cuff among all those flowers...
The only alteration I made to the pattern was to shorten the crotch depth. When I first tried them on, the waistband sat so far up that we were veering into Erkel territoty. I had to unpick the waistband and cut a good inch and a half off the top, which brought the waist down to a less-geriatric level. Otherwise, I followed the pattern as written.

Flower power
Here's a shot of them styled more casually while I was out and about with my fam on Mothers' Day weekend.

Doing my best Blue Steel

Looking at these pictures, I definitely prefer the formal look. When paired with a blazer and heels, these pants read as fun and sharp as opposed to schlumpy. I'm not quite sure I can pull off the un-boring pants in a more casual setting...though they're so comfy that I'll probably wear them around and about nonetheless.

So, what do you think, readers? Totally nuts? Or just crazy enough to work?

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Ink spots

I'm a sucker for a good shirt pattern. Give me a simple silhouette and some interesting details and I'm totally hooked. That was the case with this little number -- the Blouse Cezembre from French pattern company Anne Ka Couture.  

Tired Mama face. Are my eyes actually open?

I can't remember exactly how I came across this pattern - maybe in my Pinterest feed? - but I was immediately drawn to it. The pattern features princess seams formed by an extra-wide back piece that actually wraps around your body to meet the front piece. The curved hemline, finished with facings, is such a nice design detail.

The fabric is a poly crepe that I stumbled across one day at Fabricland. I really like how those billowy ink blooms kind of swim diagonally across the bodice. I underlined the whole thing in rayon bemberg to give it a bit more opacity and to give me something a little more breathable against my skin. The underlining also allowed me to hand-stitch the neckline bias binding to the underlining, creating an invisible finish on the outside.

Mais oui, Cezembre.

Though I'm really happy with the finished product, the construction process was a bit of a doozy. I realized after I had taped the PDF pattern together that my scaling was off and my pattern pieces were waaay bigger than they should have been. (Shoulda measured that test square more carefully!)

I decided to forge (blindly) ahead and just sewed a size smaller than my measurements called for. Amazingly, the result wasn't too bad -- though I had to do some time-consuming tweaking around those princess seams and neckline to get the fit that I was looking for. It was one of those moments that made me realize that fixing your sewing mistakes is always worth it -- even if you think you can just improvise your way out of it. For me, trying to McGyver solutions on the fly is always more frustrating than going back and fixing the mistake. (#sewinglifelessons.)

Love those princess seams and curved hem.

All in all, I think this is a great pattern and a cute little shirt. It's one of those wardrobe pieces that you can throw on with a pair of jeans and look somewhat put-together (even if, like me, your haven't had a chance to shower that day). Fake it 'till you make it, baby.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for providing me with my very own wind machine.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

A polka-dot Roscoe

Gettin' all boho 

When it comes to retro fashion inspiration, I'm usually a 1950s kinda gal. I love the classic silhouette of a full-skirt and a nipped-in waist - I find it super flattering and feminine and all-around pretty.

Still - I have to say that I'm totally enamored with all of the boho-inspired 1970s fashion I'm seeing right now. Case in point: this flowy, comfy Roscoe blouse from True Bias patterns. This shirt is a like a gateway drug into 70s style...I'm now seriously in danger of getting into the really hard stuff (I'm looking at you, Birkin Flares...)

For my Roscoe, I chose a super-wearable black polka dot print that tempers the dramatic shape. The fabric is a poly crepe with a bit of texture that will stand up to a drooly baby and toddler peanut-butter hands (AKA, my life).

Can't go wrong with polka dots

Constriction-wise, I cut a size smaller than my measurements called for and shortened the neckline slit a bit to minimize the cleavage factor. It came together well, though I found the neckline and armhole binding to be trickier than anticipated. I had to unpick and re-sew in a couple places, and I still wouldn't want anyone to take too close a look at my seams. But, thankfully, this fabric and style are super forgiving to a little less-than-perfect stitching in the ditch. 

Examining my slightly wonky binding

All in all, I'm super pleased with this make! This blouse is so easy to throw on when I want to look semi-cute and put-together to schlep kids around or actually do adulty things.  I'm toying with the idea of another Roscoe for spring in a floral print. I just need another tiny boho fix... :)

Day and night Appletons

Let's talk about wrap dresses, shall we? Despite the fact that so many women swear by them - including two of my style crushes, Jenny from Cashmerette and Lorelai Gilmore (who could rock a wrap dress like no one else) - I've never really been drawn to them. 

But when the Cashmerette Appleton dress was released this fall - including a kit that included the pattern and fabric for this gorgeous little polka-dot number - I HAD to have it. Immediately. 

Rookie sewing blogger move: don't pose in front of a black window in a black dress

I immediately purchased one of Jenny's
kits, which saved me the trouble of finding something similar to that show-stopping polka-dot mesh on my own.  I made a straight size 14, which fit perfectly without any alterations.

The result is super sexy and classic and feels very RTW. It served me very well at a New Years Eve wedding and a swanky Christmas party for my husband's work.

Appleton in action on NYE. Champagne and a handsome husband make the best accessories.
Riding high on my wrap-dress success, when I saw a fun geometric knit at a Fabricland Boxing Day sale, I knew exactly that I wanted to make a second Appleton. I put the dress together in a week, just in time for my sweet baby girl's welcome shower in early January (nothing like the motivation of a deadline!). 

Gratuitous cute baby shot
The dress came together much more smoothly than my first Appleton (which still turned out very well, but was tough for me to get my poor little sleep-deprived mom-of-a-newborn brain around at times). For this version, I went up a cup size to add some more coverage at the bust.

I also added bit of volume to the skirt to make it a little more "daytime." 
To alter the skirt, I graded to a size 16 at the hip and then continued that line to the hem, straightening the angle at the bottom a bit so the skirt didn't get too full. 

Luckily, even with the extra weight of the fuller skirt, the front wrap still stays fairly straight. I think it helps that the fabric I chose has a busier print, so if there is any slippage, it's hard to notice.

All in all, I think I'm a wrap dress convert. They're just so classic and adaptable. I think Lorelai Gilmore, wrap dress queen, would agree.... 

Hello out there

Hey! It's me!
Hi. I'm Emma, and I like to make things.

I've been an avid sewist and hardcore sewing blog reader for a few years now, but I've always watched the action from the internet sidelines, as it were. 

But these days, I find I'm no longer content to just watch and observe. I want to join in the conversation with the amazing sewing community I've followed and admired from afar. I'd like to share my successes and failures with people who can encourage and support this hobby/passion/obsession of mine. 

So - here goes nothing! I'm putting this little blog out in to the world in the hopes that it will strike a chord with someone, somewhere.  I'm looking forward to getting to know you - thank you so much for stopping by!