Jun 022015

I was super excited about Megan Nielsen’s latest Brumby skirt, so I bought it right when it was released and sewed it up that weekend. And I’m a big old copycat, so the first version I made was a view 1 (above the knee and for medium to heavy fabric) denim version with the first nice topstitching I’ve done, ever!
denim brumby skirt

The instructions are fantastic (as usual) and include nice tips for beginning sewers, like pinking the pocket seam allowance, applying the interfacing to the waistband facing pieces (I’ve used other patterns that don’t specify whether to interface the facing or exterior pieces), and understitching the waistband seam. The skirt is designed to have an exposed metal zipper in the back, which would be so cool! — but I didn’t have the right kind of zipper in my stash, so I just put in a slotted zipper with a hook and eye at the top. (After reading another blogger mentioning that she noticed many women at an event whose zippers were coming open because they didn’t have a hook and eye at the top, I feel compelled to put them in. :D) Oh, now I see that the slotted part kind of pulls open… so it’s a good thing the zipper matches the topstiching thread!
brumby skirt slotted zipper

I made a size small with no adjustments and was able to make this skirt with just one yard of fabric. I did have to cut the waistband facing and pocket lining out of different lining fabric, and the grainline of my pocket facing pieces are perpendicular to what they should have been, but that’s fine with me.
denim brumby skirt

I looooove the Brumby’s deep pockets, and I also think the contoured waistband is fantastic. It gives such a nicely fitted look to the waistline, but it’s actually really comfy and skims over my waist without feeling restrictive. I find it a noticeable contrast with my Hollyburns, which also cinch my waist nicely, but definitely feel cinchy.

Oh, and I was so excited about how the topstitching turned out — I kept stopping to squee about how pretty it was! I used actual topstitching thread, an actual topstitching needle, and my Juki TL-2000qi (as opposed to my Juki F600, which I feel like has a weaker motor) and it was easier to do than I had worried it would be.
denim brumby skirt topstitching

I’m also wearing the new Eucalypt tank I made at the beginning of the month. This was the shirt where I realized that I shouldn’t have been pulling the bias tape facing while I was applying it to the armholes and then applied it properly on the neckline, so you can see how the arm binding is ripply but the neckline is smooth. I think I need to make a larger size, but I find it a little boggling since my bust measurement is only 33″, and I’m pretty sure this is a size small, which is supposed to be for a 36″ bust!
brumby skirt and eucalypt tank

The second Brumby I made was view 3 (knee-length for light fabric) with view 2’s pockets, using 1.5 yards of rayon challis. I ended up whapping off an inch or two from the hem after it was almost done, and I hope I can figure out how much to adjust my pattern now because I like this length. (About the weird pictures — it was drizzling then, and my skirt isn’t actually spotty. 😀 )
rayon challis brumby skirt

Since the rayon challis is a little delicate (and shifty shifty shifty), the pockets were pretty droopy, and the hem actually drooped correspondingly under the pockets. I’m not sure whether that was due to the fabric or slight tension issue my machine was having, but I ended up having to trim mountain-shaped bits out from under the pockets in order to even out the hem. I did wonder if that’s why view 3 isn’t designed with pockets, but I’ll take droopy pockets over no pockets any day! 😀
rayon challis brumby skirt

I lined this skirt since the rayon is a tiny bit sheer (I could just see the silhouette of my legs), and for that I used a yard of some polyester that felt pretty stable and strong. I was a dope and used the front pattern piece with pocket cutouts when I was cutting my lining, but I wasn’t willing to go buy more lining fabric, so I just patched it back up. It’s all enclosed now so you can’t see it, but the gathered lining was showing through the thin rayon waistband, so I serged the lining’s waistband+gathered edge, and I think now it’s not super noticeable.
brumby skirt polyester lining

I did try topstitching the rayon to see how it looked, and it looked terrible, so I stitched in the ditch under the waistband. I also used an invisible zipper plus another hook and eye closure, and I’m happy with how it turned out!
rayon challis brumby skirt zipper

I only serged the bottom edge of the lining because the polyester didn’t seem to fray very easily, and I serged and turned up once for the rayon challis hem because that looked nicer from the outside than when I tried doing a normal rolled hem.
rayon challis brumby hem

I’m super happy with my two Brumbies! This is such an adorable skirt pattern, and I’m looking forward to making more versions, especially denim ones with more topstitching. 🙂
rayon challis brumby skirt

Jun 012015

I had so much fun with my first Me-Made May! Since I was already comfortably wearing handmade clothes every day, I was more focused on fixing wardrobe gaps, and I was excited to be sewing clothes all month. I only got a little burnt out on my very last make of the month, mainly because it was the first time I was really noticing the shifty shiftiness of rayon challis.

Did I make my wardrobe gap-filling goals? Mostly… I still have to make a pair of Chataigne shorts, but I did sew another pair of Tania culottes! I also made more work shirts and skirts: 1 Eucalypt tank, 2 Belcarra blouses, 1 Ondee sweater, 2 Linden tees, 2 Chardon skirts, and 2 Brumby skirts.

Here’s my most-worn make of the month: my new ponte Tania culottes. I wore these almost all the time at home since they’re so comfy! I feel like the ponte plus the 1″ elastic is flattering (holds in my tummy, hehehe!), and since the ponte is a bit heavier, it’s less likely to fly up in the wind. 😀
ondee sweater and tania culottes

I let my culottes settle on my dress form for a week before hemming them mainly because I was procrastinating. I also fixed my dress form so that the rear hem would end up a more appropriate longer length — it didn’t have enough back there. hahaha! And it turned out to be a good thing that I put off the hemming step for so long, because in that week, I learned from Sewaholic how to use the little clippy thing on my dress form to mark my hemline!
fixt my dressform!

I’m also wearing my new Deer & Doe Ondee sweater that was eked out from the leftover French terry from my Briar top. I was so stoked to get another shirt out of that fabric, especially since it was originally only a 1.5 yard cut. This is View A without a collar (size 36), and since I omitted the collar, I used the neckline binding method from the Briar top. This time, I really trimmed down my seams, and it turned out much nicer. Now that I’m looking at this Ondee in pictures, I think that I’d better try making another version as View B with View A’s sleeves (I’m not sure if the higher neck is flattering for me).

Did I learn anything from Me-Made May? Yes! I did try to mix up my outfits a little more, and I suspect that I’d turn high-waisted skirt + tank top + short cardi into my work uniform… if I ever got around to making more tank tops and cardis. ;D Also, one day I wore my wussy-cropped Briar (I had made it less cropped so that’s it’s just barely long enough to cover my tummy when I wear jeans) with my Tania culottes, and I really liked how it looked, so now I’d like to try making a true cropped Briar. I’m going to turn into a Megan Nielsen clone! 😀

May 282015

Today I’m posting over at imagine gnats about the two Pattern Runway kimono sleeve dresses I made out of fun fabric from her shop.
crepe de chine kimono sleeve dress

Usually I like posting b-side pictures-with-babies in these cases, but Glowbug was hunting for ladybugs and didn’t make it into many of them!
crepe de chine kimono sleeve dress

The rayon challis is so soft and drapey, and I’m a little sad that I think I ruined a little of the drapiness with the underlining and lining. It’s so much more respectable with lining, though (no flashy flash flash, hehehe). >_< elephant kimono sleeve dress

This kind of dress looks adorable on other people, but I’m still unsure about how flattering they are on me. I spent time making them, though, and the fabric is awesome, so I. will. wear them!
elephant kimono sleeve dress

May 262015

Our OMQG president is having her first baby soon, so I wanted to make her a sleep sack. I looooooved using sleep sacks for my kids, and I never would have known about them if my mom hadn’t given me a couple.
lua sleep sack

I used the Lua sleep sack pattern, but modified it by moving the zipper to the center front and making it open from the bottom. After three kids, that’s my favorite kind of sleep sack — then you can just unzip baby’s legs and change her diaper without moving her too much or letting her get any colder than necessary. 🙂
lua sleep sack, open

I also replaced the buttons with strawberry patches. The Lua instructions have steps specifically for sewing buttons on really securely, and I would have been fine with buttons if I were keeping the sleep sack, but I thought I should err on the side of super safety on a present for a first-time mom. 😉
lua strawberry patches

I love these narwhals and strawberries… I think I bought them when I was pregnant with Glowbug and all excited about making little baby girl clothes, but then I never got around to it. >_< I was so glad I had whole yard cuts of these because even though I made the smallest size (6 months), it's huge and used almost all of the fabric I had! Here is the six month-sized Lua sleep sack modeled on a pretty average-sized two year-old. :D:D:D lua sleep sakc, modeled

May 152015

Honestly, when the Linden sweatshirt pattern first came out, I was underwhelmed — I could totally see how it’s comfy to wear, but didn’t think it was terribly flattering. Then Rachael sent me some awesome tweedy-looking burnt orange French terry which I wanted to make into an Ondee sweater, but when I saw it in person, I was all, “man, that totally looks Lindeny.” So! I made Lindens.
French terry linden tee
This is my artsy shot — yup, that’s as artsy fartsy as I can get.

I got some remnant cheapie knit to practice with first since I only had a yard of my precious French terry and I didn’t want to mess up. I made View B in size 2, and that definitely fit in a yard of 60″ wide fabric with some left over. Okay, so looking at these pictures, I think I may have been right about the not super flatteringness, but when I’m wearing this shirt, I feel fashiony with my fancy cropped tee! :D:D
grey linden

I like the length of this shirt… as long as I never raise my arms. I also think that this would look nice with a layering tank underneath it; unfortunately, that appears to be a hole in my wardrobe.
grey linden back

With my practice version out of the way, I carefully cut up the French terry. I love the different colors that are knit into the fabric! The wrong side is interesting too, and I hope other sewerers will figure out a good way to feature the loopy side (so I can copy them, hehehe). Since it’s a slightly looser knit, it frays a bit over time, so I serged all of the seams.
terry linden neckline

The French terry was actually easy to sew, and it behaved nicely under my walking foot. I did my too-cheap-to-buy-extra-thread double needle finish by just going around each seam twice, and it turned out pretty even!
terry linden sleeve

I’m super happy with my new Lindens — the neato French terry one especially will be a great casual Friday shirt for work!
terry linden back

So what do you think — should I still try to make an Ondee sweater out of this French terry? It’s nicely drapey and I love the color, but I have this (basis-free) feeling that the Ondee would be better in a springier knit. What should I dooooo?
terry linden
Oops, this is one of the pictures I took before I went back and fake-double-needled all the hems! :}

May 082015

This past weekend, I was so excited about Me-Made May that I made two Sewaholic Belcarra blouses. At first, I was all despairing because it calls for 2 yards of 44″ wide fabric and I only had 1 yard cuts of shirt-appropriate fabric… but then I realized that I could squeeze a blouse out of 1 yard as long as the print is non-directional. Yay!
belcarra blouse in voile

I had many doh moments while making these shirts! I made my first one in Bari J. Ackerman’s budquette voile, and while rummaging through my apparel stash, I finally understood the difference between lawn and voile. I could feel how voile is drapier and lawn is crisper, so now I know that I prefer voile for tops and (lined) lawn for skirts.

The last time I checked, my measurements were 32.5″ bust, 27.5″ waist, 36″ hips, so I made this voile version as a size 6 at the bust and waist, graded to size 4 at the hips (because it seemed crazy to grade to a size 0). I think in the end this made the blouse a little boxier than I liked, but I’m not sure if part of that is how voile drapes. What do you think?
belcarra blouse in voile, back

I also narrowed the neckline by about 3/4″. This worked perfectly to keep my bra straps covered, but I didn’t like how squared-off the neckline looked, compared to the original Belcarra’s lovely boatneck. Instead of following Sewaholic’s neckline facing instructions (5/8″ seam allowance, 2″ bias tape), I used the Eucalypt tank‘s instructions, which calls for a 1/4″ seam allowance and 1″ bias tape. I preferred this since I noticed that some other Belcarras seemed to have necklines that didn’t quite lay flat.
belcarra voile neckline

On my next version, I made a straight size 4 in polyester crepe de chine. I feel like this one fits much better! I kind of wonder, though, how much of that is because the crepe de chine is drapier than the voile, and how much is because I sized down.
belcarra blouse in polyester crepe de chine

I have to be a little bit careful when putting this on since it’s a little more fitted around the chest, but it’s not so tight that I have to do the funny wiggling thing.
belcarra blouse in crepe de chine, back

I didn’t alter the neckline on the size 4 (other than using the narrower seam allowance), and it mostly keeps my bra straps covered. Hooray! The last time I sewed with a similar crepe de chine, I had problems with the neckline facing pulling in a yucky way. I realized that it happened because I had pulled the bias facing taut as I sewed it to the raw edge. I’m used to pulling bias tape taut as I apply it to bags, which generally have outside curves (the corners), but necklines and armholes are inside curves, which means I should not pull the bias tape taut. doh!!!

Also, on my previous crepe de chine shirt, I made the bias tape from self fabric, and I think that these crepes in particular don’t have much bias stretch. On this crepe Belcarra, I made the bias tape from some scrap voile that had normal bias stretch.

Also also, on my previous shirt, I think I used a universal needle, whereas this time, I used a sharp. So much doh, but now I’m happy with how the facing turned out!
belcarra blouse size 4 neckline

I’m a little worried that the size 4 is slightly too small because the sleeves or armholes might be too tight. It’s not so tight that it bothers me, but when my arms are down, there are big folds in the fabric in the armpit area. Are those not supposed to be there? They don’t appear so much on my larger voile version.
belcarra poly arm down

The big folds go away as long as I keep my hands on my hips. 😀
belcarra poly arm up

On my first Belcarra, I followed the instructions for attaching the sleeve cuffs in the round. This was a big pain, so I sewed my second Belcarra in the flat. That was so much easier! Then I tacked down the underarm seam allowances at the intersections to make everything lay nicely.
belcarra poly guts

I’m super happy with my two new work shirts! Also, as a big cheapie, I’m excited that I can make Belcarras out of just one yard of (non-directional) fabric. If you have any fitting advice for me, please let me know! I wish I someone more experienced would come over and measure me — I think my self-measurements might be a little off… >_< belcarra blouse in crepe de chine

Apr 302015

(Just to keep this from being a big old wall of text, I’m throwing in some pics of clothes I made but never got around to blogging. Oh, and some of these pictures were taken by Cosmo, so that’s why the tiltovision.)

I’m so excited — this year I feel like I can participate in my first Me-Made May! Here’s my pledge:

I, Alli of (right here, hehe), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made garment each day for the duration of May 2015. Also, I will sew up at least four new garments, two of which will use stashed fabric.

sj tee and hollyburn skirt
SJ tee in a fab knit and a Hollyburn skirt in Shibuya lawn

I actually have already been wearing my self-made clothes almost every day, but I tend to wear the same stuff over and over, so this month, I want to work on things like not wearing the same pair of shorts all week and having more than a one-week work clothes rotation. Case in point: I wear this Hollyburn skirt to work every week, even though it’s my wearable muslin made from remnant shelf twill. >_<

A photo posted by Alli H (@sayonion) on

So some wardrobe gaps I’d like to fill this month are:

  • Another pair of shorts (either Chataigne or Thurlow)
  • Another pair of ponte Tania culottes (my current pair is super pilly, but I still wear it all the time)
  • Two more work shirts — it would be awesome if I made a Granville shirt, but more realistically, it’ll probably be Eucalypt and Ondee
  • Another work skirt: I’ve been cycling through six skirts lately (3 Hollyburns, 2 modified Alders, and one La Sylphide), but the La Sylphide makes me nervous in the wind tunnel outside of my work, and two other skirts are almost the same shade of teal, so I tend not to wear them in the same week. So for May, I’d like to make a Chardon skirt… it looks different because it has pleats! 😀

modified alder skirt with ribbon trim
This is the modified Alder that looks very similar to my ponte Hollyburn.

And my wishlist items are:

  • A giant grampa sweater with pockets — I keep waffling about whether I want to knit or sew this, so it’s really not happening anytime soon.
  • View B of V9108
    It’s a little crazypants, but I love it and couldn’t stop thinking about it when the new Vogue patterns came out. I already bought the pattern and I miiiiight have enough appropriate fabric, so this one might actually happen! (I must secretly want to be an artsy painter lady.)
  • A Granville. siiiigh. I bought enough fabric for two of them and I have the pattern, but I need to psych myself up for my first collared shirt.

I’m optimistic about being able to get at least a few of my wardrobe gap items done since I already have fabric and patterns for all of those things. I just needed the kick in the pants to get started! How about you — are you participating in Me-Made May?

sj tee
My other SJ tee… and I have stashed fabric for one more. Oops, but that’s not one of my goals for this month, hehehe.

Mar 252015

I needed a top to go with a skirt I made for something coming up next week, and I luckily just found out about Boostrap Fashion, so I poked around and found a simple drapey neck shirt that I thought would be perfect. And it pretty much was!
black shirt yar

At first, I sewed it right off the the pattern (since it was generated from my measurements!), but I found that it still had way too much room around the chest, plus the cap sleeves flared out so much that they gave me super linebacker shoulders. (It would have been nice if I’d taken a picture, shucks.) I took in an inch under the arms and 3/4″ along the side seams, and then I loved it! I also left off the bottom band because the shirt seemed long enough, and I hemmed everything normally instead. I still haven’t gotten around to buying a twin ballpoint needle, so I went around all of my hems twice to get the twin needle effect. 😀

Hm, I guess the shoulder seams tend to want to pull to the back since the back piece is smaller than the front, but I think that can’t be helped — otherwise there couldn’t be the drape in the front, right?
black shirt side shoulder seam

I know it’s kind of like (waving hands), OOH, I made a butt-easy shirt! — but I bet I’ll wear it every week to work for at least the next month. I’m happy because I like it and it’s so useful.

Now I’m excited to try more patterns from Bootstrap Fashion… I have to be careful because I’m tempted to get stuff that I’m almost positive won’t work for me, like this drapey front pocket thing tunic that I’m probably too short for and will make me look like Domokun with longer legs. Plus, I never wear tights (which seem like the bottoms you have to wear with this) since it’s always so hot here. But I want it! :>
black shirt tilty

Edit: I should include the actual name of the pattern in case of googling — Bootstrap Fashion Made To Measure Sewing Patterns – Cap-Sleeved V-Neck Blouse. 😀

Feb 182015

I got to try out some lovely knits from imagine gnats, so I sewed two new things to wear to work. I’m really excited to make myself simple work clothes since I noticed that a bunch of my RTW collared shirts that I wear all the time are so worn out that the interfacing is peeking through collar points and hem edges. 😀
wine briar top

First, I made a Megan Nielsen Briar top out of wine-colored French terry. (SO COZY. Stealth pjs.) I’ve been wanting to get this pattern for a while, but I was nervous that I was being taken in by the pretty modeled pictures and how great it looks on Megan Nielsen herself. I suspected that it wouldn’t actually work on my body since it seems to look best on more hourglassy people… but I got it anyway because I am an incorrigible consumer. :>
wine briar side

I redrew the hem halfway between the cropped and full-length views — the cropped hem was way too high for me, and the full-length hem was practically a dress since I’m 5’2″-ish. The longer backside is perfect because I have a couple of slightly-too-snug, no-lining work pants that I can wear again, now that my butt will be covered. hehehe.
wine briar back

The pattern has instructions for two neck finishes: a bound neckline and a t-shirt style neckline. I did the bound neckline… the instructions don’t tell you to trim down the seam allowance, and even though I did do that for my wearable muslin, I didn’t trim the seam allowances on this version, and the neckline came out a little wonky. I do like the bound neckline since I think it looks a little less casual for work, but I don’t care enough about how I look at work to unpick this wonky neckband and redo it. :>
wine briar normal

One of the reasons I really wanted to get this pattern was the elbow-length sleeves, which is actually not marked on the pattern, but is available as a pattern modification tutorial. I love these! The next time I make a Briar top, I’m going to try making the shoulder seam shorter since I think the sleeve starts further out on the shoulder than I need. Oh! I treated myself to Joi Mahon’s Create the Perfect Fit, and I was excited to see that there’s a table of contents entry for that neck-to-shoulder adjustment, but when I went to that page, it was one of the only ones without alteration instructions! >_< It kind of referred to another page further into the book, but when I flipped there, I didn't see anything specifically for the shoulder, and my attention wandered off... wine briar hiding

The second thing I made was a Sewaholic Hollyburn with teal ponte. This was awesome — it was the first ponte I’ve used that didn’t pill almost at all after washing! (I could only see a verrrry slight texture when I looked at the fabric sideways in sunlight.)
teal hollyburn skirt

I loooove the Hollyburn skirt. This is actually the third one I’ve made (oops, haven’t gotten pictures of the others yet), because I love how it defines your waist and then flares out so your tummy has room to be normal-person-tummy-like. :> I had originally intended to make a comfy comfy elastic-waisted version, but I forgot to cut the waistband with stretch in mind and had to put in a zipper instead. I tried out my new tricot interfacing and interfaced the center back seam allowances in order to hopefully make sure the bottom end of the zipper wouldn’t stick out strangely, and I think it worked!
teal hollyburn back

Unfortunately, I didn’t interface the outer waistband since I thought I was going to put elastic in… I hope it doesn’t sag too much!
teal hollyburn goofy

Mr. Yazoo was so patient and helpful taking pictures for me — he kept retaking and retaking them when I complained about how I was making weird faces, and the first thing he said when we started on the Hollyburn pictures was, “suck in your gut!” hahahahahahahahahaha! (But really, that was super helpful because I totally would have made him retake even more pictures if he hadn’t. :D)
teal hollyburn silly