February 23, 2015


The girls are all here! I initially wanted to get some pictures of my newest Ginger Jeans and my new Victoria Blazer, and then I realized I could sneak my Datura in too!

Pattern: Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans
Size: 10, View B (high rise)
Modifications: tapered the legs slightly between the hip and ankle
Fabric: Gray brushed denim from Mood Fabrics

First up - another pair of Ginger Jeans... I could not be happier that I have a tried and true JEANS pattern, and that I can have a new pair any time I want!

The fabric came from Mood Fabrics - I had a gift card from my mother-in-law (thanks, Michelle!) leftover from Christmas, and I was on the hunt for bottom-weight fabrics. Side note - I know I'm spoiled by the LA Garment District, but Mood is... expensive. I ended up with only the gray brushed denim I used here for $10/yd (I can't find it online), and this organic twill for $15/yd - which ate up my gift card (and then some). I'm pretty excited to use the twill for pants some day - maybe the Ultimate Trousers?

I decided to forgo visible topstitching on this pair, in favor of a more "pants" look - rather than jeans. The lack of visible topstitching was a blessing in certain areas, but the bane of my existence while trying to get the double topstitching lines on the fly just right.

I made no changes to this pattern, other than tapering in the legs a bit between the hip and ankle by about 1/4" on the side seams - which I've done on both of my other pairs.

I do love this pair, but I realize that they don't hold a candle to my 2nd pair - just in terms of quality of fabric. I can wear my Cone Mills Denim Gingers over and over again without washing, and they look brand new every time. This pair didn't bag out too much after one wear (but they're too stretched out for 2 wears in a row without washing), and the fabric is starting to pill a little bit in the inner thigh area (cue tears).

I still owe myself a 2nd Cone Mills Denim pair from my kit, but it's great to have another pair of jeans in my closet that fit just the way I like, and aren't basic blue denim. Now if Girl Charlee would print white denim with a floral print as they hinted at in an Instagram post - I'd be all over that!

Pattern: By Hand London Victoria Blazer
Size: 12
Modifications: Combined separate collar and lapel pieces into one
Fabric: Poly gabardine from Michael Levine (I think this is it - it was unmarked), with black rayon challis lining from Angel Textiles

This is my 4th Victoria, and the most successful to date. I've finally figured out that the key to a nice looking Victoria is to use drapey fabrics. This blazer is so boxy, that on a curvy figure like mine - it hangs too square in a stiffer fabric.

The fabric for this jacket came from Michael Levine during a weird Halloween sale - the fabric was half off simply because it was black... I guess black suiting-type fabric screams Halloween? Hmmm... I'll take it! :D

The fabric seemed a bit stiff at first, and I initially thought about making pants from it, but after washing it softened right up. I even had enough fabric to cut another Elisalex that I'll finally sew up some day - I even have silver piping ready for the princess seams! The lining is black rayon challis from Angel Textiles, and it's soooooo soft (I love all rayon fabrics).

I made one major change for this version - I combined the collar and lapels into one piece. On my other (unblogged) Victorias, they're separate, and I sort of hate how they never lay flat. Combining them into one piece allows the weight of the collar to hold down the lapels, and I like the look a lot more.

Another thing I really should change for the next time, though, is to shorten the sleeves so the cuff sits just above my elbow. I always roll the cuff up once (as I did above) because it's just a little too long - and the best part about sewing is that you can change the things you wear to suit your tastes!

Pattern: Deer and Doe Datura
Size: 44
Modifications: None
Fabric: Rayon challis from Angel Textiles, and something called "Black Silky-Soft Cotton Woven" from Mood Fabrics

I made this tank over a year ago with printed rayon challis and black cotton/rayon fabric from Mood. I love the lines of the Datura (and the button down back) - and I have plans to make some more this spring (so there'll be more information coming down the line!).

One change I'll definitely make to my future versions will be to lengthen the body about 2". Right now, the hem is finished with bias tape - but it's still a bit short. I love the bias finish (it makes it easier to hem curves like on this tank), so I'll keep that feature - but I just need more length.

February 10, 2015


I've been an Archer devotee for as long as it's been a pattern (I purchased it in March of 2013), and I've made about 9 or 10. BUT! I've got a new type of button up in my life now - the Deer and Doe Bruyère!

Pattern: Deer and Doe Bruyère
Size: 44
Modifications: None
Fabric: Robert Kaufman chambray dots in burgundy
Worn with: Ginger Jeans #2

Many patterns require some convincing for me to make them (I'm a creature of habit) - either they don't seem my style at first, the fabrics used in the samples aren't something I normally sew with, etc. - and Bruyère was no exception. Because I love the Archer so much, I wasn't sure Bruyère was my style/taste. However, it only took a few bloggers (Tilly, Paunnet, By Sandra's Hand, The Quirky Peach) to assure me that this was, indeed, totally my style. It's more feminine than the Archer, and it really suits a curvier figure.

I made this up in my normal Deer and Doe size (44) - and everything fits really well (Deer and Doe drafts for C cups - which I happen to be). The only fitting issue might be that the waistband seems slightly snug, and I might size up next time. (While taking these photos, I realized just how snug it really is...)

I did have a few issues with the pattern, but they're all due to personal preference. I don't really care for the fiddly sleeve placket (see below) - I found it to be kind of a squirrelly way to go about things. I also cut too close to the edge or something because it's fairly messed up and fraying. Luckily I pretty much always wear my sleeves rolled up. I think next time I'll use the tower placket drafting/construction from here.

Another issue I have is with the front yoke/facings. I really hate facings (too much extra bulk) - but I can understand why they're used here. The shirt doesn't have a collar stand, the front edges get folded in on themselves to create the button bands - and the front yokes help seal all that up nicely. I'm not sure how to eliminate the front yoke (I guess by drafting a collar stand?) - so I'll probably do this again next time... but I won't like it! :D

The fabric I used is a Robert Kaufman chambray in burgundy with little white dots all over it - and I love it! I bought it several months ago with some Kaufman denim with no real plans for it, and it works perfectly here. I will say that the fabric gets pretty wrinkly - so bear that in mind if you use it in the future (I've had to iron it every time I wear it *yuck* and I think it may have shrunk a wee bit).

I love this shirt so much - and I have some plans for future versions: sleeveless, lengthened into a dress, and shortened a bit for a more "standard" length button up shirt (this runs a wee bit long).
 Any Archer lovers out there thinking about giving this a try?

February 6, 2015


Whew! What a week! Work has been insane, and the weekend cannot come fast enough. It's been so busy, that I haven't really sewn in the evenings (too worn down) - which is usually a stress reliever for me. But I do have another pair of Ginger Jeans almost finished (waiting now on rivets of the silver variety - the jeans are gray), and I'm planning a Darling Ranges for this weekend with rotated darts as a test for a spring dress.

My goal with (randomly occurring) Friday Archive posts such as this one is to display old/well loved/pre-blog/or otherwise special makes in more of an archival way - and to maybe tell a short story about them :D

Pattern: Grainline Studio Archer
Size: 14
Alterations: None
Fabric: Red chambray from Denver Fabrics (similar to this)

Not long after I began sewing clothing in earnest (the beginning of 2013) - Jen at Grainline released her Archer pattern, and being the head-strong/stubborn person I am - I just went for it. The pattern was soooooo over my head and I didn't even care. I bought the red chambray (similar to this) - waited eagerly for sewalong posts, and bumbled my way through it.

This shirt was a struggle for sure (it didn't help that I was using my old, old shit sewing machine that was in serious need of maintenance) - and while I was happy to finish it, I was very disappointed that it didn't fit. It also has really crappy top stitching and the fabric is oddly stretchy and weird.

Something I've learned over the last few years (and rectified on my second Archer) is that Grainline's sizing doesn't really fit me well right out of the envelope. This might have something to do with the fact that I match her size 12/14, but really need more of an 8 with an FBA. By the time I made a second Archer, I still didn't know about FBAs so I frankensteined my pattern to be a 10 (bust) / 8 (waist) / 12 (hip). This has worked pretty well for me over the course of 8 or so more Archers, but I'd really like to go back to the base pattern, add an FBA and make a new version of this TNT pattern.

Looking back on this make recently, I realize that it actually isn't that bad. I also feel really proud of myself for giving this a go, and for doing pretty well despite having basically no experience. Unfortunately this is about the only light of day it will ever see - it just sits in the back of my closet... but it serves as a reminder of how far I've come!