November 21, 2019

Jelly Roll Rug & Placemats

Last year - 2018 - I took a class to learn to make a JellyRoll Rug at a darling local shop.  Oh, and if you are interested - Carriage Corner has partnered with The Old Country Store to offer a discount to guests attending classes. 

Anyway - I had seen Jelly Roll rugs on Instagram and I was smitten!  Bitten hard by the want to make my own rug.  I even had a jelly roll purchased - I just hadn't started yet.  So, I signed up for the class and had a wonderful time!  So wonderful in fact, that I purchased a stack of fabrics to make jelly roll placemats for Carriage Corner.
Stack of fabrics in our basic theme colors

To make 12 placemats, I purchased 1 yard each of 8 fabrics. You can now purchase a pattern for jelly roll placemats and I would urge you to do so, but there wasn't one available at the time, so I created my own.  Also - I wanted an oval placemat, just like my rug, although I'm really digging the rectangles now too.

Anyway - I'm going to give you a pictorial of what I did - but without too many instructions, because you know, we should be supporting other makers.  So, if you love the idea of making your own oval placemats, please purchase the original rug pattern and have a ball.

I cut all of my fabrics into 2 1/2" wide strips - the size of a jelly roll strip!  And then I seamed each fabric together in the order I wanted them using a diagonal seam - just like you would seam bias strips together.

There is a narrower strip of batting in the middle of the fabric strip and then the ends are folded over and then folded to the center - think bias tape.

Sew the end with the fold so it doesn't come unfolded.  I found my blind hem foot to be the perfect tool for this step.

The end of the stripe needs to be tapered so it looks pretty when you finish.

 Figure out how long you want the center of your placemat to be.

 Ease around the corners.  Stop when necessary and press everything flat.
 Sew the strips together with a zig zag stitch.  Keeping the seam you already sewed oriented in the same direction at all times.

Stand back and admire the first placemat you finish.  Hope you can make 11 more just like it!  They are similar, but not all exactly the same shape, even though I started the same each time.

I saw a beautiful one fabric rectangular Jelly Roll rug on IG and I think the next time I head to The Old Country Store, I might pick up the rectangular pattern and then use some of my large pieces of quilting cotton to make some new bath mats for our guest rooms.  Because these cotton rugs filled with cotton batting are nice.  And they launder well, and I need new bath mats! 

What's your favorite item you've made for your home? 

November 14, 2019

Fall Ottobre Dress

I have long been on the lookout for an easy to wear, dress up or down tee shirt dress!  Even though I have a great pattern - I'm still always looking for the next best thing.  Why is that?

But truthfully, when I have a beautiful piece of fabric, I go back to my Ottobre Tee Shirt Dress.  I first made this dress in 2013 and the only change I made to the pattern was to add 2 fisheye darts at the back waist.  At this point in time I think I've made 7 dresses from this pattern and see no reason to stop anytime soon! 

I've used ponte, ITY, and a painted sweater knit.  This dress just works for me!  The pattern, if you are wondering, is from 5/2013 and it's the Friday Evening Dress (4B).

The Fall version of this dress was made in January 2018 in a last minute rush to make something new for me to wear on vacation!  This dress is so easy for me to whip up and know it's gonna fit and i'm going to feel great wearing it. 

This time I used a beautiful Fall color ITY from FabricMart.  I can make this raglan sleeved dress with just over a yard of 60" wide fabric and have it done in about 2 hours from cutting to hemming.

This dress kept me warm and feeling good while we traipsed all over Italy & France worn with knee high boots and tights. 

I don't even mind how my back view look when wearing the Ottobre dress.  With 4 darts - 2 shoulder and the 2 added fisheye darts in the back to counteract sway back pooling, 4 raglan seams, and then 4 hems - it's a quick one!

The dress doesn't really cup my rear, but the wind was blowing.  It does, however, hug closer to my back thanks to the added darts. 

If you have this issue of Ottobre - try this dress!  I don't think you'll be mad about it.  You can see some of my many versions of this dress. There will be more - I already have one made up from a FabricMart bundle that's just waiting for photos.

October 17, 2019

Baby's First Wrap Dress

What girl doesn't aspire to have the perfect wrap dress? 

So, my goal this year has been when I take a piece of fabric from the fabric closet to use it all!  NOT put any back in the closet.  That turned into a spiral of cutting things and pulling fabric.  The left over fabric from my Andie Anorak was cut into an ellis skirt {still in the cut pile}.  Then I had to pull a coordinating cotton for the pockets and facings.  From the cotton, I cut the innards for the Ellis, another Holyoke maxi skirt.  There were just scraps of the yellow floral left.

2 of the garments in this stack have been sewn and 2 are still hanging out

My friend Marjie had recently made a darling wrap dress for her granddaughters - McCalls 7143.  I had the pattern and thought there might be enough for a dress for Eleanor.  So - the floral was cut at the back and one bodice front.  Then the navy blue eyelet was pulled to be a skirt piece.  I had to purchase the green for the underlap side. 

I traced the pattern exactly to size and didn't add any length.  Normally, Eleanor fits a 18 month width and a 3YO length.  Don't know what I was thinking because this little dress is short!  

Thankfully she's a toddler and wearing a short dress is totally acceptable!  On this day she was wearing it over her swimsuit as we had all gone to a water park.  That's Gramps and Daddy walking in front of her - we were headed to have our picnic!

Although our water park day got stormed out, she loves her very first wrap dress!  

showing her glitter tattoo
Will I make it again?  Yes - but I will make it a true wrap with one really long tie and one shorter one.  It's quite fiddly putting the dress on her and the ribbons to hold the underlap side want to slip and slide.

October 10, 2019

Andie Anorack

Earlier this year, Rebecca Page Patterns sent out a call for pattern testers and brand ambassadors.  I applied and was selected to be a pattern tester.  

The Andie Anorack was my first real test.  

This is a fairly simple anorack style jacket that can be made in just about any fabric.  The pattern offers you a jacket in two lengths - this 'car coat' length and a long raincoat.  Depending on the fabric you choose, you could have a proper raincoat.

This coat has a lot of firsts for me and while the fit isn't perfect - I'm pretty happy with it for a first coat.  And it's fully lined!

I can definitely see pull lines radiating from the back to toward the hip and from the bust to the hip.  But honestly, I feel like I have enough room.  

Will I make this pattern again - no.  Will I wear this coat?  Yes!  I love this fabric.  I've had it for years just waiting on the perfect pattern.  The fabric and pattern were a good match, I could have done better with the fitting.  

There are certainly things I didn't like about the pattern.  I think the hem should be deeper.  I found the directions for inserting the lining and the back neck confusing and ended up stitching those together by hand. I found some of the fitting directions very confusion.  

Finally - when will I learn to do an FBA rather than trying to grade between sizes?  

October 5, 2019

Wide Legged Pants - Take 2

In all honesty, this is more like take 4.  But at least I'm sticking with it!

Do you remember my wide legged pants?  In all honesty, they were version 2, but the first version using McCalls 7757.  Take 2 had me slimming the entire leg on that original pair and then transferring that to my pattern. 

So, this is what we're calling Take 2.  I used a completely inappropriate suiting from the fabric closet. Because, I didn't care about the fabric but wanted to see how the changes worked.  The pants are short because that's how much fabric I had, but that caused it's own set of issues as you'll see later this year.

Thanks to Carolyn's amazing picture taking, you can't really tell how much too big these pants are.  It's just at the waist - too much extra fabric.  So, I've added a dart to the center back seam - taking about 1 1/2" out at the center back tapering to nothing about 7" down.  

I will tell you - these pants didn't even make it to the closet!  The fabric was all wrong, the pants are too short - although they do have a little mod squad vibe to them, they didn't stay.  If the fabric had been nicer, I would have worn them exactly as styled - with a long sleeved henley or turtleneck and my jean jacket.  But sadly, the fabric pulled. 

They did however, serve their purpose.  They told me what I needed to do next.  Those changes have been made to the pattern and a black pair has been cut and sewn.  More changes made and I'm currently searching for a fabric to do Take 4 so I can finally, finally, cut into some floral challis for the pants of my dreams! 

Also - can I just share that sewing, alterations, sewing, alterations, rinse and repeat is sucking the joy of sewing right out of me!  I just want to make all the new things!  To keep this train moving in the right direction, I've made a bargain with myself - 1 'fun' garment for every modification and remake that I do.  Soon - I should have the 'real pants' to share with you.

September 28, 2019

Another Day, Another Dress

Another ESP Dress That Is

I have been making the Decades of Style ESP Dress for the past 4 years.  I have 5 versions currently in my closet and one when to the goodwill.  

I have altered the pattern to have a lower neck thanks to instructions from the lovely people at Decades of Style.  Here's the instructions, if you want to do the same. 

This summer - I decided at the very last minute to play along with the Sewcialists mini challenge.  The summer challenge was to work from the colors in the Sewcialists logo based on a spin telling you which color to use.  I spun coral - but honestly, my dress has most of the logo colors in it.  I cut and sewed the dress up in about 9 hours.  

 Almost all of my recent blog pictures have been taken by Carolyn and this dress is no exception.  She decided to come to Carriage Corner for a weekend at the end of August.  We took a trip to Winterthur to see the Costuming the Crown exhibit and she photographed several finished garments for me.

One of my biggest complaints about this dress is that the neckline is just too wide.  It literally falls off my shoulders, bra straps showing, the works - but they are comfortable and I love wearing them.  Well, while Carolyn was taking photographs she pointed out that both the bodice back & front were gaping a little bit and that I should alter my pattern to take 1/4" out of the center front at the very top.  Hmmm, interesting - that would also solve my wide neckline problem because it would bring the shoulders in.  Live and learn, girls, live and learn.

My to-sew list is feeling a bit out of control, but getting added to is really soon is another ESP dress with the center fronts altered.  I'm pretty sure I'll have to add the zipper back into the pattern, but that's easy.  I also feel like the bodice {now that I've taken it in just a smidge} is a bit too long, so that's another adjustment to make.

But the back waist seems to be just fine - probably because I've perfected my sway/short back adjustments for this pattern.  

One other trick that I really like to do on dresses with pockets?  Or anything with pockets for that matter - is to stitch the pockets in place on the front of the garment.  

So - look for another ESP dress soon-ish.  Which in my current world means within the year :D

Also, can I just say that I'm so happy I finally got my hair cut from the length in these pictures and got new glasses!  

September 19, 2019

Handmade Christmas

Since moving to the East Coast and becoming grandparents - our holidays celebrations have enlarged.  And I don't just mean by 1 baby!  See, our son in laws parents live close and everyone is wonderful and amazing and we do Christmas as a large group.

For years now, I have made both girls and our SIL flannel pants for Christmas.  This year, a boyfriend was added to the flannel pants list.  I also make the 3 of them a pair of hand knit socks.  But what in the world do I make for our SIL's parents?!

This year when I stumbled upon this photo from Emily Hallman on instagram - I knew what I needed to make for SIL's Mother!  Sadly, I'm pretty sure I didn't take many photos.

Then the question was what to make for SIL's Dad.  hmmm. . . .
They love to travel.  It's always so hard to find your luggage at the airport - I mean everyone has the same black or navy blue suitcase and they just get lost in the crowd - so luggage tags with the same monogram I used for the napkins I gave them last year.  Done!

You can just see the luggage tag that SIL's Mom hung from her bag for their Winter Get Away.  These tags fold in half and close with snaps.  On the inside, I used the alphabet function of my sewing machine to type their surname, address and a contact phone number.  I sandwiched the two pieces of fabric, right sides together with a length of ribbon for hanging.  Sewed, turned, topstitched and then sewed 2 snaps on each tag.  I made 6 in total.

Both of SIL's parents like to enjoy wine and they recently moved into a new house, so a set of wine themed travertine coasters was the final item included in their gift. 

I think they liked everything.  Now, what to make them next year?  hmmmmmm (currently taking suggestions).

September 12, 2019

The Simplicity Dress

I don't know if you've figured this out yet or not, but Carolyn is a style icon for me.  Especially as her style has evolved at her 'new job,' I find her style really suits me in my role as Innkeeper. 

What you probably don't know is that Carolyn and I are friends in real life.  We chat daily and often, if I'm headed to the craft store for patterns, I'll pick some up for her as well.  Consequently, we have many of the same patterns and she generally sews them up first, but I beat her to the punch with Simplicity 8551.

During the Fall 2018 Sew Camp, I actually bought fabric to make this dress.  The fabric is a lightweight quilting cotton.  Handling it at FabricMart, I thought it had a bit more drape and would become really fluid with washing - I was wrong.  But I still love this dress.

When I originally cut this dress out, I added 5" to the sleeve length.  I ended up taking that out and I wish I hadn't.  The sleeves are just a tad too short for my liking - so I always push them up.  In my way of thinking - long sleeves are kinda like long hair: if you're always going to push them up they might as well be short. 

I had plans to sew this up right away and actually got around to it in November.  I asked for color suggestions for tights to wear with this dress in the winter and bought a pair of dark mustard colored leggings which I wear with it along with my favorite brown knee high boots. 

Other than the facing, there is nothing challenging about this dress.  The facing is interfaced, I did the sew the smooth side of the interfacing to the right side of the facing along the outside edges, then turn and fuse the interfacing into place.  This creates a much nicer edge than if I'd tried to turn it under evening and then just topstitch that edge into place.  Once the interfacing is applied, construct the facing as instructed. 

All in all, I really like this dress and could see more being added to my closet.  It's easy to wear and I feel put together and like myself while I'm making breakfast.  Because it has pockets, I can keep my phone with me while I'm cleaning rooms.  Since I push the sleeves up, they aren't dragging in any food.  So, on a scale of 1 -5; this pattern is a 5.  I'd like to try the view with the grommets in the neck facing - it's a fun look.  

September 5, 2019

Put a Cherry On Top!

After the last shirt - I wanted to try another.  I have a stack of shirt patterns - so plenty of options to choose from.  This time I chose Simplicity 8090

One of the things I've been trying to do this year, is not add too much to the fabric closet.  AND when I pull a piece, use up as much of it as possible.  I had pulled a cherry print to make an apron for a guest, I used all of the red contrast that I had bought for a dress inspired by a tv show but that really don't fit my lifestyle now.  BUT because I had bought a dress length, I had enough of the cherry print to make this boxy little cropped top.  I did have to buy the accent fabric. 

I really, really need to start taking better notes - especially when I wait so long to get pictures and blog something.  My IG account says that I made this top back in February!  February folks. 

So - what changes did I make?  I'm almost positive I traced a 14 shoulders, to a 16 at the bottom of the armhole and then no other changes.  I made View B with the contrast ruffle at the top.  I did draft a collar stand from the one piece collar.  This is how the pieces were cut; Cherries: front, back, sleeve and upper collar; Contrast Gingham:  front facing, collar stand, under collar, back tab and a binding on the sleeves.
I have a big bag of vintage buttons, including several sets of Bakelite buttons. I put cheery red Bakelite buttons on this top.  

This top is easy to wear and distinctive from everything else in my closet.  I'd like to make another version, just slightly longer.  Because of that interesting french dart, I'm not sure where to add length - part of me wants to add it completely above the dart in an attempt to lower the dart.  And part of me says just slice through it and add length - what are your thoughts?

 I like the length of the back, but again, wouldn't be sad if I added length.

Isn't that little tab in the back too cute?  It's on the back of all views.  On me - it feels just slightly too high, I want it sitting at the small of my back - where you'd actually pull things together and button them up.  Easy enough to fix.

When you make a garment this distinctive, do you make multiples?  I would like to try it again and see if I can add a little length and lower that dart a bit.  We'll see what really happens - my 'to sew' list is long.

August 22, 2019

Pink Striped Shirt

My blog titles have got so creative, haven't they?  This is an old, old shirt.  I bought the fabric from Style Maker Fabrics and honestly, it got washed, ironed, cut and sewn up fairly quickly.  I think it was early 2018 when I ordered the fabric.  See, at the time I was working on a fair isle yoked sweater that really, really needed a button up to wear under it. 

You might be asking yourself why?  Because 1.) I love the look of a shirt coming out from under a pullover - the shirttail hems, the cuffs and the collar - it's just classic and b) the sweater was being knit from lopi - which is itchy as all get out.

For whatever reasons, I didn't finish the sweater.  It was a test knit and there were sizing issues FOR ME. 

I used New Look 6470 for the shirt and very carefully measured myself and then the pattern flat.  I added some space where needed.  I worked on the shirt during Spring Sew Camp 2018.  I knew as I was working on it that it wasn't going to fit me.  But I plodded on.  I'm glad I finished it. 

For the back yoke, I cut the piece in half and added a seam allowance and then cut the stripes on the bias.  The yoke facing was cut on the normal gain for stability. I burrito'd putting the yokes together so the shoulder seams are enclosed. I made the back pleat a bit wider to give some more room at the hips.

What you can't see, because I didn't unroll the sleeves is that the shirt has long sleeves with a tower placket and proper cuffs.  

While I can't currently button up this shirt and still move, it will get worn over a tank or cami.  It's a great layering piece.  

This is a good shirt pattern.  It currently fits through the shoulders, so I need to figure out what to do to add more width around the bust and hips - FBA?  Maybe.  While I don't have a large bust, I do have a large rib cage and a FBA might give me enough room to be able to button this button up shirt.  Hmmm, let me add this project to the ever growing list of things to make. :)

How would you fix this pattern so the shirt can button and movement would be possible?  

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