party dress 3
 

party dress 4
 

 

Ahh, it’s fall and grad school is keeping my busy like crazy. Whenever September rolls around, my sewing cadence grinds to a halt and it’s a challenge to find time to balance work, school, and my love of sewing. I think I figured out a little strategic planning that’s helped so far, like starting our Halloween costumes in August, and planning out what to work on each weekend when there’s a little time free to work on some steps of a project (like cutting out the fabric one weekend, sewing some parts here and there…you get the picture).

Originally, I wasn’t planning on making a dress to wear for a friend’s wedding at the beginning of October, thinking I was going to get something from Rent the Runway instead and call it a day. But with a little pattern-hacking, I quickly made a new party dress based on my fave bodice, By Hand London’s Elisalex Dress, with a skirt from Simplicity 1873, a Cynthia Rowley pattern similar to the designer version of this dress.

 

party dress 1
 

Now, I could have easily made the Simplicity dress right out of the pattern envelope – that dress versus the one I made look pretty similar, right? However, the bodice of the Simplicity dress had bust darts and waist darts, and it would have taken time to make a muslin and get it to fit correctly. Which is why I decided to use something that I know fits well and works, the BHL bodice. All that was left to do was figure out how to make the Simplicity skirt fit the bodice – I pinned all of the tucks in place on the skirt pieces and fitted the pattern tissue on my dress form so that it was the same circumference as the bodice. The size 14 did the trick and magically the side seams of the skirt and bodice matched up perfectly – it was meant to be!

 

party dress 2
 

I love the back of this bodice so much, I think the original Simplicity dress could have benefitted from something like this. Well, this is why I sew – to make my own version of things!  Also, this skirt is reallllly short, so I took the hem up about an inch.

 

party dress 5
 

Let’s talk about this yummy fabric! I bought this from Metro Textile about two years ago, and it was one of those impulse purchases where I didn’t know what I’d make from it, but had to have it. Waiting for the right project was definitely worth it, it’s not quite a brocade but heavy enough to provide the right kind of shape and body to the skirt of the dress. I also played with the pattern placement on the bodice and centered the paisley motif on the center front bodice piece.

 

party dress 6
 

I always get sad when I make special occasion garments that I only get to wear once or twice, but I think this dress will be pretty versatile. Since it’s green, I’ll most likely wear this for my husband’s company Christmas party with some tights and ankle booties, plus a faux-fur wrap for warmth.

 

Pattern: By Hand London Elisalex and Simplicity 1873
Fabric: poly brocade from Metro Textile

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Alder Shirt 1
 

I finally finished my last two garments for the Summer of Basics sew along – however, there was a change in plans along the way! Originally, I planned on making a Kelly Skirt since I don’t have a lot of skirts in my closet anymore (no idea how that happened). But after wearing the Maritime shorts I made last summer so much this year, I changed my mind and made a new pair of shorts instead of a skirt. I love how both of these garments turned out!

 

Alder Shirt 2
 

Let’s talk the shirt first: I altered my original Alder Shirtdress pattern to make it into a plain shirt by following Jen’s tutorial on the Grainline blog.  I tried on my dress I made earlier this spring and liked the length at just after the sixth button, so I altered the hem and shortened it to that length.  The only alteration I didn’t take into consideration, and will on subsequent Alder shirts/dresses, is raising the bust dart up.  See, when I made my shirtdress this spring, I used the upper part of the Archer shirt with the bottom as the Alder dress to make my pattern, I never used the bodice portion of the Alder pattern.  If I had, I would have noticed that the bust dart hit below my bust and needed to be raised, like I usually do on patterns with bust darts.  I don’t know why I didn’t do that alteration this go-around, but now I know – d’oh!

 

Alder Shirt 3
 

Isn’t this fabric the cutest?  It’s a cotton poplin I bought at Ribes y Casals in Barcelona this spring.  It was one of those fabrics that just jumps out at you and says, “take me home!”

 

Alder Shirt 4
 

I cut out these Maritime Shorts last year at the end of summer and put them to the side until warm weather rolled around this year – I’m glad I did! These are made out of a navy blue pique from Fabric Place Basement and go with so much in my closet.  Navy is creeping in more and more this year and I like it as an alternative to black, especially in the summer.  Anywho, I made this version of the Maritime Shorts with back pockets this time and used a button closure I found in my stash.  Jen, if you’re reading, I hope you come out with a pants pattern because these fit 100% perfectly without any alterations!  I guess I could always blend the shorts pattern block with another pants pattern…but still, a girl can wish 🙂

This sewalong was a lot of fun and added some needed basics into my closet.  I think I’d like to do a sewalong like this for every season, and it’s good to become aware of the gaps in your wardrobe.  For fall, I’m focusing more on bottoms than I usually do – more to come on that!

 

Alder Shirt 5
Patterns: Alder Shirtdress, altered to a shirt; Maritime Shorts
Fabric: cotton poplin from Ribes y Casals, cotton pique from Fabric Place Basement

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Tania Culottes
 

Culottes are fabulous and I need a collection of them ASAP. Of course, these are not the culottes of my childhood in the late 80’s/early 90’s, these are the brilliant and fashionable Tania Culottes designed by Megan Nielsen.

 

Tania Culottes
 

 

When the Tania Culottes came out about three years ago, I instantly fell in love with the skirt-meets-shorts styling and practicality, and ended up seeing them made up all over the sewing blogosphere.  For whatever reason, maybe because I never seemed to find the right fabric, they got pushed out of my memory and I forgot all about them until seeing the pattern again on Indiesew.  Culottes and wide-leg pants are having a moment right now (is the fashion pendulum swinging away from the skinny pants and jeans we’ve worn for the past 10+ years?) and I saw lots of stylish women wearing some iteration when I was in NYC over the weekend.  So, bring on the culottes!

 

Tania Culottes
 

I love that these culottes look like I’m wearing a floaty circle skirt when in actuality it’s just really full shorts. The pattern drafting is genius; to make it look like it’s a skirt in the front and disguise the leg holes, two darts are sewn on either side of the front and the back that add fullness and folds of fabric across the front. So smart! The construction was super easy, but it was the hemming of these culottes that was a nightmare, as to be expected from anything a) rayon and b) cut on the bias.

 

Tania Culottes
 

Because I knew that the hem of the culottes would get all kinds of wonky because of the bias, I made the knee-length version of the pattern to allow enough “margin” if I needed to really whack off a lot of fabric to even out the hems (plus, I read all of the reviews about the shortest length – I want to be able to wear these to work and not flash my bum!). I hung the culottes up for about 24 hours to allow the bias to settle and wow, these got pretty crazy. Evening them out was a struggle, I hung them up in a door frame, taped one leg to the side of the door frame, and used my shears to eyeball and cut an even hem. That wasn’t enough, so my husband saved the day and evened up the hem with my scissors while I wore them. I honestly don’t know how I would have hemmed these without his help, and I know for sure that this isn’t the most even hem, but I think it passes for being ok-looking!

 

Tania Culottes
 

You can tell a little bit from the back that the hem is not quite even, but heck with it 🙂  I made a baby hem by serging the edges, using the stitching as a guide for turning up the hem 1/4″, and then turned the hem again for a total of a 1/2″ hem.  Its the same kind of hem I used for my wedding dress and it’s a pretty easy way to finish the edges on lightweight fabrics.

 

Tania Culottes
 

Would I make these again? I don’t know…with the hem being such a headache, I probably wouldn’t make another short version but would potentially contemplate making the long length out of some kind of light wool crepe. I’m really digging wide-leg pants right now and want to make some for fall (maybe Megan’s Flint pants?). These kinds of shorts/pants are total man-repellers, but I love them!

 

Tania Culottes

Pattern: Tania Culottes by Megan Nielsen, Version 2
Fabric: cotton/rayon from Burkholder Fabrics
Tank Top: Gap
Flip Flops: Old Navy
Sunnies: Tommy Hilfiger





This post is part of the Indiesew Blogger Network – pattern or fabric may have been provided by Indiesew, however all thoughts and opinions are my own

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Ogden Cami
 

I had my eye on the Ogden Cami when Kelli released the pattern last year, but I wasn’t urged to a make it until participating in Me Made May this year and realized I’m sorely lacking in tank tops. The Summer of Basics sew-along is a great way to fill those wardrobe gaps (I may need to do one of these for the fall!) and this cami is my first finished project for the sew-along.

 

Ogden Cami
 

After recently organizing my stash and “discovering” a length of gold metallic linen I bought a few years ago to make, yes, a camisole, I committed to sewing it up right away for this summer. I love the sheen and how it catches the light! It does wrinkle quite a bit, as is the nature of linen, but it adds to the overall casual style of the cami.

 

Ogden Cami
 

The cami went together in a snap, nothing like cutting out and making a project to wear out to dinner later that night.  Sew up the sides, make the straps, attach the straps, sew on the facing, sew the hem – boom, done.  I like the fact that the neckline is finished with a long facing that won’t flip out, and the way the straps are sewn in is pretty smart.  After attaching the straps to the front I tried on the tank with the straps pinned to the back to check the length and the straps were spot-on.  Honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing with this pattern and plan on making more for my wardrobe.  This would be a good stash busting project!

 

Maritime Shorts
 

These shorts aren’t part of my Summer of Basics plan, and I actually made them last year, but I never blogged them and thought they looked cute with the Ogden Cami.  These are my first pair of Maritime Shorts and they are so.  Stinking.  Perfect.  I still haven’t had luck with sewing pants, but these shorts are 100% a perfect fit on me and there wasn’t a single thing I needed to change.  Wowzers.  I wore these to death last summer and they’re on heavy rotation right now, with another pair cut out and ready to go on my sewing table.

 

Maritime Shorts
 

I used a cotton sateen that I found last year at Fabric Place Basement, it’s a BCBG border print-type fabric that I played around with, trying to maximize as much of the printed portion versus the solid of the fabric. Because of the print, I opted for no back pockets but definitely will use back pockets on my future versions. I need a whole assortment of these for the summer, they’re so much nicer and a better fit than my J Crew chino shorts.

 

Maritime Shorts
 

The rise on these shorts is also nice, it’s a mid-rise that keeps everything contained, if you know what I mean.  Not shown in any of the photos I took, but I used a bicycle-printed coral fabric for the inner waistband and pocket lining. It’s kinda wacky, but I find it fun and amusing when there’s little surprises like that inside garments. I’m using seahorses on the inside of my next pair!

 

Ogden Cami
 

Patterns: Ogden Cami by True Bias, Maritime Shorts by Grainline Studio
Fabrics: Cami – metallic linen; Shorts – cotton sateen; both from Fabric Place Basement

 

This post is part of the Indiesew Blogger Network – pattern or fabric may have been provided by Indiesew, however all thoughts and opinions are my own

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I just spent the last week at home with my family in PA – lots of games were played, laps run at the park and swam at the pool, playtime with my niece, and of course – fabric shopping out in Lancaster County. I’m bringing home a pretty good haul from some shops we stopped at and my Bernina is now purring like a kitten after being serviced. Plus, I got some old patterns and from my Mom, including a vintage funnel-neck shift dress pattern from the 60’s.  Good times at home, sad to leave!

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