alder archer dress
 

I pretty much live in Grainline Studio patterns these days.  Linden sweatshirt one day, Lark tee the next, I wore my Cascade duffle coat to death this winter, and I just finished sewing two other Grainline patterns (more to come on those soon).  I had a red Morris blazer almost done at the beginning of March but I put it away until the fall so I could start focusing on spring sewing.  Oh man, if there was a pants pattern in the line, I would be all set and never really need to sew from another pattern company again!

With all of that said, I present to you my newest creation: an Archer + Alder mashup shirtdress, my first garment of the spring season.

 

alder archer dress
 

To make this, I followed Jen’s second tutorial for hacking the Alder shirtdress by combining the top of the Archer shirt pattern with the skirt of the Alder dress pattern.  I agree with her that the bodice of the Archer shirt lends itself better to this kind of silhouette instead of adding on sleeves to the the Alder bodice, the Alder is too fitted up top and the proportions don’t balance out, in my opinion.  Her tutorial is spot-on-crystal-clear and the only change I made was grading the waist of the dress out from a 4 to a 6 since that’s how I fit in her skirt and short patterns.

 

alder archer dress
 

My personal preference is to wear this dress belted to give myself and the dress a little more definition at the waist (I need it!).  To make the belt, I cut two extra buttonhole band pieces and stitched them together.  It ended up being just the right length.

 

alder archer dress
 

(I have the worst resting-bitch-face in these photos, I was getting pissed off trying to get the lighting right so my camera would work!  Also, wish I could have taken pics with the camera further away so you could see the length of the dress better but my living room is too small to do that, boo.)

Here’s how it looks without a belt.  It’s okkkk….not my fave, I definitely like how it looks belted better.  Maybe it would look different if it was sleevless, like the original Alder pattern?

 

alder archer dress
 

Here’s a comparison of how it looks in the back, un-belted and belted.  There’s a good amount of ease in this dress (it’s really an A-line shape from the waist) and I like how it blouses out with the belt.

 

alder archer dress
 

The fabric is what made this project a little more challenging than I expected; I made the Archer pattern a bunch of times before and adding on a skirt wouldn’t make it a harder project.  I used a beautiful rayon denim from Indiesew that’s a dream to wear, but I had a booger of a time getting this fabric to cooperate.  It was super shifty, which made it tough to cut out on my cutting table, aka the cutting mat I put on top of my bed (oh how I miss the days of having an actual table to cut on!).  Cutting accuracy was not my forte in this project and my front button band is actually slightly longer on one side than the other at the hem – oops.  Something else happened with the sleeve that I can’t explain and I ended up not needing to ease in the sleeve cap to the armscye, but they seem to hang alright.  The pockets probably should have been stabilized as well to get a nicer result, but ehhhhh they’re fine.  The end result was worth it with this fabric (I think it looks like something from Madewell!), but it was a bit of a nail-biter to see if it was going to turn out nicely!

 

alder archer dress
 

Pattern: Archer and Alder patterns by Grainline Studio via Indiesew
Fabric: rayon denim shirting from Indiesew (sold-out but similar here)

 

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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Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Exciting stuff – I’m traveling to Barcelona next month for work!  For three weeks, I’m staying in the city and working my butt off to help set up an event for my company.  Spain never was a country on my list of “must-see” places, but I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to go and (hopefully) explore a new city and country for such a length of time.  I’m learning some key words and phrases as well with an app on my iPad and so far so good, there’s a lot of similarities between Spanish and French (which I majored in in college).

 

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Like any other sewist, I have a list of things to make for my trip (I know I’m not the only crazy one to do this, haha!).  First on my list is a Portside Travel Set made out of some home dec fabric from Ikea, and economical and stylish fabric source for this project.  I decided to use duck cloth for the interfacing and it’s working out pretty well, I liked the shape and body it gave to the clutches I made my bridesmaids for my wedding last year.

 

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It took soooo long to cut everything out, but at least the sewing is going together quickly.

Also on my sewing list is an outfit for the plane, a striped Inari Tee Dress with leggings and a pink Driftless Cardigan for layering.  Something loose and comfy that doesn’t make you look a rumpled mess when you get off the plane is key for a long flight.  On top of this sewing, I also want to make a birthday gift for my niece, who’s birthday is while I’m gone.  Ahh!!  So much to do 🙂

 

As I mentioned, I’m going to be working ’round the clock (nothing too glamorous about this trip, except maybe the hotel), but I’m crossing my fingers I can find some time to poke around the city, eat tapas, and maybe find some fabric stores to visit.

 

If you have any suggestions of places to make sure to see while I’m in Barcelona, and fabric stores to pop into, please leave a comment below!

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Toaster One
 

Navy blue is slowly creeping into my wardrobe as my new go-to color over black, my usual everyday staple color.  It started with my Lonetree jacket and long-sleeve stripe top, and a lot of what I’m pinning these days on Pinterest for sewing inspiration is grounded in navy blue.  It’s a flattering color for pale people like me!

As a follow-up to the Toaster Sweater #2 I made at the end of last year, I decided to give #1 a try with some ponte I bought from Metro Textiles in December.

 

Toaster One
 

First off, this fabric is to die for – the ponte feels like a rayon blend, is incredibly soft after washing, and has a nice drape.  I love this fabric so much, I called up Kashi at Metro Textiles to order more!

The fabric isn’t very full-bodied, which is why the funnel neck collapses instead of standing up like in the pattern photos.  I was a little disappointed with that, but it’s so cozy to wear I got over that element pretty fast.

 

Toaster One
 

I actually tried this pattern out late last year and modified it to be a little longer in body length than what the pattern originally calls for – I thought it looked a bit cropped in the photos and was worried that the length of the sweater would hit right at the top of the waistband of my jeans.  Well, I should have just made the pattern as is, because the longer length threw off all the proportions of the sweater, it’s really perfect the way it’s drafted!  I don’t find it too short and can wear it with my high rise and lower rise jeans.  Maybe it’s the waist band that causes the illusion of the sweater looking short?  I also love the deep cuffs of the sleeves, they form a slight flare.

 

Toaster One
 

Like Toaster #2, this came together in a snap – it’s an easy-peasy instant-gratification project, perfect for a Saturday afternoon sewing session.  Everything was sewn on my serger.

 

Toaster One
 

I’m now in the process of wrapping up my “winter” sewing and shifting gears into projects for spring – especially for a trip coming up soon that I’ll share more about in another post.  Of course, as I type this, a blizzard is descending on Boston…but I know that spring weather will be here soon!

 

Pattern: Toaster Sweater #1 by Sew House Seven
Fabric: Viscose double-knit from Metro Textiles

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lark tees
 

In my last post, I mentioned how I’m using sewing hacks to make my sewing time more productive.  Well, here we are: three Lark Tees that I cranked out in the course of one weekend, all cut out at the same time and sewn assembly line style!

 

long sleeve lark tee
 

For my first version, I used a lightweight rayon knit from Metro Textiles and cut out the long sleeve/scoop neck variation.  As you can see, it’s a bit wrinkly from not taking it out of the dryer in time!  I love the fit of the pattern, it’s not too tight but fitted where it needs to be, and will be my new go-to pattern for a basic tee.  However, I was surprised with how long the length of the tee actually is and will probably shorten it in future versions.

 

short sleeve lark tee
 

For my second version, I tried the short sleeve/scoop neck variation in a St. James striped double-knit from Mood.  This version is my least favorite because of the length…I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s the proportion of the sleeves and body length, but it just seems too long for me.  It’s also interesting how a different weight of fabric gives the tee a different fit, this one is much looser and less clingy than the long sleeve rayon tee.  I’m loving how the neck band turned out, look at that even stripe!  I probably should topstitch the seam allowance down around the neck to allow the neck band to lay flat, it tends to flip out a bit.

 

boatneck lark lark tee
 

The boatneck 3/4 sleeve version is my favorite!  Like the short sleeve version, this is another St. James double-knit from Mood – I love me a good stripe and there’s no such thing as too many striped tees.  While the description of this version is a boatneck, it feels more like a wide scoop than a boatneck to me; I’m used to boatnecks coming up to my neck.  I would also make a facing next time for the neckline, like Teri did, turning in the seam allowance 1/4 inch and top stitching it looks so-so and a facing would give the tee a much nicer finish.  This version is also slightly shorter than the other two, and I like the length.  This is due to me not cutting the stripes evenly across the bottom (no idea how that happened) so I chopped off about a 1.5 inches to even everything out.

Renee pointed out on Instagram that this is like the Kate Middleton/Vogue magazine shirt – I had no idea!  I love the vertical stripe pocket, that could be a cute addition to a future stripe Lark Tee.  Taking some styling cues from the duchess, I wore this top with dark jeans and brown riding boots when I went out last weekend and felt very chic.

 

boatneck lark tee
 

Pattern: Lark Tee by Grainline Studio
Scoop and boatneck version with various sleeves
Fabric: rayon from Metro Textile, St. James stripe knits from Mood (1) (2)

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Untitled
 

Do you use any “sewing hacks” to make your sewing more productive?  With the spring season coming (not soon enough!) and a long list of garments I want to add to my wardrobe, but limited free time between work and school, I’m trying to find ways to make it easier to get some sewing in when I have a few minutes here and there.

One of my new favorite hacks is batch cutting, which I guess isn’t that novel of an idea and stems from the idea of assembly line sewing.  The above are three garments that I cut out over the course of a few hours on a Saturday night: a longsleeve Lark Tee, a Morris Blazer, and an Archer Popover.  My thinking is that if I have my cutting mat and weights out, I might as well use that time to cut out multiple garments since I’m in a “garment cutting mindset.”  Now when I have a few minutes free, I can sit down an sew a couple of seams and gradually work my way towards finishing a project.

 

 

Longsleeve Lark Tee
 

This is my third Lark Tee, I made a short sleeve scoop striped version and a short sleeve solid scoop version a few weeks ago.  I used assembly line sewing when I made those two tees and even though it seemed like it took longer to make them, I ended up with two new tees in one evening.  Something funky happened when I cut out this navy and red fabric, maybe I didn’t line it up correctly, but I can’t hem the sleeves and bottom hem with the stripes going evenly across the bottom.  Oh well, maybe I can just trim it a bit to make it look better.  I love stripes, but sometimes they give me a headache.

 

 

Toaster Sweater 1
 

So far, my sewing hacks are working; I’m actually behind with photographing some new projects I want to share.  Hopefully next weekend I can set up my camera and backdrop in the living room and get some projects photographed (fingers crossed it stays sunny!).

We went away to the White Mountains in NH for the holiday weekend and I wore my new favorite top, the Toaster Sweater #1.  I love it so much that I wore it twice last week!  I used a beautiful navy ponte from Metro Textiles that was so soft and wonderful to work with that I called Kashi and ordered more for a Morris Blazer.  I’m definitely having a navy moment, more and more navy is creeping into my wardrobe and I have a feeling it’s going to be my new core color for spring as I plan out my sewing queue.

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