Sewing, Sewing Pants

Floral Border Print Rose Pants

I have plans to make the Helen’s Closet Donovan skirt and I had the idea to try it in a border print so I went to trusty Fabric. Com and searched for floral rayon border prints on sale and found a lovely navy print by Alexia Marcelle Abegg.

I bought a large piece and once I had it I realized that it also might make a great pair of swishy Rose pants. The only big challenge is that the border print goes vertically not horizontally and I wanted to make sure that the two legs matched. I ended up laying out my pattern pieces horizontally and lined up the bottom of the pant pieces straight along the selvage instead of the top to make sure that they would match when they were sewn. I had just enough fabric going widthwise selvage to selvage for the length of the pants which was really lucky. Once cut out, I realized that the fabric was really slippery so I assembled them slightly differently than the Rose pattern directs. I cut the front waistband the same size as the sewn pants front and sewed the front waistband to the front and the back waistband to the back and then sewed the side seams including both waistbands. I figured that I would use elastic around the whole waist and just let the elastic gather the fabric. I thought it might work because the gathers are pretty gentle. I had a piece of elastic that wasn’t quite as wide as the waistband so I improvised and sewed a 3/8 seam at the top of the waistband to create a little paper bag waist effect.

Pinning the front waistband to the top of the pants. I wasn’t sure how it would work with the pockets but the fabric is so flowy that it is fine with the pockets being gathered as well. I did not use any interfacing because I didn’t want the fabric to be stiff.

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In order to have the elastic on hand fit the waistband, I sewed a seam at the top of the waist before inserting the elastic. It worked great.

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it ended up creating a subtle paper bag waist effect

Pants before hemming:

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And after worn with my Gemma tank which I cropped and am loving:

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I am really happy with how they turned out. I ended up hemming them to preserve the entire border but they are a bit too long so one of these days I will unpick the hems and take them up a bit. I plan to make another pair in this moss green tencel twill. They are super comfortable and bridge the gap between dressy and casual and doing the waistband in the two pieces was just easier for me to negotiate with the slippery fabric. These are my third pair of Rose pants. You can see my ikat pair here and my linen shorts here.  I am a fan!

Thanks for reading!

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Sewing

Sewing with Teens: MBR Rose Linen Shorts

One summer evening, my stepdaughter and I were hanging out and talking and somehow we got on the topic of shorts. I had just made the Made by Rae Rose pattern as pants in a lovely woven Ikat fabric and I told her that I had plans to sew myself some shorts. She mentioned that she had wanted some linen shorts that she had seen in a store that we will just refer to by its initials, U.O., but they cost upwards of $50 which seemed ridiculous, not to mention out of reach for an 18 year old college student and I said offhand, I bet we could sew something similar. And so our summer sewing project was born.

We had talked for a while about doing a sewing project together but I realized that by walking her through sewing a Made By Rae pattern, we would not only end up with a pair of cute shorts that didn’t cost a fortune, but that because of the way Rae writes her patterns, my stepdaughter would learn techniques that would enable her to sew another project mostly independently. And she did!

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As we sewed she shorts together, I shared my tips. I had a hard time seeing to sew in the ditch when I sewed my waistband with this nubby linen fabric so I suggested that Margaret draw a line of chalk to better see it as she sewed.

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We did most of the sewing in two separate evening sessions of a couple of hours each but prior to starting our project, I had her print and tape together her pattern, read the instructions, measure herself, figure out her size and cut out the pattern pieces while I was at work.  Her measurements put her between a S and M based on the fitting guide in the pattern so I told her to cut between the two lines. This saved me time and was also was a good way for her to get into the project. Then together, step by step, she made her shorts. We would read a step and then I would walk her through it. The MRB instructions were the perfect guide.

She learned how to iron the fabric before cutting and the difference between ironing fabric and just gently pressing a seam after sewing.

She learned about grainlines and how to lay out the pattern pieces using the cutting layout in the pattern and how to orient them using the grainline arrows.

She learned what interfacing is and how to fuse it to the pattern pieces.

She learned how to wind a bobbin, thread a needle, what stitch length to use and how to sew a straight stitch and to switch to a zig zag stitch to finish her seams.

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She practiced sewing some straight lines of stitching on scraps of the material before we sewed the garment and learned how to line up the sewing line with the appropriate seam allowance line. She practiced with navy thread and white thread to decide which one she wanted to use for her final project and decided to use white.

And then she assembled the shorts. She sewed the pattern pieces together step by step following the instructions, she learned to sew gathering stitches and gathered the front waistline, she inserted the elastic and finished the front waistband and hemmed them. As she was following the steps she became more and  more independent so instead of showing her a step, I could tell her to sew or press or finish the seam and she was fine doing it on her own.

The only real hitch we had was when the safety pin opened when the second piece of elastic was almost threaded through the waistband.  At that point, she learned that desperate times call for desperate measures.

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I ended up taking out a few stitches, opening up the waistband to be able to close the safety pin and then I sewed it back up after we finished threading it through (culprit below). I need stronger reading glasses for close sewing work but in a pinch, doubling up on my regular reading glasses works.

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It was great to see her excitement when the elastic was threaded and they started to actually look like shorts!

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And she was thrilled with the final product which are completely wearable and cute and fit perfectly.

I asked Margaret to share some thoughts about the experience and this is what she said:

“I had a lot of fun sewing the rose shorts pattern. I’ve always admired the work Julie does making her own clothes, but it seemed like an overwhelming process for me to undertake myself since I didn’t have any experience. The thought of following a pattern was stressful without knowing sewing lingo or techniques, even though it was something I wanted to try.

The rose shorts were a style I really liked and seemed simple enough that I could follow along, so I felt comfortable attempting them as a first project. Rae’s pattern was straightforward and clearly formatted, but even so having Julie there to help and show me the right way to carry out the steps was definitely a key to my success. I was definitely confused a couple of times with how to orient the fabric pieces and keeping track of what part I was sewing together, but now that I’ve done the process once I think I have a better sense for the sewing process.

One of the most rewarding parts of making the rose shorts was sewing the pockets into the front pieces. Having the pockets securely sewed into the main section made the project start looking like a real pair of shorts which was really exciting. It was also rewarding to thread the elastic through the waistband and see the fabric begin to cinch up like I’m so used to seeing but had no idea how it actually happens.

I was surprised how much prep work goes into a sewing project and how little time the actual sewing takes. I learned that paying attention to detail in the set-up, cutting, and piecing together stages is so important because then you set yourself up for success when you do the actual sewing.

Overall it was really fun and I’m so happy with how they turned out! I definitely want to make another pair. the rose shorts are a good pattern for someone just starting out (like me) because they’re simple yet sophisticated.”

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For all of you who have young people in your lives, I can’t recommend this process more highly. Almost any of Rae’s patterns would be a good first pattern but the Rose shorts are so on-trend and include so many techniques: gathering, pockets, topstitching etc. that working through each of the steps teaches basic sewing in an understandable step by step way. The shorts turned out so well that Margaret wore them to the opening of a local art show that her work was featured in. The show is an open juried show called Focus under Forty featuring artwork by artists ages 16-39. Her work has been featured three years running and this year four of her photographs were accepted in the show and one of them won second prize. We are so proud of her! You can learn more about the show here.

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As Margaret was sewing her shorts, I was inspired to sew myself a pair as well because hers were turning out so cute. They are the perfect summer shorts. I sewed a Large based on my measurements of 32 waist, 42 hip and they fit perfectly.

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The fabric we both used was Essex cotton-linen blend from my stash in two different shades of blue. I subsequently bought that same fabric in a rust color to make myself a second pair. The best thing about this fabric is that it just gets nicer with age.

I also plan to make myself a cropped floral pair inspired by Rae’s version. I couldn’t resist this fabric:

and have made myself a fun rayon version using a floral border print. I used a slightly different approach to better deal with the slippery fabric which I posted about here. Here they are worn with my recently cropped Gemma tank. I am loving wearing them.

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So much love for this pattern!

In our house, we now have a new motto:

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Liberty Fabric, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing

Emerald Dress by Made by Rae

Back in May I was inspired to make the Emerald Dress from Making Magazine, designed by Made by Rae. I didn’t actually think that it would flatter my body type but I was intrigued to try sewing a garment on the bias for the first time and Rae’s pattern have such clear instructions and such lovely, flattering lines and generally fit me without alterations so I decided to go for it.

This pattern is a free download once you buy the magazine. Because the pattern pieces are cut on the bias, it requires  more fabric and very precise cutting when you are cutting out the main pieces.

I was up for the challenge. I had a 4 yard piece of a striped lightweight cotton from the Loominous line by Anna Maria Horner. I had bought it on sale a couple of years ago thinking it would be good for backing a quilt. I thought the stripes would be interesting with this design. I deliberately did not match them at the seams because I thought it would create more of a sense of movement. Taking my time to cut things out carefully was actually nice for a change. I am usually a batch sewing queen, cutting out several things at a time to be more efficient but I find that I really enjoy the process of sewing a new pattern one step at a time and taking my time. It becomes a really meditative process for me. I moved my two largest cutting boards down to the dining room table and used a large clear quilting ruler to line up the fabric on the bias using the stripes to guide me.

I cut on the S/M lines based on my bust measurement of 37″ and took my time. I added two inches to the length by drawing a new cutting line for the hem about two inches below the pattern line so first version has a skirt that flares just a bit wider than as designed. To compensate, I cut the hem facings a bit wider on each end. I am 5’9″ tall and I always add 2 inches to Rae’s tops and dresses since my height is all in my torso. I did not interface the hem or hem facings but I did interface the neck and arm facings.

I found this lightweight woven nice to work with but I found that lining up the V sharply proved a bit challenging. I got there in the end but I had to do some creative wrestling including cutting the facing edge at the bottom to allow it to spread a bit. I ironed everything into submission and added a row of stitching just around the neckline. I sewed the facing edge to the dress from the outside not the inside as the pattern calls for because my stitching looks nicer as topstitching.

I was actually surprised at how much I liked the final version. You can see a bit of stripe matching serendipity here. I didn’t try to match and didn’t really want it matching because I think it is more interesting that way but I like how some of the stripes come together at the side seam. It really accentuates the sewing lines. After making it, I thought about sizing up a bit in the neck and shoulders so it would be a bit more drapey. I used my bust measurement for the sizing but on closer reading, the high bust should have been my guide and I should have cut between the S/M and L/XL lines. I thought about changing the size when I made version 2 but as I wore this one, I decided I liked it as is. The stripes don’t match on the opposite side seam and the front seam has the stripes in slightly different alignment on the two sides which I like. I have always preferred things to not be too matchy matchy so this made me happy.

I had thought this would be a beach coverup caftan type thing and eventually that is what it will become but I have actually worn it out to my book group and to the office. I love the way it feels when worn, very comfortable, swishy, flowy and light for summer but with a polished, flattering neckline. Rae does it again!

After May was over, I took a couple of weeks off from sewing for a family visit for a graduation and when I got back, I kept thinking about making a second version. I really like making things at least twice because it gives me a chance to fix things I missed on round one.

I had a 2 yard piece of a dusty rose linen-rayon blend from fabric.com. I don’t even remember why I bought it, possibly to make another York pinafore and it would have been great for that, but I knew it would work well for this pattern because of the drape. Since I just had two yards and no stripes to deal with, I altered the angle of the pattern pieces when cutting it out so that they are on the bias but on a slightly less sharp angle. You can see it in the picture above. I cut the pieces out on the doubled fabric rather than flat so the angles would all be the same. I didn’t have enough for hem facings but I used a scrap of liberty, always a great solution!

I hadn’t intended to interface it because I wanted the hem to not be stiff but the floral pattern showed through the pink so I ended up using interfacing. I sewed this second version slowly but still completed it in a day. I had the same issue with my neckline and cut the V apart on the interfaced facing at the bottom and then sewed everything down. It is fine though not as neat as I would like on the inside. But honestly, that is no big deal. I drafted simple bias facings for the sleeves and didn’t interface them again because I wanted a drapey feel for the sleeves. I really love how they turned out.

And now, many pictures of the finished dress. On the front door:

and as worn.

This dress is great dressed up but would also be good as a more casual look with a chunky pullover sweater (I am looking for the right one) and clogs or with a jeans jacket and more casual jewelry.

UPDATE: found one!

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It could totally go from a dinner out or church dress to a walking along the beach dress.  And I think it is really flattering despite my initial misgivings.

Jessica (@kunklebaby on Instagram) made a beautiful version in a blue and white ikat. I may totally copy it!

Happy summer sewing friends!

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This blog is not monetized or sponsored and if you click on links, I do not earn money. I just provide them to make it easier for you to find amazing patterns and resources in the sewing community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beatrix Blouse Pattern, Gemma Tank, Made By Rae Patterns, Ruby Dress Pattern, Sewing, Zadie Jumpsuit Pattern

June 2019 Sewing: Made By Rae Tops and the Zadie Jumpsuit

After the sewing whirlwind that is Me Made May, June is usually a pretty low key month for me but this year the frenzy continued. During June I sewed two versions of the massively popular Zadie Jumpsuit and decided to tackle the pile of partially sewn projects dating as far back as 2015 (Oh my word). There were 8. They are now finished!

What  happens to me is that I get started on something or a couple of somethings because I like to cut out more than one version of a pattern at a time and then a new pattern launches and I get distracted or life gets busy and I have no time to sew and then the weather changes. I am so glad I rescued these.

First: three versions of the Made by Rae Beatrix Blouse. The first is made with the leftover fabric from a blue linen York pinafore that I sewed in May.

I had just enough leftover fabric. I cut one of the sleeves on the cross grain and used other scraps for facings.

I had started this last year to go with the brown corduroy York pinafores that I sewed last fall and then life got busy and the button placket felt overwhelming which is actually silly because it was very quick.

After I finished this in short order, I sewed the two sleeveless versions I cut out four years and two years ago respectively. I love this beautiful Melody Miller cotton lawn. I am so glad I finally sewed it up! Look at those button holes! Such a confidence boost when they come out well. The buttons are antique from a button jar I found at a tag sale 25 years ago.

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And another version in this beautiful woven lightweight cotton fabric. I had planned on the sleeved version but I wasn’t happy with how the stripes lined up and I cut off the sleeves and used bias binding to make a sleeveless version. I used elastic thread to gather the sleeves. It works really well but after you sew the sleeve in, it is important to take out, or at least cut the elastic stitches in several places or it will cause your garment to have puckers as you can see in the sleeved version. I realized this again when I made one of my ruffle Gemmas.  More button holes below. I use a disappearing marker to mark them first. It works really well for me. The navy buttons are recycled buttons that I got at Fab Scrap.

With sleeves (notice the puckers-I could have gotten rid of them but I decided I wasn’t happy with the way the stripes lined up)

Sleeveless version:

I love that the same pattern can give you such different looks.

Second: I had a summer dress idea for a Gemma tank with a skirt. I was really successful with this approach when I sewed this double gauze version

but when I started a green Loominous version last summer I cut the bodice too long and the whole effect was frumpy. I had already gathered the skirt and didn’t feel like unpicking the whole thing so I took a chance and sewed a second seam joining the bodice to the skirt to effectively shorten the bodice and then I shortened the skirt. Amazingly, it worked. Now I love it.

As worn:

I had also started a rayon version of the Gemma peplum tank last year with a tiny remnant of striped rayon. I loved this fabric and knew it would be perfect for this pattern but the rayon was slippery and bias binding the neck temporarily overwhelmed me and there it sat. I tackled it this past weekend, hand basting the neck binding before machine sewing it and used scraps of cotton lawn in solid colors for the arm bindings and the hem binding. I love it! The rayon has a beautiful drape and the stripes look just the way I had hoped they would.

I wore it to work with pink jeans! 10 years and 25 lbs. lighter ago, I would never have worn pink jeans because they didn’t seem slimming. Silly me! Getting to the ripe age of almost 60 has made me appreciate having a healthy, strong body. All those wasted years of worrying about a couple of pounds. (sigh) I am hoping to tackle sewing myself a bathing suit this summer. Stay tuned.

I also finished a solid navy lawn Gemma that I will wear all the time. It is perfect with all of my York Pinafores and all of the Cleo skirts that I have made and plan to make. A great basic.

I also refashioned this dress that didn’t really flatter me into another Gemma ruffle tank.

These are so great for the really hot days. I actually cheated and used the already hemmed part of the dress for the ruffle to save time. Winning!

Then I finally finished a Ruby blouse that I started in 2015. I batch sewed some bodices the first year I started sewing my own clothes with some quarter yards of quilting cotton. You can see them in this post.

I have since used white double gauze to make several blouses for my daughter and a friend. I used this one to make one for me. I have sewn two other double gauze Ruby’s that I have worn to death. They are the best! You can see them here and here.

This is a very neutral top that I know will just get more comfortable with washing and wearing. The cotton double gauze is great for hot weather-very breezy.

I bookended the month with a pair of Zadies. I sewed the lightweight denim jumpsuit in a day on June 1st to be able to have it to wear to the New Haven Documentary Film Festival.

We went to see Pizza, A Love Story. So fun. The Zadie was so quick to sew-I was really surprised. Great directions. I bought the fabric at Joanne’s and thought it would be my wearable muslin but I am so happy with how it turned out that I don’t feel the need to make another version right away. I will definitely make a linen version at some point, probably next summer, just for fun, but for now, this one is perfect! It is so comfortable. I love it! I added two inches to the bodice length and a couple of inches to the pant length (I am 5’9″) and otherwise it is a straight 12. My measurements are 37 bust, 32 waist, 42 hip.

I had been seeing several dress versions of the Zadie popping up on Instagram so I made a version in double gauze from my stash using a gathered skirt. I lined the bodice with white cotton batiste.

I ended up hand sewing the lining in. Then I sewed a line of machine stitching to the edge of the bias binding to secure everything.

It was a pain but it worked well in the end. It isn’t my usual style but I like it.

Other things I have enjoyed this month. These books:

 

And some lovely summer days and greenery after SO MUCH RAIN! I took advantage of the rain in the northeast to plant seeds in my planters. It is my cheap and easy way to have blooming things in the summer. One packet of seeds per planter at a cost of $1.50 a packet. Nasturtiums are my favorite.

Now that I am mostly caught up with my backlog of sewing projects, I have a short list of clothing projects that I want to sew but will also be turning my focus to quilts. I have a goal to sew a quilt for each child by the end of the year. There are 5 of them so must get going!

This picture sums up how I feel about summer sewing. Taking your own picture while jumping. My new superpower!

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Helen's Closet Patterns, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing, Sewing Pants

Me Made May 2019 Round-Up: Sewing Pants!

One of my sewing goals for 2019 and specifically for Me Made May 2019 has been to sew pants and this past week I sewed three pairs!

First up the Rose high-waisted pants by Made by Rae. These were fun to sew because Rae’s instructions are easy to follow and the construction was very similar to the Cleo Skirt and the Luna Pants, both Made by Rae patterns that I have sewn many time. I sewed these out of a beautiful medium-weight woven cotton Ikat fabric that I bought last summer from Blackbird Fabrics. I had originally planned to use it for a dress but it was a bit heavier than I expected it to be. It is the perfect weight for these wide-legged pants and is actually very flowy and swishy to wear. They are dressy enough for work and comfortable enough for weekend wear. I have plans to make a couple of lightweight versions this summer. These were a quick sew. A great project that I was able to complete in a day. Highly recommended! Worn here with my white double gauze Gemma Tank (I need to sew another of these!)

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Back view:

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Side View:

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And worn with my grey knit Jade top:

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And here is a little video that conveys the swish factor of these pants. Really fun to wear!

Next up, I sewed the new Helen’s Closet Yanta Overalls pattern. I wasn’t sure how these would look on me because I am all torso but I added about 2.5 inches in total to the length of the pattern pieces across each of the lengthen lines and I am really happy with the fit. I made them loose enough to not need the optional zipper and I can put them on and off leaving the buttons buttoned. When I make them again, I will probably take bigger darts in the back and size down a bit and use the zipper because the back is baggy. I will also add another inch to the back strap below the X of the straps so that the X hits me higher up on the back.

I am loving wearing these. I made them from some medium weight cotton twill that I bought on sale at Joanne’s fabric a while back and it is a perfect fabric for this pattern. I think they will just get better the more they are washed and worn. I used some scraps of a favorite Cotton and Steel quilting cotton to line the pockets and for the facings. Another project that I mostly completed in a day. Amazing! Great instructions and fun to sew. Worn here with another Jade knit top. These patterns were made for each other. The shape of the overalls is similar to the York-a very flattering curved shape. I also love the pockets. Another home run pattern from Helen!

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Detail below showing the facing fabric:

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I had enough of the green twill left over to make the Lander Shorts by True Bias. This pattern has been on my to-be-sewn list since it came out. It seemed as though it would work well for my pear shape and I love the many versions I have seen on Instagram. I made these in a day (a recurring, happy, theme!) and I can’t recommend this pattern more highly. The instructions were ace and it was so much fun to make. Each step was very clear and the order of construction made total sense and the details are really professional looking: pockets, belt loops, the button fly.

I used snaps for these because they are so fast and I have become expert in using them after making two versions of the Tamarack Jacket but I will make some button versions and will be buying the zipper extension pack and will try a zipper version. It was so empowering to sew these! Now I want to sew all the pants! I plan to size down a bit for my next version but I like that these are a bit loose because they will be perfect for summer hiking. Sewing these was definitely a game-changer for me.

A time-saving tip: I sewed my belt loops by sewing one side and then folding the second sides inward and top-stitching them in place. There was no way that I was going to be able to turn that stiff twill narrow loop inside out with a safety pin. I like the look of the using the pocket lining fabric on the belt loops as well. I will probably always use this technique. Much quicker.

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Front door pictures (before trimming threads and sewing on a button):

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And back to see the back pockets:

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I sewed a 14 (my measurements are waist 32, hips 42) but will size down to a 12 or cut between the two lines for the next pair. I actually have a good amount of heavyweight cotton twill that was once a couch slip cover. I plan to cut out the usable fabric and dye it and make pants if I have enough or another pair of shorts. I also have burgundy twill that I bought last year specifically for a pair of Landers because I love the version on the pattern cover. I think they will be great with a cropped Gemma tank or a Hadley shirt, another pattern I have been wanting to sew.

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And here are many other views. I had added a bit of room in the seat but I don’t think I will do that for future pairs.

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And backside view:

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Other than sewing pants, I have been wearing me-made clothes every day, as I do, and have been documenting them with a daily photo during the month of May. This is a bit time-consuming but I do like the process because it helps me celebrate all the things I have made and love. I also really love seeing all the beautiful things fellow sewists are sewing and sharing. May is a really inspiring time for me. I sew a ton and get great ideas that inspire me for summer sewing.

Up on the top of my to-be-sewn list for the summer: a green khaki twill Brumby skirt-I seem to be all about khaki right now. It is the perfect neutral. Also a bathing suit. I am excited to sew Megan Nielson’s new tank suit pattern because with a long torso, it can be hard to find suits that fit. I am also planning to sew the Zadie Jumpsuit along with every other sewist in the world-it is the current “it” pattern and for good reason. It is flattering on all body types and looks really fun to wear. I also have the Made by Rae Emerald dress cut out in a lightweight cotton. I think it will be the perfect summer on the porch, wear over a bathing suit at the beach dress- and the Burnside Bibs which have been on my list since last summer-also in a khaki/moss green linen.

Here are some of my favorite posts from Me Made May 2019. Thanks for following along! Details on all the clothing and fabrics on my Instagram which you can link to here.  I also posted about the first half of the month here.

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Helen's Closet Patterns, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing

Me Made May 2019: Front Porch Fashion

It’s May! One of my favorite times of the year.

All month long sewing and knitting Instagram friends post pictures of themselves wearing garments they have made for the annual event that is Me Made May. I have participated for 5 years. The first year I had only a couple of things that I had sewn but I tried to follow along and I was inspired to sew more to keep up and have new things to share. A couple of years later, I had sewn enough garments to be able to wear a different me-made garment every day for 31 days and now I have even more handsewn clothes, an embarrassment of riches, so May is a fun time to try new ways of mixing and matching my clothes. This year I am heavily into wearing dresses and jeans together. I haven’t sewn my own pants yet but it is a big goal for 2019!

As May approaches, I often feel as though I should sew new things for Me Made May but then I realize that I have so many pretty things that I have already sewn. So although I do sew in May (it would be hard not to with all the online inspiration and new pattern releases) I find that it is a fun challenge to wear older garments in new ways. The harder thing to do is the daily photo. Sometimes, on a weekend, my husband is available to take them. He just shoots photos willy nilly and then I see if there is something I can use. I was lucky with this one.

I think I was moving toward him to take my phone back after a couple of shots but I really like the composition of this one (wearing a Helen’s Closet York pinafore, a Jade knit top and a Blackwood cardigan, all handsewn!)

The photo above was my post on May 1st.  You can tell that I took the picture because it is headless. Sometimes the outfit looks great but I don’t look happy. Keep in mind that I am doing this at 7AM. This is one of the first Isla knit dresses I made in beautiful yellow moon fabric worn with a Blackwood cardigan in striped sweater knit. I hadn’t realized until last year that one could sew sweaters and purchase fabric that was sweater knit. This was a game changer. Both of the sweater knits for these cardigans were purchased at Imagine Gnats, a great resource for all kinds of fabric. The owner is lovely and shopping there feels as though you are shopping in your friend’s highly curated store. You can’t go wrong. Another headless photo below-Isla knit dress by Made by Rae with a store bought mustard cardigan. I wore my first mustard cardigan out andnow wear this one all the time. I may have to buy another if I can still find it. Both outfits are worn with a necklace that I recently purchased and really love.

I wear this simple wooden necklace several times a week and I just bought a beautiful copper and brass necklace this week after seeing it on a fellow sewist’s Instagram which I am so happy with! It goes perfectly with my paisley dress (below).

I have also found that I basically wear the same sandals every day. They are super comfortable. Not high heels because I don’t need the height and I can’t do heels at my work. I ended up getting several different colors last year when I realized how great they were. No regrets. They make the outfit. (Maxi version of Isla knit dress with 20 year old Gap jacket and the same necklace and sandals below.)

I didn’t realize until my daughter pointed it out that the yellow watering can worked well with the yellow moon dress. This was totally unintentional. But now I am trying to find a way to have a bit of yellow in my daily photos. After 31 days this may end up being a photo essay entitled Daily Still Life with Watering Can (and some clothes). Another York pinafore and Jade top combination below with the ubiquitous mustard cardigan.

I plan to keep up my daily photos until May 31st at which point I expect that I will have another social media break for June. This month on, month off is working well for me. You can read more about my Analogue April here. My previous Me Made May posts are here:

2016

2017

2017 part 2

2018

2018 part 2

2018 part 3

Happy May!

Note: I am not an amazon affiliate and do not derive any financial benefit from links on my blog. I just post things I like in the hopes of helping independent pattern designers and makers.

 

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Bias Binding, Gemma Tank, Liberty Fabric, Made By Rae Patterns, Pearl Shift, Sewing

Gemma Tank with Gathered Skirt X 3

Last year about this time, I had the idea to use the Gemma Tank pattern and make some summer dresses. Rae posted a tutorial on her blog for adding a peplum to the tank which I tried and loved so I thought I would try just lengthening the ruffle to skirt length using two wider and longer rectangles for the skirt. Then I got distracted by other patterns and other sewing. It must be said that when I sewed my first version of this Gemma Dress, I used too long a bodice and it wasn’t balanced and I was too discouraged at that time to take apart the already gathered and attached skirt and shorten the bodice. It felt overwhelming. I did finish a version with a very long linen skirt and a Liberty of London cotton lawn floral top. I lined that version and it came out ok (pictures below) but I forgot to add a seam allowance to allow for the sausaging of the bodice and so the straps were narrower than I would have liked. All of this to say that this year, I had two versions of this dress cut out and partially but not completely sewn. One was made from a previously me-made chambray Bianca Dress

and a skirt I purchased about 15 years ago in a little boutique but rarely wore because I didn’t like the waist. I loved the fabric though so held onto it. The other version was in a beautiful cotton double gauze that I purchased on sale from Alewives Fabrics after years of wanting the fabric but not feeling that I could spend the money.  This May one of my goals is to finish some of these projects that have languished.

First up, the chambray and upcycled rtw skirt.

The skirt was lined with a gauzy green fabric which I used for the bias binding and hem facing. I added bra holders made of ribbon as I sewed the binding.

I used elastic thread to gather the skirt which worked great. I made the front skirt piece wider than the back. I am not sure of the exact measurement, I just used as much as I could of the ready to wear skirt. Since I had the issue with the bodice length, I sewed the bodice together and tried it on and then figured out where I wanted it to hit on the dress which was just at the bottom of the rib cage. I think I must have originally cut these pieces out thinking I would sew french seams because the bodice is a bit loose on this in the finished dress but I really don’t care. I wanted a loose, floaty, summer dress and it doesn’t need to be perfect. This is something I will wear on vacation with sandals or over a bathing suit. The price was right too since it was all recycled from clothes in my closet.

Before:

After:

And as worn:

The Liberty and Linen version was basically finished over the winter but I still hadn’t handsewn the lining to the waist, partially because I must have cut the two bodices slightly differently and things didn’t line up for me the way they usually do which threw me off. But I finally sewed everything in late April and it is ready to wear. It is a little sack like but I think will be nice for hotter days or with a jeans jacket or cardigan for cooler days. A good summer date night dress. Maybe a little bare for work although wearing a lab coat makes many less wearable options wearable. I bought the linen last spring and also made  a Josephine blouse with the same fabrics.

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I used the floral as a hem facing as well.

My gathering was a little rushed and the linen was not as easy to gather as softer fabric but I don’t think it really matters. It is linen and it will always look a little wrinkled-that is part of the charm. The skirt is also pieced so there is an extra seam. I was squeaking by making both of these projects with the fabric I had.

Front:

Back:

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And as worn before I hemmed it.

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I saved the best for last. I have loved this Cotton and Steel double gauze fabric since I first saw Rae’s Beatrix Blouse. At the time, the price per yard just seemed too much for me but I kept thinking about it and not buying it and then it was basically sold out everywhere and then one day, lo and behold, I found it on sale. I bought 2 yards thinking that I would make a Beatrix Blouse but I didn’t get around to it and then last year when I saw the Gemma with Ruffles, I had the idea to make this dress. I love everything about it. I sort of pattern-matched the sides of the skirt. I didn’t have enough fabric to really pattern-match the bodice but I don’t think it matters. I used two different techniques when I bound the neck and armholes. The binding is visible around the neck and turned under for the armholes.  Ribbon bra straps are sewn in because I remembered just in time! One of these days I am going to thread a bunch of snaps on ribbon and have them precut in a dish on my sewing table because you can sew them in right when you add the bias binding. Really easy and it makes wearing tank tops so much easier. 

I ended up hand sewing the neck binding down because the double gauze was so fiddly.

I used the elastic thread gathering technique for the skirts for all three of these dresses that Rae uses for the Isla. It doesn’t always work perfectly for me (it didn’t work as well  for the linen) but for the lighter fabrics, it worked a charm. I used a lightweight cotton batiste for my hem binding. Here is the finished dress on the front door of honor! I love it! It was worth the wait.

I wore it today and I will wear it forever until it is worn to shreds and I know it will only get better with age and wear.

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View 2:

 

So good! So I am off to a good start this May! More to come.

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