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

Fall Sewing: York Pinafore and Jade Tops

I have been trying to fill in my cold weather wardrobe with handmade basics and the York Pinafore and the Jade top are the perfect combination. This past holiday weekend, I finished a second fall version of the York and two more Jade tops, all of which will mix and match with my other fall York. With tights it is the perfect cold weather outfit. img_4778-1I sewed my second fall York using a light brown wide-wale corduroy that I bought for a song at FabScrap – a wonderful non-profit based in Brooklyn that is working to keep fabric out of landfills by recycling and reusing fabric that would otherwise be discarded. img_4679I lined the pockets with blue linen left over from a summer version of the York. You can see how nice the fabric is in this close-up. It is really soft and drapes so well-really surprising in a corduroy as they are often stiff.
img_4718I had heard about FabScrap but had never visited their operation and then the Love to Sew ladies came to NYC and hosted a meet-up of local sewists there and I was lucky enough to be able to go.  I am a big fan of the Love to Sew podcast and Helen and Caroline were so warm and friendly in person and it was really fun to spend time with other sewing friends. It was such a fun evening!
img_4151At FabScrap, volunteers sort donated fabric and what can’t be sold as yardage is recycled and made into industrial felt. They even have recycled buttons and zippers and sometimes sell fabric online. They recently had a flash sale of corduroy for $5 a yard that I jumped on. I bought four colors thinking that it would be a great basic to have for clothing for myself but also for little jumpers and pants for future grandchildren and I am so glad I took the plunge. It will make great garments (I have plans for Lander pants and this amazing Charlie Caftan hack ) and the scraps will end up in some patchwork quilts I am making out of leftover heavyweight plaid flannel scraps. Altogether a great purchase. This summer I wore my Yorks with Gemma Tanks and now that the weather is colder, the Jade knit top is the perfect shirt to go under the pinafore. I made two this weekend including the navy and white striped version img_4677-1as worn here:
img_4785and have several more cut out. I discovered Cloud 9 organic cotton knits this spring when I was a tester for the Jade and made this version:img_0088This fabric is a dream to sew with and is incredibly soft and comfortable to wear. I stocked up on several different colors and stripes this summer and I am sewing a wardrobe of shirts. It spoils you for any other knit. I highly recommend it. It would make great children’s tops as well.img_4723I also sewed a dark grey version of the Jade from lovely soft cotton knit fabric bought long ago from Peekaboo pattern company. I know this will get a lot of wear. It goes with everything.
And there you have it. Two great patterns that are quick to sew, don’t use a lot of fabric and mix and match with many possibilities. More versions to come!  Perfect for walking all over the city, something I have been lucky to do this fall. I really enjoyed walking through Central Park img_4522 and going to the Guggenheim img_4552where I saw this amazing exhibit which is totally worth a visit. img_4544I will definitely be going back.  img_4540This past Sunday it was so warm (50 degrees in November!) and my husband and I spent the day exploring Clinton Hill in Brooklynimg_4850 where we got to see the inside of the beautiful library at the Pratt Institute (yes I am wearing my Tamarack Jacket here-this was a selfie in the distance-the mirror was on the opposite wall and I couldn’t resist.)
img_4836We also went to a favorite bookstore where I bought this book (so good so far) and
img_4878 ended the day with ice cream eaten on the waterfront. It felt like spring-a perfect fall day.  (this is not us-just another lucky couple enjoying a beautiful NYC night.) Happy Fall!img_4865-1

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

Fall York Pinafore

img_4321I wore the Helen’s Closet York Pinafore all summer as you can see here, here and here and with fall coming, I wanted to try making a warmer fall version. I had in mind a wide wale corduroy but didn’t find what I was looking for and this soft, cotton corduroy fit the bill. It was easy to work with and it is low-maintenance. Since I started sewing for myself, I have tried to only sew things I can wash at home and almost never dry-clean anything anymore.I had some beautiful paisley rayon challis left over from making this dress and I used it to line the pockets and to make the hem facing and bias binding.Bias Binding Close-upI love the little pop of patterned fabricI like to line the pockets and this paisley lining is really lovely, almost feels like silk.It was a bit slippery going with the bias binding but worth it. I  made a size large as I have been doing but probably could have taken it in a bit because the fabric doesn’t drape like linen. I plan to make several Jade tops to go with it but here it is worn with a very old Gap t shirt that I am holding on to until I make a me-made version. Sewing your own knits really spoils you for anything else.

I went shopping in my closet and found shoes I hadn’t worn in a while (purchased 19 years ago, does that make them vintage?) but love with this outfit. It reminds me a bit of the classic Marc Jacobs look from You’ve Got Mail, sort of upscale librarian or book shop owner, (or nurse practitioner ).  It will be great with boots this winter.This fall I am busy as I always am in the fall, teaching new nursing students, so I appreciate my go-to patterns that enable me to still make a wearable garment in a day. This was a Sunday project. Probably more versions to come, likely a black wide wale version. img_4293-1I have to say that my Tamarack Jacket goes with this outfit as it goes with just about everything. I am loving wearing it.img_4306My pockets were not as neat as I would have liked on the inside and so I cut a large square of the lining fabric and hand-stitched it over each pocket on the inside of the jacket. I love the neat look and I think it will be more durable and it doesn’t interfere at all with putting anything in the pocket. I also like that I was able to include some of the selvage with the designers’ names. img_4341I am slowly building a fall wardrobe of basics that work together. The Paisley dress, this pinafore, a grey Blackwood cardigan and my Tamarack Jacket are the first four. I plan to make a some versions of the Elliot Sweater, the aforementioned Jade tops, a Berlin jacket in a dark grey boiled wool and some Beatrix blouses, all of which will mix and match well with the pinafore and my ready-to-wear jeans, leggings, corduroys and boots. I am not quite ready to jump on the me-made jeans bandwagon but it is a lot of fun watching so many different versions pop up online.

What are your fall sewing plans? Do you make garments with an overall wardrobe in mind? I am excited to follow the #fall10x10 challenge on instagram. It is fun to see how many outfits people can make with a capsule wardrobe. I am not quite there yet but maybe next year!

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Helen's Closet Patterns, Liberty Fabric, Sewing

Seersucker York Pinafore

This has been the summer of the York Pinafore. It has been really hot in the Northeast and when I made my first versions of the York, I realized that it would work well with many hand-sewn tank tops in my wardrobe and be a cool, loose work uniform. I also love that it can be made with 2 yards of fabric and that so many fabrics I already owned worked well for the pattern. So a couple of weeks ago, I cut out three more versions: one practically a duplicate of my much-worn linen-cotton version seen here using scraps left over from this Gemma:

When I originally bought this linen-cotton fabric 3 years ago, I bought a large piece and had many plans for it. I used it to make this Pearl shift which I love but never used the rest of it so had quite a bit in my stash. It turns out it was just waiting all this time to become a York or two. I also cut  one in a lightweight navy linen that I bought this year when I decided that I needed more linen in my life and a third in a cotton seersucker that I bought on sale this spring (and can no longer find where I bought it) which I hoped, but wasn’t sure, would work well in terms of drape. It is so lightweight, that if it did work, I knew it would be great for the 90 degree days we have been having. Turns out it worked great and I love it.

For all of my Yorks, I have lined the pockets. It occurred to me early on that it would be quicker to do that than to turn all the edges under and would simultaneously enclose and finish all of the pocket edges. I am really happy with how this has worked. Here are the pockets of my newest Yorks, all lined up with the top edge topstitched and ready to be sewn onto the front of the pinafores, along with a Ruby blouse bodice that will likely work well with all three. I like the challenge of making pocket linings and bias binding from fabric scraps from prior projects. I am not sure I am really saving a ton of money with the large amount of fabric I purchase but it at least gives me the illusion of thrift and I like the challenge of finding scraps that will work. I have used cotton lawn and voile as linings because I didn’t want to add a lot of bulk to the pockets and change the drape of the garment.

Here are the pocket pieces from my seersucker York ready to be sewn. I cut out the pocket piece from the main fabric and then use that as my template to cut the lining. I generally make the lining a bit larger and then trim once everything is sewn together.

Here are the pocket pieces sewn together and then turned right sides out prior to topstitching.

When I sew the pockets, I cut two of each of the pocket pattern pieces-one from the regular fabric and one of the lining fabric- and sew them together except for the seam that will eventually be sewed into the side seam, I then turn the pockets inside out and press and then sew to the front piece of the pinafore. Then I sew the side seams with wrong sides together and then again with right sides creating a French seam. Lots of trimming of fringe and stray threads happens in between sewing the two seams. I wasn’t sure how French seams would work with the pockets but I am here to say, 6 Yorks later,  that it has worked great. Here is a close-up of the edge of the pocket turned up so you can see the lining. I used a floral cotton lawn by Liberty of London left over from this blouse.

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And here are some pictures of the finished garment.

Front:

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Back:

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Inside view so you can see the trim:

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And as worn.

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I love that little partially hidden pop of floral liberty fabric. I am wearing my Seersucker York with my white double gauze Gemma Tank. I will be making another or these (or two) this winter as it is my go-to top. Goes with everything.

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I used leftover solid cotton lawn when I sewed a York in a cotton-linen canvas print: navy for pocket linings and bias binding and yellow for the hem facing. 

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The canvas was so crisp it was a pleasure to sew with.

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And here are the finished views:

Inside so you can see the bias binding and hem facing:img_2634

Finished front:

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And finished back view:

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And as worn:

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Most of my cotton lawn scraps come from the many Gemma Tanks that I made over the last few years, many of which work with my Yorks, creating endless mix and match outfits. Is it any wonder I keep making York after York? I have some pink linen fabric that I bought earlier this year planning to make a top but now I can’t get a pink York out of my head. Stay tuned!

 

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Bias Binding, Helen's Closet Patterns, Sewing

Ojos Flame Challis York Pinafore

img_3226Ever since I saw this beautiful version of the Helen’s Closet York Pinafore, I knew I wanted to make one for myself. One of my goals this year has been to use some of nicer fabrics in my fabric stash (the ones I have been saving and afraid to cut into) to sew garments. This is a very sheer, float-y rayon and I have wanted to sew something but hadn’t been able to decide which pattern to try.

This weekend the temperature in Connecticut finally dipped below 80 degrees and I decided to take the plunge.

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Helen’s version of this longer pinafore used a facing and spaghetti straps instead of bias binding. I originally thought I would do that too but the more I thought about it, the more I thought I could achieve a similar effect by tapering the straps. I ended up piecing the front strap because I decided on this approach after I cut everything out (I had originally thought I would do the spaghetti straps but then changed my mind) but I don’t think the piecing is noticeable and it actually enabled me to get more length out of the relatively small piece of fabric.

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I tapered the straps so that they would be 1.5 inches at the top of the shoulder and used a navy cotton lawn for my bias binding. I feel as though the lawn gives a bit of structure to the strap and is less slippery so that the straps don’t slide off my shoulders. It is total heresy, I know, but I didn’t stay-stitch or under-stitch when I sewed the bias binding. I generally don’t. I try to handle the neck and arm holes very little and I don’t pin the binding on, I just hold it gently in place and sew.  When I iron the folded binding before top-stitching it in place, I just iron the fold into the lawn, not the rayon. Then I fold by hand and use wonder clips to hold it in place before I sew the top seam. You can see pictures of how I do this in my Gemma Tank posts. I spent a lot of time sewing bias binding when I made many Gemmas two summers ago and this approach is pretty quick and gives me good results.

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All in all this was a very quick sew. I like how swishy it is (you can see it in action on my Instagram post) and I like it with my white double gauze Gemma

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and also with my chambray Gemma, and I actually have a navy lawn Gemma that is almost finished (the source of the scraps I used for the navy lawn bias binding) which I think will also work well.

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I may also make or buy an inexpensive navy slip dress to layer under the pinafore which I think would be a nice casual look. I like that this garment works with dressier sandals but also with flip flops, as all the best summer dresses do.

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I feel as though I achieved a similar feel to Helen’s floral longer York but preserved the nice armhole shape which is one of my favorite design elements (and good motivation to keep swimming those laps at the pool!)

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I cut the back piece a bit longer than the front, not on purpose-it just worked out that way- but I ended up leaving it a bit longer in back because I liked how it turned out.

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This is my fourth York Pinafore. I have three more cut out. What can I say? When I love a pattern, I love a pattern and this is such a good one. It is all I have been wearing this summer (with my many Gemma tanks). You can see some of the many outfits I have been able to make by searching the hashtag #wearyouryorkday.

Here is a version in Cloud 9 Linen-Cotton canvas print:

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And this incredibly versatile version in Essex Linen which I blogged here:

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It goes with everything I own, literally.

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And my original lightweight linen muslin which I love so much:

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If you haven’t tried this pattern yet, what are you waiting for? Go forth and sew a linen or cotton or rayon York! You won’t regret it.

 

 

 

 

 

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Helen's Closet Patterns, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing, Washi Dress Pattern

Star Washi and Mustard Blackwood

img_6990There are some dresses that just make you feel happy when you wear them and this Made By Rae Washi dress fits the bill. I made this last summer with Cotton and Steel quilting cotton that I bought at The Cloth Pocket on a trip to Austin. There is quilting cotton and there is quilting cotton. This fabric is really soft with a bit more heft than typical quilting cotton and it makes a nice summer dress.  I lined the bodice using Rae’s sausage technique. She has great video tutorials on her blog but I have done it so many times that I don’t need the video anymore. It is nice to know it is there though! I used one of my all-time favorite cotton lawns by Melody Miller.img_6977 I love The Cloth Pocket and had the opportunity to visit in person and actually take a class there last year. Highly recommend! Great teachers, fabric and vibe. I buy most of my quilting fabrics from them online and they have a wonderful selection of chambrays.

I finished hems with a hem facing as I always do. I find it gives me much nicer results and it is fun!img_6998Since I was in the middle of sewing all the Cleo’s and spent a lot of last summer gathering skirts,  I decided on the spur of the moment to gather the skirt instead of using the pleats that are in the original Washi pattern. It was really quick and I love the swingy feel of the gathered skirt and the bright colors and pattern just feel like summer to me. I love pulling out my summer clothes after the long winter. It is like meeting up again with good friends. img_2390

img_2391I made this in a hurry and used fewer lines of shirring than I normally do spaced a bit farther apart. I like it this way!img_2403And a nice surprise was how well my new Blackwood Cardigan goes with this dress. I pulled it off the shelf this morning because it was cool and I love the colors together. Just like a bunch of summer flowers!img_2422If you haven’t made the Washi or the Blackwood, what are you waiting for? They are both flattering, comfortable, cute and relatively easy to sew. And as it turns out, they are great together!

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