Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Just-About-the-Best-Day-Ever Dress


This dress is really special. I always have felt like there is a certain kind of magic when you wear a newly-made outfit for the first time, and this dress was no different. (Really, handmade clothes are a super power regardless of how new or old they are!) 

First, the fabric. The fabric! This is a beautiful ikat weave that I picked up at a stumbled-upon fabric sample sale from a really incredible Chicago company called Piece & Co. All of their fabrics are handcrafted by artisan women all over the world - in clean work environments with fair compensation. It was totally by happenstance that I ended up in this cool Chicago loft office filled with piles of some of the best textiles I've ever seen, and I have so much respect for the people who woven the gorgeous fabrics I got to purchase!


So this was one of the pieces of fabric I picked up -- it was already fated to be pretty great. I decided to make a dress in a silhouette I'm totally not used to wearing, but deemed it necessary because of the heat of summer. It's got a slight shirttail hem, a notched neckline with ties, and self bias binding along the hem, armholes, and neckline. And that's it! No darts, no zippers, no lining, no fuss. It took a day to finish. I made it entirely on my beloved Singer Featherweight (my main machine now - a gift from my dear aunt) - with french seams so it's all properly finished.




Oh but wait! Let me tell you about the magic of this dress! I wore it for the first time on the day I was offered my new position as a designer for kid's clothing. I had interviewed a couple weeks prior, and this was the day I found out. These photos were taken over lunch by a friend, before the meeting where I got the job -  but can you tell I was oozing happiness even so? Sometimes, a good, new, self-made outfit will do that (and more) for ya.




I legitimately feel this way pretty much every day ^. It's been the best job ever, and it started with this dress. It was for sure good luck. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Little updates :)

Hi, it's been a while! I've been a little busy, and thought about posting quite often. But boy, it's been a year. In the ways that years often go, it's been a mix of really great and really not great. There have been moments where my heart has felt so full it could burst, times where I couldn't seem to stop smiling if I tried, and also moments that make my throat catch to think about. But mostly I've been really happy, and working really hard, and trying to make every day better than the last. 

(There have been some really hard-to-top days...)


Like the day my boyfriend proposed! Mike and I are getting married in 2017! We are so excited and happy - I can't wait to build a life with him. :) 


And if you were wondering... yes, I'm making my dress! 

More soon - just wanted to loop you guys in before posting my backlog of projects!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Woodsy Plaid Archer Button Up

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Another plaid flannel Archer! Are you sick of these yet? People started to catch on to how much I was wearing my other flannel, so I had to do the logical thing and make another one. I got more of this amazing Kaufman Mammoth flannel from Fabric.com, because it is in all actuality the perfect flannel. Such a great weight, so soft, and such a good quality.

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Not much is different on this one, except I took the sleeves in 1/4" to just slim them down ever-so-slightly. All internal seams are flat-felled, and I made the entire thing on my little Singer Featherweight machine, thanks to a little buttonhole attachment I picked up. This is my 4th Archer, and I find that I am still learning things! Mostly, don't skimp on pins. It's okay to have to rip things out. When in doubt, steam it out. Oh wait, those are things I remind myself with every sewing project!

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But seriously, as I was working on this, I was thinking about how glad I am to have this thing that I do (because I don't think calling it a "hobby" is nearly encompassing enough at this point) that I've just straight up always enjoyed, always done (well, since I was 12 or so), and can always continue to learn from and improve upon. Sewing and making clothes is my happy place. It's one thing I just don't get sick of, and as much as I do it, I'll never be 100% proficient at it - there is always room for improvement. It's humbling to continuously make mistakes, and to make very imperfect things, especially when it's in something I consider to be the strongest of my skills. I think part of the attraction of sewing is that you can always, always learn more.

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Also let's talk about these buttons! These beautiful handmade wooden buttons are from Arrow Mountain, an awesome Etsy shop based out of Australia. I am so stoked on them - she has all kinds of cute designs, and I am already plotting which ones to order next! How cute do these look with this nice woodsy plaid??

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That's all I've got for now. I did snag some amazing woven fabrics in Chicago last weekend, so expect to see some pretty blues and ikat weaves ASAP!

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Giant Knit Slouchy Beanie pt. 2!

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When I made the tutorial for this giant slouchy beanie, I did it with two different colors of roving, but I really wanted try it in all white to see how it turned out. I used roving from Dharma Trading, which I am really surprised and delighted by, and my size 50 knitting needles. It took only a couple hours to finish, and I made it out on the balcony to photograph it just in time before it got dark.

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And I really love how it turned out! It is super warm, very comfy, and quite cute. I'm always trying to be conscious of having cute winter gear, since it takes up such a large portion of my wardrobe. This fits the bill, I'd say!

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I just love roving, and I don't think this affair is going to end any time soon, to be honest.

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And yeah. I'm wearing this shirt for forever. Don't judge.

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Tutorial for this hat is here, or you can buy the hat here. :)

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Americana Plaid Flannel Archer Button Up

girl sewing diy fashion design button down flannel hipster american plaid rolled up sleeves tutorial how to sew button collar sleeves do it yourself brunette woman midwest milwaukee sewing blog

I'm going to be real with you, I 100% copied this shirt from Lauren of Lladybird. I saw her Archer in this fabric and I had to have it. This fabric is my PERFECT plaid flannel. It is 100% what I've always wanted out of a plaid: American colors, big and bold, predominantly red. It's so rustic, but still polished.

girl sewing diy fashion design button down flannel hipster american plaid rolled up sleeves tutorial how to sew button collar sleeves do it yourself brunette woman midwest milwaukee sewing blog

Because I am clearly obsessed, let's talk about the fabric first. It is a Kauffman Mammoth flannel, ordered from Fabric.com. It's double napped, which means it has been brushed on both sides, so it is extra warm. Make no mistake, this also means it is very susceptible to shrinkage! Flannel tends to shrink more than other fabrics, something I know well from my job, since I work in men's lounge wear -- lots of flannel pajama pants. I always pre-wash my fabrics, usually in a more extreme manner than I will be caring for the garment, and I was slightly worried when I only pre-washed this once. So I was really, really fearful when I threw this in the washer for the first time as a full garment. What if I totally ruined my brand new shirt?! Here's the wonderful news: IT DIDN'T SHRINK. I hung it to dry, but since shrinkage happens in the washing cycle too, I don't credit this to the fact that I air-dried it. This fabric. Is awesome. Who wants to hand-wash a button-down? Super stoked.

girl sewing diy fashion design button down flannel hipster american plaid rolled up sleeves tutorial how to sew button collar sleeves do it yourself brunette woman midwest milwaukee sewing blog



girl sewing diy fashion design button down flannel hipster american plaid rolled up sleeves tutorial how to sew button collar sleeves do it yourself brunette woman midwest milwaukee sewing blog

The pattern is the Archer Button Up from Grainline Studios. This is the 3rd shirt I've made using this pattern (this was the firstthis was the second), but I don't think I've quite corrected the fit yet. Overall I am pleased with how the body fits, but I think the sleeves are slightly bigger than I would like, especially through the forearm. I'm thinking I might try closing the pleats next time?

I actually finished this a few weeks ago, just in time for a trip to Baltimore to visit a friend. I definitely was rushing to get it done in time to take it with, and stayed up until 1am the night of my 6am flight to set the buttonholes. I haven't done that nonsense since college! But it was worth it! Because I was going the weekend of the Jonas blizzard, our travel plans got moved around and we went to Philadelphia airport first, and then took the train up to Baltimore. I hadn't gotten a chance to sew on the buttons but I was totally wearing the shirt open over a t-shirt anyway. So on the train, I pulled it off, got out my thread and buttons, and started sewing away. Definitely got some funny looks from my seat-mate!

girl sewing diy fashion design button down flannel hipster american plaid rolled up sleeves tutorial how to sew button collar sleeves do it yourself brunette woman midwest milwaukee sewing blog

I'm glad I pushed so hard to finish it, too, because when we were snowed in that weekend, I wanted nothing more than to wear this cozy thing! 

While I was careful to plaid-match at CF and at the side seams, I did not at all plan the matching from sleeves to body. Accidents that look time-consuming? Yes, please!

girl sewing diy fashion design button down flannel hipster american plaid rolled up sleeves tutorial how to sew button collar sleeves do it yourself brunette woman midwest milwaukee sewing blog

girl sewing diy fashion design button down flannel hipster american plaid rolled up sleeves tutorial how to sew button collar sleeves do it yourself brunette woman midwest milwaukee sewing blog

One other thing I did differently from last time was to change up the placket from the continuously bound one that comes with the pattern. Instead, I followed this tutorial from Off the Cuff. While I am pretty pleased with the results, I think this method might not be a good fit for fabric this bulky, because there isn't a way to trim the excess from the bottom of the placket, and there is quite a bit of fabric tucked under from making the point. I also think I made my placket a little too long, but since I wear my shirtsleeves rolled up 90% of the time anyway, it doesn't matter!

girl sewing diy fashion design button down flannel hipster american plaid rolled up sleeves tutorial how to sew button collar sleeves do it yourself brunette woman midwest milwaukee sewing blog

The back yoke, pocket, and front placket were all cut on the bias. All seams are flat-felled, which I love, because it makes the shirt feel like it could last a lifetime. But... maybe not at the rate that I've been wearing this. No biggie, I already ordered more Kaufman Flannel (different colorways) for more Archer shirts. Not even sorry.

girl sewing diy fashion design button down flannel hipster american plaid rolled up sleeves tutorial how to sew button collar sleeves do it yourself brunette woman midwest milwaukee sewing blog

girl sewing diy fashion design button down flannel hipster american plaid rolled up sleeves tutorial how to sew button collar sleeves do it yourself brunette woman midwest milwaukee sewing blog


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