Mukava Jeans for Jude (Ottobre 1/2018 #16)

I made tiny jeans! Even though I’ve already made myself a pair of jeans with all the traditional details, it still feels like a sewing victory to whip up a little pair streamlined pull-on toddler jeans. These little jeans are actually one of my favorite sewing projects from the fall. They came together quickly, offered the sweet satisfaction of top-stitching, and turned out even cuter than I had imagined.

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As part of my effort to make sure that Jude has enough pants to get him through the cold season, I wanted to make him some jeans to balance out his collection of sweatpants. In general, I want his clothes to be as comfortable as possible and to not restrict his movement in any way. But a pair of jeans seems to come in handy for situations like picture day and can still be comfortable in stretch denim and an easy fit.

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I decided to use the Mukava Jeans pattern from Ottobre 1/2018, which is the same issue that had the Hippa Sweatpants pattern I blogged earlier. (Out of curiosity, I like to translate the Finnish pattern names. Google Translate tells me that “mukava” means “nice.”) The pattern has a faux fly and elasticated waistband, but otherwise have traditional jeans details like functional front and back pockets, top-stitching, and belt loops, although I decided not to attach them.

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Working with toddler models: the struggle is real.

I sewed these up in a dark stretch denim I already had in my stash. I bought three yards of this fabric from Girl Charlee a few years ago, but never got around to actually making myself jeans with it because it is quite stretchy and I didn’t think it would have enough recovery for my needs. I typically wear my jeans for about a  week before washing them, so I don’t want to bother sewing up a pair of jeans that are just going to completely bag out after the first wear. Jude’s clothes, however, need to be washed after basically every wear and I figured that the extra stretch in the fabric would just mean that the resulting jeans would be all the more comfortable.

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Although I hadn’t actually made myself jeans with this fabric, I had bought top-stitching thread to use with it. And I was able to use some leftover scraps of quilting cotton from the weighted blanket I made my nephew for the pocket facings, so everything for this project came directly from my stash. And these little jeans only took .75 yards of fabric, which means that I have plenty left over to make him more when he outgrows this pair.

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I sewed up the size 80, which is the smallest size for this particular pattern and the size that most closely matches Jude’s current height. If you’re not familiar with Ottobre Kids sizing, the instructions suggest choosing a size based on a child’s height and then altering the width of the pattern if necessary. So far, I haven’t found it necessary to make any fit adjustments for Jude’s size. I do think that this particular pattern has a roomier fit than the Tiny Fan Pants and the Hippa Sweatpants, which are also both a size 80. Jude is able to wear the jeans cuffed right now and they have a relaxed straight fit, but he has enough room in the waist and hips and enough length in the legs to be able to wear these through his next growth spurt, I think. And that is not a complaint—these weren’t super time-intensive to sew, but I’d still prefer that he be able to wear them for a good bit, especially since he will probably wear these more rarely than his comfier sweatpants.

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As is generally the case for me, I thought the instructions were very clear and easy to follow. They do suggest that you just sew all the seams with top-stitching thread so you don’t have to keep switching the thread on your machine, but I thought that was kind of ridiculous so I ignored it. Switching thread doesn’t take long and seems less onerous than the frustrations that would inevitably arise with trying to sew everything with top-stitching thread. I also ignored the instructions for the waistband, which recommended the same method used in the Hippa Sweatpants that didn’t work out for me at all.

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Instead of basting parts of the elastic to the waistband and stretching it as I top-stitched the waistband in place, I did the following:

  • I partially sewed the end of the waistband together, starting at one end and sewing to roughly the halfway point.
  • I pressed the waist band in half, and also pressed the seam allowances for the open part of the waistband seam to the side.
  • I serged the waistband to the top of the jeans, positioning it so that the open part of the waistband would ultimately be on the inside of the jeans once the waist seam was pressed in place.
  • I finished the waist seam and top-stitched below the seam, catching the seam allowance in the process.
  • Then I cut my elastic to size and threaded it through the elastic casing. I stitched the ends of the elastic together and then whip stitched the opening in the waistband closed.

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It kills me every time Jude wears his jeans. They are so cute! And they have definitely given me the itch to make myself another pair. I just have to make some time and find some higher quality denim. But if that doesn’t happen before he outgrows these, I will happily whip up a second pair of Mukavas.

Ottobre Kids: Tiny Fan Pants (4/2016 #4) and Hippa Sweatpants (1/2018 #19)

I didn’t sew anything for Jude during his first year, partly because I just wasn’t really finding any sewing time but also because I just didn’t have the desire. He got a ton of cute clothes as gifts and hand-me-downs, he outgrew everything in a matter of months (as babies do), and most practical baby clothing requires snaps and I had no desire to invest in a snap setter.

After we took stock of all the cute outfits he received for his birthday, we realized he could use a few more pairs of pants and some pajamas for colder nights, and I thought, “That’s easy enough to make.” And now, in the course of a couple of months, I’ve gone from not having sewn him anything to having made him three pairs of pants, five sets of pajamas, and a Halloween costume. At some point, I wondered if I would ever feel compelled to sew clothes for him, but now I feel like I could happily keep cranking out tiny clothes and I have to stop myself from buying up a bunch of cute fabric.

 

 

My stint of kid sewing started with two pairs of basic pants, both made with stashed fabrics and patterns from Ottobre Design. The first pair were these little navy joggers, which are made using the Tiny Fan Jersey Pants pattern (#4) from Ottobre 4/2016, and sewn up in Kaufman Laguna jersey (a cotton-Spandex blend). I wanted pants that would fit him right now, so I sewed a straight size 80, which is the size that most closely matches his current height, and the fit is perfect.

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The pattern is really just a basic jersey pant with a folded elastic casing waist and cuffed legs. But nearly every seam is top-stitched, adding a bit more visual detail and making them feel like more than a basic pair of pajama pants. The directions suggest using either a cover stitch machine or decorative stitch for the topstitching—I have a decorative stitch on my machine that, to my eye, looks a bit like the cover stitching often done on athletic wear.

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Doing all of the top-stitching takes more time than just zipping every seam through the serger, and it also required a slightly unconventional construction order. That was only a problem when I accidentally attached one of the leg cuffs to the waist. I didn’t recognize the problem until I had completely sewn the seam using a lightening stitch AND topstitched the seam. There was no way I was ripping that stitching out (it was unlikely the fabric would have survived it anyway), so I had to recut and resew one of the legs. But that’s not a big deal when the pieces are so small.

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I’ve been sewing little pieces of red cotton twill tape into the waistband to easily distinguish front from back. So far, he hasn’t come home from daycare with his pants on backwards, so it seems to be working.

After the Tiny Fan pants, I used the leftover sweatshirt fleece from the Ottobre Woman hoodie I made myself a couple of years ago to make Jude an adorable pair of hipster sweatpants. This is the Hippa Sweatpants pattern (#19) from the Spring 1/2018 issue. They are slim-cut sweat pants with front slash pockets and little cargo pockets on the legs. These again are a size 80, and I love the fit on Jude.

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The directions were easy to follow overall, and these came together pretty quickly despite the extra details. There are sew-in snaps on the cargo pocket flaps to keep them in place. My only quibble with the directions were with the waistband. They advise you to sew your elastic in a circle, quarter it, and then baste the elastic to the waist of the pants at the quarter points. Then you fold the waistband over and you are supposed to stretch the elastic as you top-stitch the waistband in place.

Ottobre 1/2018 #19 Hippa Sweatpants

This didn’t work at all for me. I had to stretch the elastic a lot and felt like I had very little control over the fabric as I was sewing, and the result was a waistband that was just a massive eyesore. I ended up ripping out my initial attempt at sewing the waist, which took forever because the stitches were so tiny due to all the tension from trying to stretch the elastic as I sewed.

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On my second try, I stretched and basted the entire length of the elastic to the top of the waist with a regular zigzag stitch. Then I folded the waistband over and used a lot of pins to help more evenly stretch the elastic and distribute the fabric for the waistband. The result isn’t perfect, but I felt like I had a lot more control and ended up with a much more even (and less hideous) waist. I skipped the fake drawstring because I didn’t have any twill tape on hand that would work and was feeling pretty done with the pants at that point.

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But the result is totally adorable—comfortable and cute. He looks like he’s ready to go play soccer with his friends. I love these so much that I would eagerly make him another pair in a larger size. But next time, I think I’ll just create a fold-over waist casing and thread the elastic through.

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I get the Ottobre Woman and Family issues, but I haven’t actually subscribed to Ottobre Kids yet—I’ve just bought a few random back issues. Upgrading to the full subscription is on my to-do list for the beginning of 2019 though. I just love these patterns. They are basic enough that they are comfortable and easy to wear, but they also have such great details. And they are one of the few places where you can find a great balance of boys, girls, and unisex designs.  Every issue I look at makes me want to fall down another kid sewing rabbit hole.

Santa Fe Tops

I’ve had a three-yard cut of black rayon-spandex jersey in my stash that has been taunting me for years. I hate sewing rayon-spandex jersey. It is shifty and floppy and impossible to cut out and fidgety to sew together, even with a serger. So I stopped buying it a long time ago, and had rooted all of it from my stash except this one remaining piece. I wear so much black jersey that a big cut of the stuff seemed too practical to get rid of, even if it was in a substrate that I didn’t like working with.

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When I was making my Avery leggings, I was finally inspired to just use the fabric up—I realized that I didn’t have great options for shirts to wear with my leggings and that some loose fitting black tees would make for a perfect combo. I decided to use the Hey June Santa Fe top. I thought the loose fit would be a good match for the rayon-spandex, given its ultra-clingy nature, and I liked that the pattern had several different views so I could make two different shirts without needing to pull out two different patterns.

In the end I decided to make View B, which is the tank top with the higher cut neckline, and View C which has cuffed, cut-on sleeves. I powered through cutting the pattern pieces out and, from there, the sewing was pretty straight-forward. I decided to press the center front and center back seams on both tops flat and then top-stitch on either side of the seam. It was more time-consuming and the top-stitching isn’t very visible but I prefer the way this approach helps control the seam allowance at these points.

Hey June Santa Fe Top View B

The necklines of both tops and the armholes of the tank top are all finished with a knit binding, which I actually prefer to a band finish. I just find that binding wears a bit better over time and actually seems a bit less tricky to sew. The pattern even calls for my preferred binding method, which made things that much easier.

My current bust measurement is 43”, so I made a straight 1X in both tops and sewed both views as is. I’m happy with the fit and feel of both tops and I know that I’ll get a ton of wear out of them. I’m also really happy to finally have that fabric out of my stash. Good riddance!

Jalie Dolman Top, Salvaged

This is the second saved project I alluded to when I blogged about my knit Stevie Top. The pattern is the Jalie Dolman top, which I originally made using the view with ¾ sleeves. It’s sewn in a really lovely marled sweater knit. I love this fabric so much—it washed up beautifully and it is lightweight, super-stretchy and very soft. I had grand visions of turning it into a basic pullover that I would wear all the time.

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My Jalie Dolman top originally

But the reality of my first version of this top was something that I just didn’t like at all. There was too much ease in the sleeves. I felt like the drop-shoulder style looked weirdly sloppy on me, despite the fact that it’s a style I typically like a lot. And the neckline was so wide that I was flashing bra straps every time I put it on. I was incredibly disappointed to have wasted such nice fabric on another flop.

Jalie Dolman Top

But like the pinstripe jersey I used from my second Stevie Top, my love for this fabric led me to hold onto the failed project and the scrap fabric much longer than I otherwise would have. And I would pull the pieces out from time to time to puzzle over how I might salvage the project or recut the fabric to get some kind of wearable garment. It was a tough puzzle to solve—I pinned out the excess in the sleeves in the hope that I would like the result better, but it didn’t make a substantive difference. I tried cut another pattern out of the scraps and the larger pieces of the top, but I could never seem to make it work. I considered finding a complimentary sweater knit that I could use to create a color-blocked project, but couldn’t seem to find either a second fabric or a good pattern that would result in something I’d like.

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I very nearly gave up when I was reading a blog post by Meg at Cookin’ and Craftin’ about a t-shirt she’d made for her sister and was shocked to see that she’d made it using a sweater knit. It had simply never occurred to me to use a sweater knit for a short-sleeved, warm-weather garment. Apparently, in my mind, sweater knits could only be used for traditional sweater-like garments with longer sleeves that are meant to be worn in cold weather. Talk about a ridiculous limiting belief. I thought about this lovely marled, gray sweater knit—which is a lightweight rayon blend that would be very nice in warmer temps—and wondered if I could get a tee out of the scraps I had left.

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I couldn’t. But at some point in the middle of trying unsuccessfully to get all the pieces of my favorite tee pattern out of the little bits of fabric available to me, I finally recognized the very clear and obvious solution: just cut the damn sleeves off. All other attempts to salvage the fabric had failed, so I recklessly cut of the sleeves about an inch from the seam. (Trying to unpick the sleeves would have taken forever and would have seriously marred the fabric.) Then I treated the remaining bit of former-sleeve fabric as a find of facing, turned it to the wrong side of the garment, and top-stitched it in place. Voila. It took me more than a year to basically just make the easier view of the pattern. So it goes.

My original thought in cutting the sleeves off was that even though the neckline was too wide, I’d be fine to wear this as a shell under a jacket. But without the weight of the sleeves, the neckline doesn’t pull in the same way so I’m no longer flashing my bra straps. So now I have a multi-season top that I can wear as is or under a jacket, and I finally get to enjoy the soft sweater knit that has just been languishing in my stash for way too long. Another win.

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Avery Leggings: View A vs. View B

I wasn’t initially taken with the Avery Leggings pattern from Helen’s Closet. I don’t really need or sew activewear, and if I did decide that I wanted to, I already have the Pacific Leggings and the Aires Leggings patterns. But, as often happens when you’re digging around on blogs and Instagram, I found myself swayed to try the pattern by other people. Megan’s versions really sold me on the pattern, and I went out and bought some space-dyed activewear knit from Joann’s just a few days later.

 

Thanks to a combination of overestimating how much fabric I would need and getting offered the rest of the bolt as a remnant, I ended up with enough fabric to make both views A and B. I thought it would be good for me to try both views—I figured I’d likely get two wearable pairs of leggings and a chance to assess my feelings about high waisted bottoms. For a while now, I’ve been feeling like the general shape of my body might be better suited to high-waisted pants. I have that high-hip shelf (a broad high hip and then a sharp slant towards my waist) that is good for carrying small children around but means that mid- and low-rise pants just ride straight down my body.

 

I’ve been getting very tired of yanking my pants up all the time but I also have some 90s-induced high-waisted pants trauma. Like, the very idea of a tight, rigid waist band that gives way to a poofy-fit through the hips makes my skin crawl.

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Anyway, after trying the mid-rise waist (which I probably would have gravitated towards if I were only making one pair) and the high waist, I am a total convert to Team High Waist. Why have I stubbornly waited so long!?

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A view of the gusset before sewing the inseams.

In general, this is a great pattern that is very easy to sew up. I love the fit and process of sewing the triangle gusset. The construction of the waistband is very straight-forward. The resulting leggings in both views are streamlined but look much more professional than the ultra-simple lounging leggings I’ve made from my favorite Ottobre pattern.

 

Ultimately, I prefer the shorter leg of view A and (obviously) the high waist of View B. Unlike every other leggings or elastic-waist lounge pants I have, the high waist stays in place with zero tugging and feels completely comfortable. I have done zero activities in these pants beyond lounging around at home, but I would definitely feel comfortable wearing these hiking or for yoga. The activewear knit from Joann’s is nice and dense, which makes these leggings perfect for moving out and about in the world (it turns out that I just don’t do that very much).

 

I so strongly prefer the high-waist to the mid-rise that I haven’t worn the mid-rise at all. Knowing I could wear a pair that doesn’t ride down means that I no longer have any tolerance for a slipping waistband. I’d like to have a pair of Avery leggings in black, so my plan is to eventually buy enough black activewear jersey to make a third pair *and* to replace the current waistband on my mid-rise leggings with a contrasting black waistband that will make them high-waisted. After I made these leggings, I also ended up buying two pairs of high-waisted skinny jeans and can report that my quality of life has significantly improved. Yay!

Helen's Closet Avery Leggings

My Little Duckling: Simplicity 2788

I hadn’t really planned to make Jude a Halloween costume this year. I figured I would wait to make him a costume until he was old enough to choose what he wanted to be or old enough to actually go trick or treating or old enough to even, you know, roughly understand the concept of Halloween. And then I found myself at Joann’s buying a pattern and a bunch of fleece and suddenly I was making a tiny duck costume that might be one of the most involved sewing projects I’ve ever taken on.

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Sewing really takes you on a journey, doesn’t it?

Simplicity 2788 Toddler Duck Costume

This is Simplicity 2788, View E. The pattern includes a jumpsuit, a puffy body worn over the jumpsuit, little duck feet, and a duck hat. I decided to alter the jumpsuit, basically cutting it off at the waist and then sewing a little pair of leggings in my accent fabric. I honestly can’t remember exactly why I did this but I think I was mostly concerned that the orange cotton interlock I bought for the legs wouldn’t work well for the jumpsuit. Regardless, it was an easy alteration to make. I also lengthened the arms of the jumpsuit top so that I could add an elastic casing at the sleeve hem. This just meant that I didn’t have to track down a coordinating fabric with enough stretch for the sleeve cuffs originally called for in the pattern.

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The jacket, the hat, and the body of the duck are all made in fleece. I used a yard of yellow cotton interlock I already had in my stash for the lining of the body and the lining of the hat, and the bottom of the duck feet are actually cut from Jiffy Grip. The only other change I made was to add ties to the hat—I just attached a length of white cotton twill tape to either side of the hat while I was attaching the outer fabric to the lining. Like most babies, I imagine, Jude is not a fan of hats and I knew there was no way the hat would last for more the 60 seconds without some ties. But even if he wasn’t likely to tear the hat off, I think it benefits from the ties. Since the hat is a bit shallow and isn’t elasticated at the back at all, it seems like it sits on his head more than fitting snugly. I also wish that I had made the lining pieces for the hat a bit shorter–I think that since the interlock is stretchier than the fleece, the lining is pretty loose and there is a significant amount of extra lining fabric inside the hat.

 

I made the size 1, which most closely matches Jude’s current height, and the hat is the size small. I’m happy with the way that everything fits. Although this costume involves a handful of different components, the sewing was pretty straight-forward and the pattern instructions were clear. The most tedious and time-consuming part of the project was cutting everything out. The body, for instance, involves the main fabric and the lining but also has another layer of fleece between the two for extra padding. All in all, the whole costume required at least 3.5 yards of fabric, which seems kind of bananas when we’re talking about a costume for a 14 month old. I’m not a fast sewist, but I’m also not particularly slow, and making the whole costume took me at least a week and a half of naptime sewing on the weekends and 30-40 minute sewing sessions on the weeknights.

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There were lots of times that I thought I was being ridiculous for making a whole costume for Jude, especially during mid-terms when I probably should have been doing more work in the evenings. But I had a lot of fun doing it and he looked super cute in his costume at his school Halloween party. And when I went to the Simplicity website to remind myself of the pattern number for this blog post, I was reminded of all the other adorable toddler Halloween costume patterns they have available.

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I mean, that kangaroo!? Can’t wait until next October. 😀

Stevie the Second: Jersey Edition

A long while ago, I attempted two different projects with two beloved pieces of fabric and I managed to screw them both up. It was so incredibly disappointing to look at those failed projects and think about all the things I wish I would have done differently. But the fact that I loved the fabrics also made me hold onto them for much longer than I probably would have otherwise while I puzzled through a possible salvage operation.

 

Tilly and the Buttons Stevie

 

It took about 15 months, but I finally figured out how to get a wearable garment from both projects, starting with this shirt. While I was still working on my tulip-print Stevie Top, I ended up moving my fabric stash into a new storage cabinet and, in the process, found myself puzzling over the remnants of this gray and black pinstripe jersey and wondering how I might get some kind of top out of the pieces.

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This jersey is from Mood and it feels lovely—it’s a cotton, rayon blend that is soft and completely opaque while still being lightweight. It also has very little stretch—maybe 15% at most—which makes it a poor candidate for a lot of the knit top patterns I have. I didn’t really have enough fabric to make something with sleeves but also didn’t think I would get much wear out of a tank top. I started wishing I had a knit pattern in a style similar to the Stevie top when I realized that the Stevie pattern would probably easily work with a fairly stable jersey.

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The only significant change I made to the pattern was to eliminate the back closure, cut the seam allowance off the center back yoke, cut the yoke on the fold, and then redraw the back facing piece to match the new yoke. I kept the top-stitched facing because I thought the detail of the stitching would complement the fabric and the style. I wanted to keep the back yoke because it made it easier for me to work with the fabric scraps I had on hand, but I also wanted to play around with the direction of the stripes, so I cut the lower back with the stripes going vertical. I had just enough fabric to cut out the pocket piece, so I added that to the front for just a bit more detail.

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I love the resulting shirt. It’s not perfect—the floppiness of the fabric means I had to tack the sleeve cuffs down in a few places, sometimes the facing and necklines wrinkles a bit at the neckline, and the pocket has a tendency to sag. But there’s something about the whole look of the shirt, including its imperfections, that just looks cool and casual and modern. It’s really just a t-shirt, but it makes me feel fancier than any other t-shirt I own.

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I’m so happy that I’m getting to enjoy this fabric now, and even happier that I’ve turned a failed project into a big win.

Tulip Print Stevie Top

Just a couple of weeks after Jude was born, while I was still fully immersed in the post-partum haze, I did some ill-advised online fabric shopping. The history of this blog shows that I primarily sew knits. It furthermore shows that I primarily sew solids, mostly in neutral colors. And yet, despite these clear preferences, I order several lightweight woven fabrics in prints—some florals, some novelty prints, some bright colors. Why? I have absolutely no idea. But I do know that I now have 2 yards of a blue flamingo print rayon voile that I have no plan for.

Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Top

Maybe my post-partum brain could see something my rational, rested brain could not. Because I used this tulip-print rayon challis from Cotton + Steel to make the Stevie Top from Tilly and the Buttons and it’s become one of my favorite garment projects to date.

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I made the largest size in the pattern, which is labeled a size 8 and fits a 44” bust. I skipped the bust pocket and used a button loop closure rather than the back ties. I lengthened the body by 1″ but otherwise made the pattern as is.  This was simple, straight-forward, pure pleasure sewing. I love that the facing is stitched down—it means the facing isn’t flopping around but I also like the way the top-stitching looks. The boxy fit with the cuffed, cut-on sleeve is probably my favorite warm-weather style right now, and I wish I had a whole closet full of shirts like this for summer.

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The Cotton + Steel rayon was really easy to work with and the weight and drape is perfect for this top. The simple style lines of the Stevie make it a perfect pattern for a larger scale print. I honestly did not think I would ever enjoy wearing a floral top this much, but I feel very comfortable and very much like myself when I wear this. I’m so pleased with this shirt, I wore it to Convocation, which kind of made it my back-to-school outfit for this year.

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What will become of the other prints in my stash? I have no idea. I know that a lot of sewists find prints super inspiring to work with, but anything more adventurous than a minimalist, monochrome motif seems to really stress me out. And yet, I can’t seem to just get rid of these fabrics. So I’ll keep staring at them and keep looking for the right pattern and maybe in another 10 months, I’ll hit the project jackpot again.

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Confidence Building: The Willamette Shirt

Many months ago during Me-Made May, I pledged to spend at least 20 minutes a day sewing things for myself with the goal of getting myself back into the habit of sewing after a long post-baby break. I mostly kept the pledge, only missing a few days, and it worked—I’ve been sewing pretty regularly since then, which feels awesome. Making that pledge prompted me to finish up the striped cardigan I’d started working on a year earlier. The other big project I finished in May was this shirt.

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This is the Willamette shirt pattern from Hey June patterns. I kind of started this project on a whim after seeing a couple of people on Instagram sew up the pattern. I’ve been preferring boxier, woven shirts to my usual t-shirt lately and I really liked the casual, easy style of the Willamette. And while I have been intending to get into shirt making for years at this point, the truth is that I find both the idea of fitting woven tops and the process of sewing a button-up shirt completely intimidating. The Willamette seemed like it would be forgiving on both points.

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I sewed View B up in some black cotton voile I had in my stash. Based on the sizing advice in the pattern, I made a size 16 with a 1” FBA. It has been a long time since I’ve done an FBA, and I managed to screw it up a bit and wound up with a dart that’s too low. I figured out where I went wrong so I won’t do it again, and I think the black fabric conceals the issue for the most part.

I do wish that I had spent a bit more time thinking about the relationship between sizing and fabric. After I finished my Willamette, I saw someone talk about deciding to make this pattern one size smaller than their measurements indicated to account for a fabric with more body—this is what I really should have done. I think I would love the ease in this pattern with a more fluid fabric like rayon challis, but the cotton voile is stiff enough that it kind of stands away from my body, which makes all of the extra ease feel very awkward.

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I was really excited about this shirt when I finished it, but I’ve actually only worn it once and even then I changed out of it after a couple of hours. I’ve really only recently started wearing woven shirts more recently, so I’m still learning what I like in terms of fit and fabric. I do like a boxy and slightly oversized fit, but I want it paired with a softer and more fluid fabric, which is not what this voile is.

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However, this project was a huge confidence builder for me. It kind of reminds me of when I made the Jalie Eleonore Jeans—the project itself was a complete failure, but it showed me that I was capable of doing all the basic sewing tasks required to make an actual pair of jeans, which I ultimately ended up doing. In the end, I don’t like the way this shirt looks or feels on me, but it has helped me get over the weird anxiety I’d built up around fitting and sewing a button-up or popover shirt. I can see now that I am competent enough to take a shirt project on, and I’m excited to do that soon.

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I’m also really looking forward to trying this pattern out again next summer with a rayon or linen fabric that I think will better suit my personal preferences. I’m becoming a big fan of Hey June patterns (I’ve made the Halifax Hoodie twice and have two versions of the Santa Fe top waiting to be blogged). The quality of the drafting and the instructions is great and the casual, laid-back style is right up my alley.

Striped Jenna Cardi

I feel like I’ve been hearing a lot of praise in the sewing community for the idea of “slow sewing”—of pulling back on the rush to make all the things and instead investing more time in the process of each project and finding joy in more time-intensive finishing techniques with the hope of creating more thoughtful, longer lasting finished garments. But like a lot of things that get a bit romanticized (minimalism, tiny houses, eating locally, etc.), there just isn’t quite as much shine to the idea when you’re forced into it by circumstance rather than consciously choosing it. Or, at least, that’s how I’ve been feeling as someone who is doing a lot of “slow sewing” just because that is all I am capable of accomplishing right now.

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Take this cardigan, for instance. I cut the pattern out in March 2017. I put it aside because I was pregnant and simultaneously wanted to work on some maternity projects and felt too overwhelmed to deal with stripe matching. I had the baby in August, and I managed to put some fusible knit stay tape on the shoulders around Christmas that year. I think I serged the shoulder seams over Spring Break in 2018. And then once my classes had wrapped up in May and I had a few days where I was able to send Jude to daycare while I stayed at home doing whatever I pleased/trying to recover a bit from the most exhausting period in my life, I was able to sew up the rest of the cardigan.

Obviously, this is not what people have in mind when they talk about slow sewing. And I actually do completely understand wanting to get outside of the feeling that we’re supposed to be constantly producing more. I’m just a tiny bit salty right now because sometimes trying to get something sewn up feels like slogging through a mud pit while dragging a bunch of bricks behind me.

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It doesn’t really matter though—getting something done is better than nothing. And thankfully getting this project finished and off my sewing table set off a steadier (although still slow) stream of sewing activity.

This is the Jenna Cardi from Muse Patterns, made using the expansion pack that includes a v-neck. I’ve made this pattern once before (when I said that sewing a cardigan felt like cheating to me as a knitter since it’s such a fast process—Ha!), and I made zero changes to the pattern from the last time I made it. That turned out to be a little bit of an issue, since I experienced the same problems I encountered the last time I sewed it, especially with the ease in the sleeves. I did a basted fit on the sides after attaching the sleeves and ended up taking about 2” of width out of the sleeve and sleeve cuff. Based on my experience with this project last time, I also used one less button than called for in the pattern, which I think works better.

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Since I cut this out pre-baby, it is made to my pre-baby measurements, which I can’t actually remember but are about a size smaller than I currently wear. The result is totally wearable—I don’t think it looks like it’s too small or like the buttons are about to bust open. It just means that it has a tendency to ride up a bit at the front if I wear it closed. That’s not a huge deal since I almost always wear cardigans open anyway. The fabric is a cotton-spandex blend that I bought from Fabric.com. It was listed as a sweater knit but it’s actually a really nice and soft French terry.

The big surprise with this project was finding that I don’t actually have much in my closet to layer underneath this cardigan. I’ve mostly been wearing it with a black t-shirt underneath. I should spend some time playing around with some of the shirts I have to see if there is an unexpected combo that might work and allow me to get a bit more mileage out of this combo. Maybe I’ll get around to that next May. Lol.

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