Wrap dress

I have been following quite a few Youtubers and almost all of them love their wrap dresses… gotta say, while I’ve never actually worn a wrap dress and never had an interest in buying a wrap dress (much less buy ing a wrap dress pattern), I was quite charmed by their ultra feminine wrap dresses, so I just had to give it a try!  It felt vaguely bath robe-like, maybe because the hem rests along my knees and the sleeves were quite billowy.  But I decided to reduce the sleeve circumference and I’m so much happier with it.  I can’t do very much to the length of the dress without ripping out a ton of seams (I had already hemmed and sewed the front overlay).  This surprisingly required a lot of changes… maybe it’s because I thought it was going to be a real wrap dress where I could just wrap it tighter around me and let the belt tie do the work.  Nope, it’s gotta fit just right at the waist.  I also didn’t enjoy how the waist casing just sort-of flops around and isn’t anchored to the garment fabric.  It definitely looks neater this way (to not have the stitching shown through on the garment), but I can see how the waist seam allowance might rest upwards in some spots and then downwards in others.  Either way, it’s a lovely dress.  I’m not sure if I’ll make it again, but I learned a few things!

Pattern: Simplicity 8608 (View B)

Supplies:

  • Polyester fabric
  • Black Gutermann thread
  • 1/4″ elastic

Modifications:

  • Forward rotating shoulder adjustment (moved the shoulder seam 1/2″ forward)
  • High waist adjustment (took 2″ off the two bodice pieces)
  • Narrow shoulder adjustment (took 1/2″ off back bodice and eyeballed the front bodice)
  • Sloping shoulder adjustment by 1/2″
  • Reduced the very wide sleeves by 2″

What I Found Helpful:

  • I’d just recommend trying it on at every stage.  The pattern adds quite a lot of ease, so the next time I make this, I will reduce the waist and hip a little bit.
  • Make sure to check the length of the skirt before finishing the hem of the front overlay.  Otherwise you’ll need to redo the hem finish on the front overlay and unstitch a part of the waist seam
  • Watch a Youtube video on making a thread belt loop (since the instructions don’t mention this, which I found to be quite odd)
  • Try a rolled hem foot if your fabric is lightweight!

Mini Sewing Victory:

  • First wrap dress!
  • Made a thread belt loop

Music:

I sewed this dress up while listening to some Sufjan Stevens, particularly this beautiful song he performed at the Oscars Sufjan Stevens – Mystery of Love.  Such a lovely song.  One of the other things I love besides sewing is listening to music.  I’ll just drop whatever it is for a coupe of hours to listen to music and do nothing else. Thankfully, sewing is something that pairs wonderfully with music… so I can just be in my little happy place with the two things I love–music + sewing. 🙂

That 70’s shirt


I decided to make a 70’s-esque shirt in this extremely bright expressive fabric.  I really wanted to give bell sleeves a try.  I wore this shirt to work the other day and got a few compliments.  Yay 🙂

Pattern: Simplicity

Supplies:

  • Floral rayon fabric
  • Pink thread (finished a spool towards the end of the project which was very satisfying)

Modifications:

  • High waist adjustment (2″ off the bodice)

What I Found Helpful:

  • Used a pin to graze over the gathers to even them out
  • Used a rolled hem foot for hemming your lightweight fabric

Mini Sewing Victory:

  • I got some compliments on this shirt!
  • Bell sleeves for the first time

Music:

I made this shirt while listening to the Black Panther soundtrack.  I’m in love!  I loved the plot, the characters, the imagery and most importantly–the gorgeous costumes!  I am also blown away by the production of this music video for the ending credits song Kendrick Lamar, Sza – All the Stars. The whole video is pure gold.  From the beginning scene with the sea of hands to the cool camera angles of Sza dancing amidst those scattered stars to Kendrick Lamar walking in a pack of black panthers through a forest to the scene with the gold outfits and gold decals suspended in the air and to that last regal scene with those four fierce queens.  LOVE!

Summer-y Jumpsuit

I had this floral fabric sitting around forever, so I decided not to buy more fabric and instead–use what I have!  Annnd, I decided to make a fun jumpsuit!

Pattern: New Look 6373 View A/B (B for the straps, A for everything else)

Supplies:

  • Floral polyester fabric

Modifications:

  • General: I cut out a size 8 bust and a size 12 waist/hip.  I am what you call pear-shaped. 🙂
  • Bust/Shoulders: The smallest bust size is 31.5 inches, which is 2 inches too big for me.  It really is a bummer when I need to do a small bust adjustment because the smallest size doesn’t fit me.  However, since this isn’t a fully fitted garment, I decided to play with things a bit…  since I normally have to adjust the shoulders (as I have narrow shoulders), I took off 1/2″ off the center and back seams.  I have no idea if this will work, but I’m willing to give it a try, especially on this leftover fabric.  This means I had to take 1/2″ off the front/back bodice pieces, flounce pieces and facing pieces.
  • Bodice length: As per usual, I took off 2″ off the length of the bodice.  Thankfully the pattern indicated where to adjust the length.  Since the pattern called for a 16.25 inch back and my measurement sits at around 14 inches, I just took off 2 inches.
  • Pant length: I’m not confident about my leg measurements, so I’ve decided to simply cut out the pattern without modifications and then later hem to the appropriate length.

Skirt

I had no idea what to do with this stretch twill fabric.  It’s considered a “bottomweight” fabric and it’s most suitable for things that “cover your bottom.”  I decided to go with this simple skirt.

Pattern: McCall’s M7022 (View C with slight modifications)

Supplies:

  • Stretch twill (97% cotton, 3% spandex)

Modifications:

  • I cut a size between 10 and 12, but I found that with this stretchier fabric, I could get away with cutting a size 8
  • I also tapered the skirt a little bit because it was such a stiff fabric, it looked a bit silly to have it as a full A-line skirt

What I Found Helpful:

  • Skirts are really hard to fit me because I’m high waisted and the skirts tend to come up whenever I sit down.  I made sure to try it on at every step.  In fact, I had to redo the side seams because it was a little loose.
  • Edgejoining feet are useful for understitching

Mini Sewing Victory:

  • I’ve made plenty of dresses before but I finally made a skirt!
  • I used up old fabric
  • I used up a 7″ zipper I had lying around
  • I sewed a yoke for the first time!

Floral Jumpsuit

I had this floral fabric sitting around forever, so I decided not to buy more fabric and instead–use what I have!  Annnd, I decided to make a fun jumpsuit!

Pattern: New Look 6373 View A/B (B for the straps, A for everything else)

Supplies:

  • Floral polyester fabric

Modifications:

  • General: I cut out a size 8 bust and a size 12 waist/hip.  I am what you call pear-shaped. 🙂
  • Bust/Shoulders: The smallest bust size is 31.5 inches, which is 2 inches too big for me.  It really is a bummer when I need to do a small bust adjustment because the smallest size doesn’t fit me.  However, since this isn’t a fully fitted garment, I decided to play with things a bit…  since I normally have to adjust the shoulders (as I have narrow shoulders), I took off 1/2″ off the center and back seams.  I have no idea if this will work, but I’m willing to give it a try, especially on this leftover fabric.  This means I had to take 1/2″ off the front/back bodice pieces, flounce pieces and facing pieces.
  • Bodice length: As per usual, I took off 2″ off the length of the bodice.  Thankfully the pattern indicated where to adjust the length.  Since the pattern called for a 16.25 inch back and my measurement sits at around 14 inches, I just took off 2 inches.
  • Pant length: I’m not confident about my leg measurements, so I’ve decided to simply cut out the pattern without modifications and then later hem to the appropriate length.

Difficulties:

  • Elastic casing: For some reason, it was really hard for me to fold over this particular fabric for the elastic casing.  I tried it out three times but every single time, either my stitches looked really uneven or I didn’t fold it at a nice 1/4″.  Instead of folding the pant seam under 1/4″ and then sewing at 3/8″, I decided to serge the end of the bodice seam and then simply fold it over and sew at 3/8″.  That was way easier for me, and it looks a lot better inside.  I’ve done the other method before on a rayon, and it seemed to work out better.  This fabric is a little bit delicate and frays quite a lot.
  • Finishing the facing and bodice seam: I had a little bit of trouble finishing the seams, but it wasn’t too bad.  I learned how to maneuver my serger over the v-neck, but I’m sure there is a much tidier way to do that.
  • Lining up the spaghetti straps: I’m still not totally happy with the placement as they aren’t really in the very center; however, I believe I followed the pattern images very carefully…  maybe I’ll just budge them a little bit before I make this for next time.

Fit:

I think the fit is pretty good in the bust, and the elastic casing rests right on my waistline! Yay!  My measurements worked out.  However, I feel the hips are just a little too big for me, so I might revisit that later and take them in a little.  While I’m at it, I might as well make pockets.  It could be intentional ease that the pattern maker included.  But as far as I’m concerned, I’m more or less done with this pattern!

What I found helpful:

  •  I find that the best way to pull the drawstring inside out is to use a safety pin on one end of the drawstring and simply channel it through the fabric.

Mini Sewing Victory:

  • Learned thin straps!
  • Made more buttonholes! (Quite happy with the symmetrical placement)
  • Learned how to sew a button with my sewing machine!
  • Made a drawstring!
  • Minor adjustment to the bodice that seamed to work out

Peplum Blouse

In keeping true to my goal of using up all of my fabric before I buy more fabric, I decided to make use of that leftover charmeuse I purchased for my blue dress.  I made view D.  I thought this would be a good introduction into the world of sleeves (I’m still setting in a sleeve but I’m not setting in a fitted sleeve)!

Pattern: Simplicity 8417 View D

Supplies:

  • White polyester sanded charmeuse
  • White Gutermann polyester thread
  • Microtex needle size 70

Modifications:

  • Fit: Since I am short waisted, as per usual on most Simplicity patterns, I took off 2″ the length of the bodice pieces.  I also cut out a size 6 up top to account for my small bust, and a size 12 for my wide waist and hips.

Difficulties:

  • Gathering: I had a little bit of trouble getting the gathering to look even.  I’ve read many tips like how you can use an anchor pin on one end (tying up the thread in a figure 8) then gather with the other end, or simply doing one long continuous basting stitch for both rows of basting, but I still haven’t figured out what works best for me.

What I Found Helpful:

  • Staystitch all the curves on the bodice pieces before you sew.  I think the pattern suggests staystitching just the neckline, but I also like to staystitch the armscye.  It might not be necessary but I always worry it’ll stretch!  Also remember that the staystitching should have a seam allowance of 1/4″ around the neckline and about 1/2″ seam allowance everywhere else.

Mini Sewing Victory:

I sewed one of the armscyes without ripping out a seam!  I also used very few pins (I think 2) for the armscye.

Madalynne Lingerie

In the same vein of everything else I try to make, I just made an ultra comfortable halter bra!  As a disclaimer, I don’t have an ample bosom and subsequently don’t exactly need a lot of support, so this was very comfortable for me.  I’m also not a fan of lace, so it was out of my element to even make this, but I am so glad I did, because I now finally have a cozy casual bra to wear when I’m just lounging around!  I walked around Target today and noticed something very similar to this pattern, and I was like–I just made that!  I did look at the price for the one at Target ($12) and I thought to myself, that’s less than the cost of my supplies but mine fits me to a t… and that’s priceless!

Pattern: Simplicity 8228 (Madalynne)

Supplies:

  • 6″ White double stretch galloon lace (the pattern specifies 8″, but I had no trouble with 6″)
  • White powernet
  • White Gutermann polyester thread
  • Dritz basting spray (I couldn’t find the recommended 505 basting spray at my local craft store)
  • 3/8 inch plush wide elastic (I didn’t have picot unfortunately)
  • 1/4 inch elastic
  • Ballpoint needle size 12 (I must say I love how the recommended needles were specified in the pattern, something I haven’t seen before!)

Modifications:

  • Distance between apexes: It looked to me that there was too much space between the apexes of my bust, and since I’ve made very similar adjustments in the past, I took off 3/4″ off the front cup piece and then added it to the side cup piece.  I can’t tell if this was a necessary adjustment since I’m not sure if if the bra cup seam should rest on the apex (making it look aesthetically better to me) or not (thereby making it a bit more comfortable).  Looking at random pictures of lingerie seem to indicate it should rest on the apex…  oh well, it’s comfortable regardless!
  • Band height: I didn’t make the change to this particular project, but next time I may just shorten the band slightly as I am short-waisted and the band looks just a little thick on me.

Difficulties:

  • Fusing lining to lace: I didn’t have 505 basting spray (which is what is recommended), I instead found Dritz basting spray at my local craft store.  I must say, I wasn’t a fan of the stuff since it got everywhere (my hands and parts of my table that I didn’t cover) and the smell was so strong and toxic smelling that I had to air out my apartment.  To be fair, Madalynne suggests covering your work table but I covered just a little fragment of my table and of course–I got little dots of glue everywhere.  It took quite some time to do it, and I think maybe later I’ll just baste the powernet to the lace.  And there will be a next time since I want to make a lot more of these halter bras.
  • Topstitching: The biggest challenge for me was fighting with my machine to get nice, even stitches.  Especially the zig zag stitching.  Since my machine only had a left and center position, I couldn’t do a zig zag stitch with my edge joining foot, so I was forced to do a straight stitch 1/8″ whenever I could, and then I had to sort-of eyeball the distance whenever I had to do a zig zag stitch for the elastic topstitching.  You can see all of my topstitching is terrible, and I don’t exactly like posting this terrible topstitching, but there it is, in all its glory.  I tried very hard to walk the foot very slowly over the thick seams (can you imagine what 2 layers of wool will do to my machine?) but everytime, my machine just couldn’t feed the fabric through and when I’d pull at it (which you really shouldn’t do), it would naturally skip stitches.  Quite frustrating!  I currently have a very beginner sewing machine (that has had rave reviews on Amazon), the Brother CS6000i, but this particular project made me want to upgrade to something more mid-range…  My sewing machine is honestly great for a beginner and I learned to use so many feet that it came with, but alas–I think I’m starting to outgrow it!

What I found Helpful:

  • Cutting: Before you start cutting, please look for your size!  I cut out several pieces before I realized I was cutting the wrong size (42 instead of 32)!  Good thing I was doing this in the background while watching The Crown so I wasn’t completely annoyed I had to redo it all.
  • Rotary cutter: I found it incredibly helpful to use a rotary cutter (as Madalynne suggested in her videos).  I normally use shears to cut my fabric, but I really loved the precision of the rotary cutter.  I have since started using a rotary cutter for all of my sewing projects.  I picked up an 18mm rotary cutter, but I find my larger rotary cutter to be sufficient.
  • I don’t know why the pattern tells me to get a hook and eye for View B; there seem to be no instructions to do anything with it.  It seems to only apply to View A.  Perhaps I’m missing something…
  • I used a serger for sewing pieces together and my sewing machine (with a walking foot) for all topstitching.
  • If your lace is 8″, the pattern suggests to cut the powernet in 8″ strips.  However, I found that if the scalloped edges are very pronunced/deep, you might want to make the powernet strips less wide.  If you don’t, you’ll see the powernet come through the edges.  In my case, I cut out 5 1/2″ wide strips of mesh fabric for the 6″ wide lace.
  • I had a very difficult time finding this double stretch galloon at JoAnn’s.  I was almost tempted to buy 45″ wide stretch lace and just use the scalloped edges, but that would result in a ton of fabric.  The only stretch galloon lace I could find was 1/2″ wide at JoAnn’s.  I found this gem of a fabric store near me where I found yards and yards of lace!  I only found it in white and slate blue (greyish blue?), both of which I picked up, and whenever I make this again, I’ll use white lace and then dye it with Rit Dye.  I’ve dyed my clothing before, and so far I’ve been very happy with the results.  If I hadn’t found this fabric, I would’ve purchased this stretch galloon lace from one of the many etsy shops that sell this type of lace.
  • Lining up center seam: Either I didn’t do the center seam very skillfully or the white makes the seam very obvious, but I wasn’t really a fan of how the center seam on the bodice is pressed one way, and the center seam of the band faces the other way.  The pattern says this is to reduce bulk, which I’m sure is important but it just looks a little bit too obvious to me and doesn’t look great (again–this could be due to my terrible stitching).  Maybe if I used a zig zag stitch it wouldn’t be as obvious.
  • Powernet: My powernet fabric was very see-through.  Next time I’ll check out the other fabrics (stretch mesh or micro mesh) to see if they feel a little less “naked.”:)

Mini Sewing Victory:

  • I made lingerie for the first time!
  • I worked with lace for the first time!
  • I worked with wide plush elastic for the first time!
  • I reorganized my sewing space to better facilitate cutting fabric on the table (rather than the floor).  I’m way happier with the results because now I can get an accurate cut with my rotary cutter (another first for a sewing project)!

Floral Overnight Bag

Pattern: Simplicity 2274

Supplies:

  • Floral fabric (cotton 97%/spandex 3% floral fabric from my local fabric store — spandex wasn’t ideal for this but it was leftover fabric and I really couldn’t care less, I loved this pattern for my new gym bag)
  • Reddish/orange fabric for the straps (linen I found at a thrift store, and I ran out of my leftover stash so I had to resort to cutting up a shirt I made that I rarely wore)
  • White (top thread for sewing the zipper)
  • Pink thread (bobbin thread to match the pink lining)
  • Reddish/orange thread (topstitching the handles)
  • Pale blue thread (for quilting the bag)

Modifications:

  • Handles: Instead of using itchy jute webbing (which was hard to get in such a small quantity), I simply made my own straps out of linen fabric.  I cut 4 pieces that were 4 inches wide and 62 inches long.  I then fused fusible fleece to two of the pieces and then paired each with a non-interfaced strap sewing the pieces right sides together at a 1/4 inch of a seam allowance.  Turned it inside out, pressed it and presto–new straps that aren’t itchy!
  • Tabs: I interfaced the bag tags
  • Bag Main Piece/Side: I used fusible fleece instead of batting, I used cotton instead of muslin as suggested and I also interfaced this cotton fabric.  I’d recommend extra firm craft interfacing to the main bag / side since it gives the bag a bit of structure.  I ran out of this craft interfacing so I decided to fuse them to the bag sides (which is why the sides have much more structure).

Difficulties:

The biggest challenge for me was to sew the sides to the main bag piece.  I had a bit of trouble with that since it seems things weren’t lining up, but after a tea break and tons of basting, I managed to make it look ok.

What I found helpful:

  • An edgestitch foot was incredibly helpful in topstitching the handles
  • A walking foot at a slow setting was very helpful in getting a nice consistent stitch for quilting the bag

Mini Sewing Victory:

  • Actually making use of awkward sized leftover fabric.  I didn’t have enough fabric to make one continuous bag piece, so I had to cut two slightly longer pieces (to account for the seam allowance) and sewed them together.  I also cut up a shirt I made that I didn’t like along with scraps and mitred about 20 those  pieces just so I can use that reddish/orange fabric for the straps.  I like the contrast and the pop they bring to the fabric, so I knew I just had to do it.
  • I made an overnight back for the first time!
  • My topstitching has improved (still not perfect) mostly due to the edgestitch foot and walking foot!