Monday, March 21, 2016

McCall's 7116 / Cotton + Steel Fruit Dots Rayon

McCall's 7116

Should I even talk about how long it's been since I've posted?


(Except yeah, it's been a really long time. Is anyone still reading this? Do people still read blogs? What should I have for lunch? If you can answer any of these things, comment below.)

M7116 / Cotton + Steel Rayon

This dress is McCall's 7116 made out Cotton + Steel Fruit Dots rayon. It has an overlapped, self-faced, gathered bodice, side zip, and bias-cut skirt. These pictures were taken after wearing it two days in a row. Let it be known that this was only because I was doing a video at work and had to have the same wardrobe, and no, I don't want no scrub. But I love this dress enough to really not have minded that much.

So here are the details:

FABRIC: Cotton + Steel Fruit Dots Rayon (Melody Miller)

McCall's 7116

I've already spent time lauding the glorious qualities of C+S rayon. If you've never sewn rayon before and want to know a good place to start, start here. C+S rayon is a teensy bit heftier and *firmer?*beefier?* than any other rayon I've worked with. It just seems to know where to fold itself, and has such a nice, non-clingy drape. It's assertive fabric. It's decisive fabric. It's fabric that knows what it wants.

The cherries also come in a deep turquoise/mustard colorway, which is equally as lovely. Luckily, the place where I was in-person-shopping only had this colorway. Phew. Dilemma avoided.

I prewashed cold and line dried. My other handmade rayon garments have not stood up well to machine drying, which I know is a rayon no-no, so I'm finally trying to be a grownup about it and actually line drying some things that need it.

PATTERN: McCall's 7116

McCall's 7116

I bought this pattern impulsively after seeing it posted on the McCall's instagram. Suggestion to purchase, obeyed.

As with any Big 4 patterns, I erred mostly on the side of smaller than what it says. My measurements are 33-27-38 and I cut a 10-12-16. The 16 was actually a size up from what I should have cut, but I'm glad I did since I would not have wanted it any smaller.

McCall's 7116

After muslining just the bodice, the front neckline edges had some serious gaping action, so I took a wedge out there by slashing across the bodice to the armscye, overlapping, and redrawing the front edge to straighten it out.

I also thought I might need to take some kind of FBA action (I'm always on the edge of needing one), as the bottom edge of the pattern piece seemed too short just under by bust. I was feeling a little adventurous so I just kind of winged the adjustment, and I think it totally worked! I slashed horizontally though the bust point, then up to it and hinged, and just lowered the two hinges by the amount of length I wanted to add. This also added some extra fullness to the gathers.

Also, the sleeve was too tight. I was about to get all complicated with the slashing and the spreading, when I realized I could just make the pleat smaller and add circumference that way. So much easier! So I added 3/4" to the sleeve, which basically just meant redrawing each pleat line 3/8" in towards the center.


M7116 / Cotton + Steel Rayon

I squeezed this out of about 1 7/8 yards of 45" fabric, with not an inch of extra to spare. This was an amazing and stressful feat accomplished by intense pattern piece tetris-ing and much uncomfortable kneeling on floor. I had to cut everything in a single layer to get it to fit.

I added interfacing to the self faced edges of the front bodice neckline. I used fusible tricot interfacing and cut it exactly the width of the facing, so that the fabric wants to fold over right where it should.

McCall's 7116

I used to hate doing side zips for some reason, but this one went in really well (it's that fabric I tell ya), and I think it might have converted me! I wish I had a better shot of it. One little trick I always do with invisible zippers is to fuse a 1" strip of tricot interfacing to each side of the seam before putting in the zipper. This reinforces the fabric and makes everything a lot smoother and sturdier. I actually have a roll of 1" wide tricot interfacing from Wawak that is the most amazing shortcut ever, but I just searched their website and they don't seem to have it anymore. Sadness.

After finishing and trying on, I decided the skirt was just a leeeetle too tight across the hips, so I let out the non-zipper side seam as much as I could. I now feel a slight diagonal pull in the skirt when I wear the dress, but I don't think it's visible so I'm just dealing.

M7116 / Cotton + Steel rayon 
me, dealing

Last thing to note is that I omitted the sleeve buttons, which are only decorative anyway, because they just felt like too much with the pleat and the gathers and everything.

I really, REALLY like how this turned out, and I have Anna Maria Horner's Fibs & Fables Helios rayon on standby for the next one. Let's see how long it takes me to blog about THAT.

McCall's 7116

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Class Alert: Anna Maria Horner Well Composed Blouse

Well Composed Blouse

So, why have I neglected my blog for so long? I've been:

A] finally achieving my dream of having a farm filled with only miniature animals
B] consoling Hootie after he learned he can never be the first cat in space [France sent the first cat to space, naturally]
C] assembling a campaign staff in preparation for my 2016 Rent Is Too Damn High Party presidential candidacy
D] really busy with work

Ugh, it's the boring answer.

I seriously have barely looked at my blog since my last post, which was all the way back in May. I feel like my life has been a little insane over the summer, and I have hardly had a moment to sit down, much less selfishly sew. I was thinking about it, and I realized that since my Ginger Jeans way back in March (posted in April), the only thing I've sewn for myself that wasn't obligatory - meaning for work, gift or teaching - was this black ponte circle skirt.


Well Composed Blouse

I am a shell of a seamstress. And in my rusty blogger state, I took pictures of said skirt against a dark background, to great invisible effect. Also as you will see, the only pose into which I could cajole my unpracticed limbs was holding my skirt up in the air.

Well Composed Blouse

Yup, that's all I've got.

Well Composed Blouse

But the real focus of this post is my top. It's the Anna Maria Horner Well Composed Blouse, and I'll be teaching it at Craft South here in Nashville starting a week from today, Thursday, Sept. 10. Woohoo! It's a really great pattern to whip up.

Look at this freakin adorable version from the Craft South Instagram feed:

Anna Maria Horner Well Composed Blouse

My version is made with an Art Gallery fabric from The Fabric Studio [which is also where the ponte is from]. I actually bought it before I moved to Nashville and I came here to find a place to live and, naturally, also scout out all the fabric stores.

Well Composed Blouse

[I swear the top of the center fronts line up, they are just laying weird in this pictures. Rusty, I tell ya]

In the class we'll be making the blouse version, but the pattern also can be made as a dress with pockets. You can sign up for the class online here. So if you're local, come sew and learn with me! It's gonna be fun!

Also, in case you missed it, I'm proud to say I had an article published in Seamwork Magazine this month about the history of tartan. You can read it here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

An Unnecessary Recap of Me Made May 2015

Ok. So if you follow me on Instagram, I've just made you endure pictures of my outfit every single day throughout the month of May. If you're still with me, now I'm showing my gratitude by forcing you to look at all of these outfits AGAIN, ALL AT ONCE.

But you see, I really wanted to make a photo collage.

Me Made May 2015

[I got rid of one picture - a day I was sick and wearing a sweatshirt - so that I could have a rectangle. Symmetry>accuracy.]

In case anyone is interested, here are a few conclusions/random thoughts I had while doing this:

The eyes are the window to the soul, or to the crazy. It was so much easier to take pictures of myself [read: pictures of myself that I could easily accept] if I cropped off the top of my face. I can't tell you how many of these pictures feature crazy / is-she-drunk / is-she-about-to-kill-someone stares. But you never knew. Until now.

I need to make more cardigans and jeans. This is not a very exciting conclusion, but it's a fact. These are the two main categories in my wardrobe that are still RTW, and I wear them a lot.

I'm a terrible blogger. By this I mean that I've only blogged 15 of the 39 things I wore throughout the month. What is the statute of limitations on blogging? Is it weird to blog something I made three years ago?

Social media can be really bad for your brain. This part was actually very real and not so great. My routine would be that I would snap a few pictures on the way out the door in the morning, then post one when I got to work. After that, all day, a steady stream of Instagram notifications meant my phone was constantly glowing, constantly delivering those tiny surges of validation. And honestly, I think I got a little addicted to it. Checking my phone was like a lab rat pushing the dopamine lever. [By the way, there are a ton of articles about how social media appeals chemically to the dopamine receptors in our brains: here is one.]

I don't normally post on a such a regular schedule, and not necessarily every day. So I really think I was conditioning myself to want it. It was much different than just absently checking the feed in a down moment. Eventually I had to put my phone away because it was really interfering with my attention span.

Has anyone else ever experienced this? And if you did Me Made May, did you learn anything? I probably won't do it again, but it was interesting to try.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I'm teaching at Craft South!



The amazingly talented Anna Maria Horner is opening a craft space / craft store in Nashville called Craft South, and I'm going to be teaching there!


It's going to be a big, beautiful space in 12 South with fabric, yarn, embroidery, classes and workshops, and even a handmade goods boutique. And if you're not local, despair not, you can shop their online store! It's already live and filled with good stuff.

I'll be starting things out by teaching the Million Use Zipper Bag. This is perfect for beginner sewers, or if you've never tried tackling a zipper. It's a one session class (Thursday June 4th) so no major commitment. And these little bags seriously have a million uses! You'll want to make a ton. Or a million. You can sign up online here.


My second class will be the Grainline Studio Scout Tee, which is what I'm wearing in these photos. This is a great first garment to try if you've sewn before, but feel shaky about following a pattern. Over the course of making the project, we'll be learning how to choose a size, cut out the pattern, sew and finish seams, do set-in sleeves, a bias bound neckline, and a double fold hem. Lots of new skills to learn, plus by the end you'll have a cute new shirt!


This is a three session class that meets three Thursdays in a row starting June 11th. You can sign up online here.

The class sample is made from one of Anna Maria's gorgeous new Loominous fabrics, a collection of yard dyed wovens. They are all spectacular. Want. Them. All.

Anna Maria Horner Loominous Fabric

Craft South's grand opening is going to be Friday May 29th from 4-8pm. I'll be there, so I hope you will too!

P.S. The awesome signage and painted deer are outside Old Made Good, a vintage store in my neighborhood. You should probably follow them on Instagram.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Diamond Stitch Crochet Baby Blanket


Today I bring you a rare finished yarn project.

This soft and snuggly blanket is for the same friend [and baby] recipient of the log cabin quilt I made a little while ago. I crocheted a blanket for baby numero uno, and apparently he liked it very much, so baby dos can't be left out, can she?


The colors are the same ones I used for the quilt, which were chosen by mama-to-be, so I can't take any credit there. The darkest color is reading as black but it's actually navy. For the pattern, I followed this tutorial. I wish I could tell you how long I made my foundation chain, but I have no idea and I didn't write it down [so helpful, I know].


I used all acrylic yarn for washing machine and baby compatibility. The white yarn is from one of those giant mega skeins they sell at Joann's. I've used it for several projects and it has barely gotten any smaller. It is so large and fuzzy and creature-like that my knitting group decided it needed a name.

So his name is Frederick. I should have taken his picture, but I didn't. Don't worry - he'll probably be around for a while.


The tutorial was super easy to follow, although for some reason one of my edges looks really crazy and the other one is nice and straight and even. I'm not sure why because I was changing colors at both sides. Also I accidentally made the blanket one or possibly two double crochet[s] wider about halfway through.

Artistic choices.


So after a wash and dry cycle [I use a lingerie bag] this blanket will be shipped across the Atlantic on the heels of its matching quilt counterpart.

I don't think I'm done with the baby projects yet, though...this is the first friend-baby since I started sewing knits, and I'm suddenly eyeing all my half yard remnants and realizing the baby wardrobe potential...

What are your favorite knit things to sew for babies?


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