Belladone Opposites

Remember the contest I talked about early this year?

I also picked up the Deer and Doe pattern Belladone, which I am in love with!

(Granted, I fall in love with a lot of patterns…)

But seriously, I’ve made 2.5 of these in the first quarter of the year…

The ice blue one is version 2, and the green skirt is version 1, but I am combining them for this post, along with the bonus of the skirt I made from the same pattern (Version 2.5). Because they’re all done, with almost no changes between the versions, so why not? And though I know I should make some more adjustments, I didn’t pause in between making these.

The Belladone is one of those patterns that I’ve seen around for so many years, and yet I haven’t gotten my hands on it mostly due to the shipping from France thing. And I don’t have many paper patterns from indie companies (read: none), so I couldn’t really see buying the paper patterns. But so many people have made fantastic versions, and I wanted to join the legion!

I made the cutaway back version for both dress options, and I had to make one (rather large) adjustment, which I assume has to do with my broad rounded back. I had to sew a huge dart from just underneath the overlay to the armscye. And now the back lies smoothly against mine! The hem was also “very long” on me, meaning at knee length, but I prefer my skirts to be a bit higher, so I went back and hemmed each version a couple inches.

Version 2 (which was finished first) is made from an ice blue cotton with neon slubs woven in (that aren’t visible from more than one foot away), and is fully lined. Granted, that means its mostly interlined for the bodice, and then actually lined for the skirt. Version 1 has a chambray bodice (woot for scraps!), and what I think is a cotton/poly lawn (woot for scraps part 2!). And then I made a skirt version out of the same wax print cotton that I made my Uganda dress out of a few years ago. I had just barely enough to make it happen, but it’s infinitely more wearable than the dress is, which is a great thing!

I made up Versions 2 and 3 for my this big conference in Seattle, since I don’t have much of what you might call “business casual” and then decided to alter them. The skirt only got hemmed a bit higher, but the ice blue dress got a stencil treatment. I laser cut a stencil with a vaguely floral geometric design, and I used silver Jacquard Lumiere paint to put it on the waistband. The design is not terribly visible, even though I used a Micron pen to outline it a bit, but I like the small amount of definition it gives to the dress.

Because Version 2 was fully lined, I didn’t need to bias bind the neck or armscyes, but when I finally finished Version 1, I had to bias bind them, which I did in a lovely green, and I’m considering stenciling the waistband with a gold fabric paint. We’ll see what happens in a couple weeks.

These are wonderful dresses/skirts though. They worked well for the transition from winter to summer, and so far are doing well for actual summer too! Wait until I show you my hack of this! It’s going to be awesome (judging by the wearable muslin, at least)!

Bike Bags

Last September I bought myself a bike. I live in a college town rife with bike lanes, and I can park at one place of work, so biking onto campus makes a lot of sense.

But I am not an efficient cyclist, and my back gets really sweaty before leaving my neighborhood if I’m wearing a backpack. So after doing some research on how and what attaches to the back of normal bikes. I determined that a rack was essential, but that i couldn’t afford any reasonable bags after the cost of bike and rack.

After much internet searching, I decided to use some scrap fabric and cardboard and just make some. They were… Useful. Not fantastic, but they certainly worked. They were a basic bag shape without a lid, one for each side of the bike, and connected by a couple inches of fabric over the top the rack. I had turned the top edges under to prolong its life, but forgot to put in buttonholes to thread bungee cables through, so it was slightly torn, which only got worse over time. To stiffen the cotton fabric so it didn’t get caught my wheels, I used some cardboard, effectively making these super bad in the rain.

But I used this version for probably 6 months. Somewhat because I was too lazy to do it again, and somewhat because I didn’t have the right fabric.

In April I finally gave up looking for cute fabrics and settled on some black water resistant utility fabric.

This time I altered the bag pattern a little so that the bag bottom slanted upwards, and I added flaps to help cover the contents. I also added pockets to the back so I can add stiffener like a sheet of acrylic. I’m still working fitting that acrylic into the pockets, but i think it’ll fit if i shave off an inch.

I’m finding the bags a little difficult squeeze things in, but they’re secure, water resistant, and easy to retrieve things from when reach my destination.

Out of the same fabric, I made a cover for bike seat, and does its job even its not pretty. I’m learning not leave it on when I ride bike, though, as it often is more slippery than the actual seat, but it has helped when I had wore a skirt from a rather slippery fabric.

Alright then. That’s all I’ve got to say on this subject right now. Reasonably effective, highly useful, probably will get remade if I end up in a bike friendly town post-degree!

All the Onyx Shirts

Never has a pattern become tried and true in my library than with Paprika Patterns’ Onyx Top.

My first version was made out of a lace in November, and altogether was too big. I thought I had made the recommended size, and it was mostly fine in the front, but the back was really drooping, and the sleeves were way too big. (Let me interject here that I don’t quite remember, but probably chose the size based on my bust size, which tends to throw off the rest of the fitting. Because I’m lazy, and my fitting adventures are a work in progress. So don’t take this as an actual review of the sizing…)

So I took the pattern in at the shoulders, raised the armscye, and shrunk the width of the back a bit.

Then in very early January I used the Ariel skirt made of rayon (which was way too lightweight for a skirt) to make a slightly cropped version. Not the actually cropped version in the pattern, since I needed this for work-appropriate events, but an inch shorter than I’d like. I made a facing for it out of the same fabric, and unfortunately didn’t finish the facing edge (which I should do one of these days) which can cause the neckline to hang funnily, and I didn’t interface it, which I think contributed. It quickly became my favorite shirt!

Incredibly happy with this success, I also made one out of this polyester suiting with a diagonal stripe pattern… It works. I wish that I had made the facing out of a different fabric, as the neck really doesn’t lay correctly, though I did interface it, so perhaps it was just stiffer?. Maybe I can fix it later?

And then I tried to use this stone colored poly/cotton blend (I think), which had no drape. That version did not work out well. It felt very frumpy and baggy. I don’t know if it can be salvaged, but maybe with a dart of some kind. For right now its in the alteration pile, which is why I didn’t bother to iron it for the pictures here…

So that’s where I had to leave it before a big conference in Seattle in the end of January. Then I had a making drought in early February as I adjusted back to normal life, and then I made an awesome version in black rayon. In fact the same rayon from the Ariel skirt version, but in a black. I tried to remove some neckline gaping with a pattern alteration, and made the shoulders even slightly less wide. This time I interfaced the facing again, but I also made the facing the entire yoke of the shirt wide. It ended with a fantastically fit shirt, but the yoke of the shirt felt and looked a little stiff. So I embroidered it. I haven’t done embroidery in a while, but it came back pretty quick, though I’ve never done anything quite like this. I really enjoyed the vines and leaves, and the couple flowers on the back were quite fun.

I’ve got another one of the black rayon versions cut out, since the rayon had enough for another, and I think I’ll embroider it too, but I’ll get to that one soon!

Shifting Waters Fumeterre

Last summer I was lucky enough to win a prize in the Indie Pattern Month competition for my pattern hacked Nettie dress, and this prize included two patterns from Deer and Doe, and one pattern from Paprika Patterns! I’ve been interested in both companies for a while, since I found the folded mini skirt tutorial from the latter years and years ago, and since I tried the Deer and Doe free t-shirt pattern.

This is the Deer and Doe Fumeterre skirt, and I made it in January. And yes, this is March. I’m not fantastic at the getting posts written and picture taking at reasonable times…

I bought this awesome two tone (green and aqua) chambray over the winter holidays, and had no idea what to do with it. I remember the bolt saying Robert Kaufman (like my favorite fabric-dress combo) but I can’t find it online. It’s got some weight to it, and pretty much no drape, but its not heavy enough to count as jeans-weight denim, and I probably wouldn’t have worn it as a jacket (though it would’ve looked awesome)! Yet I couldn’t bring myself to remove it from my shopping cart. Both colors you see in the photos in this post are accurate, in different lights!

When I got it back to my house, I looked through my “catalogue” of patterns, and realized that even though it doesn’t have the drape expected for the Fumeterre, it would look so awesome!

Using the recommended size, I traced my pattern pieces, and was able to cut out the skirt with very little left over. Looking at the pattern, I decided that I couldn’t give up the chance to use the pockets, and the button band. I’m not regretting the button band idea, but I now wish I’d used only a partial button band instead (faked the lower half), since the opening doesn’t flow well due to the lack of drape in the fabric.

The pockets are glorious though! I interfaced the pockets, which does affect the drape, but they haven’t really stretched, which is ideal. They’re huge! So handy to have in a skirt, and they look pretty cool too.

The inside has a lining, though I attached each lining piece to the pattern pieces, so I suppose it’s more of a flat-lined lining than a true one. But it made it easier to deal with just a bit of lining that slinks, rather than a full skirt of slink that I would need to deal with the seam frayage. This way, I just bias bound each of the skirt seams, and ironed the seam flat. This did eat up a lot of my bias stash, but it was worth it!

(Also, I noticed the stain when I was already on vacation, and just decided to go with it… I’m going to work on it later!)

The hem is long! I’m almost 5’3″, and in my heels around 5’4″, and I shortened it by over 2 inches, and might have cut off some in advance as well. I like the length I’ve got it at now, but I’d definitely shrink it earlier in the process next time. Mostly because I’m not really a heels-often person. Though my new pair is super comfy!

One of my favorite things about this version (beyond the fantastic pockets) is the buttons I chose. The waistband button is a golden shank button, made of plastic, but so cool! The other buttons are a greenish-blueish shifting ombre color thing. They’re pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

The only issue I’m finding with my skirt, which is totally a fabric thing, is that is wrinkles early and often. It’s definitely something I’m going to find annoying as I continue to wear it, but I also know that this skirt is wonderful to wear and waft around in, and I’ll wear it until it falls apart!

This got its first real wear in Seattle for a meteorology conference, and the next big wear in New Orleans for a vacation, where the green wall pictures were taken… I’m considering this business casual, but it works in real life too!

Whale of a Coat

front

This is my new coat!!!

Ain’t it purdy?

It’s warm too!

arms

And it looks kinda Victorian (although its super not period accurate, or even vaguely accurate, and but at least give me a smidge steampunk? Kinda? Maybe? Okay I’ll continue…)

Now for the details… This is mostly the coat from Simplicity 8262, which is a new Leanne Marshall pattern. It has seven princess seamed panels with a nearly full circle skirt between them. Or it feels like it, at least.

The fabric is a wool poly blend, which started out grey. I spent one night carefully dying each piece, hoping to get an emerald color. Moss is nice too…

muslin

I started by making a muslin out of some neon paisley that I kept around for muslin, and when I started handling my wool fabric I decided to also use it for interlining. As in take apart the muslin and use it for interlining.

side-back

My muslin fit pretty well, except around the armscye, but I ended up overfitting it regardless, so I can only get one close fitting sweater under it at a time. So no thick sweaters plus this coat for me, unless I carry them separately. But it’s working lovely so far!

back

The collar is made out of what I think is a wool felt, though I thought it was poly, because most of the time I can’t have wool on my neck and chin (due to sensitivity), so I was slightly miffed to find out it was wool, but it keeps it nice and warm!

side

I modified the front to get more of a double breasted feel, and I used bound buttonholes… For the first time! Aren’t they cool! A little messy, but for a first set, they’re pretty snazzy.

I also added a zipper to the inside, which I’m considering moving around a bit, but it’s useable for now!

pocket

Also, does it look a little sticky? I lined it with this awesome blue whale flannel from Joann’s. It does add some bulk, and some friction, but I like it! I did line the sleeves with slippy lining. Pink, since I didn’t have enough red for the job. For the sleeves I also underlined with flannel instead of the muslin fabric… Less bulk with hopefully equal wind protection.

front-slouch

Looking at the pictures, I still need to work out the button and zipper placements, but the rest of the coat seems nice and smooth!

Now it just needs to stay cold out. It’s only been that cold for one day a week since I made this.

Also, Happy New Year!

Blue Winter Susanne Cardigans

I’m obsessed with cardigans.

As if you couldn’t tell… and those are just the sewn ones. And not even all of them.

And I’m always in search of the perfect cardigan pattern.

combo

The Susanne cardigan from Compagnie M. certainly hits many of those marks.

I had these sweater knits that have been burning a whole in my stash for about a year. And I wanted drapey cardigan to go with them. I had thought about the new Grainline one, but it wasn’t perfect for what I wanted, and I searched the internet far and wide.

When I found this one from Compagnie M. I immediately purchased it as the short version hit exactly what I wanted for these knits. Then the problem became finishing the seams.

Sweater knits enjoy unraveling, in my experience, and my serger isn’t really in working order.

aqua1

When the new makerspace opened up in my building on campus, I was pleased to find out they have a serger! (Among other fun things, such as the laser cutter that I’m incredibly obsessed with. As in all the Christmas gifts…).

aqua2

My sweater dreams could finally come true.

The aqua was first, and the pattern made a sweater that was wearable, but big. I serged around every piece, and folded over the edge and tacked the neckline/pocket edge. The armscye was a bit large and loose, and it was too big along the back shoulders. And a bit long.

aqua3

After wearing it a bit, I decided to take in the back and raise the entire cardi. I did this haphazardly, at the serger (which I don’t recommend), and I lopped off the top of the sweater at both the front and the back, and I cut into the back to create a smaller back. Overall, it had the effect that I needed and it’s a lovely cardigan to wear.

navy1

So when I brought out the navy knit, I made those changes to a traced pattern, to normalize them a bit. Otherwise, construction was the same, with serged edges for each pattern piece, except I used a marine blue bias binding around the neckline and pocket tops. It definitely makes the cardigan more stable, which makes it super comfy, and the pockets are potentially more useful. Not much, but they can hold the weight of my keys in one, and my phone in the other, so that’s a plus.

navy2

I’d like to try the other variations in the future… and maybe the long version, if I live in a cooler climate next.

navy3

Altogether, between the Susanne and the Julia cardigans, I have patterns that will probably serve me the rest of my life.

With a few others sprinkled in of course. Constant pursuit of perfection and all…

**Coming in with part 3 of get projects posted in 2016 when they were made… Part 4 (My coat!!! Squee!!) should be up sometime tomorrow, and then I’ll post my review of 2016!