Week in the Sewing Life No. 10

I haven’t done one of these in a few weeks, but here’s what’s been going on over here!

I’ve been getting my spring wardrobe ready. I’m excited to share the capsule that I’m building and my resources for it soon and more than anything I’m excited to dress for spring. It’s snowy and cold this weekend but I know those sunny warm days are just around the corner… Right!??!?!

Next week I’ll share thoughts and plans and then I hope there are a lot of finished garments up on the blog for the weeks to come. I’m also hoping to build my handmade wardrobe page that I have linked up there at the top of my blog. I would love for you to be able to see all my makes and easily click through to find links and descriptions. I’m thinking starting with this new season may be easiest!

I’ll be hunkering down this weekend and getting some sewing in. I’ve been sharing a lot of makes as I go on Instagram if you want to follow along there!

Looking through articles I bookmarked, here is a free tutorial for a twisted headband. I might see if Harper and I could whip some of these up this weekend.

I am loving all the photos coming out of the ‘House of Gucci’ set! This is a cool article about the costume design.

The Ancient Fabric No One Knows How to Make’ That’s all you need to know, go dive into it!

This article is about the Swedish crochet artist responsible for all the British rockers wearing crochet back in the day is interesting.

This is old, but our Interior Secretary Deb Haaland being sworn in wearing traditional Native American clothing is pretty cool. I’ve been thinking a lot about why clothing is important, and a moment like this proves that clothes absolutely have power to speak for us.

And finally, a nice tribute to the ballerina Misty Copeland. Representation matters and hearing other dancers reflect on her legacy is pretty cool.

Winter Makes Wrap Up!

I wanted to put together a wrap up of all the things I made this winter (Jan- now) and listen… the number is high. 24 things! in 3 and a half months!

There is no way this is sustainable, nor do I need this many new things in my life. I’m including some house projects and quite a few kid related projects in that number, but still. It’s high. But, it’s still a pandemic, it’s been pretty snowy and cold here, and I’ve gotten into a good work flow that helps me get through projects fairly quickly.

When I look at all these makes there was really only one true fail, the bomber jacket!, and everything else has been getting worn on the regular. That makes me feel good and like I’m on the right track in building a wardrobe I love.

I also tackled three coats/jackets as part of my make 9. I have some thoughts on coat making and I hope to make some more this fall and winter.

  1. You just have to jump in. It’s scary! There are a lot of steps and pieces and notions you don’t normally use! But like any other project, you just have to take it one step at a time. All my coats were fairly simple, and I think this was a great way to get started. Now I’m ready to keep going and keep honing my technique!
  2. You have to invest time and money. It’s going to take more time to sew a coat and you need to allot for that. It’s also going to cost money. Materials and notions for coats usually cost a little more plus you usually just have to buy more of it (lining, size and amount of fabric for a coat, specialty notions, etc). Planning for this investment is helpful and knowing that a ready to wear coat costs more than other garments is a good way to keep it in perspective.
  3. It’s worth it! There are some items I’m beginning to think aren’t worth sewing, for me personally. I was curious to see what I thought of my handmade coats. And a part from that bomber jacket… totally worth it. I love that I could make a coat in the exact color and style I wanted! And the second I put on a blazer and it wasn’t uncomfortable and tight across the shoulders, I knew it was worth the time I put in. With more practice I would think that I could sew a beautiful coat with finishings and details that would cost me a lot more money in the store. Being able to customize and get the exact coat you want is worth it to me!

I’m so ready to move onto spring (as I sit here and watch it snowing outside…) but I wanted to wrap up my winter makes before starting to shift my closet over. You can find a lot of my winter makes here!

Mini Me/// Burda 9304

Today I have a quick, cute little dress to share with you. I like putting these here, even if there’s not a ton to say about them!, in case you find yourself looking for kids’ clothes to make. I hope you enjoy!

This is a classic little girls sundress, Burda Kids 9304, and it comes in US sizes 6-11. I chose version A with a fully lined bodice, gathered skirt, patch pockets, and ties for straps. I’ve had this pink gingham in my stash for years and was happy to use it up for this breezy summer dress for my daughter. I bought some yellow buttons (her favorite color!) to add a fun detail and sewed up the size 11 pretty quickly.

It’s not warm enough to wear this out yet (hence the no pictures!) but soon I hope to get a picture with her and her brothers. I made them little bow ties out of the scraps!

I did have an issue with the button hole foot on my machine so I ended up just closing the skirt together and sewing the buttons on top for decoration. It works out fine, I’m not sure what was going on but I’ve made buttons on another project and it worked again.

Happy to have this fabric out of my stash and my daughter is very happy with her pretty new dress!

Whit’s Reviews/// Hey June Handmade

Every month I pick an independent pattern company, buy and sew up one of their patterns, ask them a set of questions you all helped me come up with, and then I tell you about it here! Thanks to your generous tips in my Ko-fi account last month, I was able to purchase the pattern, fabric, and fabric for next month. I really appreciate that! If you like these reviews but can’t contribute, liking/sharing these posts is always helpful as is just going and checking out the company I review. I’m so thankful for all your support!

I’m here today with this month’s Whit Reviews and we are looking at the company Hey June Handmade. To look through all of the pattern companies I’ve reviewed, click here!

Let’s start with the answers to our questions and then I will show you what I made. I reached out to Adrianna and she quickly responded. I appreciate the care and attention she gave our questions and I hope you enjoy her answers!

What is your design background? When and why did you start making your own patterns?

 I’ve always been more interested in the technical aspects of sewing, so from day one I started making my own patterns rather than using pre-existing ones.  I’ve moved from paper, to using Adobe illustrator, and finally to a CAD program for my drafting and grading.  I was self taught using textbooks for several years before I was able to take flat pattern drafting classes.  When I first started nearly a decade ago, PDF patterns were only just emerging and there were none for simple, every day knit basics, so that’s where I began.   

Who do you design for? Who is your Target Audience?

Anyone who loves to sew and wear comfortable, everyday basics! 

What level of sewer do you design for?

The majority of Hey June patterns are designed to be beginner or advanced-beginner friendly.  They are also designed to be very “hackable”, so you can use one pattern to create several looks.  It’s my goal to cater to those who just want to use a pattern without having to think about it, as well as those who want to save some money and get creative by using one pattern to create almost any garment they can imagine.  The HJ website is full of tutorials and free add-on patterns for this very purpose.

What is your price point and why?

Patterns are $10 – $12.  They are purposefully kept at a low price so they can be accessible to anyone without a sale. We do offer a bundle discount as well as two site-wide sales per year.

What is your size range? Why did you pick this range? What is the size, cupsize, and height that you design your block on?

In the past, it’s been 2 – 22, then for a short time it was 0 – 24, and currently it is womens 0 – 30, though it is always evolving.  Sizes 0 – 20 are a B sewing cup, and 14 – 30 are a D sewing cup (this is not related to bra cup size).  I don’t like to talk about over all height, because it is very rarely proportionate to adjustments needed in leg or torso length and I think it can set people up for failure.  Instead, I offer total lengths in my patterns for inseam and back length so everyone can make a good choice for their individual bodies.  I like to share the anecdotal data about my own body – I am 5’7″, which is two inches taller than the standard height for drafting, but I have to shorten all my tops by 2″ because my torso is so short.  If I was a newer sewist and just chose to add an inch or two based on my height, it would yield poor results.

Do you support Black Lives Matter? What are some ways that you are anti racist and inclusive in your company on a day to day basis?

Always.  Everyone is always welcome and I hope that my communities online have supported that inclusive mentality to all our members.  I am very proud to say that up to this point I haven’t had to remove any member due to hateful language and I hope that the HJ community will continue to reflect our shared goals toward inclusivity and anti-racism. 

Is there anything else you would like people just discovering your company to know?

The HJ website is chock full of helpful information if you’re just getting started.  Make sure to read the product listing, the dedicated blog post for each pattern (linked in the product listing) the FAQ, and the comprehensive overview of PDF patterns linked on the home page for all the information you may need.  Then you can venture into the tutorials and sewalongs for even more helpful information and inspiration!  We also have a very active facebook group if you have questions, and we also just love to see your finished projects!

Hey June Handmade has been on my radar for awhile, I had just never sewn any of their patterns. I decided to purchase the Evans blazer since I’m focusing on coats/jackets right now and I thought a knit blazer would be a good place to start.

I’m so happy this was my first blazer! The drafting on this is pretty great and the instructions and support offered through the blog is exceptional. I was nervous about those welt pockets after my disaster of a bomber jacket a few weeks ago, and although they are not perfect, they are pretty dang good! And more importantly (I think!) I actually learned something and understood what I was doing.

I made a straight size 8 and the fit in the shoulders is pretty spot on. I need to lengthen the sleeves next time, but because of the fabric I used I am just leaving them so they are long enough. I used this lovely ponte knit in the color new brick from Melanated Fabrics and it was really great to work with.

I had trouble with my knit interfacing but have recently seen some Instagram posts on crap interfacing and I think I need to upgrade mine. I think this may have contributed to a few issues in the collar and pockets. Sometimes it bubbled and sometimes it just peeled up and moved while I was working with it.

The construction of the Evans blazer is pretty straight forward. There are darts and fish eye darts for shaping and the collar in built into the front of the jacket. There are welt pockets and two piece sleeves, all typical elements you would find in a woven jacket. That means this looks polished and professional but with the comfort of the knit.

I never wear blazers because they are always too tight in the shoulders, but the stretch here keeps this comfy while still playing with that structured look. I really love how this turned out and will be showing some different ways I plan to wear it later this week! I enjoyed this whole process so much, I hope to be making more Hey June patterns in the future and highly recommend them to all of you!

Sew the Stash///April

It’s the beginning of the month so you know what that means, time to pick out some fabric from the stash to use up! Last month I made this outfit for my daughter as well as some tie dye yoga pants. I didn’t get around to the sweatshirt because, quite frankly, I’m over sewing sweats and ready for all the spring things! I will save that lovely knit for fall and winter when I’m back in a cozy, hibernating mood.

Which brings me to this month’s stash! This month I want to make a sweet dress for my daughter out of this cotton gingham I’ve had for years. I bought it thinking I would make a friend’s kids matching outfits. I have no idea what I was thinking as I was working and raising young twins at the time and only just learning how to sew! They obviously didn’t get made, but now I can use this happy fabric for my own children. I’m thinking I will try and get matching bow ties for the boys out of it too. Some day we will go to church again and my kids are going to look stylin’ when that day comes!

This blue cotton was given to me by my mom. I think it was originally for a home decor project? I’m going to be starting in on some shirt making and am going to use this for wearable muslins. It’s a great way to practice my techniques and the fabric will work for my boys! I’m going to try and make Chris a shirt as well. I know it will take some fitting and tweaking so using a fabric I’m not precious about will be perfect. I don’t foresee myself making my husband a lot of clothes, but it’s a great way to practice and know how to fit him!

Finally I have this interesting fabric that I picked up from Shop WellFibre on instagram. I’m not exactly sure of the make up of this, it’s like a mix between a knit and a tweed? I loved the colors of it though and have been bouncing around ideas on what I could make with it. I’m thinking I may have enough for an oversized blazer but also possibly a pair of pants. Stay tuned as I have this playing a part in my Spring wardrobe, I’m just not exactly sure how yet!

Tag me or leave a comment if you play along this month and sew up something from your stash! I’d love to see it!

Mini Me/// Burda 9356

Today I have a fun little project to share with you! I saved my leftover fabric pieces from this project and whipped up something for my daughter. I had a lot of fun with this and loved using every last bit of fabric that I had. Just so you know, I’ll be showing pictures of the garment and not her in because we’ve been having a lot of talks lately about putting pictures on the internet and she didn’t want to be photographed. I know that’s tricky when this is a sewing blog and fit is a big part of that, but you will have to trust me that she looks adorable in it!

I sewed up Burda Kids 9356 out of this corduroy in the size 11. This is a classic pattern with an option to also just be a skirt and it has US sizes 6- 14 in the envelope.

I knew it would probably be something she wore more in the fall than now so I sized up. She is also fairly tall so I like that this is plenty long enough and she feels comfortable wearing it as an every day piece.

This pattern came together very quickly. The instructions are clear and the drafting and finishings are great. The two bib pieces are fully lined and the waistband of the skirt allows for a really clean finish on the inside. I also appreciated the construction of the pockets. There is one piece that fits under the front of the skirt and it makes the pockets lie flat and keep any bulk or weird bumps happening.

The shirt I just traced off from a t-shirt she had in her closet. I didn’t have enough fabric to make it long sleeve, so it’s about three quarter with a thick cuff. This fabric is really comfortable and she (and I!) love the colors so I know she will wear it a lot.

A fun project and she loves it! Used up some scraps and also now we have matching outfits- winning all around.

1 Piece, 3 Ways

Today we’re playing the styling challenge, 1 piece, 3 ways! This is where we take one piece of clothing and find 3 different ways to style it up. Sometimes a fresh take on clothes you already own can be just as fun as getting something new. Let’s begin, shall we?

The Piece: I’ve been playing along with the Sew Happy Color challenge on Instagram and this week is the color blue, so I went looking for blue and came up with this Nikko Top by True Bias .

I made this early last year in a couple of different colors and one of the dress versions. I reach for these all the time. This bamboo rib knit is so soft and light, it makes for a great layering piece. I do find that I’ve mostly been wearing it with jeans, so I decided to change it up and bit and see what I could come up with!

Outfit #1: I love the idea of layering a turtleneck under a spring dress, but have to admit it’s not something I do very often. I went looking for dresses and picked my Calvin Wrap Dress by True Bias because I’ve been wanting to try layering a t-shirt under it and had the idea in my head.

I feel like this is a fun nod to the 90s trend going around and I paired it with my most combat style boots. I like the blue with the dark gray and think this is a fun way to extend the life of a warmer weather dress.

Outfit #2: I love to wear this top with my high waisted jeans, such a 70s vibe, so I decided to keep that silhouette but play around with some color. I paired it with my new Persephone Pants and I love this color combination. I would not normally think of putting these two colors together, but after this month’s color challenge and seeing all the ways people are mixing and matching colors, I decided to go for it. I love this one so much.

Outfit #3: For my final look I went back to my jeans and t-shirt. This time these jeans are straight cut Gap classic style blue jeans with my white sneakers. To add a little something extra, I threw on this blazer I thrifted that has a bit of an 80s shoulder. Feel like I could run for vice president in this outfit! Sam’s my campaign manager!

Play along with something you own in your closet that doesn’t get enough love these days! Tag me or leave a comment and let me know how it goes!

Make That Look///March

I love taking a ready to wear or street styled look and figuring out how to make it for myself. You can find my past Make That Look challenges here!

Today I’m starting with this pin I saved earlier this year.

I’m sorry I don’t have the original source, the link just sends me to Amazon and I couldn’t find the site it started on. I saved this pin because I loved these pants! The high waist, the color, and I liked the seventies vibe with that striped sweater.

Here is what I came up with! I made the Persephone Pants in this stretch corduroy and think they are pretty good at capturing what I liked about the pinned image. I sewed the size 8 and lengthened them so they are full length (the original pattern is cropped!)

For the shirt, I found this beautiful striped rib knit at Blackbird Fabrics and loved that all the colors from my winter module were in it. I sewed up the Seamwork Orlando shirt in the size 6 and just lengthened the sleeves so they would be full length.

Seamwork patterns just don’t fit me, I would need to pinch out some of the front here to make this shirt fit perfectly, but for a simple t-shirt I think it’s ok. I like how wide the scoop is and this will be a great basic t-shirt to layer up and wear throughout the fall and spring.

I am always looking for fun pants that aren’t jeans or leggings but that fit into my stay at home lifestyle. I think these pants are cute, playful, comfortable, and will get worn quite a bit.

How do you think I did?

My Final Thoughts on Fibre Mood

Last week I shared my final reveal of my winter module and I thought today I would share some thoughts on Fibre Mood magazine and patterns. I made 7 of their patterns over a span of about a month and ended up really loving 4 of the things I made. 2 I like and only 1 was a fail. So I think it’s safe to say that I can give this company a positive review, but let’s dig a little deeper!

First, I want to share the three tools that I use to trace and cut out my patterns from magazines. I highly recommend this tracing paper (I prefer how wide it is, makes life easier!), these highlighters (I trace my size and then use them for tracing onto the paper as well), and this curved ruler to add seam allowances. Tracing patterns is not difficult so please don’t let that intimidate you! There are a number of sewing magazines out there and if you’re limited on space or on a tight budget, they are a great way to get a lot of bang for your buck!

Ok, let’s get back specifically to Fibre Mood. The negatives for these patterns really, for me, are:

The size range could be more inclusive. Their sizing runs from a 29.9 bust to a 57.5 inch bust(here is their sizing chart). I wish they would work on expanding that a bit more. I do appreciate that they offer children’s and sometimes men’s patterns, just wish more of the sewing community could make their designs.

The sizing system used is different in every iteration. This is something that I think is meant to be helpful. If you buy a US magazine the sizing is imperial and in what we would think of as our sizing chart (0-28). There are also British sizing charts and European sizing. The problem is the actual patterns on the pattern sheet are all European. This is not a huge deal, it is easy to figure out what you’re supposed to be tracing, but I noticed a couple of errors in switching centimeters when it should be inches. I just think this lends itself to errors and we all know how important measuring is in sewing. I think we are all used to using different sizing charts and it wouldn’t be a big deal if they were consistent throughout their magazine and online instructions.

The line drawings and instructions aren’t the clearest. Ok, in a minute I’m going to say that I like the fashion vibes of their patterns but I have to say that sometimes it’s hard to see clear details and their line drawings don’t seem to be the most accurate. I had the most trouble when I was working on the pleat details of the Bonnie top and the ribbing of the Frida jacket. It actually took me going to social media and seeing other people’s photographs to find the detail shots I needed of the garments.

We also need to discuss that the instructions are very sparse. They do offer a bit more detail online and I will say that I was able to follow them, some things just took a little more work to figure out. If you are fairly confident in how the construction of garments works, you will be fine. If you are brand new to sewing, I would think these instructions would leave you frustrated!

For Pros, Fibre Mood really nails it with:

Inspirational pictures. I love the styling of the makes. From pairing handmade clothes with ready to wear and capturing a whole vibe in their photos, I think Fibre Mood excels in selling their patterns as things we actually want to make and wear. I know I said I wish they would do some more practical, head on shots so we could get a clear sense of fit and proportions, but for me this magazine is really helpful in thinking about what I want to make next and leaves me feeling inspired.

Simple patterns with trendy details. I really just like their patterns! They are pretty basic lines with fun details, and that is what I like to wear. I don’t want things that are too fussy or trendy but I still would like to feel current in my clothes. I think they nail that balance. Designers are never going to please everyone, but for me, these patterns are what I’m looking for when I’m taking the time to make my own clothes.

Consistent drafting and sizing. While what they call the sizing changes (and is annoying!) the actual sizes themselves and the fit of the garments seems to be pretty consistent. I made a 38 or size small in everything and, aside from needing to add length, it all fit well. I tried patterns from three different issues so I think I can safely say that the drafting and sizing is consistent. Once you make one of their patterns I think you will know what to expect with the others!

Social Media presence. Fibre Mood has done a great job with their instagram account. They have been offering weekly free patterns and sew alongs during lockdown and they reach out to a lot of sewing influencers so that when a new magazine is published you can immediately see what the patterns look like sewn up and styled on a variety of people. The hashtags for the patterns are very active and I know that when I needed help, it was easy to find online!

I have subscribed to the magazine and will continue to share it here and make their patterns. I find flipping through the issues really inspiring and I love their take on design. If you like what you see but aren’t interested in an entire magazine, please know that you can buy individual patterns online as pdfs.

I’m happy to continue supporting Fibre Mood and already have a few patterns marked from them for my spring and summer sewing plans! Please let me know if there are any questions you have about sewing these patterns and I will be happy to answer them for you.

Week in the Sewing Life No. 9

This week has been a tease with some seriously gorgeous spring weather, and now we are about to get whomped (that’s the word the weather man actually used) with a good amount of snow. I have a few easy projects cut out and am hoping to dive into a more complicated make while we’re cozied up indoors.

Thank you for all the kind comments on my winter module! I’ve had fun mixing these pieces into my wardrobe and I’ve had a lot of fun this week getting dressed and continuing to play along with the Sew Happy Color challenge over on instagram. It was yellow week- my favorite!- and it made me happy each morning figuring out what I wanted to wear.

This was mentioned at the beginning of the month, but Canva has a very cool color wheel tool that you can use to play around with new color combinations if you’re looking for ways to get inspired and play along with the challenge.

I thought this was a helpful article on how to buy yarn online. Fabric can still be a challenge even after years of sewing so yarn is absolutely intimidating to me!

This is an adorable free pattern for little girls and I’ve seen a few people make it up as an actual dress. I might save it for Harper for the summer.

I loved this round up of the 2021 Costume Designers Guild Award Nominations. I’ve been watching Bridgerton and costumes and sets are so beautiful and definitely help tell the story. I love costumes and the stories behind how they get made.

I hope you have a warm and cozy weekend wherever you are!