In case you missed it, last week I shared a post about sewing my first ever swim suit as a tester for the brand spanking new Take the Plunge swimsuit from Patterns for Pirates that I was completely in love with. Its a one piece swimsuit with about a million different styling options and was a heck of a challenge for this newbie to swimwear. Throughout the test period I made four different suits, two of which were complete goners, and I learned a lot along the way that I wanted to really quickly share with all of you!
I will readily admit that I am terrible at making muslins when I sew clothing. Most of the time when I am sewing clothing I am sewing with stretchy knits which makes wearable muslins are a little less necessary than if I was sewing with wovens (although my Appleton Dress took more than a couple of muslins to get right) so I just skip the step altogether. I really do understand how important they can be for getting the fit of a garment just right but I am impatient and still a toddler at heart so I cant get myself to take the time to make something that wont even see the light of day and waste my precious fabric.
When I recently made a “wearable muslin” of a pattern I had been coveting for a long time, the LoneTree Jacket by Allie Olson, I got first hand look at just how important making a muslin is. Although I ended up with a decently wearable garment (and I have worn it many times!) there are so many small changes I would make to this jacket to make it fit just right that I could have already done if I just would have taken the time to make a muslin…
I recently had the opportunity to test a new pattern that is being released in issue 12 of One Thimble! One thimble is a digital sewing magazine with genuinely useful articles and trendy modern patterns according to their website and I have definitely found that to be true! Their website is filled with even more useful information and articles for the modern sewist and sewing blogger. I have learned quite a bit about bettering both my blog and my sewing from their site.
The pattern I tested is from Fabulous Home Sewn and it is a versatile messenger bag pattern inspired by classic military messenger bags (but much cuter of course!). There are two different front flap options, a symmetrical version like the one I made and an asymmetrical version. Both options have room for optional front expandable pockets, two on the symmetrical version and one on the asymmetrical, that have grommet details.
Fit is everything when it comes to clothes. Even the most expensive clothes can look incredibly cheap when they are ill fitting. I have said it before and I stand by it, making your own clothes is the best way to make sure you get the perfect fit for you and your body. Utilizing a good tailor can help too though 😉 Style, however, can be just as important and can be even more challenging than finding the perfect fit.
Knowing your “body shape” is the first step in trying to determine what clothing styles are going to work for you. We all know bodies that come in a wide ranges of sizes, heights, and proportions of course and that, no matter what, those bodies are all beautiful but knowing which basic “shape” your body is can take a lot out of the frustration out of picking what to wear. There are a lot of different websites that already explain how to determine your body shape, including this one and this one, so I won’t go into the procedure or the math of determining body shape here but I will caveat this with saying these are very vague categories and, even within the categories, there can be a wide range of body types. For example, I consider myself a “full hourglass” meaning I have the general proportions of an hourglass figure but I still want to, and need to, include the fact that I have a large chest and a big booty. Those are all important things to consider when I look at style lines in clothing and proportions of garments and just saying ” I am an hour glass” would give me the guidance I really need.
One of the best things about sewing your own clothing is being able to make clothes that are tailored exactly to your own body, fit the way you like, and are in the fabrics that you like. The challenge for those of us that are well blessed in the chest department, however, can be finding patterns that are designed to even come close to fitting us from the start. Most conventional pattern companies and designers are sized for a woman that has a B-cup which is especially amusing to me considering the average chest size in America is a 34DD…
That means even the “average” woman would have challenges fitting into patterns right form the initial draft and those of us that exceed that average really shouldn’t even try to fit in a traditional pattern designed to be made of woven fabrics (the stretch of knit can make it much more forgiving!) without expecting a lot of frustration and wasted time and fabric.
The Hey June Lane Raglan has quickly become one of my favorite patterns! I have made three so far and plan to make a few more in the next couple of weeks (or months) if time allows. It is a super quick and easy sew and, depending on what material you choose, can look and feel super casual or super dressy.
My three versions range that whole spectrum with a super casual version made from $4.99 white knit fabric form hobby, a mid level casual grey version with a heathered jersey from a local fabric outlet, and dressy camel version made from a think ponte knit purchased at my local JoAnn fabrics.
I live in knits and dresses have quickly become my go-to for a quick, easy dressing choice. This dress, which is both made from a knit material and, obviously,a dress, just so happens to be one of my first successful clothing makes ever!
For the first projects in my capsule wardrobe experiment I wanted things that would be easy, functional, and versatile for my wardrobe. The cream knit fabric for this dress was purchased at my local Jo-Ann’s store and was meant to be used to make a wearable muslin version of this dress but it ended up turning out so well I have been wearing it as is! The pattern is a McCall’s “Learn to Sew for Fun” pattern, number m7313, and was specifically designed for the beginner clothes maker, making it perfect for me! I feel confident in my quilting and bag making skills but for some reason, making clothing has always challenged me, especially when it comes to getting the right fit.
I have been on a journey lately that I honestly thought that I never would be on. I have seen YouTube videos on minimalism, heard how AMAZING the Life Changing Magic Tidying Up is, and listened to friends rave all about how their life is so much more amazing now that they threw away all of their things but I honestly thought it was a load of crap, and part of me still does really, but I am coming around just the tiniest little bit. I am by no means a minimalist, and never intend to be, but I have been making a conscious effort to be much more intentional and frankly conscious about what I am allowing into my life and my home.
For me this journey started with letting go of certain people and relationships and removing a lot of the negativity in my life that way. This felt slightly isolating at first, I will admit, and at times it can still be hard but I think it is the best thing that I have ever done for my own health.
I think every one who loves to sew wishes they had more time to commit to it. I don’t think I have ever met anyone who creates anything really that doesn’t want more time to devote to their passion. For me obviously that passion is sewing but, as I have mentioned in about all of my previous posts, I have had really little time to dedicate to sewing lately.
When I do have time its really only in quick half-hour chunks or a quick few minutes in between all of the other things that I have to do on a daily basis. I shared a while back that I am in the process of making a quick, one block at a time, but repetition is never something that I have liked very much and I have found myself searching for other quick and easy projects that I can accomplish in a small amount of time. Five of these quick and easy projects have really stuck out to me and of course I just had to share them with you all as well! They are all projects that would be great for beginner as well so bonus points for that too!
A few weeks back I spent some time revisiting some of my favorite makes from back when I started sewing. I couldn’t help but think of a sampler quilt that was one of the first “large” products I made. Looking at it now, it really wasn’t very good (the points were off and the colors didn’t match) but I was so proud of it at the time. Nostalgia hit and I had the hankering to make another one so… I did. But smaller!
I followed this block- of-the-month pattern, using leftover HSTs from my quilt block machine cover. I loved the colors in that piece so much that I figured a little, matching quilt to hang on the wall in the sewing room that I will one day have couldn’t hurt.
The pattern is fairly simple and the whole thing took about two days to make and I love it just as much as I thought I would. Now to get working on that craft room!