Marcella Romano Blog Tour - Simplicity 8086

Are you ready to see the fanciest and hardest thing I've ever made?....Here it is!

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Today, Leslie of Thread Bear Garments, and I are the next stop on a blog tour of talented ladies. We all selected fabric from a very sweet family-owned Italian fabric shop called Marcella Romano. The rules for the tour were...'there are no rules'. In other words, we could make whatever our hearts desired. How fun!

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For the last year I've wanted to make Simplicity 8086 by Cynthia Rowley. My vision was to make the dress in a fancy fabric and wear it to my husband's work Christmas party. When I saw this particular jacquard on Marcella's site, I knew it was meant to be! 

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The Pattern: Simplicity 8086 by Cynthia Rowley
The Fabric: Main fabric - metallic jacquard with yellow drops c/o Marcella Romano. Lining fabric - satin faced twill purchased from Mood Fabrics.
The Process: I approached this project with great care, b/c y'all...this fabric is incredible. I've never worked with anything like it and I wanted to do it justice. My first order of business was reading any and all blogs/instagram posts/pattern reviews I could find. Lots of people struggled with this pattern, particularly at step 19, the part where the outer top piece attaches to the inside piece. That's right, this dress is all one piece, even though it looks like separates. Thank heaven for Melanie of Prima Dress Maker, who blogged about her process of sewing this dress AND included pictures and personal instructions to make it through the trickiest part. She was my God-sent angel (and I messaged her and told her so). If you ever create this dress, reference her post and you will make it through.
Next, I took my measurements and started on my muslin. Due to the more advanced level of this dress, the muslin was very helpful. I was able to troubleshoot fit issues and rip out seams without minding the fabric too much. I could tell the jacquard would need to be handled as little as possible so I wanted to go into the final version knowing exactly what I was doing.
After I was happy with the muslin I began cutting the lining and main fabrics. Per my mother-in-laws excellent advice, I serged along the edges of every jacquard piece. The fabric frays easily and I wanted to prevent any unraveling of this precious fabric (this step was KEY). 
From there I followed the instructions, utilized what I learned from Melanie's post as well as my muslin trial then put the dress together.
Modifications: For sizing I sewed an 8 on top and a size 12 on the bottom, blending the two where the skirt and bodice attach. To do this I added 5/8 inch extra to the center back part of the bodice pieces.
Due to the nature of the jacquard, I decided to line the skirt, which the pattern does not call for. I drafted an a-line skirt following a tutorial I found online. In the end it didn't have enough ease, so my mother-in-law helped me add a wedge to the center front. This is all hidden away underneath the dress so it's not seen.
What I Learned the Hard Way: I'm adding this section for the sake of this particular post. Let me share the things I would do differently if I created this again or utilized this type of fabric again.

  • Do not 'reduce bulk' at seam allowance by simply trimming with scissors. This fabric MUST be reinforced with serging. Either ignore instruction to trim allowance or serge it closer to the seam.
  • Reduce stitch length due to more loosely woven nature of fabric. I wish I would have done this particularly where the skirt attaches to the bodice. The weight of the fabric and lining causes a bit of stress.
  • Apply a strip of interfacing to jacquard where bodice and skirt meet as well as center back where zipper is inserted. This would ensure longevity of dress in high-stress areas.
  • Do not snip to reduce bulk when inserting invisible zipper. Sadly, I did this and the fabric started to fray on the outside after taking the dress off and on several times. I reinforced the weakend area after the fact, but now it's not as secure.
  • For the lining of the skirt, finish raw edges of seem before attaching. This seams obvious, and it is. But I forgot and now there are raw edges exposed if you look underneath (which nobody will be doing but me. Haha).

Styling & Versatility: This dress is a show-stopper. That wasn't my intention exactly, but I'm incredibly proud of it. I will be wearing this to my husband's work party at Christmas and sitting/dancing very delicately. :) When I put on the dress I felt like the queen of England...which is fun, but not really my style. So, I'm pairing it with a strappy sexy heel and playful jewelry for the party. No pearls.
Overal Review:  This pattern and fabric stretched my abilities and challenged me in very good ways. Just like following the completion of my Hampton Jean Jacket, I feel I've earned another star in my sewing journey. Skills that will come with me moving forward. This was HARD, but I did it and I'm hella proud.

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I want to give a shoutout to a few INCREDIBLE ladies who were instrumental in making this all happen:

  • Jill Nicole of Jill Nicole Photos for her stunning work. Aren't the pictures breathtaking? She was so patient with me as I attempted to model (not my strength).
  • Lauren Davis of @thisislaurendavis for putting my hair up in this amazing updo! Check out her instagram page...she is hair and nail goals.
  • Marie Fleurine of Sew Marie Fleur who coordinated this blog tour in collaboration with Marcella Romano. Thanks, girl!
  • Kathy White, my mother-in-law who is always there to help me and has years of sewing wisdom.
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Yari Jumpsuit

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Hi friends! It's been a while since my last post. Lots of life things have happened and kept me busy, but I've still been sewing up a storm (as documented by my Instagram account).
I'm back today to share a wonderful new pattern release with you...the Yari Jumpsuit by True Bias! Now, I promise, I sew other pattern designers other than Kelli...but hardly. Ha. She is just SO good at creating such wearable patterns! This new jumpsuit pattern can be made into pant or short form, sleeved or not, and has an optional d-ring addition which adds wonderful shaping. I chose to sew up the sleeveless pant version.

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I was lucky enough to test for this jumpsuit and am happy to give you some details here and a few pictures (which sadly turned out a bit of an odd color). But hopefully they help you see the vision for this great and on-trend pattern.

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The Pattern: The Yari Jumpsuit by True Bias
The Fabric: Thrifted mystery fabric in sage green (some kind of bottom weight cotton blend with perhaps some linen). I purchased over 3 yards for 99 cents!
The Process: I cut and sewed a straight size 2 in this pattern. Sometimes Kelli's patterns can run a bit large on me since I have a small bust. Kelli also uses herself as a fit model and she is 5'5''. So in hind-site I should have made a few adjustments to begin with, but I thought I would get a baseline. Next time I will add an inch or inch-and-a-half to the mid-section (I am 5'7'') so it doesn't ride up my behind. I will also take a wedge out of the neckline by a quarter of an inch to avoid gapping (again...small bust). I may also scoop out the armpits a touch as they ride up on me.
Cutting out the pant version is a little bit of a doozy since it's so long. I paid close attention to grainline and spent extra time making sure things were straight. This helped keep the pants from twisting in the final product. Assembling the pieces was simple and the pattern easy to follow. 
I'd never done a button placket quite like this one and I did wrestle with that bottom fold at the base of the pockets. It's not perfect, but hopefully my next one will be!
The neckline has a facing finish and the arms are finished with a bias binding.
You'll want to make sure you have matching thread for this project as there is much topstitching that shows.
Modifications: I made no modifications. Straight size 2.
Styling & Versatility: Honestly, I don't own many jumpsuits. But I love the look of them and I'm excited to have on in my closet now! I can see wearing this in the spring and fall paired with my Hampton Jean Jacket, or in the summer with my Birkenstocks while I chase my kiddos around. I think this pattern is so on-trend and just a fun piece to have!
Overal Review: On-trend pattern that will help you practice lots of different sewing skills! Also....POCKETS! <3

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Mandy Boat Tee & Winter 10x10

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Last week wrapped up another 10x10 wardrobe challenge (if you've never hear of this, read all about it here). In the fall I also participated in the 10x10 challenge and half of my items were me-mades. This time around I only included 3, one of which was my recently made Mandy Boat Tee!

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This top is a free pattern by Tessuit Fabrics and I created this one out of a jersey bed sheet I found at the thrift store. As I continue to get more comfortable with sewing with knits, shopping second hand is a great option. And talk about secret pajamas...clothing made with bed sheets! ;)
I'll give you an overview of this piece then share my reflections on this year's winter 10x10.

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The Pattern: Mandy Boat Tee by Tessuit Fabrics (free!)
The Fabric: Cotton jersey from second hand flat bed sheet
The Process: This pattern is 'one size fits all' and is meant to be a loose fitting comfortable top. To begin I washed my fabric on hot and dried (since this was someone's former bed sheet I wanted to make sure it was thoroughly disinfected). I then had to figure out which way the grain ran and cut the fabric to get it all straightened out. The sheet was cut quite crooked when the original maker created the sheet. Once I had the fabric on the square I was able to proceed.
For the finishes on the hems I used a double needle on my machine. This was my first time trying a double needle and I was surprised how easy it was to do!
Modifications: I followed the pattern with the exception of adding 2 inches to the sleeve length to make it full sleeves instead of 3/4 and I also took off 2 inches from the length to give more of a cropped fit.
Styling & Versatility: My wardrobe needed another basic 'mom' top for winter and this fit the bill! My days are spent chasing babies and I usually end up covered in dried snot by the end of the day. SO, comfy easy clothing is what I reach for on the regular. I love wearing blue, however this is slightly brighter than I normally gravitate toward. I do think it will mix well with my current wardrobe however. 
Overal Review: If you've been afraid to work with knits, definitely try this pattern! First of all, it's free, so that's a great reason to try it. But it's very forgiving since it's not fitted so there is little room for error. Keep a look out for jersey sheets when you hit the thrift store, then you will really have no excuse! I will be making more of these in the future for sure!

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This winter marks the 4th time I've participated in the 10x10 challenge and each time I take away something new. 

The clothes I selected:
2 bottoms: one pair of high-waisted jeans, one pair of leggings
5 tops: one button up, one sweater, and 3 pullovers
2 outer pieces: one boiled wool kimono, one open cardigan
1 pair of leather ankle booties

What felt right:

  • I had no struggles coming up with outfits this round. Since I selected all separates, it was very easy to mix and match and not feel bored with what I was wearing. I loved pairing a few combos in new ways and I especially enjoyed utilizing my amazing Eileen Fisher boiled wool kimono that needed to have the spot light. It is really quite the team player. 
  • These leather booties were a recent purchase and I enjoyed the way they looked with each outfit. No regrets on only having 1 pair of shoes for 10 days!

What I would change next time:

  • First of all, I wasn't terribly happy with my color palette. I ended up feeling like I needed a few warmer colored pieces to throw in the mix. I tried to do this with earrings and a bandana, but I wanted something more camel colored (my signature color) in rotation by the end.
  • It's challenges like these that help me weed out pieces in my closet, and this time, that would be my jeans! I purchased these H&M Conscious jeans after having my son, thinking they would be a great way to pull in my postpartum tummy but I came to realize they just aren't quite high waisted enough. For me I need at minimum an 11 inch rise on my pants to truly feel satisfied in the height of the waist. Anything lower than that rubs me in a weird place where my abdominal muscles have separated after having 2 children.
  • Lastly, by the end I wished I had a piece or 2 with some length variation. Each top was relatively the same length and it left every outfit looking fairly similar in dimension. Next time I will add a long vest or skirt to change this up a little bit.
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Ultimately my goal in participating in the 10x10 challenge is to have all pieces be me-mades (well...maybe not my shoes). I will slowly work toward this in the coming months and see if each time I can increase the number. There is also an amazing community of sweet women that participate through instagram, so follow the hashtags on there and you will be filled to the brim with inspiration!

Shirt No. 1 in Patchwork Linen

Since a young age, I have been an avid thrifter. Second hand was the normal way of life for my family. As I dive deeper into my love for sewing I have shifted gears from thrifting my clothing to thrifting fabric to make my clothing.

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First, I try to source fabric second hand by searching for larger dresses or even pants to cut up and create something new. It's often tough to find garments large enough to make what you want out of them, so occasionally I purchase a linen piece simply because I love the color or pattern of the material even though it doesn't have a section large enough for the pattern I have in mind. 
When I find an article of clothing, I bring the garment home, wash it, then cut it at all seams to see what I have to work with. Often I end up with long narrow strips from sleeves or dress panels. Typically I piece those together to make a garment from all one fabric...but this time I had a little fun trying something new!

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The Pattern: Shirt No. 1 by 100 Acts of Sewing
The Fabric: Linen from 3 different second-hand garments. Recognize the light blue from my Ogden Cami facing?
Modifications: Slightly shortened from the original pattern to work with the patch-working I was doing.
Styling & Versatility: This top is very unique and at first glance might not strike you as a capsule or staple piece. But I'm finding that it's fun to add a few patterned pieces into my wardrobe to keep things interesting. I also pulled all blues from my stash to create this top so it's not as bold as some combinations!
Overal Review: Shirt No. 1 is an incredibly easy-to-make easy-to-wear pattern. This is my second Shirt No. 1 and I wear both in heavy rotation. I love the simplicity of the shape and pattern itself. The pattern literally has one piece!
This was my first time joining fabric in this way and I would take a different approach next time. You can see how the top doesn't hang perfectly straight. I believe this is due to the linen being different weights and how I cut it out. Next time I will piece together my fabric slightly larger than what my pattern calls for, wash it, then cut out the pattern pieces to stitch together.

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This top was a bit of an experiment and challenge to use up my precious linen pieces I can't seem to part with! 

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Ogden Cami for Fall

When you think of a camisole, Fall weather doesn't usually come to mind. But if you live in the midwest in the months of September and even October, afternoon temperatures can creep into the upper 80's. A cami/tank can be layered under a sweater for cool mornings then stand alone later in the day (when you are chasing your children around at the park!).

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The Pattern: Ogden Cami by True Bias
The Fabric: 100% cotton for the main fabric, taken from a second-hand size 14/16 ladies jacket (see pic below). 100% linen used for facing, taken from scraps in my stash. I selected fabric that had sun fading since it would be used for a hidden facing...a great well-fibre practice and way to use up damaged fabric and scraps!
Modifications: I sized down one size for this top. Due to fabric restrictions, I brought in the side seams by 1/2 inch and created a more boxy affect by straightening out the hem and shortening. The back piece was sewn with a middle seam (it calls to be cut on the fold) since I used the front panels of the thrifted jacket to create the cami. I also chose to do a 1 inch bottom hem to give the top more weight and a slight cropped look.
Styling & Versatility: I wore this top layered over a pair of linen pants for a transitional Fall look. I could also see myself throwing a white t-shirt underneath for added warmth (and a slight 90's vibe). I kept the length long enough to be paired with a high-waisted skirt. Looking for versatility in each garment I make is highly important to me as I curate a self-sewn closet and continue to work toward a capsule wardrobe.
Overal Review: This pattern is a quick sew and a great one for an advanced beginner. The straps and facing add a little bit of a fun challenge. This was my first time under stitching and I love the affect it has in keeping the facing hidden. I can see myself making more of these camis in the future. A great staple pattern and one that can be easily made with second hand fabric since it doesn't require much!

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Here is the jacket in its original form. I was drawn the the colors and pattern of the fabric as well as the fact that it had large pieces to work with. The zipper was set aside for future use! It's a great heavy zipper.

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