Saturday, May 31, 2014

Perfect Pattern Parcel: Pretty Panda Prefontaines!

That title is a mouthful of alliteration, eh?

What is Perfect Pattern Parcel, you may ask?

Here at Perfect Pattern Parcel, we believe in supporting independent pattern designers. It’s our opinion that indie patterns are just, well, better than big box patterns, and we’re pretty sure our customers think so too. So, we allow customers to show their support in naming their own price for each Parcel.  We also encourage customers to allocate part of their Parcel price to the charity in order to help classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel donates all profits after expenses from Parcel sales to the charity as well. Together we've raised almost $4,500 towards eliminating educational inequality.

A great cause, huh? Check out this awesome graphic showing all the school supplies the proceeds from Parcel #2 earned!

What's in Perfect Pattern Parcel #3?
Pattern Parcel #3

Poppy Tunic by Make it Perfect
Water Bottle Tote by Radiant Home Studio
Jorna Tank Dress by Jenna Brand
Staple Dress by April Rhodes
Bombshell Swimsuit by Closet Case Files

Plus, the Bonus Pattern: choose a price of $28 or greater for Parcel #3 and you will automatically also be sent the Bonus Pattern! The Bonus Pattern for this Parcel is Prefontaine Shorts for Women by Made with Moxie. This shorts pattern has a retro trim, loads of pockets, two inseams and are so comfortable you won't want to take them off. Includes sizes 0 - 24. Exclusive launch on Pattern Parcel. Be the first to own this pattern!

Pattern Parcel #3

My first project from the Perfect Pattern Parcel is the bonus pattern, the brand new pattern from Jill of Made with Moxie: the Prefontaine shorts for women!  A lady-sized version of her popular Prefontaine shorts for kiddos, the shorts are retro '70s-style running shorts like those worn by Steve Prefontaine, an American runner from that era.

I am not typically a shorts wearer outside the confines of my home, although Bangkok's heat forces me to don them on occasion.  However, the Prefontaine shorts are exactly the kind of shorts I like to wear to bop around the house/sew/sleep, so I dove in!  After making them, I might be reconsidering my shorts-in-public stance...

I ended up making a size up from what my measurements called for, just to safely ensure that my junk in the trunk would fit, but I think in the end that was probably unnecessary; my shorts are a little on the roomy side. Next time I'll just make my regular size, as the pattern seems to have the perfect amount of ease built in.  No back pockets for me on this pair, although the little welt pocket option is quite cute!  I did the covered elastic waistband option so the elastic wouldn't be itchy on my skin.

The fabric: I am not normally one to buy novelty fabrics (at least not for myself... for kids, yessir), but somehow I couldn't walk away from this panda fabric I found in Bangkok's Chinatown.  It's a Belleboo print and it is super cute.  Perhaps the fabric reminded me of days of yorn when I lived in DC, little Butterstick (AKA Tai Shan) the baby panda was born at the National Zoo, and watching him on the panda-cam was a national (or at least DC area) pastime.  I dunno, but I love it.  When I bought it I assumed it was black pandas on a white background, but when I got into better lighting, I realized it was navy on cream.  It was an impulse purchase, for sure, and I wasn't really sure what to do with it once I got it home, but eventually I realized it was perfect for some Prefontaines.  I paired it with binding made from the leftover navy ponte I used for the contrasting yoke on Tim's Newcastle Cardigan.

I love the final result!

Pandas + Ponte + Prefontaines = Perfection.

A cute and comfortable cut/shape plus the super soft knit binding makes for one awesome pair of shorts.  I envision many more of these in the future!

Get yourself a Perfect Pattern Parcel, unlock the bonus pattern and you, too, can make yourself some of these awesome shorts!

Buy Pattern Parcel #3

Also, while you're at it, check out some of the other Pattern Parcel patterns sewn up by this gaggle of amazing bloggers... when I found out that I would be sewing along with these talented and stylish ladies, my immediate thoughts were as such:

Parcel #3 Inspiration Tour Schedule:

Friday, May 30 Sew Busy Lizzy || Pienkel || SeamstressErin

Saturday, May 31 Design By Lindsay || the Brodrick design studio || Cookin' and Craftin'

Sunday, June 1 Diary of a Chainstitcher || a happy stitch || Disaster in a Dress || sew Amy sew

'So, Zo... What do you know?'

Sunday, June 8 oonaballoona || A Stitching Odyssey || Sew Charleston

Monday, June 9 Sew Sweetness || True Bias || Ozzy Blackbeard

Tuesday, June 10 Welcome to the Mouse House || Sew Caroline || Adventures in Dressmaking

Wednesday, June 11 Peneloping || YoSaMi || sewVery

Thursday, June 12 la inglesita || La Pantigana || Sanae Ishida

Friday, June 13 Seamster Sewing Patterns || Paunnet

Friday, May 30, 2014

Southwestern Emery

I told ya there would be a second one!  After my first Emery went so well, I was pretty pumped to get started on another!  Plus, I had this very busy southwestern/Aztec/tribal (what do you call this stuff?) cotton quilting-esque fabric that I bought on a whim from the sale area at one of my favorite shops in Bangkok's Chinatown fabric district, Cotton House (#277).  I realize I probably already missed the boat on this trend, but I like the fabric nonetheless, so I pushed ahead with it.  I kinda wanted a more in-your-face Emery since my last one was relatively tame.

I cut the bodice on the cross-grain to get the stripes to go horizontally, but then left the skirt with the stripes running vertically.  I tried to get the stripes to match across the side seams below the bust darts, figuring that noone was (hopefully) looking too close at my armpit region so it was ok if it didn't line up.  Despite my best efforts, the stripes don't quiiiiiiite line up across the back zipper.  I'm cool with that, though.

This Emery is unlined because I didn't have quite enough fabric.  I considered using bias tape as a facing, but ultimately decided to draft my own neckline facings by tracing the front and back necklines (taking into account the back darts)... I made them 2.5" wide and interfaced them.  Not too shabby!  I stitched them down at the shoulders and in the zipper seam allowance so they don't pop out.

Somehow, even though I made the same size as my first, this one became a little tight across the chest once the sleeves were attached, only when I try to put my arms behind my back.  My only guess is that it's due to the fabric having less stretch/give because it's more tightly woven than the fabric I used for my first Emery?  Also, on this one, it seems more obvious that I might need a slight swayback adjustment.  That said, I like how this slightly stiffer fabric gives the skirt a little more body.  Good stuff:

Anywho, I love this Emery... it's so bright and fun and girly and a little crazy, and I really dig how the stripes look going in different directions.  I feel like it has a bit of a Modcloth-y feel to it, perhaps.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mabel, Take 2

After my first Colette Mabel skirt came together so quickly and fit so nicely (until my fabric crapped out on me with its lack of recovery: be wary of french terry!), I was jazzed to sew up another one post-haste. Luckily I still had ikat ponte (care of Girl Charlee) left over from my Anita pants and there was enough for a Mabel.  Really, enough for two Mabels... this pattern uses so little fabric. Scraps, practically! 

Having worn my Anita pants a couple times, I knew this ponte was likely to be a better fabric choice for Mabel because it doesn't get stretched out of shape easily like the french terry I used for my first Mabel. This one worked out better than my last since the fabric has such awesome recovery... nice and snug. Snug enough that I felt I had to ask Tim if he thought it was still appropriate for work.  But I love it!  Keeps all my bumps under wraps.

I was going for pensive model pose.  Kinda looks like I need to vomit, huh?
The only problem is that the kick pleat would not lie flat.  After hemming the skirt with my twin needle, the kickpleat stuck straight out and this ponte refused to be pressed.  Sigh.  So I pinned the kickpleat down, walked around in the skirt to make sure I could (no problems there with the stretch fabric), and then ultimately chopped the kickpleat off, sewing the back seam straight up.  Worked out fine in the end!:
Mah butt.  Sans kickpleat.
I love this version of the skirt.  Comfortable, slick, animal-print-esque without being animal print... good stuff!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Me Made May: The Fourth Update

May 20: I wore my neon striped Plantain again, but totally forgot to take a photo of it.  I blame it on martial law being instituted in Thailand that day. Ok, martial law was instituted that day, but it had no immediate effect on my life or my ability to take selfies... or any of Thailand's ability to take selfies, for that matter.

May 21: Jorna tank (soon to be blogged!!) and leggings:

May 22: Thailand's martial-law turned military coup can't keep my Me Made May down.  My polka dot Hawthorn peplum blouse worn out to lunch with my new boss and then to the Jim Thompson factory outlet for some fabric shopping (PS: if you ever find yourself in Bangkok and are in the market for silk fabric, do hit up the Jim Thompson outlet for high-end stuff at [relatively] discount prices. Take BTS to Bang Chak, exit 5, walk down a block to Soi 93, turn right and it's a couple blocks down on your left.):

May 23: More polka dots; this time my polka dot Tessuti Suzy pants:

May 24: A Staple Dress (soon to be blogged) for a jaunt out to our neighborhood market:

May 25: My ikat Anita ponte pants for a trip to the BKK Farmers Market:

May 26: My Made by Rae Washi top with lowered neckline for a Memorial Day movie outing:

Friday, May 23, 2014

Batik New Look 6808

This pattern, New Look 6808, caught my eye when I was perusing the "best of" pages on it was a best of from way back in 2012, but it looked like such a good basic/blank canvas, I thought it was worth adding to my pattern stash.

I finally got around to sewing it up in an inexpensive hand-stamped batik I bought in Indonesia. I figured it would make a cute work blouse, and it did!  I definitely see myself making more versions of this top to go under suit jackets or blazers for work... perhaps a couple solid-color, sleeveless versions would fit the bill!

I sewed View B, the simplest of all the blouse options: boat neck with cap sleeves.  I was able to pull the shirt over my head without the zipper, so I left the zipper out.

I love the neckline; super flattering!  The sleeves, on the other hand, were a beast to sew in.  They are not supposed to be gathered, and yet, mine are.  Other people around the interwebs seemed to have a similar problem.

The shirt is quite fitted through the body as a result of the fisheye darts on the front and back (my first fisheye darts; I had to look up some tutorials to figure out how to sew them!).  It makes me a wee bit self-conscious in the belly area when it's untucked, but it's actually the perfect blouse for tucking into a skirt or pants because it's so fitted/sleek through the bodice:

My top has some extra fabric bunching up in the back (that is kinda hard to see the way I am standing below)... perhaps I need a swayback adjustment?  I can't be bothered for this blouse, but if I were to make it again I might try to remedy that situation if I can figure out how.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My First Emery

But definitely not my last!  I didn't jump on Christine Haynes' Emery dress pattern bandwagon right away, partially because I hadn't really forayed into dresses yet and partially because the peter pan collar and vintage bow details were not really my style (I find them too twee for me, although I think they're cute on other people).  But once I saw all of the rave reviews of the fit and instructions, I was definitely more intrigued.  I'm really glad I went ahead and got the pattern, because there is a reason for the raves: it's a great pattern and can be the basis for lots of different dresses, not just vintage-style ones.

Lucky for me, this pattern required no alterations for me, with the darts (all 8 of them, scratch that, all 16 of them since the bodice is fully lined!) all hitting in the right place.  Hooray!   
For me, Emery : Peony as Sureau Darling Ranges regarding fitting issues.

This dress needs accessories.

I made my first Emery with this interesting fabric I got on clearance at Joann last year.  I think it was $2/yard, maybe?  I like it a lot, but it was a bit shred-y to work with and I am a little worried that it will get picked easily.... one errant cat claw and it's toast.  I'm not sure what you call it, but it seems like cotton (or at least a blend), it's soft and doesn't press very crisply, it's got warp of one color and weft of another (navy and brown), plus it has woven in polka dots in red, turquoise and bright yellow.  Here's an up-close of both sides of the fabric:

I was a slave to the instructions and the infinitely helpful sewalong posts on Christine's blog. Particularly enlightening was the invisible zipper instructions in the sewalong: awesome.  With the help of those instructions and my new invisible zipper foot (thanks, Mom!), I have now successfully (and mostly correctly) inserted my first invisible zip!  Wooooooo!  And on a dress with a fully-lined bodice, no less.  It the top a little lumpy?  Is the zip slightly visible at the waistline? Yes and yes.  But I am calling this a win nonetheless.

I was particularly happy with how easily the sleeves eased into the bodice.  I've eased seams before, but typically end up with inadvertent gathers or bunchiness.  This time, though: smooth sailing.

So after all that gushing, you can sure expect more Emery dresses in the (near) future!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Me Made May Update #3

May 13: Trying to find a better way to take outfit selfies since my full-length mirror is so poorly lit. Not sure this is any better. Wearing my faux-ikat Tiny Pocket Tank (with no pocket).

May 14: Going super casual in one of my first me-mades, a Grainline Scout:

May 15:  A real ikat (from Bali!) Tiny Pocket Tank, paired with leggings:

May 16:  My By Hand London Polly tank, worn out while fabric shopping in Bangkok's Yaowarat/Chinatown fabric district.  Is it weird to wear clothes made from fabric you bought at a store to that store?  Well, I did it at Belleboo, so that's that.  But look at the new additions to my stash!:

May 17: Hanging out/sweating profusely in the gardens at the Jim Thompson House here in Bangkok.  Jim Thompson is the rejunvenator of the Thai silk industry who disappeared mysteriously... read up on him, he's a pretty interesting guy.  Anywho, I was wearing my brand new Belcarra blouse:

May 18: A repeat of my green Plantain, but paired with my brand new Colette Mabel skirt.  Unfortunately the french terry I used for the skirt got quite stretched out after walking around for a day in Bangkok's humidity.  Next time I would use something with better recovery for Mabel:

May 19: On the way out for a casual dinner in one of my original me-mades, a Tiny Pocket Tank:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Black Mabel Pencil Skirt

When I made my Me Made May pledge, I knew in advance that my me-mades mainly consisted of tops, with a few dresses and scant bottoms thrown in.  Making more skirts and pants (beyond just elastic waist pants) is on my to-do list.  I thought I'd start simple: the new Mabel knit skirt from Colette.  Easy, basic, comfortable...

My new skirt is made from some black french terry that I bought at L.GEmini on Sampeng Lane in Bangkok's Chinatown (same place I got the cool grey knit for Tim's Strathcona t-shirt, which I aso used for the waistband lining).  I went looking for a stable knit as required by the pattern, but there was a little communication difficulty on my part, so I ended up walking around the entire store feeling and stretching each roll of knit fabric until I found this black french terry. Sewing with the french terry was great... stable knits are so easy to cut and sew!  Zip, zip, zip on the serger and I had myself a skirt within a few hours.

Unfortunately, in black, the details like the cool seaming, are completely invisible.
The skirt turned out pretty great!  I made the longer pencil skirt with the kick pleat (view 3), the one with the seams down the front of the thighs (like princess seams on your legs? is that a thing?). The fit was good in the hips, although next time I might make the waist just a tiny bit smaller... The only thing I noticed is that the bottom hem seems to have flared out a bit.  Maybe I stretched it out when doing the twin needle hem?  Who knows, it might settle back into place after a wash. Or it might not, because I don't have a dryer and knits with poor recovery don't fare well here in BKK. Hmmm.  

All in all, a great pattern and a great basic skirt, good for work or bopping around town. I definitely want to try making the version with the button placket in the front- so cute!  But I'd like to make it the length of the pencil skirt since minis are not my thing.  I could also see making the pencil skirt version with a fun contrasting front panel.  I've also got some ikat print ponte left over from my Tessuti Anita pants... that could be a fun Mabel, too!  Lots of options.