Helen's Closet Patterns, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing, Washi Dress Pattern

Star Washi and Mustard Blackwood

img_6990There are some dresses that just make you feel happy when you wear them and this Made By Rae Washi dress fits the bill. I made this last summer with Cotton and Steel quilting cotton that I bought at The Cloth Pocket on a trip to Austin. There is quilting cotton and there is quilting cotton. This fabric is really soft with a bit more heft than typical quilting cotton and it makes a nice summer dress.  I lined the bodice using Rae’s sausage technique. She has great video tutorials on her blog but I have done it so many times that I don’t need the video anymore. It is nice to know it is there though! I used one of my all-time favorite cotton lawns by Melody Miller.img_6977 I love The Cloth Pocket and had the opportunity to visit in person and actually take a class there last year. Highly recommend! Great teachers, fabric and vibe. I buy most of my quilting fabrics from them online and they have a wonderful selection of chambrays.

I finished hems with a hem facing as I always do. I find it gives me much nicer results and it is fun!img_6998Since I was in the middle of sewing all the Cleo’s and spent a lot of last summer gathering skirts,  I decided on the spur of the moment to gather the skirt instead of using the pleats that are in the original Washi pattern. It was really quick and I love the swingy feel of the gathered skirt and the bright colors and pattern just feel like summer to me. I love pulling out my summer clothes after the long winter. It is like meeting up again with good friends. img_2390

img_2391I made this in a hurry and used fewer lines of shirring than I normally do spaced a bit farther apart. I like it this way!img_2403And a nice surprise was how well my new Blackwood Cardigan goes with this dress. I pulled it off the shelf this morning because it was cool and I love the colors together. Just like a bunch of summer flowers!img_2422If you haven’t made the Washi or the Blackwood, what are you waiting for? They are both flattering, comfortable, cute and relatively easy to sew. And as it turns out, they are great together!

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Gemma Tank, Helen's Closet Patterns, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing

Helen’s Closet York Pinafore in Linen X 2

When I first spied a tester version of the Helen’s Closet York Pinafore during Me Made May before its official release, I knew it was going to be hugely popular. I guessed that this was Helen’s new pattern because I am a Patreon Supporter of the fantastic Love to Sew podcast hosted by Helen and Caroline and in one of the subscriber-only extra LTS podcasts, Helen mentioned that her to-be-launched new pattern was a modern take on a pinafore. Since I am from Connecticut, I didn’t know what she meant by pinafore-here in the US, we call this particular garment a jumper- but when the tester posted a picture during Me Made May and referred to the garment she was wearing as a pinafore, I knew it must be the pattern.

Since the pattern release, it has been popping up all over the place and for good reason. It is a cute modern design, a relatively easy sew and it is fun to customize. I was thrilled because now I have  a pattern to use to sew all the slightly heavier fabrics in my stash (I have a number of linen blends and heavier cottons I purchased for various reasons and have not yet used). And it only takes 2 yards of fabric. So the day it was launched, I purchased the pdf and printed it out.

I had some issues with my printer-it cut off parts of the pattern- but I connected the lines and it looked ok and I cut out the front and back from this linen and started playing with the fit. I cut my first version by cutting between the medium and large cutting lines which usually works for me. I basted the shoulder and side seams and then started trying on the jumper and playing around, taking it in a bit in here and there, sewing more rows of basting stitches, and pretty soon my seam allowances were all over the place but I liked the shape. I was actually afraid that if unpicked the basting seams to sew French seams or add pockets, I wouldn’t be able to replicate the shape, especially since the fabric I used was a lightweight, rumpled linen blend.  So, I sewed a line of stitching along the innermost line of basting stitches, trimmed off the rest of the wonky seam allowances and called it done.

Here are some pictures of the finished garment:

and as worn with my much loved Gemma Tank in white double gauze. It is a little wonky and sack-like but I love it.

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img_2143I had altered this Floral Voile Ruby Dress to make it into a blouse during Me Made May since I hadn’t worn it much in the year since I sewed it. I happened to have it in my sewing room and tried on the York over the blouse and realized it was a perfect match for the linen so I used the extra fabric to make bias binding and a hem binding since the length was a bit short  and I finished it in time to wear to my stepdaughters’ graduation.

Since I raced to finish this wearable muslin before going on vacation, I didn’t actually read the meticulous fitting instructions that Helen included in this pattern.

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After vacation, I printed out another set of pattern pieces and decided that this time I would read and follow the instructions. I was also excited for pockets!

Based on the instructions, my measurements put me in a size Large and given my 5’9” height, Helen’s directions suggest adding 1.5 inches to the pattern by adding 1/2 an inch in three separate places. But when I lined up the version I had already made, it was much smaller than the new pattern that I had printed out and pieced together and in particular, the straps were shorter in my first version and I was pretty happy with where the upper part of the skirt hit my torso on version one. I actually think with my long torso it is sometimes more flattering to have the waist of the garment hit a little higher than my natural waist. So despite the really wonderful, logical instructions, I did not add any length to the straps of the pattern and just cut the pattern out between the M and L lines except for the straps which I cut on the M line at the top and the L lines along the armholes to add a bit of width to the straps. Since the new printed pattern was so much longer than the version I had already sewn, I just cut along the L hem line and decided to sew it up and see what happened. As I did with version 1, I drew a new curve for the neckline about half-way between the two versions of the pattern.

I decided to go for broke and sew French seams even though they always take more than 5/8 inch when I sew them (I have a hard time enclosing all the fraying edges with the 1/4 and 3/8 seams used to create French seams as Helen instructs in the pattern. I ended up sewing a 3/8 seam with wrong sides together and then a 1/2 inch seam with right sides together since it seemed as though I would have lot of extra width. The finished version was longer than version one as planned but even with my 7/8 inch French seams, it was also more roomy. It did not completely make sense but I figured I must have made more adjustments than I realized with my first version- it was such a blur. I tried on version 2 and took pictures. I liked it but did not love it because the linen-cotton blend I used for version 2 was more stiff than the linen I used for version 1 and I felt that overall, the finished garment was less flattering. Here it is with another favorite Gemma tank. I used quilting cotton for the top-stitching to accent the design features and this version had pockets but I didn’t like it as much because it was bigger and didn’t drape as nicely and felt a bit more dowdy.

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I had even lined the pockets using beautiful fabric given to me by a friend (leftover from a Gemma tank that I sewed during Me Made May.)

img_2239I was a bit disappointed but I chalked it up to a learning experience and figured I would try washing it and see if the fabric would soften up a bit.

And YAY! it not only softened up but it shrunk as well and now I love it! Go figure! Here are more pictures with more Gemmas. It is just a bit shorter, just a bit more fitted and much drapier. It is like a whole new garment.

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img_2244So maybe the fabric I cut out hadn’t been pre-washed (although I am almost positive I had washed it before I put it away last year) or maybe this linen-cotton blend really shrinks a lot? Either way, I am thrilled because after taking the time to line the pockets

and sew French seams and do all the things,

I am really happy with it. Now the only challenge is to figure out what to do about version 3. I am thinking that I will need to make more adjustments to my paper pattern. Such is the life a sewist.

In any event, I plan to wear this all summer. It goes with everything in my closet, especially my huge collection of Gemma Tanks.

Several years back I made many versions of the Made By Rae Gemma tank and I plan to wear my York every week this summer with a different Gemma. I think I have enough that I can wear a different combination every week. Want to join me? I will post every Tuesday with the hashtag #wearyouryorkday I actually have a couple of Gemmas cut out that I have been wanting to finish and this is just the incentive I need.

Congratulations to Helen on such a wonderful new pattern. I made four versions of the her Blackwood Cardigan this May and have more planned. She is on a roll!

 

 

 

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Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing

Me Made May 2018 Makes part 2

Me Made May 2018 is coming to a close and I am running out of steam but it was a very productive month. You can read my first #mmmay18 blog post here. I will be wrapping up the month with this post.

As of May 28th, I have completed 14 projects, one every other day. This is not a sustainable pace, clearly, but I had been out of my sewing groove for a while and the energy of the sewing community during this month is contagious. It has been great to try some new patterns and I love everything I made. They will all be things I wear and enjoy. I have one more work in process that I will probably complete by the end of the month (a York Pinafore in a linen blend) but today I am putting away the piles of fabric and pattern pieces that are scattered about the house and getting ready to go on vacation. Here is the final tally:

1 Made By Rae Jade knit shirt (the first of many). I was a pattern tester for this shirt. It fits beautifully and I love the striped fabric, an organic cotton knit by Cloud 9 Fabrics, that I was given to use in the testing. I went out and bought more to make a Blackwood cardigan (seen below) and also bought some of the same fabric in navy and black with a thin white stripe which will become Jades. The Jade pattern was just released. You can see more versions on Rae’s blog here.img_0088-1

6 Isla Dresses: a tried and true pattern, also by Made By Rae, now with sleeve options using the Jade pattern. I made 3 using the traditional sleeveless pattern and added sleeves to three including a maxi-dress version. This is the dress I most often turn to in the morning. Comfortable and cute.img_1902-1

I bought this fabric planning to make a Jade top to go with the striped Blackwood cardigan but it just called out to become a Maxi Dress. What could I do but listen?img_1903-1

I love this version of the Isla in Mystery Food cotton knit by Sarah Watts. It makes me smile. Worn with my second most made pattern this month, the Blackwood cardigan.img_0445-1

I made 4 Blackwood cardigans this  month and I wore one of them pretty much every day. This is a pattern I had been meaning to make for a long time and it was worth the wait! I experimented with the length and decided that 3 inches shorter than the long version of the pattern as drafted was best for me. The mustard and grey sweater knit versions are that length. The black and grey version is the length as drafted. I didn’t add pockets but I plan to add them to the striped versions.img_1901I finished sewing a boho blouse using the Made By Rae Josephine pattern and Loominous fabric by Anna Maria Horner-I love how this turned out! I am thinking a white double gauze version will be up next-I think it would be great with the York pinafore.img_0773-1

Here is it as worn.img_0786-1

I also finished a tunic length Gemma Tank using beautiful wax print fabric given to me by a friend. I am going to wear this all summer.img_1787-1

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My mustard cotton Blackwood works perfectly with it.

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You can see the sweater length I ended up liking best on this back view below.

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Last but not least, I made a Grainline Tamarack Jacket start to finish this month. I had been wanting a spring weight jacket and didn’t want to buy one. In previous years, I would layer a jeans jacket over a cardigan but I really wanted a nice jacket to bridge the seasons from winter to sweltering and I am so pleased with this jacket!

I am definitely going to be wearing this so much. I love the soft chambray I ended up using from one of my favorite fabric stores. It just gets softer with washing. I know this is just going to get better with age. And the lining makes me smile.

Finally, here is a picture with all 12 of the versions of the Isla that I have worn so far this month (I actually have made more than these-closer to 20.) All the versions I have made are still in frequent rotation. I can’t recommend this pattern more highly on its own and especially now with the addition of the Jade pattern sleeves.

If you have questions about any of the patterns or fabrics, feel free to comment. More pictures and details on my instagram: @nursebean82.

Also, if you are reading this and are inspired to sew for yourself, my friend Natalie is hosting a series of monthlong dress sewalongs in June and July. She has chosen two beginner-friendly, beautiful summer dress patterns. Natalie’s enthusiasm and creativity are contagious and she is a wonderful teacher. Check out her blog http://www.hungryhippiesews.com to learn more.

Happy summer everyone!

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