I started a couple of projects during May, but life got busy and I had some zipper issues and they stayed unfinished until today when I had a lovely unplugged Thursday and had the time and energy to finish them. The first is another tunic using the Made By Rae blouse pattern, the Beatrix. I used this great fabric from Alison Glass. All over the internet there are dresses and Beatrix blouses made with this plus-patterned fabric in different colors but I was actually inspired by this post by Tara whose blog Girl Like the Sea is wonderful. When I saw the same fabric on sale, I snatched it up. I liked the white strips Tara used in the blouse for her daughter and it made me think a white exposed zipper would work well.This is my third Beatrix Tunic. The first two were blogged here and here. I have made several versions of the Green Bee Pearl shift and this project is sort of a combination of the patterns. I had used exposed zippers when I made my plaid Pearls and was really happy with the extra zing the metal zipper gave to a relatively simple pattern so I decided to try it here. The hardest part was finding the right zipper. I finally ordered two sizes of white zippers from Zipit, an etsy store with a good selection. I had already cut out this pattern and a linen Pearl and prepared the back for the zipper using Megan Nielson’s tutorial. When I previously inserted the zippers on the plaid Pearls, I used a technique based on Dana’s zipper bag tutorial. It had worked really well for me but I thought the Brumby method might give me a cleaner look. What I learned about the Brumby method, in which you prepare the opening for the zipper first, is that measuring accurately is key. Sadly, when I went to insert the zipper into the opening, it turned out that my measurements were off and the opening for my zipper was too long. One of my zippers was too short and one was too long (sort of a Goldielocks problem). So I had to order more zippers. And this is why these tunics did not end being worn during May! I now have a lot of zippers. 🙂Sometimes I will make a great deal of headway on a project and then weeks go by before I find the time to get back to it. I have learned to relax and know that some day I will finish, even if it takes weeks (or months). For this tunic, I cut out the top of the Beatrix and graded out to the width of the Pearl. This time, I didn’t curve the hem but used the Pearl hem line. My new go-to work uniform is a tunic over leggings with boots in the winter and sandals in the summer. It is easy and comfortable. I will definitely be making more of these. Some pictures below.Stay-stiched neck line above and darts below as per the Beatrix Sewalong, a great tutorial broken into smaller, manageable steps. I don’t own a serger so I zip zag most seams to finish.Sleeves are turned down once, ironed and then a second time and stitched with two rows of stitches. Quick, easy and durable.My favorite way to make a simple pattern more interesting is a contrasting hem. I love these two fabrics together.I have blogged about my very simple method for hem facings here and here. Pictures of the steps below. I start with a 3 inch strip of fabric and sew it on right sides together keeping in mind the direction that it will face once the facing is turned up.Lots of ironing is involved.I actually use the metal plate on my sewing machine as my guide as I sew. It works perfectly for the measurements of this hem facing.When I think of it, I leave the threads long and pull them to the inside and knot them using the quilter’s technique of sliding the knot down the thread using a big pin or needle as seen here.Some pictures of the finished hem. I was really happy with how this one turned out.with facing showingMy zipper didn’t completely line up with the top of the dress so I added a hook and eye at the top. My top stitching along the zipper is not perfect but as my dad actually used to say, “It wouldn’t be noticed from a trotting horse” which is true. I think the machine sometimes has trouble with the layers.Finished Dress/Tunic ready to be worn. I intentionally made the back slightly longer (you can see the back facing peeking through in the picture below) because that is where my weight is (ahem) and if I make the front and back the same, the back appears to be riding up which is not the look I am going for. Rae also recently posted about a Beatrix with a zipper. Hers has an invisible zipper, something I have yet to master. You can link to her post and see her beautiful blouse here.
Screenshot of my phone on Me Made May day 24. I looked at my instagram account and wondered why I had so many notifications. I scrolled down and this is what I saw. Pretty amazing.
Last year I participated in Me Made May but I had just started sewing clothes for myself. I posted maybe 8 or 10 times with many repeats. It was so fun though to see so many different versions of great patterns. I was totally inspired and went on to sew many projects inspired by those posts. This year I was ready. Me Made May is not really different for me than any other month because except for the days I work as a bedside RN when it is all scrubs all day until I come home and fall into the shower, (after 12 + hours, I can’t imagine taking a selfie or changing into anything other than sweats,) I wear me made clothes every day. The posting and selfies though are not my normal routine. But once again inspired by the community, I tried to post most days. Here are some of the posts.
All in all, it was a great month, though cold. Note all the cardigans. Those were not for show folks!
Until next year, #nursebeansews over and out (with Sadie the photobomber!)
Earlier this year I wrote a post about modifying New Look 6095 using techniques I learned by doing the Made By Rae Beatrix blouse Sewalong.When I saw this great Cotton and Steel polka dot fabric (from the Lucky Strikes collection designed by Kimberly Kight), I knew it would be perfect for this pattern. The fabric is called Dime Store Dot. I bought it at fabric.com where, as seen below, it is apparently No Longer Available, but it is likely to be found elsewhere and those Cotton and Steel gals have several other dotty fabrics which would work just as well.In my previous post, I went though the details of my muslin making process. My first shift was mostly a great success but I wanted to lengthen the sleeves a bit and fix the gaping in front on this version and I accomplished that by doing the same tiny fold I use when I make a Beatrix blouse. It is amazing that this tiny adjustment makes such a difference but it does.This was a relatively quick sew and it was worn to church today for Me Made May day 22. It was a cold, grey day here and the polka dots were a great contrast. Not much else to say without repeating my previous blog so I will leave you with pictures. I drafted the facing using the Beatrix directions as my guide:
I was careful to staystitch the neckline and understitch the facing as instructed in the Sewalong.I hemmed my dress using a hem facing as I have done for most of my dresses.I used one row of hem stitching because the first row of stitches was pretty straight and my motto is “good enough is good enough” which is a good rule to follow in most situations.I used a button from my stash of tag sale buttons.Back view.I created a thread loop using Tasia from Sewaholic‘s wonderful book: The Sewtionary. I love her clear instructions and photos on so many helpful techniques.And here is the finished product. Many views because my husband was available to take pictures. This was a relatively inexpensive, fun dress to make. It feels like spring which makes me happy, even though our weather has been a bit drab.I am pretty happy with the fit. The back gapes a bit so I may move the button or shorten the button loop but it is otherwise quite wearable.With the obligatory cardigan (still cold in Connecticut).I do not knit so this fall I bought a basic, inexpensive cardigan in multiple colors. I love this muted pink.Happy Spring!
I decided to make a dress for my mother for Mother’s Day with one of my favorite patterns, the Made-by-Rae Washi dress. With so many amazing fabrics out there, I wasn’t sure what to use until I remembered that I had this beautiful paisley-like lightweight cotton that I bought years ago at the wonderful fabric store in Brooklyn where I learned to sew. I love the deep navy with the contrasts of yellow, green and red. It feels very French.This felt like the perfect fabric for my mother because she is a Professor of French Literature and has studied and lived in France. I made a medium and lengthened it by 2 inches because we are pretty much the same size. The fabric was a dream to work with.I lined the bodice using the sausage technique that Rae teaches in her videos.I shirred the back. Rae has a great shirring tutorial here. The nice thing about dark fabric is that you can use a chalk liner to mark your shirring lines. The top of the back is folded up out of the way with wonder clips.It is always a good idea to pin or clip the top part of the back before starting to sew the shirring so you don’t catch the top of the back in the shirring seams. (I learned this the hard way.)I lined the bodice with a pale yellow cotton that I had in my stash. The contrast is so pretty.Picture of the inside of the dress. I love the clean finish that you get when you line the bodice. I added loops of ribbon for bra straps, a little touch that makes a huge difference for those of us with sloped shoulders. (inside back view below)I used the navy fabric and made a hem facing. I generally use hem facings to get a cleaner finish as I wrote about here and here. I didn’t have enough of the yellow or I would have used it to make a contrasting hem facing as I usually do.I am really happy with the final product and hope that she will enjoy wearing it all summer. She actually has already worn it to the theater in New York. Check it out! Beautiful, am I right? I may have to make one just like it for myself! I will have to check and see how much of this fabric I have left. 🙂The Washi-such an awesome pattern! Next up, a polka dot Washi for my sister. 😉
I bought this beautiful Nani Iro double gauze fabric at The Cloth Pocket back in October when I visited my son in Austin. I had originally planned to make a blouse but I was inspired by this beautiful dress that Cherie made for her little girl. It is just perfect. I finally got brave enough to cut into the fabric and decided to make another made-by-rae Washi which is a tried and true pattern for me. I cut the sides a little wider to allow for french seams since double gauze frays. I had good luck with this approach when I made my Charm double gauze washi dress. I realized as I lay the pattern pieces out that I hadn’t allowed for enough fabric to match the stripes. It is actually a tricky thing to line up stripes on a Washi because the front of the dress is made of two separate pieces and the back of the dress has shirring which affects how things line up. Realizing that there was no way to do this easily with less than three yards of fabric, I decided to just line the pieces up with the darker stripes around the waist and hope for the best. I used chalk to mark the shirring lines but I usually end up just using one chalked line and then using the first sewing line to guide the rest of my seams. Shirring using elastic thread is actually amazingly easy. Rae’s tutorial here.I used organic natural colored cotton batiste to line the bodice using Rae’s helpful videos. The lining is understitched, a technique I learned from the Beatrix Sewalong.I added a ribbon with snaps for bra strap holders as I sewed the fabric sausage.A fabric sausage pinned and ready to be sewn.Finished shirring visible as I sew the bodice lining.Once again I used a lightweight quilting cotton in a neutral light pink for hem facing. I have used it for several garments. I have almost run out!Hem pinned and ready to be sewn.Hem.Finished dress back view. The stripes don’t line up on the side but I am happy with the way the back stripes ended up. The photo bomber is my sweet dog Sadie.Close up of the beautiful nani iro fabric.Shades of grey can be beautiful!