Monday, October 24, 2016

Embroidered Bimaa & LIV Skirt

Elena needed some gray leggings. That's where it started. I had this scrap of Girl Charlee gray cotton lycra that was the perfect width. It was a few inches longer than necessary and it seemed like a waste to not use it all, so I cut them as long as I could and added rouching to the bottom 3 inches. They turned out great, and then I noticed this aqua cotton spandex print (not available now I see) also from Girl Charlee sitting there and what a good match. 

Elena really digs hoods. She wears them up all the time, even in the house. The LouBee Bimaa is my favorite hooded shirt pattern and I already had it printed out and traced in a size 5. The only change I made was to add an inch to the bottom so I could hem it instead of doing the band.

I know I could cut that fabric and sew that top up in under an hour, but I made myself slow down. I was thinking I love aqua with yellow and maybe I could add some yellow to this top so she would wear it with her "banana pants" too. I'm still trying to get her to like those yellow cords. I already had the perfect shade of yellow embroidery floss so I went to work embellishing with french knots, stem stitches, back stitches...

Have you ever had someone say to you, "I like your top. Kohl's right? I have it in blue." Man, I hate that. I think that one of my goals in making clothes myself is to make them unique. It is hugely important to me. I want styles that you would see in a store, but I want them to be unique. The embellishments are an easy way to do that. 

I used part of a thin yellow t-shirt to line most of the hood. I wanted something lighter weight than the aqua and I wanted to tie the yellow in some more. The yellow is definitely a fun pop of color when the hood is down.

The skirt is the free LIV skirt pattern from Sofilantjes Patterns. I've made several before and love it for how little fabric it uses and how quick it is to sew. You can go really basic or have fun with the pockets and mixing fabrics. I used another yellow t-shirt and scraps of the gray and aqua. So little waste with this outfit. I also love that you don't need elastic for it. The waistband uses just the perfect sized piece of cotton spandex for a really comfy skirt.

I think I'm done sewing for Elena for a while. She will need a dress for Christmas, but nothing else that I'm aware of. I reserve the right to trump minimalism with creativity whenever the need hits. I have a couple pieces for myself that I need to show you as soon as I can get pictures. I'm going to be letting my blog domain name go in mid-November so I'll have to figure out if that messes things up much. The blog name will hopefully just revert back to, I'm assuming. So if you have trouble finding me soon, just add in the blogspot part. The tech-side of blogging is no bueno for me and I'm beyond wanting to learn it I've decided. Have a great week!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Chambray Ansley Tunic with Embroidery

This is my third and final outfit for Elena for this fall. The tunic is a modified Ansley top from Blaverry Patterns. I lowered the neckline half an inch, added a tie-back belt, and put elastic in the sleeves instead of cuffs. I think I changed the hi/low length a little too making it as long as my fabric allowed for. I also lined the bodice pieces so that the embroidery wouldn't be exposed on the back and against her skin. 

The fabric is a speckled chambray from the Imagine Gnats shop. It was great to work with. I would definitely use this again. Rachel is having a meet and greet event at her shop tomorrow that I'd love to go to. I have to drive an hour south of home tomorrow for a swimming meet but I'll still be 3 hours north of her so I guess I won't make it this time.

 The embroidery is my own design. I was pretty proud of myself for not spending hours and hours trying to decide what to do. I just went with the first thought I had and then added on. Very organic. Just letting it happen. (Very unlike the top I've been trying to design for myself and can't decide on.)
And looking at that picture reminds me that I also changed the button placket and hid my buttons on the backside. That was because the bodice felt too wide and this way my embroidery design wouldn't be interrupted.

So I have to also mention the "banana pants" as Elena calls them. She is not fond of them, but I hope they grow on her because they are pretty awesome. The fabric is mustard stretch corduroy from CaliFabrics. The pattern is the LouBee Clothing Hosh pants. Size 3 width, 5 length. No other changes. Plain and simple and oh so soft.

Poor kid really hates this blogging business.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Plaid "Poncho" Not a Poncho

I'm back to sewing for me and it feels great! I'm actually wearing all me-made here. The jeans were made last year and can be seen here. Today, I want to show you my new poncho- not a poncho, and a Plaintain T, modified. 

Poncho's are comfy and awesome, buuuuuuuut- sometimes not that useful. I have a gorgeous, wool, hand-knit (not by me yet) poncho that I love. Trouble is that it is hard to throw a bag over your shoulder and go grocery shopping in a poncho. Put the bag under the poncho and you'll look like a shoplifter. Sometimes I wear it in the house, like a sweater, but then I can't lift my arms over my head or stir a pot at the stove so well. My solution was to make an over-sized dolman T out of a thick flannel fabric I bought at Joann's a couple of years ago. It is very thick and brushed and cozy - and on trend. 

After cutting my front and back pieces, which were identical, I serged all the edges first thing. I used my regular machine to sew them together and pressed the seams open. I did it this way to reduce bulk. I added patch pockets to the front. The sleeves and bottom are turned just once and hemmed since I serged first. Turning twice would have again been very thick.

The neckline is finished with a repurposed tank top of wide-rib knit. I cut the hem off the tank and cut it off under the armpits. It is folded in half and serged on, then top-stitched. This rib knit is super stretchy so I made the circumference 75% of the neck opening. The top of the cowl (where it is folded over) is much narrower, about 14" only. It was an experiment that went very well. I really get a kick out of this kind of experimental sewing. As long as you only use a basting stitch first, you can try anything and know that it can be removed easily. Then make it permanent if you like it, or re-adjust and try again.

The t-shirt is a Deer & Doe Plantain Tee with a higher neckline and one inch added to the sleeve length. The fabric is super nice cotton lycra from Girl Charlee. The special part is on the wrists. These are as close to tattoos as I'll ever get. I found an olive branch image I liked and made 2 freezer paper stencils. I painted them on, placed an extra scrap of the same fabric behind it,  and then added backstitch outlines and cut out the olive shapes. I had planned on doing the whole thing reverse applique, but decided I liked it just cutting out the olives. 

This trail is my daughter Olivia's favorite place. I come hiking here once a week. It is just gorgeous. I want to include pictures of it in case she gets a chance to peek at the blog. You are in my thoughts always, Olivia.