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fringe collar dress

I didn’t intend to not write for nearly 4 months, but as it has turned out, I’ve needed very little in the way of clothes this pregnancy.  The advantage of having had previous pregnancies that started at a heavier weight is having more than plenty of clothes for the last few weeks when it feels like nothing fits.  But I did go ahead and make this fringe collar dress.  I had this lovely fringe trim leftover from my tablecloth dress, and I’ve been looking for the right project to use some of it.  Hey, and fringe is in right now!  Yay!  After months of absence at the Monthly Stitch, I finally could finish a challenge!

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Fringe Collar Dress

I made Burda 7287 some time ago after being inspired by Kyle’s version, and it has become one of my favorite winter dresses.  Paired with or without the detachable collar, and the fingerless gloves that I wear literally all winter, it’s been a versatile staple in my wardrobe.  For this project, I decided to make the other view on the pattern where you sew on the collar at the neckline and add trim to the bottom edge of the collar if you like.

fringe collar dress

I cut the main part of the dress from some really nice interlock that I scored at the thrift store a couple of years back.  It was one of those days where fortune favors the person willing to go a hunting through the muck and mire when I pulled out this fun black and white print made by Kaufmann.  There was no less than 5 yards of it and I paid $3 or $4 for it.  It’s soft and does not stretch out at all like a lot of interlocks do.  It’s stable enough too that I’ve used some of it to muslin dresses I make in ponte like my opera dress.

Still, I don’t wear black.*  So I knew I needed a way to break up the black so I didn’t get the horrid zombie look that I get when I wear it.

*Well, I will wear black if I’m contractually obligated, i.e. a violin gig, but I’m never happy about it.

I found an XL rib knit sweater in one of my blues while a thrifting one day and I loved the springy feel it had.  Remembering how soft a rib knit sweater had made my Denver Tunic, I decided to combine the blue with the black and white.  It would keep the black away from my face and make for a cozy collar that would look great with the added tablecloth fringe.

fringe collar dress
Keeping the black away from my face.

Though it wasn’t obvious at the time that I deconstructed it, the sweater had raglan sleeves, so I didn’t have quite enough yardage to make a full length sleeve as per the pattern.  Instead, I carried down the black and white to the bottom part of the sleeve, cutting it at an angle like this:

fringe collar dress

The pattern’s sleeve is well past full length on me, which makes sense given that the arms are intended to have thumbholes.  Though I’ve tried many many times to create a good solution for thumbhole tops, I’ve never really been comfortable wearing them, and these are no exception.  In past tops, I’ve done what patterns suggested, just leaving a gap in the side seam which inevitably twists and is generally so small that it cuts off the circulation to your thumbs.

To avoid numb thumb, I cut a 1″ square where my thumbs hit and then used some of the rib knit to bind the edge of the hole.  Now, there’s more than plenty of room for my thumb and the base of my thumbs, so there’s no chance of the blood being cut off to my thumbs.  Still, the thumbs pull on the sleeve when I have my arms extended, like when I’m driving or playing my violin, and they sadly do not offer me any extra warmth.  So next time, I’ll stick with either the sleeveless version with added fingerless gloves, or simply shorten the sleeves to a normal full length on me.  I think thumbhole tops are just simply not my thing along with wrap dresses, maxi dresses, and button-down shirts.

fringe collar dress

As for fitting, I merged this pattern with Burdastyle 6-2010-132 which is a crossover style maternity dress.  I always loved how the Burdastyle pattern fit.  A lot of maternity patterns have excessive ease, flare and gathering that just ends up making you look and feel like a marshmallow, but this one is cut in a really slimming sort of way.  It gives you enough room for the growing baby, but nothing crazy beyond that.  Still, I’m kind of over crossover styles.  I had experimented with merging this pattern with my normal t-shirt for a pajama top, and I liked my experiment enough to go ahead with a dress.  All it required me to do was to match up CF lines, overlap the crossover section with the lower front panel at the seamline and use the neckline of the non-maternity dress and the outer edges of the maternity panel where it was needed.  No extra tracing, no extra fitting or pattern work.  This was a fast and dirty alteration.

I did keep the seam allowances bigger than I otherwise would have, and I simply sewed them instead of serging them off or trimming them as I would have on a regular knit dress.  My logic was that I’d only be wearing this as a maternity dress for 2 months tops.  With the extra seam allowances intact and unfinished, it’ll be easy for me to go back and open up the front, removing the elastic and cutting it to fit the original lines of the non-maternity pattern.

My favorite feature is the collar.  The rib knit drapes so well, adds a nice layer of warmth and looks great scrunched up with a vintage brooch.

Overall, it was good to get back in the saddle before all the craziness happens in a month or so with my body being any number of sizes.

My updated review is here.

fringe collar dress

How much have you ever made for your own pregnancies?  Do you shelve your machine momentarily, relying on RTW maternity options, or sew up a storm to weather the season?

 

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Baseball Fan Dress: Elizabeth Made This

In my household, we’re Giants’ fans.  Though I had no allegiances to any sports teams when I got married, my husband has convinced me that baseball is a worthy thing to root for.  After sitting through hundreds of hours, it finally clicked for me that I was invested in this sport and this team.  It gives me and my husband something to talk of at length.  And dash it all, if Grant Brisbee isn’t a brilliantly funny writer.  His columns alone pushed me over the edge into fandom.

Still, up until this point, I’ve had one problem with my Giants’ fan status:

I’ve had no fan gear whatsoever.

I’ve made some attempts to wear team colors at games–showing up in a black cardigan over my heathered peach t-shirt.  Unique as my solution was, it was kind of lame in the fan department.

How have I made it through 3 World Series without even a hat?  I have no words for that.

Since my family and I were able to go to a Giants’ game recently in San Francisco, I decided I had to remedy this no fan gear situation.

Baseball Fan Dress

Baseball Fan Dress

This dress has lots of fun features: a chevroned colorblocked mid-section, front mid shoulder gathers, and ruched sleeves.  This is a great dress that shows your team pride and allows your own DIY creativity to shine through.  Guaranteed, you will end up with a unique dress that is a cut above the standard fan t-shirt.  Wait, you’re not a Giants’ fan?  I won’t disrespect you.  You can make your own baseball fan dress by upcycling any team t-shirts.

Baseball Fan Dress

You can serge the entire dress or sew it entirely on a regular sewing machine.  The choice is yours!

Baseball Fan Dress

Materials:

2-3 t-shirts, as big as you can find: 1 MLB team t-shirt and 1 or 2 shirts to coordinate with itbaseball fan dress

Your favorite t-shirt pattern (mine is Jalie 2921, with a scoopneck addition from a different pattern) with a short or cap sleeve

A version of your favorite t-shirt pattern that you’ve already made or a t-shirt that fits you well

Patternmaking materials: clear ruler, tape, tissue paper, pen, scissors, marking chalk or pen

Pins

Masking tape or painter’s tape

Thread

Seam ripper

Machine needle suitable for sewing knits (my machine prefers 75/11 Stretch needles, but yours might do better with a ball point needle)

Iron

Directions:

  1. Trace off your t-shirt pattern onto a fresh sheet of tissue paper.  This pattern requires you to alter the front and back pieces.  You will not need to alter the sleeve pattern.
  2. Put on your favorite t-shirt and mark with a pin where the bottom of your bust is at CF.  Mark with another pin where your natural waist is.  Draw a line with a marking pen to connect the two points (or thread trace).
  3. Lay the FRONT PIECE of your pattern tissue over the t-shirt and transfer the under bust and waist mark.  Draw a straight line to connect the two.  It should be a line that angles downward.
  4. Draw another line parallel to the first line in step 3 that is 2″ wide, then draw another line 2″ wide.  This will create the two panels on either side of CF.baseball fan dress
  5. To create the skirt, extend the bottom of the front piece down to your desired length (I chose to end mine just above my knee which required an additional 13″).  Flare out the hem slightly to give yourself some walking ease.
  6. Cut apart the sections at the lines, adding seam allowances on every side you cut.***  Front top to bottom, label the new pieces Front Bodice, A, B, and Front Skirt. You will also need to add a seam allowance at CF on pieces A and B.  
  7. Lay the front skirt piece over the back so that they are lined up at the side seams.  Mark where the seam line hits at the side seam and at CF.  Repeat steps 3-6 for the back piece.  Label the new pattern pieces Back bodice, C, D, and Back Skirt.  Don’t forget to add seam allowances on every side you cut plus at CB on pieces C and D.
  8. In addition to these pieces, cut a rectangle 1.25″X4.5″ for the sleeve casings, and another rectangle 17″ X 1″ for drawstrings.
  9. Optional:  On the front bodice piece, draw a line parallel to the shoulder seam about 3″ down from the shoulder seam.  Cut apart the pattern at the seam line, adding seam allowances on either side of the line.  Slash the top part of the shoulder piece from the bodice end to the shoulder seam line in 4 places.  Spread the pattern 1/2″ at each slash and tape the resulting shape onto new tissue.  You will gather the bodice end of the shoulder piece into the bodice piece when you sew.baseball fan dressbaseball fan dress

***I prefer 1/4″ seam allowances on knit fabrics.  That’s the regular seam width on my serger, but even if you sew this with a regular machine, 1/4″ seam allowances will help you be really accurate when you sew the chevroned sections since your needle will be physically very close to the seam line.  If you prefer wider seam allowances, add whatever seam allowance makes you comfortable.

*Pattern done! Let’s sew!*

Construction:

      1. Use your seam ripper to remove the neck binding of your team t-shirt.  Set it aside.baseball fan dress
      2. Before you start cutting up your t-shirts, plan out how you want to use the t-shirts for color blocking the mid section. Make sure that you center your team logo over the front bodice.  If you alternate the colors at the side seams, you’ll have to flip over your pattern piece as you cut.  You might want to draw yourself a quick sketch to help (in real life the back will not so much wider than the front, but drawing in GIMP is a new experiment for me).  baseball fan dressHere’s a cutting inventory:  [supsystic-tables id=”1″]
      3. Cut your pattern pieces from your various t-shirts according to your diagram.  Make small clips with your scissors on the front bodice, front skirt, back bodice and back skirt to mark the CF and CB points and also at the top of the sleeves caps. If you can, try to incorporate the hems from the original t-shirts on the sleeves and the front and back.
      4. To keep the colorblocked sections (A, B, C, D) straight, mark each piece with a piece of masking tape near the side seambaseball fan dress
      5. Place right sides together of the A pieces at CF.  Sew down CF using a narrow zigzag stitch (.5 width, 2.5 length).  Press open the seam.  Repeat for the B, C, and D pieces.
      6. Place the A and B sections right sides together and stitch from side seam to side seam, pivoting the needle directly at CF.  If you’re nervous about matching the seam, stitch a few basting stitches right at the CF intersection.
      7. Repeat step 6-7 for the C and D sections.
      8. Sew the front bodice to the top of the A sections in the same manner as you did the chevroned sections, pivoting at CF.  Sew the front skirt to the bottom of the B section, also in the same manner.
      9. Sew the back bodice to the top of the C sections, and sew the back skirt to the bottom of the D sections, pivoting at CB.
      10. Using a long, straight stitch, sew 3 rows of gathering stitches on the wider section of the front shoulder pieces.  Pull on the bobbin threads to gather the stitches.  Placing right sides together, sew the front shoulder pieces to the front bodice.  Remove the gathering stitches.  Press the seam towards the bodice, then topstitch the seam close to the seam.
      11. Place the front and back of the dress right sides together, and sew the right shoulder seam.
      12. Place the raw edge of the ribbing against right side of the neck edge.  Sew the ribbing to the neck, pulling on the ribbing only as you sew.  The goal is for the ribbing to lie flat…if it doesn’t, remove the stitches and pull on the ribbing more firmly so that you end up using less ribbing.  Cut off the excess ribbing.
      13. Sew the left shoulder seam and the ribbing seam in one.  Backstitch at the end of the neck to secure the stitches.
      14. Fold in the raw edges of the casings and press (I cut the casings with one of the short sides on a hemmed edge.  If you didn’t, hem one short side).  Placing the hemmed side of the casing towards the bottom of the sleeve, lay the casing vertically in the middle of the sleeve and pin the long sides.
      15. Fold the raw edges of the drawstrings towards the middle of each drawstring piece and press.  Fold the pressed edges of the drawstrings together and stitch down the fold.
      16. Fold each drawstring in half and thread it through the top of the casing so that it sits just below the pressed edge.
      17. Starting and ending at the hemmed corners, topstitch around the 3 pressed edges of the casing, backstitching at the hemmed corners. Be sure that you catch the drawstring at the top of each casing.  The drawstrings can be pulled up and tied if desired at this point.
      18. While the dress is still flat, sew in the sleeves, matching the clip to the shoulder seam.
      19. Placing the front and back together, sew the side seams and sleeve seams in one step.  Be careful to match the chevrons at the side seams, basting, if necessary to make sure you match the seams.baseball fan dress
      20. Hem the sleeves and bottom of your dress if you didn’t reuse the hems from your original t-shirts.baseball fan dress

baseball fan dress*That’s it!  Wear your Baseball Fan Dress to the park with pride!

Your team won’t win if you don’t cheer!*

baseball fan dress

 

My review is here.
Elizabeth Made This

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.

 

velour colorblocked hudson pants: A True Bias pattern sewn by Elizabeth Made This
Have you ever refashioned a piece of clothing that you have previously loved and worn for a really long time?

What could make Colorblocked Hudson Pants even more fun?  Make them out of velour!

Velour Colorblocked Hudson Pants

In truth, I’ve had this blue velour since before I was married.  Has it been in my stash that long? No, it’s been in my schlump about the house wardrobe in the form of really ghastly lounge pants.  I didn’t bother to take a before picture on this one.  Basically, the pants were too long (and permanently dirty on the bottom because of it), too wide, with a lowered back and no elastic in the drawstring waist, so they were continually falling off me.

***These jeans are featured in the Nov/Dec 2015/Jan 2016 issue of Altered Couture Magazine.***

Deconstructed Silk Scarf Jeans: Elizabeth Made This

I’m always looking for new ways to make a pair of jeans special.  Since my first pair, I’ve been utterly ruined by the process, and I’m sure that I’ve boldly declared Scarlett O’Hara style that I’d never buy plain jeans again.  High on my list of must try techniques has been applique.

I’ve sewn cotton on denim, never really liking how the cotton would dominate and the denim disappear in the patch area.  I’ve messed around with reverse applique on denim, but I hadn’t found anything that I really liked until I threw a random piece of silk on top of denim and started sewing.  The silk blended into the denim, but its sheerness allowed the denim to be unchanged by the applique.  I knew I wanted to try this on a larger scale.

Enter this vintage silk blend scarf.

Deconstructed Silk Scarf Jeans

Deconstructed Silk Scarf Jeans

drop waist sweater dress: Elizabeth Made This

Recently, in a perhaps vain attempt to cull my husband’s side of the closet, I came across this old sweater that I’m sure he’s never worn.  As a sweater, it’s maybe a little dated and shapeless, but I love the texture of it and it’s really soft and cozy.  I set it aside with my fabric with the intention of making it into a sweater dress.

Drop Waist Sweater Dress

drop waist sweater dress

The trick is, I needed something that would balance the thick chunkiness of this particular sweater.  I found that at one of my usual haunts in the form of a sleeveless turtleneck sweater.

drop waist sweater dress

The smoothness of this sweater seemed like it would be a perfect match for my husband’s sweater.  I had a polyester light brown sweater knit that would not only work well for the sleeves, but also push this into the clothes that looks like ice cream category.

belted cardigan into a zippered jacket: Elizabeth Made This

belted cardigan into a zippered jacket

When it’s cold outside, the sweaters, they just fly into my basket at the thrift store if they happen to be the right color.  I run cold and my sewing room is in a chilly basement where my space heater is on (when the iron is not) 365 days of the year.  Usually that nebulous “small” “medium” “large” sizing works for me in sweaters.  I alter them to fit if they’re too big, but this time I didn’t pay attention and bought a size way too small.

Oops!

I really must not have been paying attention because belted sweaters really need to have enormous fronts to cross over enough so that that dreaded gappity gap doesn’t happen at center front.  Normally, I’d chalk it up to experience and let the $3 go, but I really liked the hood on this sweater.  With just a 2 way separating zipper, Steam a Seam, a couple fabric scraps and the existing belt, I changed it into a much more wearable sweater.  Have a belted cardigan that gapes at CF?  You can fix yours too.

Refashion a belted cardigan into a zippered jacket


knockoff dress: Elizabeth Made This

I think most who sew would agree that whenever good fabric presents itself in whatever form it might currently be in, it’s hard to turn away.

Such was the case with this funky vintage oblong tablecloth I picked up at the thrift store for $2.50 a couple of weeks ago.  As a collector of vintage tablecloths, I’m always looking for new and unusual ones.  But something about this one made me want to do something different to it besides just put it on my table.  Maybe it was the big bold floral print or the wild colors, or maybe the nice weight and feel of this heavy cotton with a distinctly tablecloth sort of weave.

To me, it screamed dress!

Etro Knockoff Dress refashioned from a tablecloth

sweater beretI’m sure you have a felted sweater tucked away in shame somewhere.  A victim of the washer and dryer, you loved that now tiny matted sweater, and you can’t bring yourself to toss it even though it’s too small for even your mythical chihuahua, Popcorn.

Ah, but then the winter settles in and you’re freezing and find yourself in need of warm accessories to fight against the bitter wind, and what do you do?

You pull out that felted sweater and you cut it up into a beret and use the sleeves to make fingerless gloves.

Sweater beret and gloves

quilted jacket: Elizabeth Made This
I’m back!  I can’t say that I intended to take a full 6 months away from writing here, but it happened.  My family and I have been through a lot of changes in that time that’s taken time away from creative ventures.  Everyone is okay now and now that I’ve been able to find some time consistently to work and my creativity is returning to me, I should be able to catalog my projects here.  How could I not?  I have some giraffe print textured stretch twill SCREAMING to become jeans.  You all know how much I love making jeans and writing about it.  And perhaps blogging will give me the accountability I need to do like fire up the Singer and hem my sweet husband’s jeans.

But for now.  A jacket out of an old sweatshirt.  Months ago, I picked up this pale green sweatshirt from the thrift store for $3.  It’s just the shade of green I like, but it made my skin itch when I put it on and it wasn’t terribly warm…in other words, it was not a useful sweatshirt even though it was a perfect color.  I washed it and stashed it away, figuring I’d remake it somehow on one of those days when you find a pattern to match what’s in your head.

Odds and Ends Quilted Jacket

cardigan from an old sweater: Elizabeth Made This

I’m sure I start every refashion post saying that I don’t refashion much.  The hunt for good candidates can be taxing.  If I go with the mindset that I’m treasure hunting, than pouring over racks of old clothes looking for good natural fibers in good condition feels worth it.  Especially when new quality, natural fiber sweaters are crazy expensive.

cardigan from an old sweater

Make a cardigan from an old sweater

On one such trip recently, I was about to pay for my items when I spied a gigantor old 100% cotton sweater.  It was just my shade of green and was in excellent condition, so I picked it up.  $3 for a sweater knit in my color–yay!.

cardigan from an old sweater