Striped Gable Top

I’ve been eyeing the Gable Top by Jennifer Lauren Handmade for a really long time and finally got the pattern during the Thanksgiving sale. Once again, I picked out the wrong size and really struggled to get this shirt to work. But now that it’s finished, I LOVE IT.

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Construction
I started the shirt in December before I went home for winter break. I very meticulously cut out the pieces so that the stripes would match. Sewing everything together initially was a breeze. I used my serger and serged the sleeves to the body and then serged the sides seams closed. And then I tried it on and it was so big. From what I understand, this shirt is supposed to have negative ease. I had intentionally picked size 10 so that wouldn’t be quite so tight but it ended up being WAY too loose! The sleeve was so big and it just looked sloppy. It was so upsetting and frustrating and it basically took away all of my sew-jo.

Fast forward 3.5 months and I still hadn’t completed any sewing projects. Fitting things is one of those things that takes away all of my motivation to finish a project. I finally decided I was just going to sit down and finish it. I ended up taking the sleeves in almost an entire inch and then a little bit out of the bust area. I’m fairly happy with how the shirt fits with these changes. See diagram below.

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I had originally intended on having a long sleeve shirt but I messed up with the twin needle hem (stitch size was too small, silly me!) and then ripped the fabric while unpicking the stitches. I ended up just turning it into a 3/4 length sleeve which is fine by me because it’s actually WAY CUTER. I hemmed everything with a twin needle and the stitch length set at 4 or 5, which ended up being perfect. YAY! Win!

My favorite thing about this shirt is the “THIS IS THE BACK” tag from Kylie and the Machine. I put it on my secret santa wishlist with the note: “I REALLY WANT THIS” and my dear college friend secret santa got me the tags! I am so excited to have the tag because the front vs. back is virtually indistinguishable for this shirt so this is super necessary!

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Fabric
I got this fabric from La Mercerie during their Thanksgiving sale. I got two yards, which was definitely more than enough. I’m hoping I have enough to make another shirt from it. This fabric is AMAZING and SOOOO soft. I hope I have enough to make something else out of it because it is amazing and I want to wear it all the time!

Conclusion
Start date: December 13, 2018
Finish date: April 1, 2019
Fabric: 2 yards of tencel jersey from La Mercerie $24
Pattern: The Gable Top from Jennifer Lauren Handmade during the Thanksgiving sale $8.40
Notions: White thread

I really like this shirt now that it’s completed! I’ve worn it many times in the past two weeks. I love the neckline of this shirt and would love to make it again.

Notes for next time:
1. Remember to increase stitch length for hems + tacking down the neckline.
2. Go down a size (to size 8) in the sleeve/bust area but grade to the current size 10 for the hip area. Also, shirt is WAY too long so just trim 2.5 inches off the bottom.

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New Fav Knitted Item: Twist Headband!

Yarn: Kim Dyes Yarn Sugarcookies Sock in Starstone
Start: March 9, 2019
Finish: March 25, 2019
Pattern: Rille Ruth Twist Headband
Needles: Size 6 circular needles

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I started this headband the night before I left for my conference in San Antonio. I kept working on it through the duration of my conference and then during my little Bay Area trip following the conference. I did a LOT of plane knitting, waiting for plane knitting, and train knitting.

PATTERN
The pattern fairly simple and the only tricky part is the twist. I wish I had blocked the headband before adding the twist, but also I don’t know how to block things so who am I kidding?

Anyway, I really like the design and I will probably make more of these headbands. It didn’t take long and was a really easy thing to work on while traveling since I didn’t have to consult a pattern for the majority of it.

YARN
I got this yarn at Indie Knit + Spin in Pittsburgh. I happened to find out about this event from someone’s instagram story tagging Kim Dyes Yarn. This yarn is the Sugarcookies Sock with a metallic string (?) spun into the yarn, making it super sparkly and beautiful. The pictures really don’t do the yarn justice. The metallic flecks are SO sparkly and you just can’t see that in pictures!

 

2018 Knitting Recap

I completed 6 knitting projects in 2018. I finally got around to typing all this up and getting pictures. The items I love the most are my Hermione’s Every Day Socks and my Traveling Cable hat, which happen to be the first and last completed items of 2018!

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Hermione’s Every Day Socks for Me
Dates: Nov 2017 – May 20, 2018
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tweed in Barn Door Heather
Pattern: Hermione’s Every Day Socks
Notes: I knit most of the first sock when I was home and on a family vacation to southern Taiwan. I restart it a few times become the first cast on was too tight and after knitting a good chunk of the sock, I realized I couldn’t get the cuff over my instep. I also had to redo the heel a bunch of times. This was my 2nd sock and my first heel flap sock! I really like how the heel flap is done in this pattern. While I’ve only tried two methods for the heel flap, this one was significantly easier to pick up stitches from so I will probably continue to use these heel flap instructions in the future!

Legwarmers for Marissa
Dates: Dec 2017 – Feb 19, 2018
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Claret Heather
Pattern: Leg Warmers by Jane Richmond
Notes: Basic 2×2 legwarmers as a birthday present for my dance bestie!

Legwarmers for Me
Dates: Feb 2018 – Sept 24, 2018
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Sprinkle Heather
Pattern: Leg Warmers by Jane Richmond
Notes: I decided after the fact that I really hate the color of this yarn and how it knits up. However, I still find myself wearing these legwarmers sometimes when I’m heading to salsa on a cold night. I wish they were a bit longer though!

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Vanilla Latte Socks for Dad
Dates: June 30, 2018 – Dec 30, 2018
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll in Forest Heather for most of the sock and in Fedora for the heel, toe, and cuff
The brown yarn seems to be pilling a LOT faster than the green.
Pattern: Vanilla Latte Socks
Notes: These socks took me forever to knit! Turns out I really hate knitting for other people and I kept losing interest in these. As you can see from the dates below, I took many breaks to finish up legwarmers, make some mitts, and make a hat! I think my dad likes them though, so that’s good! The brown yarn is awful and super pilly. I didn’t love the heel instructions for this pattern. It was really hard to figure out where to pick up the stitches from and I just got incredibly frustrated.

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Align Mitts for Me
Dates: August 21, 2018 – Oct 6, 2018
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll in Fedora
Pattern: Align Mitts
Notes: I like how these mitts turned out overall. They’re pretty cute. The only downside is they are super pilly. Also, now that I’m deep in the Pittsburgh winter I will say that fingerless mitts feel mostly useless. I have a pair of convertible mitts on my knitting queue that I’m really excited about!

 

Traveling Cable Hat for Me
Dates: Nov 26, 2018 – Dec 17, 2018
Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Barn Owl, which I purchased at Yarns By Design
Pattern: Purl Soho Traveling Cable Hat
Notes: FIRST TIME CABLING! I love how this hat turned out! I think I made all my stitches way too tight on this hat. I think I was pulling everything extra tight because I was nervous about the cabling. The hat is a little tight on my giant head BUT I LOVE IT! I also added a faux fur pom because I felt like it needed something extra. Not sure if I should block it… will that help make it less tight feeling??

Finally Made A Mandy Boat Tee!

I’ve had the Mandy Boat Tee pdf downloaded since I first decided to start sewing in 2016. I had been too scared to try sewing with knits and never got around to actually printing out the pdf. After hearing about it more on Love To Sew podcast and seeing so many versions of it on instagram, I finally printed it out in December after completing my Peppermint Wide Leg Pants.

This was one of my fastest sewing projects to date, including the extra time I put in cutting the fabric out in a single layer for stripe-matching purposes.

 

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Pattern:
Obviously, this is a free pattern so I really shouldn’t be complaining… but man, I really hate how they’ve laid out the pattern pieces. The sleeve is laid out diagonnally, traversing more pieces of paper than it really needs. For so many pieces, it felt like i was cutting a tiny corner out of a piece of paper.

The updated Mandy Boat Tee has 4 sizes. Based on my measurements, I cut out a size 1. I’m not sure how the original one-size-only version compares to size 1, but size 1 fits pretty darn good!

Fabric:
This stripe fabric is from JoAnn’s. All there is to say about it is that it’s really awful. It doesn’t feel particularly nice on the skin and it snags super easily. I hate it. The end.

Construction:
I pretty much followed the instructions word for word. I did a really poor job with some of the twin needle hemming. Thankfully, all of the hemming happened to be in the black part of the stripe so it’s not particularly noticeable. This is my 2nd item I’ve used the twin needle for and I’m still very bad at it. I really need to practice using the twin needle more!

Conclusion:
From afar, I really like how this shirt turned out. I like the pattern and I like the silhouette of the shirt. However, everything about this shirt sucks. The fabric sucks, the construction is really crappy. I made a lot of mistakes that didn’t seem worth fixing given how much I didn’t like the fabric. I will probably remake this shirt with better fabric.

Start Date: Dec 9, 2018
Finish Date:
Dec 10, 2018
Cost:
Pattern – 0
Fabric – don’t remember 😦

 

 

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Simplicity 1366 Rifle Paper Co Top

This is my fifth iteration of the Simplicity 1366, which I recently learned is now out of print. I finished it back in June (or was it may?) and have been wearing it fairly regularly since then. I had though that the shirt looked a litle too pajama like initially, but I’ve gotten used to it and I really like wearing it now.

I cut a size 10 for this version of the shirt. My first ever Simplicity 1366 was a size 12, which I thought was a bit big (although I still wear that shirt a lot as well). Since then I’ve made 3 size 8 versions of the shirt. I don’t like the fabric choices for any of those three though, so I don’t really wear them very much.

Changes:
For this version, I decided to lengthen the shirt by 1 inch. I also made the sleeves slightly shorter than the envelope design. The flowery-ness felt like a little too much and I decided that chopping a few inches of sleeve would make it look less overwhelming.

Construction:
I serged all the seams to finish them.

Cost:
Pattern: 0
Notions: 0
Fabric: $20.63 from Firecracker Fabrics

Conclusion: Love this pattern and will continue to make more! It’s so easy and is a great palette cleanser after a tough project. If you have this pattern and still haven’t made this shirt yet, what are you waiting for?

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Wore my Simplicity1366 shirt to a Chinese tea class!
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Worn with my Peppermint x In The Folds Wide Leg Pants. I still have no idea how to style these pants and I feel like they might be a little too big…?

My Peppermint Magazine Wide Leg Pants

I finished my In The Folds x Peppermint Magazine wide-leg pants a few weeks ago and I LOVE them! I was too cold in Pittsburgh to wear them out and about but I did manage to squeeze in two wears when I went salsa dancing. I wore them with a black mock neck sleeveless crop top the first time and then with a black bodysuit the second time. Both times, since I was dancing, I wore them with my salsa shoes, which are tan strappy sandals that are 3 inches tall. Basically, the same outfit. I received many compliments both nights. Now that I’m back home in Taiwan where everyone wears puffer jackets in 50°F weather, I’m happily traipsing around in my wide legged pants. They are FANTASTIC!

 

These pants took me FOREVER to make. After making my Lander shorts that looked cute AF but was unwearable, I knew I had to make a proper muslin — and muslin I did! I actually made 3 muslins!

Muslin 1: Cut size C, which was way too big to start and I immediately abandoned it.

Muslin 2: Cut size B. The crotch was hanging too low. I tried pinching out an inch in the front and it seemed like it would work better. I also tried installing the zipper fly at this point as a practice. I had trouble getting the zipper lay flat initially but with help from Melanie (@thesewmelier), I got it to behave!

Muslin 3: I removed 1 inch from both the front and the back and was happy with the fit.

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I finally got around to cutting the pants out of my real fabric in early November. I cut everything in a single layer because I had read about twill twisting (?). While I didn’t know if it applied to this fabric, I decided to play it safe and just cut it in a single layer.

Anyway, these pants were definitely a marathon. On top of making multiple muslins, I ran into so many hurdles including:

  • Failed attempt at installing the fly
  • Failed attempt at attaching the waistband
  • Running out of thread
  • Breaking the zipper

A couple things about the pattern that I found incredibly annoying:

  1. The pocket facing pattern piece should’ve said to use a diff lighter fabric on the pattern piece. I know it says that if you have a heavier fabric that you should use a lighter fabric in the instructions. But honestly, who even reads that part of the instructions?
  2. The pattern piece for the waistband should’ve said to cut interfacing pieces for the waistband. Again, I realize that this is in the instructions, but it should’ve been on the pattern piece. The main reason I went back and fixed this was because I had been listening to the Love To Sew podcast episode about sewing jeans and Alina convinced me it was worth my time to go back and fix the waistband.

Honestly, I’m shocked I managed to push through and finish these pants. One major source of motivation was Melanie who messaged me asking me how my pants were going when I had lost my sewjo. It was just the kick in the butt I needed to finish these pants. These were my first “real pants” that I can actually wear. The process of making these pants was lengthy and challenging but I feel like this was a huge accomplishment!

Notes
Pattern: Wide Leg Pants from Peppermint Magazine (Free!)
Size: Size B
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Ventana Twill from Fabric.com ($31.65)
Notions: Zipper, thread, button, interfacing (Estimate ~$15)
Started muslin 1 on Oct 8 and completed the Real pants on Dec 8!

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2018 Recap!

In 2018, I completed sewing 17 garments and gave up on 1. The most worn item I made is probably the Driftless cardigan. My favorites are the kimono and the two Winslow culottes. I finished knitting 7 items, my fav is the Hermione’s everyday socks. I still have 3 items that I’m working on.

I still need to take pics and document a few things. My goal in 2019 is to document everything and take pictures of everything, even if the picture quality is terrible. My mom has so many completed craft projects that we both wish were better documented!

Sewing

  1. PJ Pants for Yuri
  2. Lander Shorts
  3. Simplicity 1366 in Rifle Paper Co Floral
  4. Peppermint Wide Leg Pants
  5. Mandy Boat Tee
  6. Rowan Bodysuit
  7. (gave up on) Butterick 5926 Blazer

Knitting

  1. Hermione’s Everyday Socks
  2. Legwarmers for Marissa
  3. Legwarmers for me
  4. Vanilla Latte Socks for Dad
  5. Align Mitts
  6. Pussy Hat (x3)
  7. Traveling Cable Hat

Still In Progress

  1. Jennifer Lauren Gable Top
  2. Pretty Harbour Socks
  3. A Nice Ribbed Sock

Two Elastic Back Winslow Culottes

I made two more pairs of Winslow Culottes. One for a dear friend from high school and one for myself. My friend had agreed to purchase the fabrics for both pairs in exchange for me making her a pair. I sent E a few pictures of Winslow Culottes that I had seen on instagram that I really liked and also sent her a few fabric choices. E wanted the full length pair, so we both picked out our fabrics and ordered it to my apartment in Pittsburgh.

I finished the pair for E in August just in time for an end-of-summer trip to NYC where we would be meeting up for dinner. E’s pair was made using a gray/blue-ish viscose twill from Blackbird Fabrics. It’s very drapey and flowy. I tacked down a pleats because I felt like it needed a little more structure, since the viscose twill is very light.

I debated between inserting a zipper and doing the elastic back hack for a while. I ended going with the elastic back because I was worried about the culottes being too large/small and an elastic waistband is very forgiving with sizing mistakes!

 

For my own pair, I chose the tencel twill from Blackbird Fabrics. This was just a straight up copy of all the beautiful tencel twill Winslow Culottes I had seen floating around the internet. I had fully intended on adding a zipper to the back but decided last minute to do an elastic waistband. My first pair of Winslow Culottes had been a bit looser at the waist than I like and I wanted something nice a snug but still comfortable for my second pair.

I had used up the last of my 1.5 inch elastic making E’s culottes and was too lazy to run out to Joann’s at night to get more. I decided to make a small casing (?) for the 1 inch elastic… and voila! I LOVE how the waistband looks! The top bit of the back waistband has this crinkly looking paper-bag-waistband look that I lovelovelove. I did a 2 inch hem at the bottom of the culottes which I also love. LOVE hemming a straight hem!

One mistake I made — I used a smaller seam allowance to sew on the waistband because I was playing around with different ideas for how to do the waistband. I didn’t notice until I had sewed on and serged the waistband that the notches I had snipped for the pleats are quite long and they show up a tiny bit on the right side of the culottes. UGH!! It’s veryvery subtle and I only noticed because I wasn’t paying attention in class the first day I wore the culottes out and then pulled a thread out of the fabric.

Ideally, I want to rip the waistband off and reattach it but, let’s be real, that probably won’t happen.

Cost
Pattern: $0 – no additional cost bc I already had this pattern
Fabric: $0 – E purchased the fabrics. Thank you!
Notions: $6 for thread + $8 for zippers I didn’t end up using

I love these culottes. I’ve worn them to school and while traveling. Most recently, I wore these culottes with my Toaster Sweater for Thanksgiving dinner so that I would have lots of room for food! I have fabric picked out for at least one more pair of Winslow culottes, which is very exciting. We’ll see when I get a chance to actually sew them up!

Plain White BasicInstincT

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The Pattern

I’ve been wanting to make a simple t-shirt for a while in order to learn some knit garment techniques. I had been eyeing a few different patterns but came across the Secondo Piano BasicInstincT, which is FREE (with newsletter subscription). I cut an XS.

The pattern consists of front, back, sleeve and neckband pieces. The instructions were very clear and the diagrams were very helpful. In the instructions, the word instructions are grouped together and are not directly next to the corresponding diagram. While the written instructions and corresponding diagrams were very clearly labeled, I still found myself getting confused as to where I was in the instructions. Diagrams and instructions for matching stripes are also included. Obviously, my fabric is a solid colors so I didn’t get to test out those instructions.

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The Fabric

I got this white stretchy mystery knit (jersey???) from my mom’s fabric stash when I was home in December. It’s slightly thinner than I’d like for a white t-shirt, but I had chosen to use this fabric intentionally as a test garment.

The Construction

Despite the very clear instructions, this was the most difficult thing I’ve sewn in a while.

  1. My walking foot:
    As it turns out, my walking foot is messed up and seems to push the foot off kilter as it sews. I broke a few needles trying to make this shirt. After I gave up on using the walking foot, things started moving along better. I still don’t know what’s wrong with it or what to do about it. Luckily the walking foot wasn’t super necessary for this project.
  2. Twin needle:
    Thank god for the internet, because I read about a million posts about sewing with twin needles, with THESE TWO being the most helpful. I set my needle thread to the highest tension possible on my machine and hand wound wooly nylon to use in the bobbin.

I topstitched and hemmed using the twin needle. The top stitching on the shoulder seams for this t-shirt is just awful. I had to redo them a million times and they still turned out awful, most likely do to my messed up walking foot.

I basted the neck band and then sewed it with a 3-step zig zag. I thought about serging it, but I wasn’t all that confident with my neckband-attaching-skills and I figured unpicking a 3-step zig zag would be easier than unpicking a serged seam. By this point, I had figured out that my walking foot wasn’t working properly. I topstitched the neckband using the twin needle with a regular foot and am thrilled with how it turned out.

Other than the neckband, I sewed everything together directly on the serger. I hemmed the the shirt using some heat n bond, which someone on my instagram stories had recommended it for getting flatter / even hems. I think it worked because the hem looks A++.

COST

Pattern: Free! Secondo Piano BasicInstincT
Fabric: Free!
Notions: $5.53 for the stretch twin needle and $7.17 for the heat n bond

Conclusion

This project is arguably the “simplest” item of clothing I’ve ever made but definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve made. I’m glad I finally tried the twin needle and I’m excited to make more knit garments with a more “polished” finish than a zig zag.

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McCall’s 6465: Easy Peasy Shift Dress

I’ve been wanting a shift dress for a while and finally got around to making one!

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The Pattern
I’ve had McCall’s 6465 in my stash for a while now. The front of the dress has bust darts and the back has no shaping. The neckline was finished using facings. I wish there were darts in the back, but I won’t complain about how easy and fast it was to make this dress!

I started out with the view E length, which looked way too frumpy. I ended up just pinning the hem up to a mini skirt length, which ended up being at the cut line for view B without the color blocking. For such a loose fitting dress, the short length was pretty necessary to balance everything out. Next time I’ll probably lengthen it by an inch or two… Raising my arm is basically out of the question with the current length of the dress.

My measurements put me at a size 12 and I cut a size 4. I wasn’t sure what size to cut since Big 4 patterns come with so much ease but at the same time I wanted the shift dress to be loose and breezy. I’m happy with the size 12 fit for this dress though. The dart location is perfect and I am super thrilled about that. My last make with bust darts was my willow tanks and the darts were a bit low. (Still need to do the patter adjustments so that I can start making more willow tanks…)

The Fabric
I got this fabric, a black chambray with stitched +’s all over, at Firecracker Fabrics, a local fabric shop here in Pittsburgh.

I didn’t think about trying to lign up the +’s when I was cutting out the fabric. I probably could’ve done a better job of making the neckline look a bit more symmetrical with the + placements. TOO LATE. I don’t think the asymmetry too obvious though. Also with the stitched chambray, I have accidentally ripped a few of the stitches out… It’s kinda sad but I guess that’s what happens when you don’t make something and can’t stop wearing it.

Fun fact: When I went home to visit my parents in Taiwan in the winter, I actually found out that my mom has basically the same fabric in a different colorway and brought it back with me. She only has about a yard of it so I will have to find a pattern with low yardage and make something with it.

The Construction
I more or less followed the instructions given. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was how to finish the seam under the facing. I initially serged it but ended up clipping the curves so I clipped right through the serged seam. Otherwise, all raw edges were finished by serging.

During my first try at setting in the sleeve, I had done a BEAUTIFUL job setting it in, only to realize I had sewed the sleeve to the body with the wrong sides facing each other. I had to rip it and out and redo the sleeve. Luckily, I was able to set it in nicely without too much problems. Turns out putting in the two rows of easing stitches really helped! Yay for directions that are actually helpful!

My main regret is forgetting to add an inseam pocket. Since I had serged the side seams together, I decided not to pick it open to add the pockets. I have some (lofty) goals of adding patch pockets to the front, but seeing as I have 3 more projects cut out, it’s unlikely I’ll get around to adding the pockets.

Cost
Pattern: $1.99 from Jo-Anns
Fabric: Stitched Chambray from Firecracker Fabrics, $24.75

Overall a great make. I will probably be wearing this dress ALL THE TIME this summer.

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