TBT: Jade Skirt

Pattern: Paprkia Pattern's Jade Skirt
Fabric: 1 yd knit jersey for shell, 1 yd knit jersey for lining
Cost: $10

Today I have a #ThrowBackThursday for you! Last summer I had the opportunity to test out Lisa's very first pattern, the Jade Skirt. It has made the rounds over the last few years as the folded mini (see Dixie DIY's version from last year). Lisa has been developing it off and on as she's traveled the countryside in her camper van (how bohemian!), and after all this time it is finally a fully-graded pattern available for sale! (At a name-your-price rate, too.)

Because I made up the pattern last year, for today's post I dug deep into my drafts and found these year-old pics from the archives. They were taken on my patio, before Mr. Made convinced me he should be my photographer, and before I got my new camera. While it is grainy, that curly 'do is making me re-think growing out my bangs!

Here's the (unpublished) post about the pattern that I wrote up last year: 

I have previously written about how much I love Lisa's innovative style, and watched as she took on Pattern Magic books, fabric printing, and her own designs. That is why it's exciting to get in her mind with her first pattern, the Jade SkirtPaprika Patterns are marketed as 'clean and clever' sewing patterns, and I've also heard Lisa describe them as "patterns for edgier designs." All these elements are nicely incorporated into this skirt, which has a lot of visual interest and construction, yet overall is very sleek and clean.

Putting the pattern together was definitely a bit like doing origami or a Japanese drape drape book. I liked having a project where you take your time with the construction, and it reaally pays off! I recommend doing it in a medium-weight jersey, as my tissue weight ended being hard to fold and keep in place. After all the folding though, you pretty much just sew up the side seams and you're good to go! 

While the solid colored versions look amazing, I made mine up in stripes. The print obscures the folds a little, but I think it makes for a really interesting effect. This is the midi length version, which is perfect for me.

Overall, the pattern was a joy to construct, with amazingly detailed and helpful instructions that lead you through a variety of different construction options. Hop on over to her site to name your price and pick up your own copy!

A Shirt for My Father

Pattern: BurdaSyle's Men's Shirt 7045
Fabric: cotton
Cost: $30

I have childhood memories of my dad wearing shirts that my mother had made him. I don't think she's sewn much for him in recent years, but when they were dating she made him some wonderful shirts and pullover sweaters. Some of them he still wears to this day, nearly thirty years later.

For his birthday, I was inspired by the longevity of my mom's creations to make my dad something, too. He often has trouble finding shirts with the right fit through his shoulders, so I stole one of his garments that fit him well and used BurdaSyle 7045 to make one of my own.

The print was one I had long admired in the fabric store, and reminded me of the kind of things my mom made. It's beautifully thick yet soft, with a few natural imperfections in the cotton. At first Mr. Made wondered if the print was too crazy, but once the shirt came together it all seemed to work. I think the one change I would make would be to add more buttons down the front, and possibly make it a bit bigger at the side seams.

My dad has been wonderfully gracious, and wore it when he came up to visit the other day (I stole a pic of him as he met our newest family member.) He says the fit is great, and that my mom definitely noticed the pattern matching ;) I took my time with this project, but it all came together rather quickly, and I would certainly consider making him one again!

Blue and Gold

His pattern: BurdaSyle's Men's Shirt 7045
Her pattern: Grainline's Archer
Fabric: 4 yds collegiate cotton broadcloth
Cost: $36 for two shirts

Sometimes you get an idea in your head that is a bit too wacky to be real. The danger when you sew, however, is that you have the ability to make those wacky ideas a reality. Such was the case when I decided that Mr. Made and I needed some new collegiate gear from our alma mater. And that the gear in question should be matching Hawaiian-style shirts plastered in our school's logo.

You can actually buy this fabric for a lot of schools online, and when I saw our logo I knew there was nothing stopping me. Well, except that it sold out and I had to wait a few more months for it to be back in stock. Apparently I am not the only one with this wacky idea?!

The shirts themselves sewed up rather quickly, and were excellent practice for doing a collar stand and button band. The two patterns are ones I actually plan to use a lot: Grainline Archer and BurdaSyle Men's 7045 (printed pattern sold through Simplicity). I'd made each up once before, and it was nice to have the chance to fine-tune some of the construction.

I actually really like the BurdaStyle pattern: the fit is good, the directions are clear (unlike their online patterns), and the construction is simple and straightforward. The only thing I had issues with was that the back of the shirt doesn't match up very well with the yoke: both times I have made it the back piece has been a bit too wide, yet the pattern does not instruct you to ease it in. On the whole though, it's a great classic pattern to have.

I hardly need to tell you about Grainline's Archer as it seems just about everyone has sewn it up. One change I did make, however, was to extend the center front on both sides to create a fold-over placket. Sewing on a separate placket seemed like unnecessary extra work to me, and since the men's pattern did it this way I figured I wouldn't be breaking too many rules.

Print matching with this one was a bit ridiculous. I made sure that the print was lined up vertically and pretty much left it at that. I wish I had made the fronts match a bit better, but it was difficult to work out after they had been folded under twice. That, and I didn't have too much extra fabric. On the whole though, not bad for a novelty item!

Once made, I have to say that they look ridiculously bright in my living room. All that blue and gold together combined with the squares and logos had even me questioning this wacky idea. Once in the stadium, however, they hardly stick out, providing just enough uniqueness to be noteworthy.

I wish I could say our shirts served as a good luck charm, but the Bears did not do too well. I'm not sure even the wackiest outfit could save them at this point... At least the shirts were a crowd-pleaser! 

Bonnie Top

Pattern: Bluegingerdoll's Bonnie Knit Top
Fabric: panel-printed knit
Cost: $30

Indie designers must have been working overtime this summer because I have had so many new patterns to share with you lately! The latest is Bluegingerdoll's Bonnie, a vintage-inspired sweater top made from knit fabric. I was a pattern tester for this one, and sewed it up in one evening!

Unlike some of the other knit tops on the market right now, what I really love about this pattern is all the options. The collar can be cut as crew-neck, scooped, or boat-neck. The sleeves have options for full, three-quarter, or flutter sleeves. And the length can be made cropped with a waistband or hip-length. Abby has really outdone herself this time!

The other thing I got super excited about was that I found the perfect fabric! I have seen these striped tops all over lately where the stripe pattern ends above the bust, and I actually found a panel-printed knit that allowed me to do the same thing! Each panel had stripes running down the center, but big white spaces at either end, allowing me to cut this top with white framing my face. I absolutely love it! Hoping to squeeze one more kimono sleeved tee out of this fabric as well.

As you can see, I made mine up with a boat neck, 3/4 sleeves, and hip-length. I have been wearing it once a week since I made it up a few weeks ago, so I know this one is going to be a hit! It's that perfect transitional piece for cooler weather. In the spring I think I may make up a flutter-sleeve one, too!

Use code BONNIE at checkout to get 10% off through this weekend in the Bluegingerdoll store ;) 

The Maya Dress

Pattern: Marilla Walker's new Maya Dress/Top
Fabric: 2 yds woven cotton 
Cost: fabric from Melizza via Kestrel's Spring Sewing Swap

Who loves a new pattern! I do! I do! This is a brand new pattern from Marilla Walker, entitled the Maya Dress/Top. It's a kimono-sleeved dress or top pattern that is designed to hang well from the shoulders and have a wide fit from the bust down, much like a traditional Guatemalan Huipil of Marilla's Central American mother and family.

It was this last fact that truly had me intrigued. Long-time followers (all four of you) know that I feel a deep connection to Central America, having grown up speaking Spanish and traveling when I could in the region. In 2009 I tried my hand at refashioning traditional Mexican dresses while living in Mexico City, and many years before that I actually had a simple Huipil made for me in Guatemala. While there are certainly many ways to customize this pattern, I love the regional and deeply personal inspiration!

When Marilla called for pattern testers, I jumped at the chance. I've been a follower of her classic, fun style, and have recently enjoyed her makes such as completely hand sewn jeans (!!), beautiful hand-printed fabric, and now this chic dress/top pattern! The garment truly reflects her casual, well-dressed style, and can be made as either an easy dress or top, with or without the button placket. I was totally in!

The basis of this dress is a fabric from the wonderful Melizza at Pincushion Treats, who was my partner for Kestrel's Spring Sewing Swap (incidentally, she also just made a wonderful Latin-inspired dress). Something about the crisp whiteness and embroidered details of this fabric just seemed perfect for the pattern. I took advantage of the topstitching at the facings, placket and hem to add contrasting blue thread. The lines aren't perfect and look slightly "handmade" but in this case I really like that aspect - it lends a sort of folksy vibe to the dress.

I plan on making this up as a top several more times - it is so helpful to have a kimono-sleeve pattern because it uses such little fabric and is very quick to make. I'm sure you've noticed, but I tend to wear a lot of these! The only thing I would do differently next time is to make it narrower at the neckline to better fit my narrow shoulders. If you aren't as big of a fan of the loose drape, you could do the same.

I don't know if B will be appearing in all of my pics from now on, but she certainly is a good model! Here she is the first time she met her BFF Hannah at the park, right in the middle of our shoot :)