#fqchallenge bonus garment! because i use all the parts of the buffalo

of course, technically it wasn’t allowed, but i did have some scraps left over from my #fqchallenge masterplan. see, originally i was going to really go overboard and make a skirt and blouse to go over my playsuit, sort of like this butterick weekender pattern (that actually was my base for part of my work):

but the shirt, in spite of homemade pieced bias tape and a dismembered zombie head on the pocket, was nothing but a hot mess.

but i persevered!  i made the skirt anyway.  this circle skirt pattern is my favorite, because it is so easy to play with.  i quickly ended up with something fun and wearable, even if it didn’t match my original masterplan.



i just have to give a shout-out to the other ladies who shared the fun with me:

i really loved how, even with ridiculous choices and restrictions, everyone found a way to make a garment that was nonetheless true to herself!  so, readers, what do you think?  should we let oona continue to hand out assignments?  or do we cut off her margarita supply?


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happy birthday oona: may it be full of unicorns and rainbows #fqchallenge

20140805-135214.jpgso, good things do come to those who wait. i know a lot of people have been eagerly anticipating the results of the fat quarter challenge


— oh, wait, that was just me? because my garment is so freaking awesome? that’s right, project runway ain’t got nuthin’ on this ensemble.




and wait, what is that i see? a clear, full photograph? HAPPY BIRTHDAY, OONA. now let’s not discuss it again until next august.


i swear that lens flare is not there on purpose, oona

like most of the rest of the fashion universe, i have been obsessed with two-piece sets, or co-ords, a term i swear i have never heard before and i was a child of the nineties appropriately obsessed with clueless.


as if!

the genesis of this set was the idea of the fifties-style playsuit.  ignoring the fact that this “playsuit” would be illegal on most televisions in the 1950s, i think i succeeded with an appropriately modern twist.


that’s right, i’m livin’ on the edge of the law

i started with two simplicity patterns, both by cynthia rowley.  my favorite of favorite bodices, simplicity 2250, had a love-at-first-sight moment with a newer release, simplicity 1607, and before i knew it they had procreated themselves straight to this.


since this is an oona challenge, cocktails were undoubtedly involved.

the original guidelines stated that all of the FQs needed to be used and visible, so i treated the bodice pattern as a building block and made each piece out of a different fat quarter.

20140805-135252.jpgsome stash china silk lining and red cotton broadcloth unified all of the elements into one cohesive top.  no mean feat, amirite?

20140805-135152.jpgand then for the bottoms i wanted a more modern short than any of my fifties options offered, so i turned immediately to the papercut pattern rite of spring short.  this is my TNT short pattern, guys, even though i am still perfecting my construction technique.

20140805-135207.jpgi used pockets copied from my favorite ready-to-wear jeans using kenneth king’s jean-ius class to highlight other fabrics from the bundle and then created pieced bias tape using a technique from modern mix, one of my quilting books, for the racing stripe effect.  each stripe was finished with bias tape (also homemade) on one side and white piping on the other for a clean look. i finished the waistband with a piece of red polka dot poly grosgrain.

20140804-222424-80664037.jpghere’s the best part:  i will TOTALLY wear this in public.  as a set, as separates…it is already packed for an upcoming family weekend in laguna beach.  i wonder if the high-and-mighty LA fashion set will understand my vision?


nah.  probably too sophisticated!


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me-made-everyday: style report



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a quickie: megan nielsen crescent blouse


speaking of my constant stash of nearly-finished UFOs (hereafter referred to as area 51), i seriously have four of these happening right now. they’re just so cute and easy and don’t take up too much fabric! perfect for a few scraps of leftover lizzy house or liberty of london (not that i’ve tried that yet) or even silky things.


i like the open shoulder variation the best so far, but i do think that – should i take the time to actually finish one before cutting out the next one – i want to put a bit more shaping in the side seams. the pattern is ever-so-slightly boxy and i think i’d prefer a more fitted variation, even if that means sucking it up and putting a zipper in. (insert sadface)


construction-wise, nothing could be simpler – i made everything on my serger, including finishing the shoulder and arm openings with a rolled hem. then i popped that baby into my flat-felling foot on the regular machine for a clean, no-fuss finish. again, next time i might prefer to add a bit more seam allowance (the crescent, like all megan nielsen patterns, has 1cm) to allow a little more flexibility on the seam finishes, but overall i was quite pleased. it’s a cute top and the proportion is perfect for a long, slim skinny jean or trouser.




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a NY-Lon FO: 1930s sundress in liberty

confession:  most of my NY-Lon fabric haul is already cut out and in various stages of assembly.


but this is my first finished, worn and photographed make out of the haul.  the fabric is liberty of london Lanthe which i scored at our (second) trip to Shaukat, an amazing little spot in the old brompton road that specializes in liberty remnants.  they actually have more fabric in stock than liberty, in more colorways and content types, and i fearlessly splurged on varieties in silk/wool, silk/cotton, and the classic tana lawn.  in fact, while we’re talking about our trip to shaukat and the subject of aggressive persuasion, i sweet-talked vicki into snagging some of this print as well – she went for a classic colorway in multiple shades of blue.


also true:  vicki went straight to a bolt of wool/silk and looked at me and said, “this is so you.”  and then i held up my cut pile to reveal the yardage (meterage?) i had already set aside for purchase.

i felt that the art deco and vintage feel of this print demanded an appropriately period garment and i went straight to the 1930s part of my pattern stash.

only, i really don’t enjoy that style of waistline.  it’s difficult to sew (for me) and i don’t find it particularly flattering.  for me, the appeal was about the great skirt detail, the low back with straps, and the collar.  to me those all screamed 1930s but in a way that could still be modern and fun.


so i paired it up with simplicity 1755, a raglan number from the leanne marshall pattern collaboration.  it’s been a winner for me in the past and i felt confident that i could blend the more modern bodice front with all of the elements that attracted me to the vintage piece.  i especially love the gathers along the shoulder line instead of a dart – i thought a dart would too obviously deviate from the vintage feel.


only don’t ask me how many times i pleated and re-pleated the fashion fabric, lining fabric, collar fabric and straps in a quest to get a neat, clean all-in-one finish.  i swear part of my brain has deserted me.


i am extremely satisfied with the curve of the back bodice and the way the straps lay across my back.  there was some tweaking there but in the end a good result.


my collar leaves a bit to be desired but mostly in the realm of “only another sewist would ever know”.


best of all, it looks perfect with my papercut copelia.  my office life demands top layers and i don’t enjoy sitting in a blazer all day.  instant answer.








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simplicity 1803 + simplicity 1873 = awesomesauce


weird, but true story of how bloggers know me better than anyone:

i was describing a make – really, any make, but it might have been this one – to clio, whose only answer was, “i pretty much imagine you have an entire closet of UFOs and every day you just say to yourself, ‘what do i want to finish today’?”

so yeah, this one happened kind of like that.  only it’s really more like a series of file cabinets, because that is how i roll.


top = bodice of simplicity 1803 bottom = skirt of simplicity 1873

so simplicity 1873 is officially my go-to skirt pattern these days. i really just love everything about it: the drafting, the pleats, the ease of construction and its appeal in a wide range of fabrics. in this version i’ve finished the hem with horsehair braid using a method from lynda maynards dressmaker’s handbook of couture sewing techniques. it’s quick, clean, easy and gives a nice flourish to the lizzy house quilting cotton.


oh, what’s that you say? you recognize that cotton? yes, i finally finished the bottom half of my two-piece summer dress. i’m really happy with the overall product, although my trusty simplicity 1803 peek-a-boob needs a bit of tweaking for a cleaner fit on that front yoke. any suggestions? i worry that taking in that yoke at the center front will constrain my shoulder movement, and it fits nicely across the bodice itself.


no waistband on the skirt; just a wide piece of polka-dotted grosgrain ribbon (poly grosgrain, alas, not real grosgrain) as a finish. sometimes i get lazy and a ribbon makes a clean finish without totally cheating.


i love that i can wear the pieces together or as separates for two distinct looks.


only clearly i need more variety on the cardi front!


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han shot first – will he please shoot me?

papercut patterns ‘peter and the wolf’ pants.

i think the thing that started these trousers for me was the realization that i had some scraps of amazing blue flowered lace leftover from cutting out a woven attempt at my lady-mary-inspired top.  i saw the interesting yoke design of the peter and the wolf trouser and it just spoke to me.  (yeah, sometimes fabric talks to me.  i’ve learned to listen.)

and then while i was prepping and piecing my patchwork deer and doe datura i had all of these little, half-inch scraps of red silk.

and then i ended up here.


because, me.


so, yes, those are corellian bloodstripes (first class, thank you!) made out of serged-together scraps of flower lace and red silk.


because, me.

i found the pattern  extremely straightforward and generally easy to construct.  all of the yokes and pattern pieces matched up easily and went together without a hitch.  my major issue was crotch-fitting.


i traced off my moulage crotch curve, but decided to leave myself some insurance.  so when i cut them out, i left the as-drafted front curve in place.

you can see i have excellent rear coverage.


but the front was like a full-on monet.  what was it lauren said?  like i had ketchup packets stuffed in there trying to fill out the extra fabric bunching in a most unattractive manner.  i spent multiple sessions pinching out excess that fabric at the front seam, trying to fix it.  in fact, i realized that i had adjusted it almost exactly to the traced evidence of my moulage curve.  so i thought i had succeeded – which i had – until i put the waistband on.


still not perfect – but at least i don’t feel like a fashion ‘don’t’ when i leave the apartment any more. also, are those wrinkles wearing ease? i was afraid to over-fit them. next time i will take out a small wedge in the flat pattern to compensate.

tears may have ensued.

then i had the ultimate d’oh moment.  like, after some furtive googling for ‘camel toe’ – and thanks, internet, for that will now forever be in my search history – i was able to ascertain that my crotch curve was pretty bang-on the way i had adjusted it (as in, back to the way it is drafted in my moulage) and my main issue was that i had not curved the waistband to match.


basically, my adjustment had essentially shortened the front crotch curve, and the best way to fix it now that i was in fabric and not on a flat pattern was to re-attach the waistband to match the shorter seam.  so i still have a nice coverage in the rear, and a slightly-below-the-navel dip in the front.


and for for the moron moment – pearl clutching may now commence.  i did all of this while totally forgetting that i had:

  • david coffin’s trouser-making book
  • sandra betzina’s trouser-fitting class on craftsy
  • sandra betzina’s trouser-making class on craftsy

yep, that is me, sewing genius, right there.

but i fixed them!

but what i can’t get over is – what kind of person takes a perfectly lovely trouser pattern and adds corellian bloodstripes?  i mean, who does that?  that is NOT NORMAL.

sorry, not sorry.




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