Sunday, August 30, 2015

Made by a Fabricista: Workout Yoga Pants

I think I have turned into an activewear fabric junkie. I can't get enough of them! Well, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I joined a gym again and have been doing a lot of physical activity this summer. The last time I bought activewear clothes was like five years ago when I joined a gym. I went for about a year and lost interest. I would still wear the yoga pants and gym clothes, but honestly, I was really tired of my look. 

So I looked for some good activewear patterns and came across a few from Kwik Sew. I wanted to start with a pants pattern and Kwik Sew #3988 looked perfect! The pattern comes with a two inseam lengths. Since it is summer, I wanted to make the shorter length. Sue made the long pants HERE. And her success with the pattern made it better for me to decide on this pattern too. 


I had an activewear knit fabric in my stash from a previous Fabric Mart buyout a few years ago. So I dug it out from the bottom of the pile and got started. (You can find our selection of activewear fabrics HERE.) I read some reviews that you should almost go down a size with this pattern so you get the best fit. So I tissue fit the pants on my body and one size smaller seemed to do the trick. Remember -- activewear clothes usually fit closer to your body than regular clothes. 


I did not do any alterations to the pattern. I wanted to see how it went right out of the envelope. And it was great! The hardest part was probably the gusset and the inset piece on the side of the pants. But the directions are clear, I just needed to focus a little bit more. Oh, and all the double top-stitching! I was having a hard time getting the double needle to work properly on my machine (I was getting tunneling.) And everything I did to change that didn't work. So rather than messing up the pants, I decided to stitch using a single needle, just doing it twice. I'm pretty good at keeping my stitching straight, so I wasn't concerned. I used the knit stitch on my sewing machine (I have a Bernina). I also serged all the seams.






My only complaint would be that when the pants aren't on me, it has some rippling at the waist. The only thing I can think of is that maybe I was pulling on the fabric when sewing, but I didn't think I was. The waist has elastic stitched in which also helps keep the stretchy fabric on your body. I also may make the legs a wee bit thinner next time because it gets a little loose at the bottom. 


I'm really happy with my workout pants and can't wait to make more! It's time to replace the old ones in my closet. Now on to some tops!


Have you ever made your own workout clothes? Do you have pattern recommendations? 

Happy Sewing!
~ Julie 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Made By a Fabricista: Peplum Love in Off White

We have a new contributor on the Fabricista blog! Vatsla teaches fashion design at the Art Institute of Charlotte and loves to teach through written and video tutorials on her blog. You can learn more about her on our About Us page and check out her blog, Fashion Behind the Seams


Hello Loves!

It's time to start transitioning our wardrobes from summer to pre-fall/ fall and I've been dreaming of a peplum top. I am so excited to share my latest creation with you. This off white peplum top I just finished sewing.


My style is definitely casual chic. I love a comfortable yet cute pair of skinny jeans. These are such a wardrobe staple for me. I love pairing knit tops that are a bit more dressy with jeans. You never feel overdressed, yet you make a statement.

I chose to sew with a soft and comfortable ponte knit from Fabric Mart Fabrics. For the pattern, I chose McCalls 7126 View D as a base pattern and modified the peplum.


I drafted the peplum from scratch because I wanted a much fuller peplum and a more dramatic look. I wanted it to be a full circle (think of it as a mini full circle skirt), but I also wanted a high low effect. The peplum is about 3 inches shorter in the front.You can draft your own high low peplum using my tutorial described HERE. To get the hem to be stiff and show off the ruffles, I used a one inch wide horesehair braid.



The top has a little bit of peek-a-boo action going on in the back as the peplum hangs free on the centre back. I used a separating zipper on the bodice and chose to let the peplum do its own thing. This is definitely a sexy top, but classy and elegant at the same time.



Very pleased with the way the horse hair braid hem turned out. This fabric is not too heavy weight, but given that the peplum is a full circle peplum, it would drape very differently had I not used the horse hair braid. LOVE the stiffness of the hem and it makes twirling super fun!



Even though this is a knit fabric, the look I was going for was a bit more structured, so I treated the fabric more like a woven. For example, I sewed it with my sewing machine instead of a serger, and I paid special attention to pressing the seams, using heat and steam generously, and pressing the seams crisp with my beloved tailors clapper. You can see my tutorial on pressing seams HERE. I also lined the entire bodice with a lighter knit fabric. I applied an exposed gold metal zipper on the back.


Moving on to how I styled this gorgeous peplum. I added this pretty silver and pink necklace, and this clutch purse. This is one of my favorites and looks so cute with the off white and denim. And I paired this look with my favorite snake skin pumps. (faux snake skin of course)



Can I just tell you that I love the fit on this top? Sewing Tip: A peplum is most flattering on the natural waist, which is that narrowest part of the torso. It cinches in the waist and lengthens the legs.


Oh! And no blog post of mine would be complete unless I struck a Bollywood pose... so here goes....(This is me, staring into the distance, thinking of my prince charming..)




My kid decided to come join me in the pictures! Oh and you know I've been gardening this summer...My iris has a bloom! So proud!



Design details below if you want to make your own peplum top!


PATTERN: I used McCalls 7126 ,View D as the pattern, but instead of using the peplum for view D, I drafted my own since I wanted a fuller peplum with a high low hemline. You can draft your own high low peplum using my tutorial described HERE. I also changed the neck to a round neck line.

FABRIC:  I used an off-white ponte knit from Fabric Mart Fabrics. You can find their selection of ponte knits HERE

SEWING: I seriously loved sewing with the ponte knit. Its my first time working with ponte and I am pleased to say that it sews so well on a sewing machine as opposed to the less stable knits. This is definitely a good fabric to start sewing with in you are a beginner with knits. It's a stable, medium weight fabric and lovely to work with.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my latest creation!

What are you planning on sewing this weekend? I am taking a short break this weekend since my daughter is turning two and it's time to celebrate.

XOXO

-Vatsla at Fashion Behind The Seams


Check out Vatsla's time lapse video showing the entire process of making this peplum top: 



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Made by a Fabricista: Colorful Silk Crepe de Chine



Have you ever sewn with silk Crepe de Chine? I had not. I wasn’t even sure what it would feel like, but the name sounded very delicious. As part of my sewing journey, I like to learn about all types of fabrics, so I decided to order some real Silk Crepe de Chine from Fabric Mart.  



Since we are going into fall, I wanted something in a deep rich shade, and couldn’t decide between a deep periwinkle and a deep teal, so I ordered two yards of each. The teal was sandwashed, whereas the periwinkle wasn’t, so I was curious as to what the difference would be. While I was waiting for it, I went to the J.Crew outlet that is nearby because I knew that Fabric Mart also carried some polyester crepe de chine from J. Crew, and I wanted to compare it to see if there was enough difference in quality to warrant the price difference. The polyester version sells for $6-$7 per yard, whereas the silk version sells for $20-$25 per yard. 



When I got my order, I could definitely tell the difference from sandwashed and non-sandwashed, and the polyester type. The sandwashed silk crepe de chine had much more texture- a little pebbly and seemed heavier. The non-sandwashed was smoother, but both of the silk fabrics still had an interesting way of absorbing and reflecting light. Compared to the polyester crepe de chine, they were softer and richer feeling. It's hard to capture this quality in photos, but here is one that kind of shows the light reflection:



I could tell that this was going to be a challenging fabric to work with, so picking out a pattern with simple lines was going to be important. I wanted to make some simple tops that could be worn to work with either skirts or pants, and I tried out a few patterns with some inexpensive fabric to make sure that I would get a good fit before cutting into the good stuff.   


I decided on Butterick 6187. It was a slip-on style, so I could skip buttons or zippers, with a nice v-neck for wearing necklaces and an interesting hemline. This is one of the Connie Crawford patterns that advertises modern ready to wear sizing, and sure enough- I made a large straight out of the envelope with no alterations, and it fit wonderfully. I didn’t have to do any of the adjustments that I normally do. After making this, I immediately went out and bought all of Connie’s other patterns that are still in print! Here's a peek at the construction from the inside.  The facing is caught in the shoulder sleeve seams to hold it in place. 


Working with the crepe de chine was easy- it didn’t roll, took pressing well, and didn’t stretch out of shape. However, it does have some downsides- wherever you touch it, it will wrinkle, and you cannot hide any mistakes that you make with it- little tucks or waves show up prominently. I’m generally not a very precise sewer, but with this, I had to take my time, and be super careful.  

It also does show water spots. I started out using steam in my iron, but then saw a couple of places where the water had dripped from the iron, that were still visible even after it had dried, so I turned off the steam for the rest of the way. Working with a print would have been way easier. I am a little concerned about perspiration stains with these, so I found this interesting article online about how to get perspiration stains out of silk which uses cream of tartar and aspirins of all things!

To transition these to cool weather, I tried them on with a few cardigans. This cardigan is using a Fabric Mart knit from last year that had a Missoni-type weave.



I didn't make the grey cardigan below, but you might recognize the fabric that I used from my pants in this picture from this post about the convertible skirt.


I'm excited that I learned about a new fabric, and got some great new tops in the process. I will probably be hand washing these in cold water with a drop of baby shampoo for future care. 



If you are thinking about trying silk crepe de chine, I would recommend starting with a simple design, and go slowly. Definitely fit your pattern by making a muslin out of a cheaper fabric before you start sewing with the real stuff. When you are sewing with it, make sure your sewing area is clean and dry so that no spots show up inadvertently. 



Do you have any tips on working with silk crepe de chine? Do you have experience working with the polyester crepe de chine as well? If so, please share!


Happy Sewing!

Ann

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Made by a Fabricista: Fall Prep in Progress, Sewaholic's Robson Trench Coat Altered

Good day my fellow Seamstress'.  As I continue my transition into fall, I opted to venture out and find a great trench coat pattern.  Sewaholic's Robson coat filled my search and after looking into some of the details, I knew it was a win!


I must say, at a younger age, I always thought trench coats were my mothers coat. Honestly, I just never knew how to style them correctly ha ha!  

My vision for this post was found on Pinterest where I located a skirted trench coat. The original trench coat I used for inspiration was made out of a suiting fabric, but I knew I wanted this coat to be in a fabric that could easily be worn dress up and down.

The denim fabric I used came from Fabric Mart, but isn't available anymore. (But you can find more denim HERE).   I had to reach out to the wonderful Julie of Fabric Mart Fabrics for her expertise on the correct weight to use. I've never made a trench before and the only one I own was a weight I could not put my finger on. The options were this and a heavy weight. Thanks to Julie, I received the lighter of the two and it was the best option THANKS!!!

This pattern came with a whopping 61 pages whew!  I put all the pieces together and got to work immediately. The instructions were easy to follow and the fabric was a dream to sew. I made the following adjustments to accomplish this look.

First, I extended the front, back and side pieces (the fabric is 58 inches wide, 29 folded. The kick out on the front and back extended to the end of my fabric (folded) to give me the most drape possible. The side piece was extended on both sides as well to the full extent of the fabric. These adjustments were made from the lower belt loop line outwards. Because of this adjustments I had pointy seams which needed to be cut down to one inch below the front faced pieces as the pattern was intended.



I added piping to both of the sleeve seams, as well as the belt for a pop of color. This was the first time I've used piping in this way.





I put all of the buttons (6) on the inside of the front piece and raised the belt loops to exaggerate the semi skirted bottom. All in all, I loved it and am uber proud of myself!

I plan on sewing this pattern again.  The next time, I will add more piping for sure.  The accent was a hit with myself as well as others I shared it with. You can never go wrong with piping in a garment like this!

Overall, the pattern was a breeze and I was extremely happy with the bias finishes as well. I think I will incorporate these types of garments and others where lining is not used. I felt I choose very wisely selecting this Sewaholic pattern and look forward to attempting many more in the future!














Side note:  There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING ok about taking coat pictures in 95 degree weather LOL! I am sure I shaved a couple days off of my life! But hey, its better to be prepared than not!

I hope you are inspired with the alterations and challenge yourself to creating outside of the patterns in your future projects... Until next time.... MUAH

Jenese

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fashion Challenge 3: Contestants Have Been Selected!

It's the moment you've all be waiting for...announcement of the Fashion Challenge contestants! We had 20 people submit applications to the fashion challenge. And to only pick six people was so HARD! We took a look at their work, their blogs and why they felt they would be a good candidate for the challenge. After about 2 days of reviewing we finally came to an agreement and here they are! (in alphabetical order)





Dawn from Two On, Two Off






Elizabeth from I Sew, You Sew



Kristin from Sunny Sewing



Tiffany from Frougie Fashionista



The Fashion Challenge will begin on September 11, so mark your calendars! I'm really excited to see what these sewers come up with for each challenge. It's always mind blowing!!

Don't forget, you can participate too! Share your finished creation on social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) using #fabricistafashionchallengereader. We'll post your photo on the blog to share with everyone else. We will choose one winner each week to win a prize! (Only open to citizens of the US and Canada for shipping purposes.)

See you in September!