Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Chai Shirt // Itch to Stitch Designs

This must be the year for woven, button up shirts! This one is a new-to-me pattern though and perfect for summer. The Chai Shirt and Dress pattern released last August, and I wanted to make it in the dress version as soon as I saw it. I ordered the pattern right away and since I had the perfect chambray fabric for the dress, I decided to make a muslin (something I never do because I'm a lazy sewist). I used this cheap woven gingham and cut out my muslin, but it sat in my sewing room nearly forgotten for almost a year!

I decided this past weekend that I was going to sew up the muslin, so that I can make my dress to wear this summer. However, instead of sewing up just a quick muslin to check the fit, I made the entire pattern. I'm glad I did because it is a great fit and completely wearable! I also will be more familiar with the pattern the next time I make it and hopefully that means less mistakes! 

The Chai Shirt and Dress is such a classic style and exactly what I was looking for in a shirt dress! The pattern includes cup sizes, which was something new for me. It has the options for dress or shirt length, a classic collar with collar stand, options for sleeveless or short sleeves, a button placket, and an a-line skirt. 

The fabric is originally from fabric.com from quite a few years ago. It is not the highest quality of fabric, but it worked for checking the fit! I actually really like the colors and I happened to have red buttons in my stash, and I think it makes for a great Fourth of July themed outfit. 

This might be one of the best fitting woven shirts I have made. The back fits really well! 

I didn't make any changes to this version, and since I like how it fits I plan on not changing anything for my dress version. I will probably add length to the skirt, but that is something I always have to do with dress patterns. 

My button placement could use some work, but buttonholes are not my favorite thing to do, so I am happy with how they turned out. I didn't have to seam rip any buttonholes this time, which is unusual!

I think this shirt will be a great addition to my summer wardrobe. However, this black skirt is the only thing I have to match, so I might have to change that!

My sister was my photographer this time and I think she did a great job!


Friday, June 8, 2018

Me-Made-May 2018 Recap

Me-Made-May 2018 has come to an end! It's hard to believe that this was my fifth year participating (and the whole challenge has been going on for nine years!). I posted my outfits on instagram, but I am going to do a quick wrap up here too. I managed to wear handmade everyday that I was not working and I repeated some pieces, but not entire outfits.

From left to right: Day 1 was my Cheyenne tunic and dropped waist Sybil skirt.
Day 5 was my brushed poly Union St. Tee and Veronika Skirt.
Day 6 was my Madeline Maxi dress and Julia cardigan.
Day 7 was my Lady Skater dress

On day 9 I wore a short sleeve day tripper top with my Blackwood cardigan, route 66 skirt, and Avery leggings. 
Day 10 was a Fringe blouse and double gauze tiered skirt. 
Day 11 was a Marigold dress and Avery leggings. 
Day 13 was my new Joy Jacket, a day tripper top, and a Sybil pencil skirt. 

On day 15 I wore a Union St. Tee and knit a-line skirt.
Day 16 was a Shoreline Boatneck and linen Street Fair skirt.
Day 18 was another Lady Skater dress
Day 19 was another version of the Union St. Tee and a knit a-line skirt. 

Day 20 was my rayon Fringe dress and my Blackwood Cardigan.
Day 21 was my favorite Daytripper top and denim route 66 skirt. 
Day 25 was my Union St. Tee with my Gabrielle Godet skirt (the oldest make I wore this month!). 
My sister is wearing a Oliver & S Hopscotch skirt made by me. 
Day 26 was my Wildflower Top and another version of the Street Fair skirt

Day 27 was one of my favorite outfits - my Felicity dress, Julia cardigan, and a handmade scarf.
Day 30 was a Lane Raglan and knit a-line skirt. 
Finally, on day 31 I wore my Wildflower top again with my Sybil pencil skirt (loved this outfit too!).

As you can probably tell, there are some skipped days. That just means I was working that night or the night before and spent the day sleeping. I wore me-made pajamas though and I have a few me-made long sleeve Union St. Tees for wearing under my scrubs.

The weather made the month of May hard too. We didn't really have a spring. It seemed as though we went right from winter to the middle of summer with temps getting as high as 90 degrees. There were a few cooler days thrown in and you can see with my outfits how the weather was bouncing around.

There are quite a few things I did not end up wearing (mostly my winter clothing). I also noticed that a lot of my clothes are from 2013 and 2014. I still wear those clothes quite a bit and it just goes to show that handmade items can last a long time!

My least favorite part of the month was taking a picture everyday because on most days I did not have a photographer and there is not good lighting in my apartment. That is not the main reason for the challenge, but I am glad I took pictures so I can look back on my outfits!

I will continue to wear my handmade clothes, because those include some of my favorite things to wear. It's fun to see how far I have come since the first year I participated in me-made-May.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Liesl and Co. All Day Shirt

I have entered into the world of sewing menswear! If you had told me a year ago that I would be sewing a flannel plaid button down shirt for my brother I would have thought you were crazy. In fact, once this brother of mine said, "You should make me a flannel shirt," and I just laughed!

I have sewn two other men's patterns in the past year (both t-shirts, one for this brother and one for my dad). I enjoy sewing plaid shirts for myself, so I thought it would be fun to venture out and attempt to sew one for my brother. I found the fabric first (on sale for $3/yard at Cali Fabrics) and then I read some reviews on men's shirts.

Obviously, I decided on the Liesl and Co. All Day Shirt. It had good reviews, I liked the casual style, and I have had good luck with other patterns from this company. This pattern was very well written and I learned so much! I have made plackets and collars before in shirts for myself but there were different techniques used in this pattern. It was a good challenge for me to try something new and learn some new skills in the end.

This a straight medium with no changes made to the pattern. I am still learning about fitting women's patterns and men's fitting is a whole different ballgame! I decided to just go with the pattern as is and see what happens (which is what I usually do in my sewing anyway)! I am not too experienced with fitting, but I think it is a pretty great fit right out of the package! My brother's measurements put him in a size medium. However, I think his neck size is slightly bigger than the medium size and that is something I would change for next time. He is not able to button the very top button on the collar, but he informed me that this does not matter since he never buttons that button anyway.

Check out that placket! I'm super happy with my matching skills here. I was trying to make it work when I cut out the pattern, but I wasn't sure if it work in the end. I am really picky about matching plaid because RTW shirts almost never match. I'm happy to say that the sleeve placket matches nearly perfectly on both sides. I also liked the method used in the pattern.

As much as I love matching plaid, I'm also a lazy sewist and that's why I chose to cut the yoke on the bias! However, I think cutting on the bias adds interesting detail too! I cut the yoke, pockets, and cuffs on the bias for this shirt.

I know you can't see the shirt well in this picture, but I thought it turned out pretty neat!

As much as I like sewing for myself, I enjoy sewing for my siblings too! I think plaid shirts are on my list of favorite things to sew too (since this is the third one this year including the ones I made for myself)! It's not a quick and "easy" project, but it is so satisfying once you are finished.

Have you sewn any men's patterns?


Monday, April 16, 2018

Me-Made-May 2018

It's almost time for Me-Made-May! I love taking part in this event every year and seeing all the amazing handmade outfits that everyone pledges to wear. This will be my fifth year participating in Me-Made-May and it is interesting to me to look back and see how much my wardrobe has changed over the years. Five years ago, I was still in college and know I'm in the working world as a nurse! 

I wear something handmade almost everyday. In fact, it would be more of a challenge for me to wear something RTW than it is to wear handmade. My handmade items are just what I like to wear now! It also helps that I'm part of the RTW fast this year, so I am not buying any RTW clothes. So far, that is going well and I haven't felt the need to buy any clothes for myself!

Here is my pledge for MMM '18:
 'I, Elizabeth of The College Seamstress blog and @thecollegeseamstress on instagram, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '18. I endeavour to wear only me made clothing (with the exception of undergarments, shoes, socks, and work scrubs!) throughout May 2018'. 

I will be sharing daily photos on Instagram and hope to do a few updates here on the blog. At the end of the month I will evaluate what worked, what didn't work, and what needs to go. I also want to figure out what I need more of in my wardrobe. In addition to my pledge, I have a goal to finish sewing the Joy Jacket pattern for my mom and I. I also want to sew something else from my #makenine list (possibly the Carolyn Pajamas or the Gabriola Skirt). 

Are you participating in Me-Made-May this year? 


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

If You Give your Sister a Cookie...

It's a new season over at Project Run and Play and there are some very talented designers! I wasn't planning on sewing along, but I couldn't help myself and had to join in the fun! I had a great time as a designer last season, but it is fun just to sew for fun and not have to stress about a design each week!

The theme for week two is 'Crafting a Story,' and you are supposed to "weave elements of your favorite children's storybook" into your design. If you know me, I love reading and there are lots of books I enjoyed reading as a child. I asked my siblings what their favorite book was, but they were not helpful as they told me "I don't know!" They like reading too, so I guess there are too many books for them to just choose one favorite!

I finally decided on "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie," by Laura Numeroff. There are other stories in this series, but I think the cookie one is my favorite. It is a cute story and tells what happens when you give a mouse a cookie. The mouse in the story wears a simple outfit of overalls, so I used that as my inspiration for my outfit this week.

I was not looking at making a costume, but something that could be worn everyday. I also wanted to make it for my sister. While girls can wear overalls, I wanted to make a more feminine/girly outfit too. I decided on a pinafore dress similar to the one I made myself a few years ago. I made a few changes to the original design by adding a square "bib" to the front to mimic the design of overalls. I added a pocket to the bib and made a little cookie out of corduroy and ric rack. It's not a chocolate chip cookie, but the book never specifies! I sewed two layers the the cookie to make it pop out a little and appear more 3D. I was making it up as I went, so I am really happy with how this turned out!

The straps cross in the back and stay in place with the buttons in the front. The skirt has an invisible side seam zipper to make for easy on and off. The skirt is very full but it looks cute on little girls! It was cut four times my sister's hip measurement and then gathered.

My favorite part is the fabric. It appears to be denim, which is the look I was going for, but it is actually cotton! I've had it in my stash forever and never had quite the right project for it. I'm glad I saved it until now! It will be perfect for spring as well since it is not heavy like real denim.

The hardest part of sewing this dress was that I made it at my apartment away from my sister. I had her most recent measurements, but it is hard when you can't try things on as you go, especially when there is no pattern involved! I'm so glad it is a perfect fit!

Of course, this photoshoot wouldn't be complete without milk and cookies!

I had a fun time making this dress and taking these pictures!

Happy first day of spring too! As you can see, it doesn't look much like spring around here. I'm hoping it will be here soon!


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Another Cheyenne Tunic

I seem to be sewing everything in doubles this year! This is my second Cheyenne and I hadn't planned on making it until spring or summer. However, Grace of Maker Mountain Fabrics recently hosted a sewalong over on instagram and facebook. I decided to join in the fun and I'm so glad I did! I love my new shirt! 

Check out that matching plaid! Plaid matching can be tedious work, but I really enjoy it because the end result is worth it. Unfortunately, my sleeve cuffs didn't match, but progress, not perfection. 

My first Cheyenne tunic was the button down version, so for this one I decided to do the half placket, no collar version with 3/4 length sleeves. I really like the length of the sleeves when rolled up and I will probably wear it this way most of the time.

I cut the yoke, front placket, and pocket on the bias. I like the interest it adds and it also means I didn't have to match the plaid!

The fabric is a cotton shirting from Cali Fabrics. It has my favorite color in it - turquoise - which is why I bought it. It is nice and light and will be perfect for wearing this spring and summer. It's not quite warm enough to wear outside yet!

I sewed this Cheyenne in a straight size medium. Last time I had graded out to the hips at the large. I think the medium works well. It is somewhat loose fitting, but that is how the pattern was intended.

The sewalong forced me to slow down and really enjoy the sewing process! I like to sew fast and finish projects as quickly as I can. Sometimes, that's okay, but for projects like this you really should take your time and enjoy the process from cutting to finish!


Monday, March 5, 2018

Fringe Dress // Sewing for my Sister

Hello! It's safe to say that the Fringe dress from Chalk and Notch is one of my favorite patterns. I have made it three times now. The first time was the top version in view A, the second was my Christmas maxi velvet dress (unblogged) and this is the third time.

I made view B for this Fringe dress. My sister is 15 years old and she fit almost perfectly into the size 4. Her waist measurement was an inch different, so I reduced the width of the darts following the directions in the pattern. I also added the waist ties to the back darts. It is a perfect fit!

Another change I made to the pattern was to lengthen the skirt by four inches. My sister is tall and I wanted the skirt to hit a little below knee length. I sewed the bodice with French seams and finished the other seams with my sewing machine.

The waist ties help to add some shaping to the waist. 

It was a super windy day while we were taking these pictures, but you can see the shape of the hem in this one. It is slightly curved on the sides.

Previously, I have made the button front version of the Fringe dress, but I love this notched version too! It makes for an easy pullover dress! I made sure to use lots of pins while sewing the facing, and it came out nearly perfect! 

My sister's favorite part of this dress are the pockets! Every girl needs pockets in her dresses/skirts!

The fabric is a very drapey rayon challis from Joann Fabrics. We bought it at least five years ago when it was on sale. It's been prewashed and sitting in the stash ever since. My mom originally bought it intending to use it for my sister, but it just took a few years! 

The fabric is pretty, but it was a pain to work with! Parts of it were off grain and it was almost impossible to make it lay straight when cutting. I think the print helps to hide the fabric issues though and it looks cute on my sister!

This dress will be my sister's Easter dress this year! It will also be the perfect dress for summer too.