Sewlebrity Sewalong & Book Giveaway!

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Hello there, friends! I’m so excited to be a part of the Just for You Sewlebrity Book Tour & Sewalong this month! I met Caroline of Sew Can She & Sarah of Blue Susan Makes at Quilt Market last fall when they were releasing their book, Just for You, and I instantly fell in love with it, and them!

The book features 24 selfish sewing projects for you to indulge in throughout the year. Garments, bags, aprons, scarves, belts, jewelry and more – all completely adorable. Though I’d say the projects range a bit in difficulty, there are amazing photographs and instructions that make every project doable for any sewist. Not only do you need a copy for yourself, but it’s perfect to give as a gift or a swap extra. AND I’m giving away a copy (giveaway closed, thanks to all who entered)! Read on, friends…

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I made the Top Stitched Belt from the August chapter of the book, which was such a perfect fit for me because I love accessories and I love wearing belts with dresses! This project was really quick and easy to sew up, and the versatility is endless. I had the D-rings and rectangle rings on hand but I’ve seen them available at craft stores, hardware stores and even Walmart. You can use a variety of hardware options from metal to plastic (shower curtain rings?! maybe!).

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I made two versions (and it was hard to stop myself there). The first I made out of Robert Kaufman Rustica Chambray which I’m totally obsessed with. Everything goes with denim, right? I have so many bold, patterned dresses that I knew it would be perfect with all of them (here I’m wearing a sleeveless version of the Washi Dress by Made By Rae).

I really love the top stitching on this belt. I hoard collect a million colors of thread just for projects like these! I had to go with yellow on the denim, because it’s my favorite color and it also goes with everything. Did you ever notice how stitching on jeans is usually yellow?

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The second belt I made out of the new line Lucky Strikes by Kim Kight for Cotton + Steel. This floral has been calling to me since I first saw. I used a purple top stitch on this one and I love how it can be worn with jeans or a dress.

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The pattern gives you directions to easily figure out measurements based on your hardware and the length you want your belt. When using O-rings, you add 1/4″ to the width, but since my rings had flat edges, I used the exact measurement of the opening and did not add any extra, which worked out perfectly.

I really hope you check out this book, I guarantee you’ll love it! You can check out more projects from the book tour and sewalong on Sew Can She and under the hashtag #justforyoubook.

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Now I get to give away a copy! US residents will receive a hard copy and international friends will receive an e-book. Simply leave a comment below and I’ll pick a winner next Monday morning. Now go do some selfish sewing just for you!

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Pattern Review: The Piper Top & Dress

I can’t remember where or when I first saw this top, but I was hooked at first glimpse of that adorable big bow on the back. This is the Piper Misses Top & Dress pattern by Violette Field Threads and you can find it here.
This is the third garment I have made, the first two being the Wiksten Tank and the Flirting the Issue Skirt which are very simple, so I thought it was time to step up my game with gathered sleeves and bust darts.

This pattern was definitely more complex than the other garments I’ve made, but overall I’d still call it easy. 

The pattern calls for regular seams (vs french seams) and to finish the raw edges with a zig zag stitch, if desired, or a serger. There is a simple gather on the shoulder and you use 1/4″ bias tape around the neckline, which was tiny, but lots of pins and a slow stitch speed did the trick.

I made a muslin in medium to check the sizing and found it a bit large, but I was worried the small may be too small so I went with a hybrid in-between size. In the end it still came out a bit larger than I wanted, mostly in body width, so I will try a regular small next time but may need some adjustments in the armholes and placement of the bust darts because of my height and long torso. That being said, I think the pattern sizing runs a tad large. 
It isnt meant to be form fitting but the problem I found in having the width slightly too large is the shoulders are more likely to slide down because of the wide open back, so even though the fit throughout the body isn’t as important, getting the proper width in the shoulder area seems to be.
I made this top using a polyester for the body with lace collar and bow accents. NEITHER were easy to work with, though I am very happy with the drape and feel. The polyester was slippery, similar to working with rayon, so it was hard to cut accurate pieces and required lots of pinning. Same went for the lace.

I wasn’t able to finish the edges of the lace on my machine so I’m not sure how it will stand up to washing, but I did prewash the lace before making the top and I think it will hold up pretty well.

I found adding the sleeves to be the trickiest part for me. The technical skills required weren’t difficult, but I did have a little steam coming out of ears trying to figure out the proper way to lay out all the pieces and attach the sleeves. Ultimately it’s not complicated, but the photos in the pattern are too close up to see what you’re actually looking at. At this step, the front is one piece but the back is in two pieces and they are attached at the should seams. It just takes a little logic and maybe simply more garment experience!

I made a couple minor changes along the way. First was the collar. The pattern includes a cute peter pan collar but I wanted to use the pretty scalloped edges of my lace so just did a little improv there and am so pleased with how it came out. I also shortened the top several inches. I found the length for the top as written in the pattern to be much too long for my preference and a little awkward. If I had made the length as specified, I would have had to modify the width at the bottom to fit around my hips and rear as it was tight before I trimmed and hemmed it.

The pattern includes a long sleeve option with gathered cuffs as well. I made the short sleeves as written though may shorten them to more of a cap, which is just a personal preference. Also, as the name indicates, the pattern includes instructions for making a dress, which I may just try!


Overall I am very happy with my finished top and will definitely be making another. I recommend checking your size with a muslin first, as this top was time consuming enough to want to get it right the first time! If you are unsure, try sizing down first. Between cutting and all the assembly steps, you can expect to spend the good portion of a day, if not a full day, working on it.

I love the look, feel and drape of the polyester and lace, but it was hard to work with. I wouldn’t recommend a stiff or thick cotton because I think the body needs some movement, but any quilting cotton or voile would probably be lovely. The collar and bow also lend themselves wonderfully to creative fabric choices.

If you are adventurous and have experience with bias tape, this would definitely not be too difficult to attempt as a first garment pattern.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email nicole@lillyella.com.

Happy sewing!