Here Comes the Sun: a fresh Spring look with IndieSew

The projects that follow were made in collaboration with Indiesew.  The blouse fabric and jeans pattern were provided by Indiesew, however all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I write, my head in a perpetual fog brought on by too many days without sun.  This California girl is a true sunflower, and when she begins to wilt must find a way to brighten her view. Today this great new outfit is the golden remedy to my current blues.

The top is a modified Hey June Key Largo in striped goldenrod rayon crepe from Indiesew.  Choosing this fabric was a no-brainer.  It practically chose me. Perfectly drapey and lightweight with that subtle crepe crinkle, it promptly identified itself as a statement blouse for spring.  I toyed with a couple of pattern ideas before stumbling across the Key Largo.  Unfairly overlooked all this time (at least by me) Key Largo is classic Hey June:  a separate that fits effortlessly into any wardrobe, with comfortable practicality and subtle stylish versatility.  The pattern as written was almost exactly what I wanted, with the exception of the neckline.  Eager to replicate a Madewell top I’d been eyeing, I just needed to modify Key Largo into a V.  A more patient maker may have gone about this in a more methodical way, muslining and such.  But that just isn’t me.  So while I can’t provide you with a reliable tutorial for this hack, I will let you know what did and didn’t work.

Holding up the original front pattern piece to myself, I attempted to measure how low of a V I wanted.  I decided on four inches lower than where the scoop landed and marked that point of the center front.  From there I simply drew a diagonal line starting about where the shirt would hit the collar bone down to that point.  I traced around my new neckline from the shoulder (adding SA) to the point of the V and drafted a facing about 2 1/2 inches wide.  At the same time, I raised the back neckline 1/2 inch, and drafted a back neck facing to match. Instead of one of the binding methods included in the instructions, I attached my facing with raw edges serged, then understitched and topstiched 1/4” from the serged edge to secure.  Once sewn up, I found the V to be much top low for my taste.  Fortunately this was easily resolved by taking up the shoulder seam, leaving my beautifully shaped V in tact.  In the end it seems lowering the neckline 2 inches would have been the better choice.  But it’s true that all’s well that ends well and I just love the finished article.  I made a straight size 8 which is one size larger than my high bust measurement, and that worked well for this relaxed look. 

Now as  to the fabric itself, it is extremely beautiful and lovely to wear.  But if you value your sanity at all,  you may want to avoid projects that require a lot of precision or stripe matching.  Aside from the shifty nature of rayon, the crepe crinkle can make lining up stripes a challenge.  Personally I broke out into a bit of a sweat trying to match the center seam on my front pieces.  Even so, it was well worth the effort and I’d highly recommend snatching up a couple of yards before it’s gone!

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Now what’s that on my bottom half?  Yep, new jeans!  A new-to-me jeans pattern: the Megan Nielsen Ash jeans.  After four iterations of the Ginger jeans, I was eager to check out a different designer’s methods.  The vision was for a very fitted, minimal pair of dark jeans that would be great pared down or dressed up.  To achieve that look I went with version 1 of the 4, the skinnies.  I’m really happy with the result and stoked to add this pair to my me-made jeans collection.

As far as sizing goes, I measured between a size 28 and 30 and my fabric had less stretch than the pattern recommendation.  Having opted for grading between sizes with my Gingers, I decided to take advantage of a clean slate and take a new approach.  I pooled all of my resources on fitting before deciding on a method from Sew Over It’s pants fitting course.  Armed with that tutorial and experience from previous attempts at fitting my body, I decided to cut a straight size 29 with a 1 inch full thigh adjustment.  Next I got some help at mapping out my full calf situation, marking the fullest points on the pattern pieces and grading out the side seams to accommodate the width.  In the past, I’ve felt I needed a flat pubis adjustment, which I did by straightening out the crotch curve.  Finally, I added an additional 3/8” to the outer leg seam allowances to give myself a full one inch as a safety. 

Since I didn’t have enough of my fashion fabric (10oz Indigo Cone Mills slub denim from D&H Fabrics) to make a muslin, I bit the bullet and did the cutting from my adjusted pattern pieces.  After baste fitting, I decided that the flat pubis adjustment did not work, so I went back and scooped out the crotch curve as it was intended.  I also took advantage of 1/4” of the additional seam allowance from the lower hip to the hem, but kept the original 5/8: from hip to waist.  All in all, I think the sizing of this pattern is very true, and any discrepancy was to be expected since my fabric did not have the proper stretch percentage. 

Now I know what question comes next: which pattern do I prefer?  Ginger or Ash. I honestly don’t know.  The idea of both of these patterns is for them to hug all of you curves, so the final result depends greatly on how you choose to fit them.  I will say I favor the pockets of the Gingers: both the front pocket stay and the fact that the back pockets come in different sizes.  But I much prefer the shape and size of the back yoke on the Ash, which I think is a key element to rear end shaping.  I think I’ll have to make a couple more versions of Ash in different fabrics before it’s clear which pattern I’ll keep going back to.  Whichever way you decide to go, both patterns are conveniently available on the IndieSew website.

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If you fancy a chat about sewing Ash or Ginger or need a little direction in hacking your Key Largo into a V neck, feel free to leave me a note.  I’d love to be of support!

xoxo

April

 

my favorite photobomber

my favorite photobomber

Hippie vibes and acceptance: Hey June Phoenix

Standing out can be great when it's your choice to do so.  But what do you do when you'd rather blend in?  I have some experience in not fitting in and generally feel comfortable in my own (figurative) skin.  Funny enough, one difference I haven't always embraced is my complexion.  See, I'm from sunny Orange County, California and was born into a beachy kind of family.  My dad is a sun-worshiping surfer.  My mom, an olive-toned former islander hippie.  I remember my blonde + bronzed older sisters perpetually glistening with tanning oil.  It was our tradition to spend vacations on the sand, and I felt that was part of my identity.  I loved this image and thought covering up or sitting under an umbrella were very uncool.  My conforming mind somehow thought I could train my skin to love the sun, and I was in complete denial about how I should care for it.  Many years, sun beds and painful burns later I began to come to terms with the fact that I will never be tan.  And that it was actually okay to be pale.  Figuring out a way to be in the sun without getting burned has been a little tricky and to this day I haven't gotten used to how much planning it takes.  Yet again, sewing has come to the rescue for me and at long last I have the cover-up of dreams.

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Pattern:  Hey June Handmade Phoenix Blouse

Fabric: Island Breeze Gauze in Olive from Fabric.com  This is not a very high quality fabric, but I tend to view my handmades as precious and I think I'll wear this more freely since it didn't cost a fortune to make.

Size: 6 based on bust measurements

Fit: I need your help on this!  I have very little experience wearing loose/blousy clothes.  My first instinct was to take in the bodice and under the arms, but I decided to leave it be.  What do you think?  Is it hanging properly, or should I have sized down?

Changes:  As soon as I saw this pattern, I could see it as a dress.  For this hack, I extended the full-length version by about 4 inches, widening the hem about 1 inch on the sides of each pattern piece (for a total of 4 inches around).  The tier/frill on the bottom is two long rectangles stitched together at both short ends.  Rough measurements: 8 inches wide x hem circumference + 50% for gathering.  The rest of the dress was sewn up exactly as instructed for the blouse.

Verdict:  There's a reason why Adriana has a reputation for great patterns with detailed instructions and my first experience was great.  She puts out a quality product at an incredibly reasonable price.  The trickiest part for me was sewing the front yoke with split neckline and only one of my corners is sharp and smooth.  This is mostly because I am very lazy when it comes to transferring pattern markings.  Next time I will use tailors tacks to achieve nice sharp corners.  I'm not tripping too hard on that though, because I am so happy with the end result.  I'm really starting to embrace this laid back hippie vibe and look forward to wearing my Phoenix on many sunburn-free summer days to come.

The back yoke detail is my favorite.

The back yoke detail is my favorite.

Perfect for a casual stroll in some seaside town...or down your neighbor's alley

Perfect for a casual stroll in some seaside town...or down your neighbor's alley

The subtle bell sleeve is a statement but still practical.

The subtle bell sleeve is a statement but still practical.

I remembered to use two rows of gathering stiches for my tiered skirt!

I remembered to use two rows of gathering stiches for my tiered skirt!

Channeling my inner folk-rock songstress.

Channeling my inner folk-rock songstress.

Oh, hi!

Oh, hi!

I prefer my ties done up, and it gives me a little extra coverage on the chest.

I prefer my ties done up, and it gives me a little extra coverage on the chest.

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It's cute open too.