Linen Bryce Cargo Joggers

I only started sewing pants and jeans this year and let me tell you how incredible it feels to wear outfits that are top to bottom self-sewn.

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My hack of the Bryce Cargos was borne from my desire to recreate a pair of ready to wear (rtw) linen pants I have. These pants have a zip fly, cargo details, darts for waist shaping in the back, and a jogger-style elastic cuff.

I had (somewhat foolishly) tried using a woven jogger pattern first (Tierras), but of course there was a lot of extra fabric and ease, so they could be pulled on. I often need to grade the waist of my pants down to fit my waist (or up to fit my derriere, depending on your perspective), so naturally, I can get a better fit with a more tailored style.  

I really wanted to make sure the welt patch pocket detail on the rtw pants was a feature on my recreation. Take a closer look at how cool they are.

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When I asked Adrianna, the beauty and brains behind Hey June Handmade, if she thought the Bryce pattern would work for non-stretch pants, she enthusiastically said it was very possible, because she had already done it! (But hasn’t shared them yet.)

While I was making my stretch twill Bryce Cargos, I laid my rtw linen pants over the unaltered pattern and could tell I was on the right track already.

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In choosing a size for non-stretch fabric*, I went with the size that fits my waist well (8) and went up 2 sizes (12) for the remainder of the pattern. I simply took the top of the pants in slightly to fit the smaller waistband.

* My fabric actually does have some some spandex in it and is described as having 5% stretch aka not much, so for all intents and purposes, let’s just say it’s non-stretch

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The basic approach to these joggers was to trace off (a big deal if you know me) the pants front (with the pocket facing overlaid to eliminate the slash pockets) and back, widening the legs straight from the hips and then to taper them slightly at the knee point. I eliminated the knee darts in the front, adjusting the length accordingly. At the hems, squared up the bottom 1.5 inches to become the casing for 1-inch elastic.

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The welt pocket pattern piece came directly from the original pocket pattern piece, folded on the fold line.

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The construction of the welt pockets was fun (and by fun I mean challenging) to figure out. I don’t have a lot of experience sewing welts, but after a few scrappy trials, I figured them out with the help of this post.

I’m not very interested in writing out all the details here. #sorrynotsorry It would have been a snooze-fest. I’m more than happy, however, to answer questions if you happen to have any.

After creating the welt pocket, it’s simply a matter of sewing the pocket to the pants front as a patch. Press the bottom and inside edges to the wrong side and top stitch the pocket in place.

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I think my end result is pretty close to my inspiration pair. They do sit higher on my waist, but that is good; the rtw pair is constantly falling down.

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And they have pretty guts.

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I love that these pants can be styled in a multitude of ways from a bit dressy to rather casual.

 worn with a Cheyenne tunic

worn with a Cheyenne tunic

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 modeled with a sweater knit Lane raglan

modeled with a sweater knit Lane raglan

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Now that I’ve tasted success with my $5 linen, I’ll be using some more expensive fabric next. I like the Avery linen La Mercerie carries and as well as this (sold out) rust colored linen from Blackbird. A friend picked up a very similar linen for me at Mood recently.

I found Emily’s tutorial on the Hey June blog while I was working on writing this post. Check it out if you’re interested in an alternative approach to Bryce joggers.

Tulip Hem Pixie

The crossover or tulip hem is a great way to add some interest to basic tops.

I followed Brittney’s tutorial on the Hey June blog when I made my first Lane raglan last fall.

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There’s plenty of ready to wear examples with the crossover in the front-

but I might prefer the crossover as a design feature in the back.

 Pixie

Pixie

My approach to this mod is in keeping with Brittney’s, I’m just sort of, shall we say, lazy, so I don’t bother to prep any new pattern pieces.

My current favorite pattern to modify is Chalk & Notch’s Pixie tee.

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Cut all the pattern pieces for Pixie’s banded view-

  • 1 front

  • 1 front hem band

  • 2 backs (keep mirrored)

  • 2 back hem bands (hem band, lengthened, see * below)

  • 2 sleeves and cuffs

  • 1 neckband

Take your backs, keeping them mirrored (wrong or right sides facing), and create the hem shape using a dress maker’s or French curve (or just your artistic eyeballs!). You can also use a straight line for this, but I prefer a curve. I like to make the curve somewhat dramatic with the high edge being about 6-8 inches from the original hem.

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Keep your curve away from the opposite side seam. Otherwise, your front piece will be longer than your back pieces.

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*Measure the length of your newly created hem. It’s longer now that it’s cut along a slope. Your back hem bands need to be at least as long as your measurement. Add a couple extra inches to be safe. They will get trimmed later.

Attach the hem bands to the front and both backs individually without stretching the back bands. Again, we’ve added a curve to the hem of the back pieces, it is longer/wider than the original hem. The bands will sit flatter and look nicer when not stretched.

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After attaching the back bands, square or true them, using a straight edge inline with the side seam, removing any excess length.

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Layer one hemmed back piece over the other. I tend to prefer the left side crossing over the top of the right. You can baste (or lazily pin only) the shoulders, armscyes, and side seams together if you like. Treat this as a single piece when sewing the shoulder seams, setting the sleeves, and banding the neckline.

The assembly otherwise follows the original construction order.

Do take care when closing the side seams to align the bands.

 I did ok ;)

I did ok ;)

You can top stitch as desired.

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Now you’ve got a wonderful, business in the front, party in the back Pixie.

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Orchid Wrap Top

I try to live my life with no regrets, but I tell you what. I totally missed the boat in not signing up to test Chalk & Notch’s Orchid Midi. Part of my reasoning was that I don’t wear dresses. And the other piece was that I sincerely doubted I could figure out the fit of a wrap bodice.

Well fast forward a few weeks and I’m planning outfits for an impromptu family photo session. The ever opinionated (in the best way) and stylish Gwyn suggested a wrap-style top and I instantly knew I’d have to buy the Orchid Midi and adapt it to get the look I now coveted.

I purchased the pattern from UpCraft Club with my 20% membership discount while it was on sale, so I only spent about $9.50. A great deal, really!

I had been eyeing these wrap tops from Madewell for months. In particular, I liked the sleeves and banded bottom. The Orchid really has nearly all the exact same style lines.

I actually did contemplate making a dress for a little while as I was prepping the pattern. I was concerned however that I wouldn’t have enough yardage as the fabric requirements call for over 4 yards. At any rate, I pulled some scrumptious Pat Bravo Art Gallery rayon from my stash and cut into it without making a muslin.

After scouring the #orchidmidi tag on IG and chatting with a few sewists who had made or tested the Orchid, I decided it was a good approach to lengthen the bodice. Since I was wanting the top to be longer, falling below my natural waist, I lengthened the bodice at the bottom of the pattern, not at the lengthen/shorten line. I went with a somewhat arbitrary 2 inches.

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I used some cotton lawn for the bias binding of the front neckline. I like that cotton is more stable than rayon and therefore much easier to work with. I also decided to apply the bias in the “French” fashion for its simplicity.

I planned to skip the elastic in the sleeve hem and add a simple cuff for the sleeve to gather into to match my inspiration. I cut the sleeves the designed (full) length, just taking the slight hem taper out.

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The cuff I created by figuring out the smallest band my hand could slip through, approximately 8” in circumference. I cut 2 pairs of rectangles (4 pieces) measuring 2 1/4” x 8 3/4”. I simply gathered the sleeve at the hem into these simple cuff bands. (I noticed after the fact that my inspiration’s sleeve cuffs button. This style would also be very simple to recreate.)

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Now I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around (pun not intended) how the Madewell wrap portions are constructed. I don’t even have any wrap tops in my pattern library nor closet to consult, so I finished the wrap in the simplest way I could conceive. I simply added a long tie to the hem with a short tail (mine is about 8” long) on one side and a long tail on the other that wraps behind and ties to the shorter tail. For my size, it worked out that 2 widths of fabric (about 100” long) x 5” high was just perfect. I attached one long side of the tie to the inside of the blouse. I closed the tie ends, sewing with right sides together from the short ends to meet the blouse, turned these out, then closed the hem band by top stitching it to right side of the blouse.

 closing the tie ends

closing the tie ends

That’s it!

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I mean. ALL THE HEARTS EYES, right? This fabric and this pattern were made for each other.

 Ginger jeans

Ginger jeans

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I chose to wear my Orchid wrap with my Birkin Flares (the first jeans I ever made!) and some light brown suede booties. LOVE THE FALL VIBE.

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With the freedom of a free hem on this wrap top, I’m able to get tie it as loosely or tightly as I desire. I actually don’t find that I need to tack the fabric at the cross over or add any hidden snaps. I understand wraps are meant to cross under the bust, but that’s just not how I want to wear it. (Mostly because I don’t want to figure out what sort of bra situation that requires. Nope. I’m happiest in my simple wireless bralettes from Target.)

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I would likely make a few adjustments in sewing this top again. Really this one is a muslin. First, I would lengthen the bodice another inch and possibly widen the back bodice to match my inspiration more closely. I would also like a tad more room in the armscye. I think I would lower it a half inch as it feels high, especially in the back. I would widen the sleeve slightly, either doing a full bicep adjustment or since the sleeve cap has so much gathering, just widen the whole sleeve. I compared this sleeve to a tried and true blouse with a set in sleeve and the Orchid sleeve is an inch narrower at the widest point. I might also consider adding a buttonhole for the long wrap tie to feed through.

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I can’t wait to see how our family photos by Andi Roberts turned out. I imagine I’ll be sharing those soon.

Very Wearable Muslin: Bryce Cargo Pants

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I must have just started sewing pants at the beginning of this year and binged on a few views of Ginger jeans, Morgans, Jamie jeans, as well as Birkins just before the Bryce cargos released. So I must have been over pants sewing and thought I didn’t need another pants pattern. Hello. I was rather wrong.

Pockets and knee darts aside, I also don’t think I realized the style lines were different than most jeans or pants patterns with a yoke in the back. Bryce cargos don’t have one, but instead achieve waist fitting through darts and a 3 piece waistband. That waistband is curved just right. Simple rectangular waistbands don’t seem to fit curvy bodies nearly so well.

So anyway! I’m here to tell you that I loved sewing these pants and that fitting them was very straightforward for me.

My body measurements (30” waist and 40” hips) put me right in a size 12, so I started right there.

I used a rather nice navy stretch twill from LA Finch Fabrics from my stash. My records say I purchased 2 yards and it was exactly what I needed (note- I omitted flaps on all the pockets and modified the front pockets slightly, but I still think it was the perfect amount).

 #feetforscale

#feetforscale

This is all I had left after re-cutting the waistband including the facing (more on that to follow).

So I basted the pants (minus waistband) before doing any construction and they looked and felt pretty good so I went forward with cutting all the pieces, assembling, and finishing as per the directions along the way. With cargo pockets on the sides just above the knees, the outseams are completed before the inseams. That’s all good, but it is often a seam I make fit adjustments along, so I would definitely muslin or baste these pants without worrying about the pockets first.

It’s very common for me to need to adjust the back waist on pants so they don’t gap. I simply took in a small wedge right along the center back seam that in effect removed about an inch total. The directions give advise on adjusting the waist in 2 fashions- taking in the waist at the side seams and adjusting and adding back darts (or a combination or these for more than 2” of adjustment). So I probably should have taken from the side seams, but it was just so easy to adjust the center back seam.

I love, love, love the finishing on the waistband. These are the first pair of pants I’ve sewn using a bias binding in this manner and trying new techniques is something I really enjoy when sewing different patterns.

 waistband facing with bias binding

waistband facing with bias binding

Now, the size 12 waistband seemed to fit my pants fine even though I had adjusted the waist so I went ahead and sewed it on and finished the pants with the exception of the button and buttonhole. Buttonholes are not something I undertake late at night.

Hot damn, though. They really were too big at the waist. I shouldn’t have been surprised. I hadn’t adjusted the waistband even though I had adjusted the pants at the waist. So I slept on how I was going to tackle a fix. I really liked the material and how the pants had turned out so I was willing to put in the effort to make them more wearable.

Simplest fix really- I pulled the waistband completely off, printed a size 8 waistband, recut and assembled fresh (it was just as much a treat the second time around). Now, I’m here to tell you my Bryce cargos fit much better (shocking, I know) and I love them.

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I’m 5’ 5” and I made no adjustments to the length.

 Proof that I put a button on ;)

Proof that I put a button on ;)

 worn with a Trevi top

worn with a Trevi top

Looking at these pictures, though, maybe the bum zone could use some adjustment? It’s a tricky area to photograph and ASSess on one’s own. I think I would start by raising the pockets maybe a 1/2”.

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The front pockets are modified with a welt. It’s a work in progress of a rtw pocket I’m copying.

 worn with a Halifax hoodie

worn with a Halifax hoodie

I really excited to use this pattern to recreate a pair of rtw linen pants in my wardrobe. I also want to look closer at Emily’s post for making jeans using Bryce and Sandbridge.


Update! After a few wears and washes, I’m finding this size, 12, to be a bit too big. I’m still very happy with my size 8 waistband and have sewn another pair of Bryces in stretch linen since this pair (blog post coming soon). I plan to sew future pair, going down 1 or possibly 2 sizes (depending on fabric stretch), but will keep using the size 8 waistband.

Lace Bib Issie

We're right in the middle of sewpony's Issie tour and it's my turn to share. I'm glad Suz asked me to join in the fun. It's a great line-up of creatives-

Issie has quite a multitude of style options included and comes in children's and teen/women's sizing.

I was particularly drawn to the curved bib feature.

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And I instantly knew I wanted to use lace for the bib.

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I paired crochet lace with a modal brushed french terry, both from La Finch Fabrics. (I have so much love for their famous maker offerings!)

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I'm really pleased with how it turned out and I absolutely love wearing it.

I chose to make size 8 AUS based on the finished measurements chart with my chest measurement of 36". Having sized down, the overall fit is trim. It's very comfortable and I particularly like the long sleeve cuffs.

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It's a rather easy modification (if it even qualifies as such!) from the original pattern-

Use the curved ruffle template to transfer the bib shape to the front bodice. Add 1/4" seam allowance here. Also add a 1/4" seam allowance to the bib template. Notch the centers. Voila! Two new pattern pieces to color-block (or should I say lace-block?) your Issie tops.

(I must admit I had a couple pictures to illustrate this process, but I think I missed adding the seam allowance to the front bodice and my head is still spinning trying to reason how and why I goofed. Thankfully knits are a bit forgiving!)

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There's a 10% discount off all sewpony patterns with code WOMENSISSIE10 for the duration of the tour (through Monday, September 3rd).

What do you think, should I make an Issie to twin with my daughter next? She's wearing one made during testing last year. She's got some spunk!

Thanks for having me, Suz.

Sirena Poolside Tote

Back in June, I saw Jessica Swift's call for sewists to create and share bags showcasing Sirena.

And when Jessica calls, I answer.

I also sew all her clothes.

Ok, not ALL her clothes, but I did make her a dress once.

And that dress even got to vacation in Mexico!

Ahhhh. Sirena. It exudes summer with every fiber. Perfect for summer totes! Great idea, Jess!

I instantly knew Jessica's call was just the excuse I had been looking for to finally make a Noodlehead Poolside tote.

 Main fabric-  Jungle Heatwave

Main fabric- Jungle Heatwave

Those leaves!

 #justaddferns

#justaddferns

The handles and strap details are made from an AGF Denim Studio pick, Evening Lakeview Lovey Dobby. The texture slays me. As far as I'm concerned, dobby is synonymous with scrumptious. (I really wouldn't be upset if an entire bolt landed on my front porch. ;) ;) )

It's a generously sized bag with plenty of room inside for several towels, especially when you aren't rolling them nicely for modeling sake. 

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I used AGF solid in Grapefruit for the lining. And that splendid facing? A Squared Elements print in Lox. Everything coordinates so well!

With only one exterior pocket, this tote begged me to make it a zippered pouch companion. You can't put sunscreen on the kids if you can't find it in your enormous tote!

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Spy a little friend? That sweet mermaid enamel pin is the product of a collab between Jessica and Maker Pin Co. She's also the impetus for the fishy friend on the pouch. 'Fishy Bones' is a free foundation paper piecing pattern by unicornharts; available here.

Did you spot the other little accents of Tallinn fabric? Magija Pumpkin coordinates so well it's hard to believe it isn't part of the Sirena collection.

 Photo cred- middle child

Photo cred- middle child

So yeah. I'm not actually taking my Poolside to the pool (have you seen how many kids I have?). But I love my new summer tote, nonetheless! Thanks, Jessica!

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Blooper reel-

 

The fabric used for this post was provided by Jessica Swift and Art Gallery Fabrics.

Range Backpacks

With summer winding down, school prep is in full swing. My kids attend a school with a uniform policy, so sewing their school clothes is something I have very little desire for. I decided I'd be up for making their backpacks, though, especially since there's so many beautiful Range Backpacks on social media. I would have made one for myself already (read: I LOVE NOODLEHEAD PATTERNS), but it's just not a style I would carry.

With my son entering first grade, the teacher specified that the bookbag should be large enough to hold full-sized folders. The pic below shows the popular brand toddler backpack like my son had been using (center). A standard folder (right) fits width- and height-wise, but the folder has to be bent to close the zippered top.

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In considering the Range pattern, which is scaled for adults, I was concerned it would be too large for an elementary school kid, but I think the picture also shows it's not a huge jump. And kids only keep growing; you just have to feed and water them somewhat regularly.

I chose waxed canvas for the exterior fabrics because, hello, it's gorgeous stuff, but also it's sturdy (no need to interface it) and the wax affords some water resistance. I had no previous experience with the stuff and picked it out from fabric.com without getting swatches first. I was somewhat surprised when it came on a roll.

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I shouldn't have been surprised, though! I'd heard that waxed canvas can easily be marked by folding. You also don't want to use pins with it as the pin holes will persist. You can use pins carefully within the seam allowances or alternatively use clips. I did find clips could leave marks too, if they got dragged across the canvas, but this was generally on the inside since we typically seam with right sides together.

I found there was a wide range of weights for waxed canvas (of course there are!) and that it's rather pricey (double of course). Again, I ordered on faith, really, picking one that was 13.7oz/ sq yard (navy) for the main and an even heavier weight (27 oz!) for the contrast bottom (brown). I can happily report these were good choices and the brown is rather leather-like.

 my son's Range

my son's Range

 interior

interior

I'm so glad my son agreed to this fabric, a Spoonflower print- 'Old Friends' by lellobird. Turns out I don't have many "boy" choices in my stash. This was actually scraps from a commissioned duvet last year. 

I discovered I liked using my zipper foot for top stitching.

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I did not bother to use my walking foot, which is often recommended for bags and for working with waxed canvas. Honestly, I kinda despise that clunky thing. A denim needle worked fine and I only broke one. I think that had more to do with the coarse Spoonflower fabric than the canvas.

What else can I tell you about waxed canvas? It doesn't strike me as waxy/sticky (just stiff), but it really does seem to collect lint (and likewise, dog hair).

Ok! Here it is. The most amazing thing I've ever sewn.

 #ivepeaked

#ivepeaked

My daughter picked a print with unicorns (actually a leftover also!) by Sarah Jane.

I wanted her backpack to be extra special. This spunky kid loves expressing herself through clothing and now she's slated to wear uniforms. Extra flair was in certainly in order for her backpack. 

I found a foundation paper piecing pattern by Quiet Play, Geometric Unicorn. This block finishes at 12". Which I guessed was just right for the area on the back side I wanted to embellish. It wasn't until I made my son's Range that I realized this space was closer to 11" wide and 10" high. I scaled the unicorn down to 85%, leaving a 1/2" seam allowance at the border.

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It only looks complicated. You just take it one section at a time.

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I stabilized the panel with fusible interfacing then framed the right and left sides with waxed canvas pieces before adding the bottom contrast panel and strap reinforcement strip at the top. 

I wasn't in love with how much the lining peeked out on my son's version, so I decided to add a 1" facing on my daughter's bag. 

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What's also nice about this finishing method is that you can completely sew the lining together. No need to leave an opening to turn through and close afterwards.

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I picked apart my son's bag and gave it the same treatment.

I shortened the straps by 6 inches on both bags. At their shortest, the straps are a good length for my kids and still adjust to a comfortable length for me. The only other departure from the pattern was the closure. I wanted to use Anna's mod for a side release buckle, but I couldn't find a source for any I liked. I went with the popular alternative, swivel clasp and ring.

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 She likes it!

She likes it!

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I hope you feel inspired to sew a Range Backpack or two!

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Pixie Dress

I've got to be honest. Lately I've been feeling a bit ho hum and unmotivated with sewing. Pattern testing is a great motivator though (deadlines, camaraderie, a new pattern), so I jumped on the tester call for the Pixie Tee by Chalk and Notch.

I pretty much love all of Gabriela's patterns. She has an incredible eye for on trend and interesting design elements. Each pattern she puts out feels fresh and different. So while Pixie is a tee pattern, it's anything but basic and ordinary. 

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The shoulder is slightly dropped and there's 2 options for the hem as well as 2 sleeve options AND dress length included.

Since I was looking to add some spark to my sewing, I took myself out of my comfort zone here and sewed a dress version of Pixie. 

 knees!

knees!

I used a brushed poly found in my stash (sourced from LA Finch Fabrics, if memory serves) so in essence this dress is pretty much like wearing a dreamy cloud.

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If it weren't a billion degrees outside, I'd totally be sewing this view of Pixie in chunky sweater knit fabric, perhaps with a funnel neck modification. Oh, yes. Bring on fall.

 Modeled with a  Joy Jacket .

Modeled with a Joy Jacket.

While I haven't played with the tie hem option yet(!), I've actually been sewing a lot of Pixies since testing. I'm hoping to perfect a hack to share soon. 

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Lots of great #pixieteepattern inspiration already on The 'Gram-

This pattern was very graciously given away for free to subscribers of the Chalk and Notch newsletter in much the same way Gabriela offered the Pony tank for free last summer. If you weren't on the list before the emails with the free code went out, I'm happy to report I've got an opportunity to give away a copy of the Pixie PDF pattern. Enter via the Rafflecopter below. (But do go ahead and get yourself on the Chalk and Notch newsletter list, already. Duh.) Thanks for stopping by! 

Summer Whites

June is coming to a close and I was feeling really proud of the little collection I sewed in May for #letssewthistogether. Here's a quick summary of my makes-

  1. Foxglove tank- Only $5 when purchased straight from Baste + Gather ($12 on other sites!). I love the hi-lo silhouette. It can be sewn in knit and woven fabrics so it covers all the bases.
  2. Modified Key Largo- this simple woven top is designed with the ties at the center front seam. I moved them to the right side seam for a variation on the theme. 
  3. Pony tank with a scoop neck- Pony was offered for free last summer, but she's $12 now. At any rate, she's a great pattern and she sews up really quickly with a scoop neck
  4. Modified Matcha top (not shown above)- I was aiming for a "Roscoe" without having to pay for a new pattern. I swapped out the collar and instead finished the neckline with a long bias tie (using the marking from the collar as a guide) and voila. 
  5. Phoenix blouse- With a front and back yoke, the neckline on this top finishes beautifully without any bias. I'm looking forward to trying another version with a modified front yoke. 
  6. Jamie jeans- I didn't intend for these to be white and on theme, but I'm a very impatient person and I cannot be trusted with bleach. After several attempts to lighten some deep indigo denim that was leftover from another project I found myself completely removing all the color with Rit color remover.
  7. Lane raglan- I used woven eyelet for the back, cropped the hem and added a wide band (and even a pocket! Who am I?). Completely enamored.
  8. Union St tee- a gift for a childcare giver. I blocked a simple yoke in the back and used the same woven eyelet as above.
  9. Durango tank- completely free pattern from Hey June! You don't even have to join her facebook group or sign up for her newsletter. I think the armscye runs pretty low (it's not to hard to raise it), but I love the general style. Thanks, Adrianna!
  10. "Birkanders"- I love the general style of Lander pants, but I can't get on board with non-stretch pants, so I used the Birkin flares pattern (was actually the first pair of jeans I ever made) and just drafted some patch pockets in the style of the ones on Landers. I think these were reasonably successful (and so very comfy because spandex).

Hmmm. Five out of ten were Hey June patterns. Safe to say I'm a fan! While I managed to sew 10 garments that month, I somehow still have a very sizable stack of white fabrics. Le sigh!