Lugu Fabrics Blog Tour!

From the moment there was Lugu fabric in my hands, it seemed I was making something with it!


I sewed Jessica Swift (you know, the DESIGNER) a dress for the lookbook. That’s Jessica in her rayon Charlie Caftan on pages 12 and 13!

But first, I sewed myself a (modified) Willamette.


Then some Lugu found its way into the Redwood Tote I tested.


Internet stranger turned sewing friend Gwyn’s visit in late March coincided with the week just before our tour dates. Somehow….things got out of hand. (A coincidence that things got ridiculous when Gwyn arrived? #ithinknot)

It started with a single top for my first daughter and a matching one for her little sister. Of course the 4 year old didn’t approve of my fabric choice because she suddenly coveted her sister’s top, so a third top was in order.

That makes 3 tops. Which felt like a good amount. I thought I was done sewing.


I used the Glass Onion pattern by Shwin Designs. I’ve sewn it countless times and am certainly not tired of it yet. She sews up quite quickly, though I do deviate from the pattern slightly, lining the front bodice. This alternative construction, sans facing, calls for both sandwiching and burrito-ing but the finish is quite lovely. #andnowimhungry

The back of the Glass Onion features crossover panels reminiscent of moth wings, don’t you think? That’s what drew me to use this pattern, like a moth to a flame. (I just couldn’t not.)


And then I got the idea to make a button up.

Another Shwin pattern,  Maxwell !

Another Shwin pattern, Maxwell!

Another kid needed a dress. (Why it couldn’t be another Glass Onion top is a long story. Maybe Gwyn wants to explain it again, but I pieced the moth for that look, and Gwyn sewed the dress.)


So, if you’re keeping count, that’s Lugu looks for 5 children.


(NOT ALL OF THEM ARE MINE, so you know. I own 3 total. That’s plenty.)


It was pretty much pure chaos aka SEW MUCH FUN!

Those kids made us work pretty hard for the group shots which sadly are pretty low res.


But they are a cute bunch in some great outfits.


I’m probably biased, but the “baby” is pretty adorable.

The boots were her idea.

The boots were her idea.


The moths were all foundation paper pieced using lillyella’s free moth charm blocks. (Scaled to 150% for the larger sizes.)





And then Gwyn made me make a leather Ida clutch (with some yummy metallic gold leather she picked out for me). I admittedly was pretty tired of paper piecing at this point so I did a simple reverse applique of sorts using the outline of one of the moths.



Thankfully Gwyn knows how to operate a camera, so we got a few other good shots.


All the Lugu Fabrics Blog Tour stops are linked in Jessica’s post here. I’ve been continually flabbergasted by the creativity and range on display, and we’re only on day 7, with several more weeks of awesome to go!

Thanks for sharing your fabric with me, Jessica! It’s always a pleasure to work with your designs.



Willamins: a Willamette hack

IndieSew brought Shirt Month back again this February. I had renamed February GiveYOUary and declared I was only sewing for other people this month, but the #shirtmonth fomo was strong. Plus, Jessica Swift had sent me some of her incredibly gorgeous rayon from her new Art Gallery Fabrics collection, Lugu, and I knew I wanted to make myself a Willamette with my advance yardage. (I’ll be sewing a dress for Jessica in exchange for these fabrics!)

I had been eyeing the Perkins shirt dress pattern, but hadn’t pulled the trigger on buying it when I occurred to me I could approximate the look with a few mods to the Hey June pattern I already owned.

Perkins shirt dress by Ensemble Patterns

Perkins shirt dress by Ensemble Patterns

I didn’t realize the sleeve on Perkins is raglan until just now! But anyway, I wanted to imitate the gathered front shoulder and extra boxy shape.

I sewed view A in size 6. (I’m 5"‘5” with a 35/36” full bust and 38” hips.)

I removed 1.5 inches from the front shoulder, adding that same amount to the yoke in the back. This adjustment was also done to the front facing and sleeve pieces to keep all the seams aligned. When cutting the shirt front, I slashed the pattern piece mid shoulder and spread it about 6 or 8 inches. This extra width was gathered into the yoke.

oh hey. This picture shows the spread was about 6.5” inches.

oh hey. This picture shows the spread was about 6.5” inches.

I used the Lumina Dusk for the yoke facing.


The drape on the rayon is just excellent.


I did a full placket much like Tori did here except I didn’t even bother to sew the plackets down! The buttons and holes hold the plackets in place nicely.

I used the Lumina Dusk to finish the hem with bias. I use the “French” bias binding approach as demonstrated here.

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These stunning silver mirrored buttons are from Arrow Mountain. (Out of stock at the time of publishing this post, but Ho-mei assures me they will restock soon! I’ve got my eye on the gold ones now!)

It’s love!! OBVIOUSLY.

It’s cute with the half tuck.


or tied!

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Thank you Jessica for sharing your new fabric with me! Each new collection is even more beautiful than the last.



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.

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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.


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.


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.)


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!


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

Ginger jeans

Ginger jeans


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.


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.)


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.


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

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!



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. 


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!


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!


Blooper reel-


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

Sewing Biscayne

Sewing buddy Jen, @makerheart, and I had recently decided we wanted to do some sewcial sewing, picking a fabric we both had in our stash and inviting folks to share in sewing the same fabric with us; #LetsSewThisTogether was born. We both purchased Art Gallery rayon in Winterberry Pine after fondling it in person at Sew To Speak in Columbus on a sewing meet-up. (There are a lot more details I could share this but I'm thinking it's a topic for another blog post, maybe!) Anyhow, I picked the Biscayne pattern by Hey June and Jen picked another pattern. 


Biscayne released in 2015 and had been in my #2017makenine grid. When the calendar changed to 2018, it was still on my "patterns I own but haven't sewn" list. #theshame


Before I actually tackled Biscayne, I made a Carrie Cardigan using double brushed poly in a teal to coordinate. It was a sewcrastination ploy; I was sweating the sizing on Biscayne.


Those are the 2 big hurdles in getting started sewing; sizing and fabric. Since I had already picked the fabric before the pattern, I was really sweating the sizing. I'm 5'5" with 37" full bust, 30" waist, and 40" full hip, so I was initially tempted to sew a L. I asked for sizing help in the HJ FB group but it was Terri Odd's blog post on her Biscayne that really helped me decide which size I wanted to cut, especially since I'm a rather lazy sewist and seldom make a true muslin. I ended up cutting a S, and grading out to the M at the hem (though I'm usually more of a M to L). There's loads of ease in this design which you can see reflected in the finished measurements chart.


There's an option for a patch pocket or a welt. I thought this might be the first time I sewed a welt.


And then I waffled with cutting it down to a simple patch. But spoiler alert- I skipped the pocket options altogether (like I very often seem to do) because I didn't want a pocket to interfere with the drape of the rayon on my blouse.

Biscayne features a hidden button placket. I've done a few other types of plackets before, but this specific style was new to me. The origami was fun (read: slightly mind boggling), but it really wasn't all that complicated. There does seem to be a full sew along for this blouse, but I didn't notice it until writing this post.


Anyhow, I ended up using a little tape to keep my placket pieces in place for stitching (and removing it right after). I think it came out rather nicely.


I didn't have any other new obstacles. The French seams, neckline, and bias binding are standard stuff.

That's not to say I didn't use my seam ripper. I certainly did. I think a small section of facing got caught when I was attaching the collar... even though the instructions specifically warn against doing just that. Yup.


Nice, clean finishing throughout.


Look at the drape! Nom.


While cutting a S for my bust really made me anxious, you can see there's still plenty of ease through the upper chest. I could probably even do an XS next time (grading to a S or M at the hem).


The placket came out virtually invisible with those wooden buttons hidden inside. 


And here's the full winter look. When I was working professionally, sleeveless blouses were a huge portion of my wardrobe. They are great in all seasons since they layer effortlessly and as such work well under white coats.


Bottom line- I would sew Biscayne again, though I'd probably go down one more size in the bust. A woven top really doesn't need to have much ease when it's sleeveless.

Lastly, I wish I could say the jeans are me made. These are my favorite ready to wear pair, but I've been baby-stepping my way to sewing jeans and recently took the plunge and muslined some Birkins. More to come on that new sewing adventure!