Mini Fringe

How could I possibly pass up the opportunity to test the pint-sized Fringe? There’s just no way I could skip it (even during December, aka the most frenzied sewing month of the year)!

Chambray sourced from  LA Finch Fabrics

Chambray sourced from LA Finch Fabrics

The women’s #fringedresspattern was my first testing experience for Chalk + Notch. I came away from that test with a new pattern that I loved and also gained the utmost respect for Gabriela as a pattern designer, business woman, and caring human.

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The mini Fringe covers sizes 12m to 12 years and has all the same details you love about the original Fringe Dress.

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The sleeve tab! Gently gathered skirt. Perfectly contoured hem. It’s all there.

And it’s a twirly delight, even in blouse length!

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You might notice this View A testing sample (size 18m) I sewed for my itty bitty 2 year old is a tad wide in the shoulders/ neckline. The thing is Gabriela noticed that right off the bat was was sure to perfect to fit in the testing process. How many designers have you encountered who would add another round of testing to be sure their work is thorough and flawless? It’s this impeccable attention to detail that really speaks volumes about her and her patterns.

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I look forward to sewing some mom and daughter Fringe dresses in the future, but I didn’t have the chance to do so just yet. December is such a hurried month as I mentioned before. Somehow, though, several other testers made it happen!

Alina

Emily

Katie

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Many more details and fabric inspiration in the official pattern release post.

2018 Guest Blog Posts!

I wrote a few posts as a guest on some great sewing blogs this year and possibly neglected my blog from time to time. That is the beauty of the Maybe Blog, though. No pressure, you know? At any rate, I’m I’m linking to my posts across the webs here in a patting my own back exercise. #noshame

Woven Pixie Tee

Chalk & Notch’s Pixie Tee is as great in woven fabric as it is in knits.


Metallic Kaufman linen and Art Gallery cotton for the lining. LOVE.


I added a little something to the back of this Cheyenne. All the details, my favorite tools for sewing button-ups, and my tips for success are in the guest post.


Another Pixie tee hack, this one for cooler weather. So cozy and very simple to add a cowl. Gabriela even has a downloadable reference for the mods.


Pleats make everything better! Right?


This one is probably my favorite, but maybe I say that about every fresh-off-the-machine make. ;)

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.

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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.

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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.

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-

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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! 

Oh, Joy!

I had a lot of fun (which is obviously my m.o.) testing the Joy Jacket pattern by Chalk and Notch and I'm excited to share my experience with you. 

The touching story behind this pattern is that it was inspired by a jacket that was once Emily, @enjoyful_makes,'s mother's. She explained in the release post-

Amazing, right?


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I sewed my View B sample in Indiesew Ice Tencel Twill (purchased from Sew To Speak when they had the trunk show last fall). It's incredibly soft and thick while being fluid and drapey. A very unique fabric. I particularly love the color variation as it almost looks a bit distressed. If you can find any of this stuff, BUY IT. #buyitall

It's actually the same material Emily had been saving to use for this jacket. I was pretty nervous cutting into it, especially as an early phase tester, but I also had a lot of confidence in Gabriela's pattern.

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and this is all that remains of the most glorious fabric ever

and this is all that remains of the most glorious fabric ever

View B features a hood and angled pockets, but you can certainly use either pocket with either view. There's also optional drawstrings for the hood or collar as well as at the hem.

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My first version is unlined, except the hood. The pattern is written for making a fully-lined jacket, but Gabriela is planning a blog post about the simple changes to make when sewing Joy without a lining.

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There's great seam lines which are an opportunity to play with top stitching.

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And it is so easy to wear.

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Gabriela's patterns are drafted for a height of 5'7", so while I'm about 5'5", I didn't shorten the jacket bodice, only the sleeves 1-1.5". 

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I just had to sew the other view of Joy as well. For my second version I used the black tencel twill offered by La Mercerie. This material is absolutely soft, luscious, and drapey, making it a great option for Joy.

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There's a generous 3/4" seam allowance on the seam between the front and back sleeve pieces to allow for shoulder shaping.

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I used 2-way jacket zippers on both my samples since A) I'm shorter than the height the jacket is drafted for and liked the length of my muslin and B) I like being able to keep the jacket zipped up on top without it pulling or bunching when seated.

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My lining is a bold cotton lawn also sourced from La Mercerie. Prepare yourself for gratuitous pics on the teal floor. #sorrynotsorry

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What's really great about Joy is that while it's a stylish jacket with great details, it won't literally take you years to sew one for yourself (as I've heard some anoraks take that long to make).

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Ok. Enough awkward modeling. Here's the fun part that you showed up for-

I've got a copy of the Joy Jacket pattern to give away and because I ended up with several zippers (having ordered from multiple sites in order to get them on time for the testing deadline), I'm adding 2 zippers to the prize! These zippers are 28 inches, the length recommended for sizes 8-18.

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Enter to win a copy of the pattern and two 28" jacket zippers through the Rafflecopter below- 

Don't worry, I still have 4 zippers for myself and I've already got fabric set aside for 2 more Joys! (I heard to expect a sew along soon. ;) )

Burgundy rayon twill  from La Finch Fabrics and cotton lawn Hangers in Cream by Rashida Coleman-Hale (Cotton and Steel)

Burgundy rayon twill from La Finch Fabrics and cotton lawn Hangers in Cream by Rashida Coleman-Hale (Cotton and Steel)

Navy rayon twill (sold out) from La Finch Fabrics and rayon Frock 2015 (Cotton and Steel)

Navy rayon twill (sold out) from La Finch Fabrics and rayon Frock 2015 (Cotton and Steel)

 

Check out all the Joy on IG-

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Fringe

The ever so lovely and talented Gabriela of Chalk and Notch released her new women's pattern, the Fringe Blouse and Dress, last week. I can genuinely say it was an absolute pleasure working with her in testing.

The Fringe is designed for lightweight woven fabrics and accommodates sizes 0-18. There are two neckline and sleeve length variations with optional sleeve tabs. The bodice is relaxed with waist darts for gentle shaping and optional waist ties for a more fitted effect.

Gabriela's instructions are thorough, yet concise and the illustrations are clear.

I tested the button up blouse (view A), using a vintage sheet for a muslin. I cut size 12 (40" bust). The pattern pieces all went together like a dream and it was instantly one of those favorite make kind of sews. The type you want to sew over and over because they just work.

very wearable muslin

very wearable muslin

The style is the perfect balance between fitted and relaxed. The result is effortless style.

I loooovee it. The face is for my bipolar remote. This day, it was either taking no photos or 100 burst shots.

And the curve on the hem is just right.

Most of the seams end up being enclosed, requiring minimal finishing otherwise.

After I knew I loved the fit of my muslin, I made another version in a lovely rayon from LA Finch Fabrics. Truth is I had a one yard cut of this rayon in my stash for probably a year. When Fringe came along, I knew I wanted to use this, so I was really lucky to find some additional yardage. (Thanks for saving the day, Josie!)

AND I BOUGHT MYSELF A REMOTE THAT WORKS. (If you're in the market for a bluetooth remote.)

Yes, my sewing space floor is that fancy schmancy jewelry store blue. :)

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It just so happened that another awesome tester, Indu, made a stunning Fringe dress from the alternate colorway of this rayon. Seeing her perfect version made it clear that this fabric was the right pick. Check out her rendition.

I had to sew up the other neckline as well. (If you're keeping count we're on Fringe #3!) View B is completely without closures and just pops over. I'm just going to go ahead and say it's the most stylish popover I've ever sewn.

This fabric is an exclusive design printed on rayon challis by Raspberry Creek Fabrics.

I used a solid navy challis from my stash for the sleeves (which are view A's, just cuffed) and added a four inch band to the hem by extrapolating the curve of the existing skirt piece.

I had some fun with the facings on my rayon versions, using quilting cotton instead of interfacing the same rayon. This amount of stability for the facings was just right and very easy to work with.

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And then I made one more! (That makes 4!)

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Don't you love the eyelet? It was also sourced from Raspberry Creek Fabrics and can be found here.

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You can see my sleeve tab hiding in there. I wasn't sure how this modified sleeve was going to hang so I added the tab as per the usual construction, but found that I preferred this sleeve straight. I just cut those buggers out after I realized they were visible in my pics.

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So there you have my four versions of Fringe, all top length really. I haven't played with the dress yet or done any major hacking, though I've got several ideas.

If you read this far, you deserve a treat! I've got a copy of the Fringe PDF pattern to give away! (Winner can pick another Chalk and Notch pattern if they have already purchased Fringe.) Thanks so, so much, Gabriela! Enter via Rafflecopter below.

Waterfall Raglan Uniforms

When the girls' Waterfall Raglan pattern by Chalk and Notch released in late 2016, the holiday versions in stretch velvet dominated all. my. feeds. Since then, I've seen Waterfalls sewn up in a wide range of fabrics and seen many different modifications and styles. (Check out the Make It Mine Tour on Chalk and Notch's blog if you haven't already. I would link it here, but apparently Square Space is vetoing that functionality for me EVEN THOUGH I WAS ABLE TO INSERT A HYPERLINK IN THIS SAME PARAGRAPH BEFORE. What gives? I'm digressing...)

My spin on this pattern does a 180 from dressy holiday wear to everyday staple as school uniforms.

The uniform code at our school is somewhat relaxed. Solid grey, navy or khaki apparel is allowed. (There's also a school plaid, but it seems to be a proprietary plaid and I can't find yardage to purchase, only ready to wear garments. Wah. I'm digressing again...) For girls, the hem of skirts and jumpers should fall at or below mid-knee. 

I sewed up 2 dress-length versions straight from the pattern as designed without any modifications.

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The short-sleeved Waterfall is made entirely from a navy solid mid-weight knit. It's perfect for warm weather. 

For the winter version, I used a thick, quilted knit for the long sleeves and bodice and another simple solid for the neckband, ruffles, and pocket.

The length (both dresses were left unhemmed here) is very modest and well within the school's policy.

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I think she likes it.

I think she likes it.

Detail of the quilted knit. I wish I could remember where it's from. I want to say fabric.com. At any rate, it's the stuff that heaven and hoarding are made of.

Detail of the quilted knit. I wish I could remember where it's from. I want to say fabric.com. At any rate, it's the stuff that heaven and hoarding are made of.

A comfortable and stylish alternative to traditional school uniforms, I see many a Waterfall Raglan in our future.