My First Archer, in Denim!

My First Archer, in Denim!

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I’ve had this pattern for a real long time, but I had bought it was a PDF and struggled to find a print shop in Des Moines that would print it off inexpensively for me! After calling about 6 different print shops, I found that Beeline and Blue was my best bet around here. Not sponsored or anything, just an FYI from my own personal struggles and research!

After seeing a million bloggers be over the moon about their Archers, I finally found the time to whip together my own. This one is made of a super lightweight denim from Fabric.com (can’t find the link for this anymore, sorry!) and has only been shorted by 1 in along the bodice and sleeves. I love the burrito method of finishing the yoke, and the easy to follow sew along helped take care of any worries I had if I was doing something wrong. I finished the button band with pearlized snaps, and I absolutely love them. There’s nothing as satisfying as hulking out of a shirt at the end of a day.

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At first, I thought this shirt was way too big on me and felt unflattering. But I was reaching for it more and more in my closet. Turns out, I adore it! The only changes I’ll make in the future are to narrow the sleeves and cuffs. Even with the pleats, they feel quite large. I’ll be grading them to be 2 sizes narrower at the wrists, which is apparently a common alteration because I’ve seen this same problem on many on other blogs. I also don’t know if the chest pocket is necessary for all make ups. It is conveniently sized to hold my phone perfectly, but doesn’t add a whole lot to the look of the shirt!

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Since I’ve been so slow to post this (it’s been months), this shirt has seen the trials of wear. I’ve noticed some fraying at the bottom of the button band, because my stitching didn’t quite hit the right spot. This is entirely my mistake, I trimmed that seam allowance when I really shouldn’t have. In my next make of this, I’m not trimming the button band seam allowance at all and will also be reinforcing it with iron on hem tape to ensure that my top stitching is clean and catches all the allowances my first run through.

All things considered, I’ve had to make some fit alterations. But the overall proportions of the collar size are great. I currently have another Archer cut out and ready to sew on my sewing table, so I can’t wait to see how my other alterations change it up!

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Polka-Dot Kalle Shirtdress

Polka-Dot Kalle Shirtdress

I love a good shirtdress. In fact, shirts and shirtdresses are what I’ve sewn the most in the past year or so. I have an assortment of shirtdress patterns in my library, but I still couldn’t pass up trying Closet Case Pattern’s Kalle shirt/shirtdress. Especially after seeing the version made up by True Bias! It looked so effortless and comfortable. Luckily, I’d have this polka-dotted shirting fabric in my stash waiting for the perfect pattern to shine.

 

 

I adore this dress. I wanted to wear it so badly, that I used the snaps in my stash rather than waiting to run to the shop for a set of buttons! It’s comfortable, breezy, and I still feel well put together when I wear it. It has versatility to be worn in the fall with tights, a belt, and sweater, or in the summer with sandals! Not to mention the other versions, the tunic to wear over leggings or the crop top for just about everything! And the neckline variations of the band collar, popover placket, or hidden placket. Speaking of which… there might be a band collar popover placket cropped shirt coming up soon.

I sewed up a size 10 with no changes to the fit of the pattern. The shape and fit of the sleeve/sleeve band is great. I know that some bloggers found the thigh curve to be too high, but I like it as drafted because it feels like it allows for leg movement.

Between my husband’s and my taste in clothing, I’ve become admittedly pretty good at a collar and button placket! The directions were written out well, and the sew-along was great with further clarification. I was pleasantly surprised when this pattern was still able to teach me something. One of the things that slows me down when sewing a collar is ensuring that the top stitching catches the under collar. I’d ensure this with hand sewing the seams together, which disrupts my sewing flow and slows me down. The Kalle directions recommend using iron-on hem tape or fabric glue to hold it in place, then top stitching. This worked like a charm! It was fast and clean, everything was held in place like I wanted it. I’ll definitely be using this technique again.

I have a popover placket shirt Kalle cut out and half sewn on my sewing table currently. I couldn’t even wait a month before starting another one! So expect to see that shortly.

Lost In Time Shawl

Lost In Time Shawl

 

In the past year, I taught one of my friends who knits to crochet. She picked it up unbelievably quickly and has inspired me to try new projects and techniques along side her. In her journey looking at crochet patterns, she was inspired by the Lost In Time shawl as a yarn stash buster and suggested we combine our yarn stashes to make some color palettes that worked well. Little did we know, this project is not so much a stash buster as it is a yarn hog…

The first two repeats came together really quickly, and we were motivated by how the design was shaping up! However, the last two repeats of the pattern dragged on. It was a combination of the increasingly lengthy rows and the lack of stitch counts to keep us on track, that we both ended up making some dire mistakes and needed to rip out numerous rows.

 

Though when mine was completed, I loved it. The autumnal color palette, the interesting stitch combinations, and the warm weight of the shawl made it feel worthwhile. It took a few evenings of movies to weave in all my ends, but overall I loved it. So, I started on a second one!

 

This monochrome version was a delight. I couldn’t stop staring at how the colors intertwined in the pattern through its construction, and I’m really happy with it. In order for the pattern to alternate colors appropriately, I did not change colors for the double row of sc’s prior to the initial popcorn stitches (rows 21 and 22 respectively). For this project unfortunately, I still ended up weaving all my ends because I didn’t have the insight to carry over my strings at the ends of my rows. Well, you live and learn!

If I end up needing a gift for someone, this is definitely a pattern I’ll consider making for them. In only one or two colors, it comes together more quickly because you won’t have to weave in the ends. It’s stunningly beautiful and is nicely challenging for an experienced crocheter.

Mustard Laurel Dress

Mustard Laurel Dress

I love the design of the Laurel. It’s simple, streamlined shift dress pattern has 3/4 sleeves (my favorite), and a sleek design. I fell in love with Fiona’s black Laurel, and wanted to create my own. I picked out my fabric based on the recommendations, and was ready to liven up my wardrobe of natural colors with a pop of mustard.

Unfortunately, this dress has turned into one of those dresses that theoretically should have been great, but just flopped. It doesn’t feel flattering when I wear it at all. I had to take in the hips by 1/2 in on each side because it was ballooning around me, and now it clings to my stomach and makes me feel 20 lbs heavier. It was doing this before my alteration, but afterwards it was much worse. I’m admittedly pulling in my stomach as much as possible for these photos, for the sake of my dignity.

Adding a belt makes it better! But something about it makes it miss the mark.  The crepe should have been nice and drapey, allowing for a cozy shift dress to wear with tights and boots. Instead it ends up just, blah. I’m contemplating chopping off the bottom, opening up the side seams, and making this a top in an attempt to save it. Only time will tell! Until then, this sits in the back of my closet.

In the future, I may try this pattern again in a black crepe to try and create my own Laurel like Fiona’s. I fear it’ll take many more alterations to make it into something I’ll feel comfortable in. I’m considering loosening the hips again so it’s not sitting on my tum, and taking in the waist and back darts for a more flattering fit. But for now, it goes on the back burner while I try and alter the Archer to be my perfect shirt!

Silk and Lace – SOI Anderson Blouse

Silk and Lace – SOI Anderson Blouse

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After working in a hospital where business casual was mandatory, and then switching to scrubs 5 days a week, I have a business casual sized hole in my heart. I absolutely miss the high-waist skirts, slacks, and button down shirts. Sew Over It’s Anderson Blouse would have fit beautifully into my business casual wardrobe, with its delicate gathers at the shoulders and conservative, yet sexy, fit. This pattern was actually the first pattern of Sew Over It’s that I had ever seen, and I was in love! I nabbed it during a Black Friday sale a year ago, and it sat collecting dust until I found a reason to whip it together.

When I found this fantastic lace at S.R. Harris, I knew I had to have it. It has embroidery at both the edge, as well as the center of the piece. I didn’t buy much of it because of my fabric budget, but I couldn’t walk away either. When I got home, I dismayed that I found that it didn’t fit into any pattern’s fabric requirements that would’ve done it justice. After some creative layouts however, I barely managed to make the pieces for the Anderson Blouse fit! That is, after some help and encouraging words from my husband.

The overall effect of the lace and the placement of it makes me so happy. I particularly love the sleeves, and how the black embroidery is at the sleeve head and the cuff. That’s not to say the back isn’t beautiful too, I mean how can anyone resist this lace!

What makes this blouse so special to me, is that it’s underlined in the silk charmeuse left over from my wedding dress. It was a struggle to underline the lace with the silk, as they’re both wiggly and slippery, but I love the final product. The feeling of slippery silk on your skin is like nothing else.

One part of the construction that confused me was how to finish the shoulder seam with the folded over neckline. I took some pictures of how I finished it, in case anyone else is also confused!

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Overall, I like the fit of the blouse straight from the pattern. It’s beautiful, flattering, and surprisingly sexy. In the future, I’ll likely put elastic at the bottom of the blouse rather than a tie, because I struggled to tuck in not only the massive amounts of fabric, but also the tie strings.

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I had this tucked into tights, and it’s still making me look like I have quite the stomach! That’s the fabric bulk.

Speaking of the tucking in… that’s one thing I struggle with in wearing this garment. The bottom of the blouse has a large amount of fabric, and which makes it difficult to tuck in without looking like you have a bulbous stomach. Leaving it untucked doesn’t look nearly as nice to me. Since this one has two layers from the underlining, this problem is made even worse. The best solution I could think of was to wear this with an a-line skirt where the bulk could be concealed, or to simply use a lighter weight fabric. If I find a nice, light challis I could see myself making this up again!

Autumn Afghan for My Brother

Autumn Afghan for My Brother

Crocheting was one of the first crafts I remember learning as a kid. My family took frequent road trips around the US, and I was unfortunately prone to car sickness if I tried reading in the car. My mom and grandma thought they’d challenge me with crocheting to occupy my mind on our 8+ hour drives, and it simply stuck. So, I’ve been crocheting since I was about 5! And have never made a blanket.

My great-grandma had crocheted afghans covering her house, as I recall. We still have some of her treasures in a closet, sealed away from anything that might do the incredible handiwork any harm. Despite this, or probably in spite of this, in my nearly 20 years of crocheting I had never wanted to try to make a blanket. It felt like, I’ve seen all of the blankets my family has done before me, why do I need another beautiful, but scratchy and holey, blanket?

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It wasn’t until my brother asked me for a crochet blanket to match his condo that I started considering it. He’s over 6 feet tall, so for his blanket to be large enough to tuck under his feet he always asks myself or our mother. His style is minimal, simple, geometric, and modern. How could I combine that with what I had in my head, a granny square blanket? And more importantly, how can I avoid weaving in a million ends? I printed off something I had in mind, he bought me the yarn, and naturally the project sat untouched under my bed for about 6 years.

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Itching for a new project, I finally decided to give him the blanket he asked for so long ago. I found this wonderful 70’s crochet pattern on Ravelry and felt that it was a good fit. The fringe avoided weaving in any ends, the diamond pattern and stripes added visual interest, and it was a simple, mindless project for me to do on our frequent roadtrips between Iowa and Minnesota!

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All in all, I think I spent just over 50 hours on this blanket because it’s huge to accommodate for my brother’s height. Most of that time was dedicated during our roadtrips, so it didn’t feel like a mighty investment. I really do love this blanket and wish I could keep it for myself (isn’t that how most projects end up?) but it’ll be safer in my brother’s house. Our kitties would eat all the fringe, and I don’t want to be scooping yarn bits out of the litter box for months on end.

That’s a Wrap! – SOI Ultimate Wrap Dress

That’s a Wrap! – SOI Ultimate Wrap Dress

Since I graduated, I’ve started a new job! The training however has left me exhausted every evening. I barely have enough energy to motivate myself to do yoga and make dinner, not even considering picking up a new sewing project. Luckily, I’ve been settling in rather quickly and chose something that wasn’t particularly challenging, but I had been on my list for quite some time.

This fabric has been in my stash since our wedding in 2015. It sat in the sun for a year waiting for me to remember it, and as it sat picked up quite a few bleached out sun spots. The burn out floral pattern also meant that it would have to be doubled up to not expose myself, so I’d need a more structured knit pattern. I had picked up the Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress pattern during a sale many months ago, and thought I’d give it a go!

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I stitched all my seams with a narrow zigzag (stretch setting on my machine is my favorite, it’s like a little lightning bolt) so that the seams would stretch with my movement.

Overall, this was a nice, easy make for me to pick up a half hour at a time after work. I doubled up the fabric for the body pieces, and stayed with only a single layer for the sleeves. I like how the wrap works and how long the belting pieces are. However, I found a bit of gaping at the bust and felt a little boobalicious. It kept feeling like I had too much gaping fabric across the front of my chest, and I’d want to pull the belt even tighter. Next time, I’ll adjust this distance by removing about 1 inch from the faced front section.

Because of the thinness of the knit, the facing also wasn’t very structurally stable and has a tendency to roll out of the garment. I have to be super careful to place it properly when wearing this dress! Once it’s in place though, it stays pretty well.

I really do enjoy this dress. It feels like wearing PJs all the time, and I’m still looking like I have my shit together. That’s a win for me!