Cat Nap Squadron Quilt

Happy May 1st internet! It is a cold, wet, and gloomy day here, and has been for the last few days. All in all it has made for a fairly depressing week, it’s amazing how the lack of sun really affects me, but things are looking up. Plus Me Made May ’14 starts today, I finished a new basic skirt just last night that seem like it will be perfect! You will all see it on my weekly round-up before I do an official post.

Today I’m going to share with you something a little different. Guys, I made my first quilt! And I must say I love it! But not too long ago I would have been very skeptical of the idea of making a quilt, I must admit I had some preconceived notions of quilt making as boring and kinda lame (don’t worry I no longer feel that way) but after seeing some amazing stuff and quilting fabrics via Instagram, I toyed with the idea of starting my own. I started by using my scraps to make an English Paper Piecing quilt (which I am still working on, but is far from done) but then when Lizzy House released her Cat Nap collection I nearly died. I mean how could you not fall head over heals for these prints, they are absolutely gorgeous. So I promptly ordered a fat quarter bundle that also included some of her Hello Pilgrim collection. The next step was to find a pattern that would appropriate show off these beautiful prints, so I went to the library and found it, and sewed like a maniac.

Cat Nap Squadron Quilt

The pattern is called Squadron by Kathreen Ricketson from her book Little Bits Quilting Bee: 20 Quilts Using Charm Packs, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, and Fat Quarters and I must say the instructions are really easy to follow and a quilting novice like myself had no problems in construction. The only thing that I did differently was to use the patterns for the background rather than the intersecting lines and I have to say I love this combination! I still get to see the prints in large scale but the intersecting lines keep it from looking too beginner patchwork-y.

Cat Nap Squadron Quilt
(More detail shots on my flickr account)

As I previously mentioned I used a fat quarter pack of Lizzy House’s Cat Nap and Hello Pilgrim for the background and for the intersecting lines, backing, and binding I used Kona Cotton in Pewter. For the backing I decided to go with two panels of the Pewter, initially I wanted to add in an impromptu piece that I created with scraps, but I couldn’t figure out the appropriate way to incorporate it,so I decided to skip it.

Cat Nap Squadron Quilt

For the batting I ordered Quilters Dream Orient Blend Select Batting which has a nice drape to it. I spray basted it to the front and back and quilted in in straight vertical lines that are 2 inches apart. I then made the bias tape and hand-stitched it to the quilt. The quilt itself took about a month (but if I wasn’t working on other projects it would have only taken a couple of days) and it was well worth it, there is nothing better than snuggling under a handmade quilt. This quilt is a bit small for our queen size bed, so it has become the official couch blanket, all in all perfect for cat naps!

Cat Nap Squadron Quilt

Jeanne
xoxo

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Where’s Waldo Coco Top

Ah, I’m finally almost up do date with the posting of my sewing backlog and here is my final project of the pieces I photographed earlier this month. But as I am writing this I have 2.5 (I’m currently half way through a project, hence the .5) me-mades and one non-clothing sewing project that I would like to post. It appears that I am sewing faster than I am blogging, I’m sure this has to do with the fact that I am semi-unemployed at the moment (currently waiting for a sewing related gig to open up). I don’t know if this backlog is common with any other sewing bloggers out there, if you guys are reading this I would love to know!

Since this post seems to be of a semi-personal nature, well at least so far, I have been meaning to mention that this summer I am going to Paris with my husband for our 2 year anniversary/belated honeymoon! Anyways I have been doing a lot of planning and researching as well as stitching up some basics that I plan to wear this summer and will hopefully be perfect for France. If any of you have suggestions of Paris related things that we should keep and eye out for please let me know, especially if any of those happen to be fabric stores, because duh, I would love to hear them!

Anyways with the mentioning of Paris I find it all too fitting to share my Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top with you! I have nicknamed this my Where’s Waldo Top for obvious reasons. When Tilly first announced this pattern I did quite the happy dance, I had been meaning to make a Breton style top to eventually replace the three H&M Breton tops I have and wear frequently.

Where's Waldo Coco Top

Let’s talk about the fabric first. I purchased this ponte de roma online from Stylish Fabric, it was on the cheaper side, which is what I was looking for but still had the size stripes I wanted. This is technically the coral color, although in person it looks red (but not a deep scarlet). Initially I was a little sad about what the color looked like in person, but since then it has really grown on me.

For sizing I cut a size 4 through the shoulders and bust and a size 5 through the waist and the hips, but I have considered tapering it in to a size 4, but I have yet to do it. Regardless I am really digging this top. The only other alteration I made was a ½ inch FBA, which I think is going to become my standard alteration.

I have really been digging working with knits, they are so easy to make and fit, so if any of you have been afraid to delve into the world of knits all I can say is DO IT! It isn’t scary at all, I mean it hardly needs any seam finishing, if that isn’t a sell I don’t know what is.

Where's Waldo Coco Top

Where's Waldo Coco Top

So far this is my most worn Me-Made yet, the only problem is I did find some pilling after my second time wearing it, I’m not sure if this is due to the quality of the fabric or if this is just the nature of polyester ponte de roma, since this is my first time working with it. Other than that there isn’t too much else to say about this top, it is a really straightforward design and I required little alteration to it. All in all it is a great pattern and I would recommend it to any sewing level since Tilly takes you through each step wonderfully and in color photographs in the instructions or on her blog.

Where's Waldo Coco Top

One final announcement, I am going to take part of Me-Made-May ’14 this year! For those of you who aren’t familiar with MMM is a month challenge to wear items that you yourself have created. Each person makes a pledge that will state how many me-mades they will wear. This challenge really helps you wear what you are making as well as figure out what is missing from your makes. So here I go

me-made-may'14

‘I, Jeanne of TheJeanneBean, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavor to wear a minimum of 4 handmade garments a week for the duration of May 2014’

While daily picture posts are not required I do plan on taking them so I can more easily look back and see if I am maintaining my goal, but I think rather than posting an outfit photo each day on Instagram (I really don’t want to clog up my non-sewing friends feeds) I am thinking of posting a recap on here instead. But I’m sure there will be a few pop up on Instagram. I would love to know if anyone else has signed up for MMM’14, we could keep each other motivated!

Xoxo
Jeanne

Quick Facts:
Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons’ Coco Top
Size: 4 tapered to 5 in waist and hips
Fabric: Coral Ponte de Roma
Alterations: ½ inch FBA

Shaggy Dog Anna Dress

Wow two posts in a two week period! Here’s hoping I can keep this up, but I’m not promising anything. Anyways life has been a little slow as of lately, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing especially when it comes to sewing (guys I have a ton of projects either in the works or in my queue)! Anyways I started this dress back in February, I quickly finished the bodice but was being indecisive and a little scared of starting the skirt, so this project sat around unfinished for a while, which wasn’t the worst since there was no way I would be able to wear it in the dead of winter. Without further ado, here is my Shaggy Dog Anna Dress.

Shaggy Dog Anna Dress

I purchased this fabric about a year and a half ago from the most amazing estate sale that I have been to (The entire attic was stuffed full of vintage fabric, most of which still had tags on it!) and have been saving it for a pattern that I knew I would wear.

Detail of Vintage Shaggy Dog Fabric

After my success with the Anna Dress by By Hand London I decided to use the bodice and experiment with the skirt. I had been admiring pleated skirts as of late (especially those by Roisin aka Dolly Clacket) and decided to use a vintage Stretch & Sew pattern as a guide. I had made the skirt prior and like the way that it fit but instead of using the back pattern pieces (which were gathers and not pleats) I decided to simply cut the front again for the back, but cut it in half and add a 5/8″ seam allowance and then shifted the placement of the pleats so that the zipper wouldn’t over lap them. For the bodice I cut the same size as my previous version but did the v-neck rather than the slash neckline, looking back I really should have done an FBA since the chest is a smidge tight and the front of the bodice rides up a little in comparison with the back, but I plan on wearing this with a belt so it really isn’t that big of a deal. It just goes to show you how the fabric really makes a difference, since I didn’t have a problem with my rayon challis version. The only other alteration I did was add pockets (from Colette’s Peony Dress), which really makes this dress a hit with me.

Shaggy Dog Anna Dress

Shaggy Dog Anna Dress

While sewing I did notice how stiff this cotton was, but I didn’t really think much about it, but once it was finished it was very noticeable in the rear, so I washed the dress in vinegar to help soften it up a bit, and it did help a little. The butt still wears a bit odd and I’m trying to decide it i should unpick some stitches and make it gathered instead (thoughts?), but for now this will be a perfect summer dress, that is if summer ever gets here (heck I would just be happy if it would stop snowing!!!)

I’m entering this dress into the Sew Dolly Clacket dress contest. If you aren’t familiar with Roisin’s Blog you should really check it out, she uses awesome novelty prints and lots of independent patterns to make the most amazing dresses. This lady is high on the list of seamstresses that I greatly admire. I hope my dress lives up to her awesome work!

Next up is my Coco Top from Tilly and the Buttons!

Quick Facts:
Pattern: The Anna Dress by By Hand London and Stretch and Sew #407
Fabric: Vintage cotton Shaggy Dog
Size: Bodice 12US/16UK Skirt 42
Adjustments: Used front pattern pieces for back and shifted pleats
Pockets

Spring Peony Dress

As mentioned in my previous few posts I have a small back log of posts coming your way shortly, now that it has finally been sunny enough to photograph them! And to begin with I present you my second Peony Dress by Colette Patterns, this time I made the short sleeve version, with a couple other alterations, as well as patch pockets! If you follow me on Instagram you will recognize this from several preview pictures.

Spring Peony Dress

To be completely honest, this dress was a pain in the butt to make. I decided to use a lightweight black and white gingham that has a slight stretch to it (I picked it up a year or so ago at a fabric store that was going out of business) and to add a little visual interest I cut the bodice on a bias as well as added black piping. This is actually the second bodice that I cut since I had run into a few problems installing the invisible zipper, but more on that later.

In addition to the alterations that I used on my Winter Peony Dress I also did my fist FBA (full bust adjustment), up until now I had been terrified of doing one and essentially avoided it at all cost, but I’m so glad I sucked it up and did it (and guess what it was super easy!). The other adjustments that I did was shift the sleeves forward by about 5/8” of an inch to help give me a better range of motion and lowered the side bust darts by 5/8″.

As I mentioned previously this is the second bodice that I cut out for this dress (thank goodness I bought so much of this fabric) the reason for that is that I really hadn’t had any experience with bias cut fabric up to this point and time so I didn’t stabilize it short of stay stitching the neckline. By the time I had gotten to inserting the zipper the fabric had stretched out quite a bit and the problem was that I couldn’t tell until I had finished everything and was about to wear it. Imagine how upset I was when I saw that the zipper was rippling up and down my back and I resembled a stegosaurus! After looking around the interwebs for any type of solution and trying many things I decided it would be easiest to cut a whole new bodice and treat it very delicately. For the second time around I used fusible knit interfacing to stabilize the zipper opening (using Sunni’s instructions) and stitched up the seams and darts using tissue paper to prevent my sewing machine from stretching the fabric, as I was sewing. This final bodice is much better, but is still a little ripply, especially if I stand up really straight. I also wish that I could get a little closer to the zipper teeth, but I think it is mainly the fault of this lightweight fabric. Oh well.

Spring Peony Dress

Spring Peony Dress

To add a bit of visual interest I added black piping to the neck, sleeves, waist, and pockets. On the first bodice I used the piping along with the facing and it definitely felt a bit bulky, but while working on my second bodice I saw Gertie’s post of using piping as self facing (duh!) and now the neck is much less bulky. Along with the piping I cut out bias patch pockets rather than using the inseam ones provided with the pattern, and I must say they are my favorite part of the dress! They help break up the busyness of the gingham along with looking absolutely adorable.

Spring Peony Dress

Overall I am very please with this dress, I still can’t lift my arms super high (I’m really not sure of what kind of adjustment could help remedy this), and the zipper is a little off, but I definitely pushed myself out of my comfort zone with this one. I did a ton of “firsts” (FBA, piping, bias, self drafted pockets) and made a dress that I fell with be great in a variety of seasons.

Next up is my dress for Sew Dolly Clacket!

Xoxo Jeanne

Quick Facts
Pattern: Colette Pattern’s Peony Dress
Fabric: Cotton with stretch Black and Whit Gingham
Adjustments: 1/2” FBA
Shifted sleeves forward 5/8”
Took out 1 1/2″ from back neck
Moved shoulders over by 1/2″
Lowered side bust darts by 5/8″
Used Piping as self facing

The Coppelia Cardi That Almost Wasn’t

The eagle eye among you may have noticed something new in my pervious post, I got a haircut! The length is essentially all the same, I just now have some bangs. It has been a long time coming considering I have had the same hair cut since my senior year of high school. You may have also spotted what I was wearing and you guessed it, it’s another me-made.

Papercut Patterns Coppelia Cardi

It is Papercut Pattern’s Coppelia Cardi and my first experience with this specific pattern company. Not only was the appearance of the pattern great (brown paper with an additional assemble your own instructions) but it was very easy to construct and fit. I had almost no problems with the pattern itself (although I did make a few minor adjustments), but what I did have issues with was the fabric. While this red wool (purchased online at Mood Fabrics) is beautiful in color as well as texture, it was not on grain. To be honest I didn’t inspect it super carefully when it came in the mail, I just popped it in the wash so I could get to work, and by the time it came out the grain was nearly at a 45 degree angle! I’m sure that most of this was my fault, but I think it might have been slightly off to begin with, my washing just exacerbated the situation. So now I had what I felt was essentially unusable fabric, I was super bummed, but I did a ton of research on how to fix it. Most of what I found said to just pull on it to straighten, but it was so bad that that had little to no effect and then it hit me, the fabric was wool, so it I dampened it and placed weights on it I could block it out like a knit sweater. I mopped the kitchen floor (the only large enough space in out apartment without carpeting) and set to work, and guys it worked! I mean by no means was it perfect, there were still a few spots that were still at an angle but I figured I could work around those/cut the pattern pieces at a slight angle when necessary. Looking back I should have taken before and after photos to show how bad it was, but I think you all get the picture.

Since I had never worked with any of Papercut Patterns patterns (is there a better way to say that?) I made a muslin to figure out their sizing. So started by cutting a straight medium, but I did lengthen the body by 1 1/2″ so that I could wear it with jeans, as well as shorten the sleeves by 2″. After everything was all cut out I stitched it up using my serger and top stitched the bottom ties with a zigzag stitch (courtesy of the sis-in-law). Once she was all done I did feel that the chest, armpits, and arms were too big, so I just took her in on the serger by maybe 2″ ish at the armpit and tapered that measurement to the waist and wrist cuffs. I also took the seam where the font of the sleeve attached to the bodice using this tutorial. When I transferred everything to the pattern pieces I ended but just curving the Medium waist to a Xs in the armpits and sleeves. With fitting figured out I cut into the red wool and got to work.

Papercut Patterns Coppelia Cardi

Papercut Patterns Coppelia Cardi

Overall I’m in love with this sweater, it is a little transparent is I wear dark colors underneath, but if I wear it without a shirt and a nude bra I have no issues. The only slight problem is that one sleeve is cut slightly off grain so it pulls a little when I turn my wrist (pictured below), but I am very content that this was the only issue remaining with the fabric.

Papercut Patterns Coppelia Cardi

I have a small backlog of me-mades to photograph and post so you should be hearing more from me soon including a new dilemma I faced with my spring Peony Dress that I vaguely mentioned a few posts back. I leave you with this shot of my sewing room window and sewing machine taken by the amazing Jennifer Bastian for her photo series Light Openings that was recently featured on the Facebook page Milwaukier Than Thou.

IMG_2465_2

xoxo
Jeanne

Introducing the EVERYDAY(PLUS) TOTE

Etsy Shop update, for any and all of you who are curious, there are a few new items in my Etsy shop including a reworking of my EVERYDAY TOTE.

DSC_3228

The new version is fittingly called the EVERYDAY(PLUS) Tote and features many updates such as vinyl bottom, cotton muslin lining, pocket with extra wide pen/pencil slot, and a magnetic clasp. In essence this tote is more like a purse but still utilizes the tote format.

DSC_3164

DSC_3162

What I love about this tote is the vinyl bottom, not only is it visually interesting, but it also make this bag perfect for resting on damp surfaces for brief periods of time making it ideal for a variety of seasons. I don’t know about you but I tend to place my totes on the ground quite often, this solves many issues for me. I can now safely set down my bag and not worry that everything will get damp. But please note that the bottom is not entirely water proof, I won’t be placing it in a puddle anytime soon and neither should you!

Don’t forget to pop by and check out the new goodies.

xoxo
Jeanne

Winter Peony Dress

Hello all, it has been a little while, there has not been any specific reason it has taken me so long to write this post (considering I look the photos for it at the same time as my last two posts), I just have been a little busy. More on that later. But for now I wanted to share with you my make of Colette Patterns Peony Dress. I received this pattern as a Christmas gift and it was actually my first make of he year. I have been eyeballing this pattern for some time, seeing all of the lovely versions on the web and was so glad to be able to make my own. Along with all this internet pattern stalking I was well aware with the multiple fitting problems that went along with this pattern and felt it was time that I start flexing my fitting skills. I began by grading the pattern to my multiple sizes (shoulder 6, bust and waist 8, and 10 hips) and made a muslin. Much like others I had a ton of fabric on gapping on the back of my neck I ended up slashing the pattern back and taking 1 1/2″ out (so 3″ total for the final garment), but then the shoulders were too far up so to accommodate I moved them over 1/2″, which all helped immensely! For the most part that was the only major pattern change I had to make, but I did end up lowering the neckline by 1″ and took the hips back in to the size 8.

So here she is! My winter Peony dress.
Colette's Peony Dress

For this version I used some cotton(?) suiting that I have had in my stash for ages, I want to say that I received this from my grandma, but I honestly cannot remember. It has a very subtile mini-houndstooth-ish patterning to it. Since it is the dead of winter here I went with the three-quarter length sleeves. I’m not a fan of how these sleeves fit, they seem to twist a little in the back and I honestly have no idea how to fix it (if any of you have ideas I would love to hear them). But for now I’m content with just making short sleeve versions since the muslin, which was short sleeve didn’t have this issue.

Colette's Peony Dress

Rather than using the invisible zipper that the pattern calls for I used a regular old black zipper and inserted it using the side lapped method (my first attempt!). I also decied to line the skirt since I plan to be wearing this dress with tights since this is Wisconsin. I used yet again another item for my stash, some polyester plaid lining.

Colette's Peony Dress

I cut the lining using the skirt pattern pieces and hand stitched it into the waistline after the zipper was attached. I was struck with inspiration as I was finishing hemming the dress and added some cotton lace to the hem of the lining. This was for sure from my Grandmother, who had tons of lace that she got after her sister in-laws fabric shop closed down in the 1970’s (if I am remembering correctly).

Colette's Peony Dress

While this is not my favorite dress, it is a great winter basic, I even wore it to a recent job interview! I have a few more versions in store for this pattern, one is already completed and just waiting to be photographed. Speaking of photographs I also have a few more items that will be added to my Etsy shop within the next few days, I just need some sun shine! I will let all of you know once they are added.

xoxo
Jeanne