Aires Leggings by Colette Patterns

I finally finished Aires!  Let me tell you, July was not a very productive sewing month.  Sometimes life happens and the things you love get pushed to the side. Finally, I got some time and completed my project.  I now have a full workout outfit for the first time ever!

The Low Down:

Aires pic

The Aires PDF pattern from Colette is a pair of capri fitted athletic tights with a hidden pocket.  You can order the pattern by itself from Colette Patterns or subscribe to their monthly online publication Seamwork and use one of your two monthly credits to download the pattern. This pattern should take 3 hours if you make no mistakes unlike me. 🙂

Seamwork

Materials:

  • All-purpose polyester sewing thread
  • Ballpoint needle
  • Ballpoint twin needle (optional)
  • 2 yards of ¼” knit elastic
  • Any mid to heavy weight athletic fabric with 4-way stretch (at least 25%) such as nylon, spandex, and rayon blends such as ponte knit and milliskin
  • Stretch mesh fabric for contrast panel (optional)

Purchased from:

LA fash District

I purchased my materials from the Los Angeles fabric district.  I’m using the same fabric that I used for the Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy.

The Process:

I think this is my first official pair of me made pants

Aires is a bit of a different pattern.  Most patterns you cut on the fold but since this is a knit most of the pattern pieces are cut as one whole piece.  With this in mind it is necessary to not only have enough fabric to distribute the full pattern pieces correctly but also you need to really pay attention to whether the pattern piece needs to be placed face up or down.

I decided to trace the pattern pieces so I could lay them out all at the same time.  This was especially important because I was using a printed fabric and needed to make sure all the pieces were in the right direction.

Despite my self-imposed setbacks this was a fairly straight-forward project. I used a standard sewing machine and it worked out great.  I sewed my Aires in a size XS.

Thanks to cutting out the full pieces all the notches and circles matched up nicely.  I was a little nervous about the hidden back pocket but it was actually really quite logical and so much easier than I realized.

I used a medium zigzag stitch to sew the pieces together and for topstitching. I really liked how the topstitching turned out.  You can use a cover stitch or a twin needle but zigzag worked just as well for me.

Hiccups:

There were more than I anticipated of my own doing of course.

Realizing that I needed duplicate pieces I ended up tracing the original patterns but I forgot to look at the cutting layout!  Well I actually did look at it but I made a mistake and cut two pieces in the same direction because I didn’t double check my work.

I found this out when I tried to sew my legs together only to find I had two left legs.  I actually realized earlier I had made a mistake but I was just like “close enough!” haha I paid for that later.

My machine also decided to pull its same old tricks and I ended up using the seam ripper quite a bit.

Recommendations:

The directions and photos were really clear and concise.  I do believe this would take anyone 3 hours as long as they pay close attention to the directions and cutting layout.

Don’t forget to use the stretch guide when selecting your fabric!  You can find it on page 3 of your PDF instruction manual.

When cutting out your fabric I would suggest using a rotary cutter if you have one.

Happy Sewing!

 

Florence Bra by Seamwork Magazine Sewalong

Florence Bra by Seamwork Magazine Sewalong

Sewing up a bra for the first time always seemed so complicated to me.  Then I got to chatting with my sewing pal Helen and discovered that she was also a bit intimidated by the idea.  We knew we wanted to sew one up eventually but had not committed to it so Helen being awesome and proactive said “Let’s have a bra sewalong!”

I have never sewn anything with anyone before except for school projects so I was all for it!  I’ve always wanted a sewing buddy and Helen couldn’t be more perfect to fit the bill!  Now if only that pesky Atlantic Ocean wasn’t between us! Luckily, IG made it easy for us to send photos and messages and have a sense of collaboration despite the time zone difference.  Helen is also just so wonderful to chat with that it doesn’t even feel like she’s that far away anyway!

We already had a few projects in the queue and I was about to go on a two-week vacation so we decided to start at the beginning on June.  We went with the Florence bra by Seamwork since we both have it.  Unfortunately, things got pushed back about two weeks into June because I had unbearable jet lag and was struggling to figure out what supplies to buy.  Ultimately, I went with all black because I really wanted to start and I knew I would love black either way.

Sewalong Approach

We approached our sewalong by completing one step each day and sending each other pictures and updates the next day.  This worked out pretty well for us as we were able to brainstorm together when my mornings and Helen’s evenings overlapped.  It was also great to get tips from each other on things that worked and didn’t work.

Florence Bra Seamwork Magazine

Sizing & Straps

As for the Florence pattern, I didn’t have any issues with it luckily.  I cut out an XS for the band and a M for the cup. The pieces were easy to put together and cut out. That made me really happy!  Then I had to conquer the straps and sliders.  This was a first for me and of course I was like … wait, how??  I struggled with looping the strap back into the slider as it didn’t seem it would fit.  I eventually found a way to do it and now I look at it and think “What was so scary about that?” 😉

Florence Bra Seamwork MagazineNext step: Sew up the cups

I used a wide zigzag stitch and it turned out pretty well.  Everything was still coming together nicely and in a timely manner.  So I moved onto attaching the straps to the cups and thank goodness for our sewalong because Helen warned me that the top portion of the cup that attaches to the strap pops out if you don’t tuck it in as you are sewing.  With that in mind, I was able to sew it up without a hitch.

Florence Bra Seamwork Magazine                     Florence Bra Seamwork Magazine      Florence Bra Seamwork Magazine

Although, once I saw how the straps attached to the cup I wasn’t convinced that the fit would look right.  The strap seemed like it would pull the cup away from the body and towards the arm.  I moved forward anyway since I wouldn’t really know until I attach the cups to the band and try it on.

Florence Bra Seamwork Magazine

The Band

The next day, I attached the cups to the band starting from the side to the center front.  I carefully pinned them so I could make sure the points met in the center.  At this point the bra was practically done.  I just needed to sew up the back seam of the band, attach the straps to the back and sew elastic around the bottom of the band.  I really wanted to try it on so I sewed up the back seam and attached the straps but left the elastic for the following day.

Yay!  I was almost done and I finally got to try it on.  I was really hoping I would love it and want to wear it all the time. Once I tried it on all my fears were eased.  It fit just right and it looked so pretty.  I’ve been dreaming of having a pretty lace bralette and I finally had one!  I didn’t want to get too excited since I still had to attach the elastic band and that could ruin everything… haha.

Florence Bra Seamwork MagazineThe following afternoon I sat down and carefully attached the elastic.  There was no way I was going to let the final step of my bra making ruin this for me! Everything looked fine, things were going smoothly and sure enough I was done!

Florence Bra Seamwork Magazine

Now, for the final fit test! 

Drum roll please!  I’m sure you guessed it by now but IT FIT!  I was very pleased and honestly now I want to sew up a whole bunch more lingerie.  It’s just so beautiful and dainty and fun!

If you want more bra fun check out Helen’s Florence bra here!  It is bursting with color and she is so thorough in her description of her experience it is definitely a must read for anyone looking to sew up Florence or any bra for that matter. 🙂

Happy Sewing!

For more bra sewing fun check out these posts:

Bare Essentials Bra Pattern

So Sew Easy Ultimate Sports Bra

Kwik Sew 3167 Camisole and Panties

Wembley Cardigan by Seamwork Magazine

Yes, another Seamwork Magazine pattern.  I was just gifted a subscription from my sister for my birthday a couple months ago so I can’t help myself. 😉

Anyway, Wembley has caused me some troubles which is unfortunate because I thought it was going to be super easy. 🙁

It really isn’t Wembley’s fault though.  It was totally me.  First off I didn’t notice that the fabric that I bought was slightly stretched out in one area.  It wasn’t terrible but because the fabric has a stripe print it becomes very noticeable when you are trying to cut the fabric out while making sure the stripes match up.  I spent too much time trying to fix this but it was important because what is the point of sewing something up only to have mismatching stripes. If I left it as is I’d never end up wearing it and it would be a waste.

Unfortunately, that ate up a few mornings.  I moved on though and kept sewing. Everything seemed fine until I noticed the very next day after I sewn on the waistband that the notches weren’t sewn into the seam allowance so there were little holes on the back of my cardigan. 🙁 So out came the seam ripper and another morning.

Finally I got the waistband and the cuffs squared away but I still had the neckband. Everything seemed to going well.  I double checked my measurements BUT once I pinned the neckband to the neckline it was much too long…  So I sewed up and cut off what I needed to.  It still ended up slightly long but much better it be too long than short.  I ended up covering up the raw edges of the ends of the neckband where it met at the waistband by just folding them in and do a few hand stitches to hold it in place.

Wembley was a pain but I do love how it turned out and I want to sew up another but probably in a solid color next time.  I’m thinking black for special occasions. 🙂

Happy Sewing!

Weston Shorts by Seamwork Magazine

Oh Weston, what fun you were… 🙂 This was my first time sewing up adult sized shorts!  I don’t typically buy shorts and I’m not really into the current short trends.  I do have one pair of linen shorts that I bought out of desperation while I was traveling in Italy.  The heat was getting unbearable and I was ready to buy anything.  Luckily, I found a nice pair of gray linen trouser shorts that I still wear to this day several years later.

Every summer I tell myself I should buy a new pair of shorts.  I casually look around but nothing catches my eye so while working on my Wardrobe Architect project I decided that I most certainly need a second pair of shorts and I will be the one to make them… so Weston was born.

I was apprehensive at first.  Pant zipper, waistband, two hems!?!  But, I was up for the challenge and you know what?  It was actually pretty easy!

Details:

Fabric: Denim Chambray from Hart’s Fabric, Black metal zipper from JoAnn Fabrics, 2 black buttons, interfacing, matching blue thread

Pattern: Weston Pattern from Seamwork Magazine

Hiccups: Sizing

Fun stuff: To button or not to button?

I looked at the measurement chart, measured myself and decided that since I have never sewn pants that maybe I wasn’t the smallest size and I decided to size up.  I even double checked my measurements but I was wrong.  Once I sewed up the side seams and tried it on it was much too big.  I measured how much I needed to remove then undid the side seams.  Based on my measurements, I needed to cut out the smallest size instead.  Luckily, I was early in the game and was able to trim the sides and sew it back up.  I left the crotch area the same and moved on to the waistband.

It took me a few times to read through the waistband instructions to make sure I had it right but eventually I got there interfacing and all.  I attached them to my shorts and my next step was to add the buttons BUT… I loved how the waistband looked on its own so I tried it on again and loved it even more.  The interfacing allows the flaps to stand up straight but have a slight curl at the top that just makes them look so modern and fashion forward.  Should I add buttons still??  That was the big question.  So off I went to Instagram to get confirmation from the sewing community and I’m glad I did because everyone was so helpful!  They confirmed for me that the no button high waisted flap was indeed a good choice!  (Thank you everyone!)

Now, the last step… hemming!  I was very detailed in this process and it turned out better than expected.  So viola, it is complete and I am thrilled with the outcome.  So happy I get to wear these this summer!

Wardrobe Architect Week 13

On week 13 of Wardrobe Architect, Colette offered a free downloadable worksheet from A Sewist’s Notebook by Beth Byrge to help plan your sewing projects.  I happen to be working on my self-drafted Bardot dress (blog post coming soon) and used this handy worksheet.  Check out the photo below.
What I like about this worksheet is I often forget the exact name of the fabric I am using as well as any special finishing techniques I decide to do mid project but this allowed me to write it down.  This worksheet is so helpful because it allows you to have a more organized project and to also plan projects out ahead of time.  It is also a great reference when you are shopping for fabrics and supplies.  But, honestly if you are anything like me and you look back on a garment you made a year or more ago and can’t remember how you did what you did then you might need something like this!

If this notebook doesn’t float your boat, then check out Colette’s Sewing Planner.  At the time of the original blog post, Colette had yet to release their sewing planner book.  They now offer a hardcover book with many resources.  I will admit I am a bit torn between Beth Byrge’s 110 Creations: A Sewist’s Notebook and Colette’s Sewing Planner.  I’m not investing in one just yet but I think either would be a great addition to my sewing resources. 🙂 I’m also a sucker for anything that makes me feel like I am more organized than I really am as well… so I think it’s in my near future. 😉

Do you have any special organization tips whether it be for sewing or just life in general?

Wardrobe Architect – Week 3 & 4

Wardrobe Architect – Week 3

Week 3 is all about determining what shapes make you feel comfortable and happy, and which feel foreign and wrong for you.  I tried not to over think this one as the directions suggest but I can’t say that I think this is entirely accurate as my feelings change about certain shapes depending on the season, where I am going and my mood.  I tried to be all encompassing when rating though so I think this paints a broad picture at the very least.

wa3

Wardrobe Architect – Week 4

Week 4 builds on week 3 in that you use your shapes and ratings and create silhouettes or outfit formulas.  Colette Blog suggests using Polyvore for this exercise.  Here is a peak at a few:

 

Tailored/fitted slacks (natural waistline) + semi-fitted turtleneck pullover + sneakers

I love tailored slacks with a pair of clean sneakers.  I just wish I could wear them to work.  I would have to change them out with a pair of ballet flats or loafers. Honestly though, I would rather have my whole foot covered because I get really cold in the morning so I would need a really nice pair of Chelsea boots or something that doesn’t throw off the look of the pants.  It’s a bit of a tough one.

 

Knitted t-shirt dress (somewhat fitted, mid-thigh length) + scarf + loafers + floppy hat

This is a very versatile outfit for me.  I can wear it to work with a pair of tights and cute boots or running around town or while teaching sewing lessons.  I would probably add a long sleeveless sweater or jean jacket.

 

Jeans (somewhat fitted, natural waistline) + fitted jersey knit top + sneakers

This is my go-to look when I’m just hanging out.  I like a pair of semi-baggy jeans either rolled up or cut off with my Adidas and a cozy shirt.  I would add a floppy hat and my cross-body bag to accessorize.

 

Short sleeve knit blouse (somewhat loose) + Skinny cords (very fitted, high waistline) + long coat (somewhat loose) + thick heel boots

I like this outfit for work or hanging out.  It keeps my ankles and feet warm.  The top is simple but fashionable and the coat will keep me warm but is easy to remove and the outfit will still look cute and comfortable.

 

Silky dress shirt dress (somewhat fitted, mid-thigh length) + tights/leggings + ankle boots

This is another great pick for work.  I like the professionalism of the dress shirt style but love the ease of it being a dress.  It will also keep me warm with thick tights and cute boots.  I can throw a nice coat over this and be on my way.

Wardrobe Architect – Week 2

Wardrobe Architect – Week 2

Defining a Core Style

Goal: Uncover the styles that make you feel like yourself and attach words and images to them.

When you are wearing your favorite clothing, how do you feel?

Answer: I feel confident, poised and beautiful

When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel?  What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?

Answer: I feel like I am not myself.  I want to avoid clothing that doesn’t empower me to reach my goals.

Who do you consider to be your style icon(s)?  What is it about them that appeals to you?

Answer:  My mom when she was younger would be my style icon.  She always had really nice elegant pieces and great shoes.  I used to love looking through her closet and stealing her shoes as a kid.  Even today, the pieces that she has passed down to me from her youth are my favorite pieces of clothing.

What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?

I like intricate craftsmanship like beading and lace but it’s much too fancy for my look.

Look over your answers from last week on history, philosophy, culture, community, activities, location, and body.  List at least 15 words that you associate with your answers.  Think about descriptive words, moods, and feelings you associate with these things:

Quality, Modern, Neutral, Edge, Juxtaposition, Polished, Classy, Feminine, Clean, Elegant, Craftsmanship, Patience, Invest, Confident, Minimalism.

Look over the answers to all the questions above.  If you had to narrow your list to only 3-4 words to describe you, which words would you choose?

Modern, Elegant, Clean, Confident and Classy

Visual Exercise: Collect 15-20 images that represent these 3-5 words for you.  You could create a pinterest board, a folder on your computer, a mood board, or a collage.  Be creative and have fun!

Answer: Pinterest board below:

wk-2-inpiration

Wardrobe Architect – Week 1

img_2917The Wardrobe Architect from Colette is a huge feat.  It’s 14 weeks of discovering your true style and I will admit, I’m definitely intimidated.  In the past couple of months there have been a lot of renovations going on at our place which has forced me to move my clothes and shoes several times.  That makes you realize how much stuff you don’t actually wear or need.  In the attempt to be the architect of my style as well as a climber trying to conquer the wardrobe mountain here is week 1.

I added this fun picture of my cat, Howard.  He is currently in the midst of conquering my wardrobe mountain. 😉

Wardrobe Architect – Week 1:

This week’s focus – Thinking about how we are different and how that affects our aesthetic choices.

History – How has your personal history informed the way you dress?  When did your tastes crystalize?  Have they changed over the years, and why?

Answer: My mother always emphasized that it is important to buy quality clothing.  She taught my sisters and I how to spot high-end fabric and craftsmanship.  She was always willing to spend a little more for a lasting piece.

I’m not sure if my style has crystallized.  I would say I am attracted to neutrals, modern shapes and subtle trends.  I like to look polished and classy but not stuffy.  I want to have a slight edge- something that pops and is exclusively me.  That comes from my former Betsey Johnson/Grunge phase in high school.  I don’t like pops of color as much now as I do a pattern or fabric pop.  I do like things to be wearable in several settings.  This change came from just growing up and wanted to be sophisticated and well put together.

Philosophy – How does your philosophy, spirituality, or religion affect your aesthetics and buying habits?  Or, what aspects of those things would you like to see reflected?

Answer: I don’t like having “things” and I do not get a high from shopping.  I’m very particular in my purchases.  I see something I like and I wait to see if I still like it.  If I do, I may buy it.  If not, I forget about it.  I want that reflected as a minimalist style but not a “simple” style.  I want minimalist pieces that are high quality and high craftsmanship.

Culture – How has your cultural background shaped the way you look?  How did the aesthetics and values you grew up with affect your tastes as you got older?

Answer:  My background shaped the way I look today to not be sold on trends and to highlight what suits my body.  I must wear the clothes, not let them wear me.

Community – How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other communities you’re involved in?

Answer: The influence really comes from everyone buying cheap clothing.  It’s so easy and they are so cute.  But then you just buy without thinking about it because the price is so great.  Then there is Pinterest…all the pretty things on Pinterest.  Honestly, its great and has helped me define my style.

Activities – How do your day to day activities influence your choices? / Location – Does the place you live inform the way you dress?  How does climate factor in?

Answer: Even though I live in Southern California I am always cold.  I’m on my way to work before 7AM and it’s chilly.  I take public transit and it’s chilly.  I get to the office and it’s chilly.  I try to keep myself covered up so cold air doesn’t get through by wearing long pants, boots and socks and layers.  During my lunch break, I run errands and often end up too hot so layers are essential.  Staying warm is a big factor in my everyday clothing decisions to the point that it makes my wardrobe boring sometimes.

Body – In what ways does body image affect your choices in clothing?  What clothes make you feel good about the body you live in?  What clothes make you feel uncomfortable or alienated from your body?

Answer: Clothes that make me feel good about my body are those that are tailored to me.  I don’t like ill-fitting clothes or pieces that are too suggestive.  Body image affects my choices in that I don’t want to give people the impression that they should look at certain aspects of my body.  I also do not want my clothes to distort my size or be messy.

On to the next worksheet… 🙂