Monday, November 27, 2023

Frankensteined Frankie Polo

I’ve arrived at a place in my sewing where just about every pattern I see asks me what I’m going to do to change it.  It’s like a compulsion.  Sometimes, the change is minor and sometimes, like with my sweater coat, it’s nothing like anyone intended but it was exactly my vision.

Love Notions recently released the Frankie Polo and I like the split neckline.  I also like the knit bodice and sleeves with a woven collar and placket.  My first attempt was a mess and I won’t be sharing pictures or wearing it in public.  As I suspected, the neckline was too big and deep for me and there were other issues with the size I foolishly chose.  I wanted to make a fleece top for winter riding and thought I should go up from my usual size but I did  not need to!

I thought for a while about what to do.  I knew I could go down a size but that wasn’t going to fix the neckline.  I’m never a fan of Henley or polo shirts with plackets that go too far down the chest and looking at the examples on a lot of people, it just wasn’t going to be what I wanted.

Then I looked some more at the drawing of the pattern and realized it is a very boxy fit.  I kind of like a top that goes in at the curves, sometimes, so I thought about the whole thing some more and this is where the wheels get spinning so fast they either come flying off and someone gets knocked out or we fly right up to and A+ and I’m a genius. 

Could  I somehow shorten the length of the placket?

What if I shorten the placket AND mash this with a pattern that I know fits me pretty well, the Panama Tee.

First, I had to figure out how to shorten the placket.  This was one of those moments when some other being took over my body and I somehow did exactly what I wanted.  If only it was always this easy.  This v sits more where I wanted it.  Nothing choking me but also not at all revealing or wanting a stitch to keep the bottom closed.

Once I knew that would work, I had to figure out how to transfer the neckline to the Panama Tee Dress pattern that is pretty tried and true for me.  The necklines are really different in the front and different enough in the back that I knew I had to change both.  This also meant using the sleeves for the Panama Tee which I was happy about because with this fabric, I wasn’t going to have enough for the sleeves in the Frankie Polo but the Panama Tee sleeves are smaller so it was going to work!

I took both fronts pattern pieces and lined them up at the shoulder to see what I could do.  I drew both of them onto one paper, in different colors so I could keep the lines right and cut out my new front.  For the back, I only had to change a little bit but I did the same process.

Then I worried about the collar.  I figured there was no way the collar would be long enough because my new neckline seemed a little longer.  I wasn’t worried about the placket because since I shortened it, the original Frankie Polo pattern piece was plenty long enough.  But that collar.

I cut out one collar piece just to try it, once I put the front and back together.  I was amazed that it fit, I got right to work.


And then I got completely carried away with cuffs๐Ÿ˜‚. The collar and cuffs came from a button down shirt that I made and stopped wearing.  My initial hope was that I could just take the collar and transfer it but that didn’t work.  Then I saw the cuffs and got really excited but quickly realized I had already, inexplicably, cut off one of the cuffs and it’s long gone.  I started from scratch and I’m pretty pleased with the detail!  They can fold back or stay as they are.

This fabric was in a mystery box from Surge Fabric Shop so I have no idea what it is.  I suspect there’s polyester in there.  But I like the stretch and drape and this tomato red is one of my favorite colors and it’s really hard to find.

I like this enough that I want to make another one but it’s not really my style.  I could easily make too many of these and it would be weird.  I wore this and couldn’t stop thinking all day that I was able to make this come to life in exactly the way I wanted it to be.  This is the danger of sewing because now I think I can just mash any patterns together to make magic and oh, I could not be more wrong!

Monday, October 16, 2023

All the Pumpkin Spice I Need

I might have raved about the modal French terry fabric from Waymaker fabrics here and all over instagram  and I’m about to do it again !  I bought the orange heather modal French terry for an unknown project.  I knew it would be orange but I wasn’t sure how bright it would be, so I didn’t know if I’d make a shirt or a dress.  

I was thrilled to see that’s it’s more like a pumpkin spice orange than a construction worker orange.  It’s super soft, which is why I love this fabric and it drapes so well!  The print is a really nice heather.  People kept telling me when I wore it that it’s such a fall dress.  Guess what folks, I’ll be wearing it all winter too!

I decided to go with a dress length and love it!  I took the Panama tee dress pattern from Alina Design Co. and added a little flair to give it some flow.  The pattern as written is a pretty straight dress so this is very swingy compared to the original.  I like the way this pattern fits and it’s become a basic I turn to again and again to try different ideas that come to me.

And now I have to buy some brown leather boots because black isn’t doing it for me with this color.  

My experience with the other two pieces of fabric that I bought from Waymaker fabrics is that the dye holds up well and the fabric doesn’t pill, so I highly recommend this fabric when you order anything!  It looks like this particular print is out of stock right now but any of the prints that are available would be marvelous on the modal French terry!  Once you wear one thing made of it, you won’t be able to think about anything else!  

Friday, September 1, 2023

Waymaker Fabrics Round 6

Pre-ordering for Round 6 is open from August 31-September 14.
As a strike sewist for Waymaker Fabrics, I chose this Blush Flowers on modal French terry as my test fabric for Round 6.  I love the peach and greencolors with the oatmeal background and I thought these colors would be perfect to go from summer to fall in a sleeveless dress.  

Woman wearing a flower print dress
The beginning of the school year can still be really hot here and well into October, I wear sleeveless tops and dresses with a sweater, if needed.  Usually its needed in the morning and then we are melting by the afternoon!  French terry can sometimes be heavy, better suited to cold weather clothes, but in the spring, I made a tank dress in French terry that was lightweight enough for summer.  I was hoping this modal French terry might be the same way. Modal is made from natural fibers and is considered a sustainable resource. I’m trying so hard to stop with polyester blends and not everything can be made from cotton.  It’s such a soft fabric, I can’t stop touching it every time I wear it!  My favorite thing is that I’ve washed it several times and there is ZERO pilling.  That’s huge for me.  I don’t love those  eco friendly fabrics out there that end up pilling or just looking old after only a few wears.

This modal French terry is also lightweight and silky without feeling wet.  I wore it twice on very hot days and did not feel like it clung to me and I never felt stuffy in it.  It made me want to make more summer dresses out of it!  It also flows really nicely and drapes well off the body.  The wrong side of this fabric is just as soft as the right side and it would make some cozy pajamas too!  People dont really do this, but what if you sewed two pieces facing each other into a winter scarf?  That would be so soft and cozy around the face!  Let's start a trend!
Round 6 includes this same print in Fire Flowers and Maroon Flowers.  I can’t stop staring at the Fire Flowers and might have to preorder some to make a cardigan for the winter!  All of mine are solids and this would be a nice twist.  You can also get these prints on canvas and I’m thinking I’d like a bag with the Fire Flowers too❤️  
Fire flowersMaroon flowers
There are other new prints in Round 6 as well as fabrics that pair well with them.  Pre-ordering is open from August 31-September 14.  You can get your print on Cotton Lycra, Tencel Cotton, Modal French Terry, Canvas, French Terry, Jersey and Athletic Knit.  The content of each fabric is listed as you choose which one you want, which I love about this company!!

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Pick A Date and We’ll Think About Getting Started Within the Week


This is the face you get when you are Petco (not affiliated) and you tell me to pick a date for repeat delivery and then you don’t actually abide by that date.

Black and white cat, reclined on blue couch
I’ve been a big Chewy fan (not affiliated) for years because they have the prescription cat food that one of my cats needs for crystals in his bladder.  Violating hippa, showing the patient, but he’s so cute, why not?  

Trying to get it in person near me would be a pain and cost a lot more, so my vet told me about Chewy and I’ve been really happy.  You get a slight discount for regular orders and when you choose a date, that’s when it ships.  

See that last sentence?  That’s where Petco needs some tutoring.  You choose a date and it ships.

Chestnut horse grazing
When Fletcher arrived, he came with a specific rice bran pellet that I can’t find anywhere around me for any kind of reasonable price.  Not wanting to change things right away, I knew I’d be buying this for a while. Chewy doesn’t have it.  I keep checking.  If they had it, none of this would have happened.   

Petco has it for $10 less than anyone else.  Conveniently, they also have a pick a date to ship system, so I expected it to work just like Chewy:  
I pick a date, they get it together and ship it on that date, I get it within a few days of that date.  Everyone eats, no one is worried and I’m happy with the service.

 ๐Ÿšจ Spoiler alert ๐Ÿšจ I am not happy. Everyone is worried.  If I’m not careful, no one eats.

Because with Petco, and I have this from 2 different customer service agents in two ways (on the phone and over chat), that date is when Petco begins the process.  They give themselves 24 hours to pack it.  AND THEN, they give themselves 2-5 business days to get it shipped.  Which for me will possibly be another week to 10 days for shipping, depending on whatever determines shipping in my area.  

Are you as furious as I am?  Let’s recap:
 I selected the 24th as my order date.  
The 24th came and went and I realized I didn’t get the email that said it had been shipped.  I’ve been ordering online for a long time, I’m kind of a pro, so I know I’m supposed to get that email.  
2 days later, on the 26th, which is more than 24 hours later in case math isn’t your thing, I contacted Petco twice where twice, I was told their policy.  
They had it packed and now they have 2-5 business days to actually ship.

Meanwhile, someone plows through rice bran faster than I expected (it’s only been 1.5 months so give me a break) so I didn’t have a spare bag.  The only place nearby has it but it’s literally $10 more.  But I was desperate because he had like 2 meals left so I bought it.

And now I wait 2-5 business days plus whatever shipping days for my supply to arrive.  

Of course I’ve ordered extra and now I know this asinine policy so I will be sure to stay on top of it.  Because they have it cheaper, I have to keep getting it from them.  Not a soul on this planet has it that cheap which is another concern all together, but that’s not why I brought you here.

I brought you here to suggest that if you’re thinking about using Petco, look elsewhere.  They also neglected to give me the 35% off my first repeat order, which they proudly display all over their website so, yep, I had to contact customer service for a 3rd time.  

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Sara Everyday Tank and Dress

The 5outof4patterns (affiliate linkSara Everyday Tank and Dress is such a easy and versatile pattern!  It's a staple you should have in your stash because it's super easy to whip up last minute!

I’ve made a few of the tops and really like the fit and the ease in the waist.  It really is for everyday wear!  When I decided to make it into a dress, I knew I wanted even more flow, so I use the top and then extended it based on the width and length of another pattern I have customized for knit dresses.  The dress in the actual pattern (affiliate link) is a little closer fitting through the hips than I wanted, mostly because it allows you to make it all the way to a maxi length dress.  

At 5'2", maxi is not for me.

I bought a "surprise pack" from Discovery Fabrics that had this pink and white striped bamboo stretch jersey, an oatmeal bamboo cotton jersey and a black micro tencel.  

As soon as I remembered I had the Sara Everyday pattern (affiliate link), I knew the pink and white stripes needed to be a dress.  This fabric is amazing.  Its lightweight but not see-through.  Stretchy but not too much.  In fact, the neck and arm bands hold up so nicely with this fabric!  I feel like I've already worn this too much this summer but a) I love pink and b) it's so easy to wear!

If you follow me on social media, you know how proud I am that these stripes matched so nicely on the sides ๐Ÿ˜‚  

This micro tencel fabric is very slippery and easy to wear.  Not the best to work with because of that slipperiness but it's not the worst.  The only drawback is that because of the stretch, my arm and neckbands get a little stretchy as the day goes on.  I had already reduced the length in the bands a little bit, but I should have reduced it more.

I also made the oatmeal stretch jersey into a tank but the arm and neckbands are very wonky so I'm debating taking them off and doing it again.  I didn't bother to take a picture because I dont love how the bands came out.

For a beginner, this tank or dress is a fantastic option because it's only the front and back pieces, and the bands.  For an expert, you can knock this out in a half hour, including cutting, unless you permanently play fabric tetris because you never have enough fabric! 

Get your copy today!  (affiliate link)

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Sunshirts: So You Can Sweat In Style and Pretend You Feel the Cooling

As a fair skinned person who spends innumerable hours outside, I’m always worried about sun protection.  Living as I do on the coast, you’d think I spent all of my childhood summers baking at the beach but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  I did go to the beach, but not all day, every day, and I did often wear long sleeved shirts or sunscreen to try to keep the sun off. I never wanted to be super tan because it seemed like a burn was always my skin’s first choice.  I got my share of sunburns though never so bad they blistered or needed the ER.  

Fast forward to my adult years and ta da, I had a basal cell carcinoma which isn’t as scary as many kinds of skin cancer but is still something to have removed and scare the crap out of me in the meantime.  The one I had removed was on top of my head, which is interesting because I do wear hats a lot outside, and a helmet always when I ride, but there were many, many years of outdoor running with a visor instead of an actual hat.  Lesson learned.

No doubt, I’ll get more of these lovelies and possibly other things in my lifetime, so now I’m extra nuts about keeping out of the sun.  Impossible when I garden, ride horses, live my entire life to be outside in the summer, etc.  I’m really slick about knowing where the sun is in relation to my yard at various times of the day so I know I can’t weed on that side of the house until after 2, etc., but for the rest of the time that I can’t really hide, I wear sunshirts.  

I got my first sunshirt for free with purchase of something for riding and I was impressed that it was lightweight, had “vents” for cooling under the arms, didn’t stick to me when wet and kept me from getting burned.  I tried a variety of them, found one I loved and, you guessed it, they stopped making that style.

Fast forward to 2019 when I started making my own.  I started with the Greenstyle Pacific Pullover and tried a lot of adjusting to try to get the underarm cooling vents in just the right spot.  I made a bunch in the next couple of years, with varying placements of the mesh for cooling but the sleeve was always a little strange.  

Then I made the Ascent from 5outof4 patterns (affiliate linkand figured out that the underarm inserts were more suited to the mesh inserts for cooling.  This pattern is meant for fleece, so I find it bigger overall than most of their patterns.  When I made it in fleece, it was pretty big but fine as a sweatshirt.

I wanted to bring it down to a thin fabric for sunshirts, so I ended up going down several sizes and for the sleeves, I went down one size lower than for the front and back bodice.  These sleeves are pretty loose and I do like that, but I didn’t want them quite as floppy as some of my initial versions.

I struggle a lot with the zipper and collar instructions in the Ascent pattern (affiliate link), so I got back to the Pacific Pullover instructions because they are so good and work perfectly.  I also use Leah Winkleman’s trick for covering the zipper tape and getting a pretty inside edge on the collar, which I show in the last picture, at the bottom of the page. 

Word to the wise:  you can use twill tape or ribbon to do the prettiness here, but I’ve done it twice and finally realized that with a stretchy knit, you really should use a knit fabric to do this or it leaves the neckline a little stiff.  It’s fine and totally wear able, but you see that the collar kinds of stands out and that’s because the ribbon doesn’t stretch.  

Also note that the neckline of the Ascent pattern (affiliate link) is higher than the Pacific so you should use a longer zipper.  I used 7.5 which is what I’ve used in many of my Pacifics, but in the Ascent pattern (affiliate link), it’s a little close to my collar bones even at it’s fully open place.

The fabric is Chitosante Interlock from Discovery Fabrics.  I’ve used 5 of these colors and for reference, the heathered versions seem to have a little less bulk to them. They are all listed as lightweight but this fuschia one doesn’t feel as thin as some others I have.

The mesh is a power mesh from my sister and is the most durable of all of the mesh I’ve used.  I have to confess that some mesh in my previous shirts has been from the bridal section of the fabric store and probably has no business being worn often, with friction u deer the arm!

Overall, while these sunshirts and their fabrics claim to be cooling and sweat wicking, the reality is that if it’s summer, you will feel like you’re creating your own swamp no matter what fabric you use.  It is very nice when the wind blows and you feel it through the soaking wetness you’ve created.  And the vents give a great illusion of heat release, but I’d have to walk around with my arms fully outstretched 100% of the time to really get any cooling.  

Yes, they are cooler than a cotton or poly t shirt. 

Yes, they dry faster.

Yes, they are much lighter weight than a t shirt.

But you’re still going to roast.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The Ashley Skort

Three pictures of mini length skorts

Are you looking for a summer staple?  Look no further than Ashley Skort by 5outof4patterns (affiliate link).  So many choices: mini, knee, tea, maxi lengths, contour, fold over, elastic waistband, maternity, low, mid, or high rise and the shorts can have pockets, or not. The shorts can have no gusset, half a gusset or a full gusset. Oh and the skirt can be woven or knit.

Any idea which one you’ll choose yet?  (affiliate link)

For me, a skort is about a functional skirt that can be worn to do lots of active things: sports, chasing toddlers around the park- that sounds creepy-  I mean chasing your own toddlers or those within your care- gardening, activities with lots of bend or getting up and down.  All things that having shorts underneath would make much easier.

I once had a love affair with running skirts which always had shorts but the affair ended because the shorts never fit right.  They usually would slide up my athletic thighs and make me crazy and ruin the joy of looking cute.  For me, a skort should be short.  The shorts are there in the event I accidentally flash someone because my hemline is questionable but the shorts also have to stay in place and serve a purpose.  Ashley skort from 5outof4patterns (affiliate link) does just that,

For this pattern, the front hem is higher than the back, especially at the maxi length.  One person said she loved the idea of a cape flying behind her as she ran after her kids, with the freedom to move her legs because of the shorter front ๐Ÿ˜‚. For me, maxi length is not an option.  I feel like I’m wrapping myself in fabric all day once it goes below my knees.  

I chose the mini length for all of mine.  Given my 5’2” frame, it doesn’t look too mini.  It’s almost knee length in the back.  

As with all 5outof4patterns (affiliate link) , this one comes with “shorten/lengthen here” lines so for this one, I shortened it 2 inches and also just did a lettuce hem.  It’s still longer than I’d expect for mini but it’s a very thin knit that grows as the day wears on๐Ÿ˜‚. You know those knits?  They feel so nice because they are soft and flowy but have you ever tried to sew them?  I equate it to trying to sew water.  I used thin fabrics for the shorts, the skirt and the waistband on two of mine and almost lost my mind trying to sewing all and make sure nothing slipped out.

For all of mine, I chose to make shorts.  This skirt could be made as just a skirt but check the cross in the front if you’re worried about modesty.  Two of my shorts don’t have pockets but these do.  Excuse the ridiculous shorts fabric given the fabric for the skirt.  In my head, no one will ever see the shorts so who cares if they match?  Well, if you’re going to show them in the initial release for the pattern, then really, they should match.  Lesson learned.  

The shorts have lines for 2, 5 and 7 inch inseams.  I chose 5 inch for two of them and  did a one inch hem.  For the red pair, I went for a 4 inch inseam and one inch hem because they are for the shortened mini.  

Let’s talk about the waistband.  I did the contour for all of them.  There’s the suggestion to use elastic around the top and I highly suggest it.  This particular one is a cotton Lycra that grew all day and I chased that waistband everywhere around my abdomen. Even with the elastic, it rode up and down as moved,   The other two didn’t do that at all, so I’m blaming the fabric, for sure.  

Here’s why I ended up with the cotton Lycra.  This skirt is a woven and I’m not a fan of the waistband on a woven being a knit.  I can’t explain myself, but it’s a look I really don’t like, for myself.   I got this wild idea that somehow, I was going to make a woven waistband work.  I even went so far as to cut the woven waistband to fit my hips and then I expected the elastic to pull it all in at my waist.

It fanstasticly did not work.  Even though I tried it two different ways and had to remove the waistband both times.   At that point, I needed a black knit to be the least conspicuous- white would have really made me upset because it’s a different color AND a different fabric from the skirt- and I grabbed the first thing I found.  Not a fan of the waistband on this one so something will have to be done.

For this one, the waistband is the same as the skirt and that’s my favorite option.  The shorts on this one are  see through purple and therefore not for pictures, but I can tell you I didn’t pay attention to what I was doing and made a gusset out of the red and white polka dots.  Right in the crotch of my pale purple shorts.  This is one of those things that make me think if I’m in any kind of accident while wearing these, they’re going to be so confused if they have to cut my clothes off in the ER๐Ÿ˜‚

Don’t tell me you’ve never had this thought when you’re wearing something you made that has something that the public would never normally see.  There’s always something, isn’t there?

This one ties as my favorite with the one above.  Look at that different waistband from the skirt!  Again, I can’t explain my rationale but this is fine with me.  Something about the red shorts and the red waistband and the red polka dots on the skirt just go together.   This red fabric is a French terry that I loved but when I first washed it, the whole piece was ruined because something else in the load ran all over it.  I didn’t throw it away and I’ve been slowly using pieces of it that aren’t tainted.  This was perfect for the shorts since no one really looks and there is some dark color on the waistband but most likely, no one will see it.  

Contrary to most of my pictures here, I will not be wearing any of these with a bare midriff๐Ÿ˜‚.   I’m so short in the torso that nothing I own for a top works well to show off the waistband of this skort .  If you happened to drive by last week around lunch time 3 days in a row while I was standing in my yard, my shirt tucked up into my bra and smiling, now you know why.   I wasn’t just flashing the neighbors, the flora and the fauna- I was completing a pattern test for 5outof4patterns (affiliate link)