Pattern Testing: The Phoebe Maxi

Phoebe3I got chosen to help pattern test the Phoebe Maxi for the Phoebe Collection over at Pattern Union. I’ve been wanting to do this forĀ  a long time and this was the first time I’ve been chosen.

 

I hope to continue pattern testing as it is very fun to be forced into having to choose a fabric. Then you must hurry and print out the pattern. You must cut it as soon as possible. Then you must actually follow the instructions as you sew it up. (Yes this can make it take longer than you would think) Once that is all done you are asked to take pictures and tell them your thoughts. It is a process.

Phoebe2

 

The Phoebe Maxi is a pretty basic pattern, but one thing I found difficult it when it said to Cut 1 Pair. I understand why they don’t want you to just cut two, but I still struggled.

 

For those of you who haven’t sewn, most pattern pieces mirror left and right, so when they say cut a pair they mean for you to cut a left and a right. (the easiest way to do this is to fold your fabric in half and cut through both layers at once) If you simply cut two pieces you may end up trying to sew two right arms. We simply aren’t made that way.

Phoebe1

 

The pockets on this skirt are lovely. The back pockets are just big enough to hold a slim mass market paper back. The front pockets, while not as large as you first may think on seeing the pattern, are still plenty big enough.

 

My favorite detail on the top of the skirt is the zig-zag stitching I used. I sewed the elastic in place with it. I sewed the pockets on with zig-zag stitch. You may not be able to tell, but I think it is so cute and such a fun detail. I didn’t bother to put any zig-zag on the lower tiers, because I ran out of time.

Phoebe

 

I didn’t just run out of time I also ran out of bobbin thread twice. I was almost done with some decorative zig-zagging the second time it ran out. That was maddening. I was furious. Whatever I’m finished now.

 

I don’t plan on wearing it anytime soon. I made it out of some poly-cotton that we had lying around and I don’t care much for that type of fabric. I also plan on putting it in the county fair. Hopefully I finally get a purple ribbon…

Thanks D for taking the pictures.

Does the yellow cancel out the fact that this skirt is mostly blues???

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We’ve Got Pockets

Whenever it was I spent 10 days off grid. I found it to be super inspiring. On the second Thursday we had a cook out for dinner and after the guys showed up we started talking sewing.

Yes, that happened. And No they didn’t mind. And Yes as I often find they had useful inputs.

I had mentioned to my best friend that I wanted to go visit Israel with her next year and I figured we needed at least a thousand dollars each. She had recently been hired to make little girl dresses. Upon finding that she enjoyed it, she has been working on setting up a shop. We were talking pricing.

JH said when someone other than his job was wanting his time he asked for at least $25 an hour per person. He got paid that much, his brother would want that much, his machinery cost that much to run. This added up to $75 per hour for him and DH to cut down a tree. One tree took them only an hour and the man paid them $200.

Let me not say anything. Take a deep breath. I’ve had people tell me that $35 was to much to hem a pair of pants. But they were willing to pay fifteen dollars.

This is all to say we were encouraging SH to bump the finished price of the dresses to the $70-$100 range. Sew much closer to what she should be earning.

In turn I mentioned my sewing plans. So often I have seen complaints about how women’s clothes just don’t have good pockets. And on the flip side I have often seen ladies worrying if the pockets will be to much. I was wondering why don’t I make a clothing line where pockets are the statement of the piece.

My family expressed doubts.

I explained I was considering making a blue skirt with orange star shaped pockets on it.

My family thought that sounded horrible.

I fell quiet, but that vague idea stuck in my brain. Finally today I was able to put on paper rough sketches of that idea and another one.

Pardon my terrible drawing skills.

On the left we have a skirt designed to look like an upside down flower. The pockets are quite visible as they are representing the sepals.

On the right is a modified version of blue and orange. The color has been changed to yellow and the stars are evenly spaced. I haven’t yet decided if the little stars should be pockets too. And is four star pockets around the waist good or should I go for the semi subtle three stars like Orion’s belt?

A pin cushion topped mason jar with a few buttons in it

 

So bountiful hay to my best friend.

For re-inspiring me to start sewing again.

For re-inspiring me to start designing again.

For giving me such a handy pin cushion as a belated birthday present. I know you don’t read my blog, but still.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

If I were to make skirts like these how much would you pay? Would you pay $200? Would you pay $250 if I made sure to use sustainable fabric? People often pay tons of money for clothing of little quality. From people they care little for. Fabric costs money, but the most expensive part is the labor.

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PS.

Speaking of sewing I have recently agreed to sew a dress inspired by a book as an art project. I would really like to put my best foot forward with doing this. But I need nice fabric and notions in order to do that. If you would like to help with this in any way at all please check out the Go Fund Me I put together and either share it or give a donation. Every dollar helps.

PPS.

Speaking of obvious pockets don’t you think that an evening gown with a blue jean pocket or two sounds like something that could come down a runway?

An Outfit Of This Summer

Over a year ago I posted about two items I made. A super cool Butterfly Shirt, modeled after my favorite shirt of all time. An Orange Skirt, basic, but quickly using up the fabric I brought back from India.

I wore them together because they were both brand new and I was super proud, but I’ve been wearing them together ever since and I will admit I love the look. It’s bright, it’s bold, and the fact the the shirt is mostly blue is hardly noticeable.

DSC_0236

So M and I went out the other morning and caught some pictures that captured the essence of the outfit. And Me. And when I wear it.

I actually found it a little difficult to pose in because the grass was little more than dew and clippings. Also I’ve decided to stop wearing it for the summer. I like to wear it several times in between washes, so that it will not get as worn out so quickly.

Sorry there are no pictures of the back of me, but M thought my hair was a mess.

I think that is all.

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A Swimsuit And A Throwback

You may remember back at the beginning of summer I made a swimsuit. I promised to come back at the end of summer and review. I wanted to review it earlier, but I kept not getting pictures. I still don’t have pictures of me wearing it, but I’ve finally got a nice flat lay. So pictures of it worn may be coming, but for now..

The Fit

Lets be honest I made it myself, so of course it fits well.

The Built In Bra

No that doesn’t go under fit, but it works perfectly. I’m so glad I decided to use my fabric scraps for it.

tpgether-swimsuit

The Swimability

Can I swim in it. Yes, really well.

The Green Factor

The only new material that went into the swimsuit was the thread. The main fabric is rayon, but there is some rubber in the elastic. And the zipper is plastic.

close-up-on-zipper

The Style Factor

You might not be able to tell, but I think it looks super cool. A slight 1920’s inspiration, with an asymmetric hem.

Honestly I’m super happy with it. I’ve never even considered making a swimsuit before and now I’ve made one.

Here is a random picture of the sunrise I got this morning when I went out to get the rest of these pics.

sunrise

How To Make SciFi Sleeves

If you don’t like sleeveless things then almost undoubtedly if you modify your clothes you have at least tried to add sleeves to something. Allow me to let everyone who doesn’t in on a little secret. Sleeves are the worst. I’ve seen them called Sleevils. Putting in a classic, smooth sleeve is torture. Gathered sleeves are slightly better, but they still come with a myriad of fitting possibilities.

So today I’m going to talk about the easiest type of sleeve to do. No gathering and the bias stretch has no effect. I’m talking about sci-fi sleeves. Now unfortunately I don’t have a good picture of them, because my family thinks that they look a little silly.

scifi-sleeves2

Take a square of fabric that has a diagonal length that is the almost* same as around your armhole.

Cut the fabric on the diagonal.

Hem the four short sides. If the diagonal is not a bias cut zigzag its edge.

Now you have two sleeves, all ready to go into your shirt. Yay!!!

scifi-sleeves
An extremely fuzzy picture that shows the finished side view.

Mark the center of the long side with a pin.

If you are making the shirt from scratch: put the pin in the shoulder seam right sides together.

If you are putting the sleeves into a pre-finished shirt: put the pin in the shoulder seam with the right side of the sleeve facing the wrong side of the shirt.

Then pin and sew the sleeve on with your preferred method. (when I use pins I tend to put them well in the seam allowance so I can sew around them)

Make sure all threads are knotted and clipped. Iron it if necessary.

scifi-sleeves4
I call it a SciFi sleeve because it give a silhouette like this.
scifisleeves3
It is a little hard to tell, but you can see the sleeve sticking out in this picture.

*The exact length doesn’t matter to much as some overlap at the bottom of the armhole is fine as is a small gap.

 

SH’s Speech For Thursday

This Thursday my best friend’s directly older sister is getting married. It is crazy. I’m so happy for her, but she’s only three years older than me so that is strange. On to the speech I’ve agreed to write for my best friend to read at the wedding.

“My worst memory of P. is when she told me that she wanted these sleeves to be perfectly smooth.

I put them in, they didn’t look right so I took them out.

I put them in again and they didn’t fit right so I took them out.

In and out.

I’ve put in these sleeves almost more than five times each.”

Sorry, but at the moment I don’t have pictures of these deceptively simple sleeves.

Plans For A Swimming Summer

Summer is coming and with is swimming season. Which means swimsuits. Most people think finding the perfect swimsuit is annoying, but it can be worse. If you care about modesty finding a swimsuit becomes super annoying. But I like to add extra levels of difficult to find clothes. I prefer to wear one hundred percent unmixed natural fibers.

This means I have simply worn pedal pushers and a t shirt over a regular bathing suit. It looked ok, … but… It takes lots of space, is annoying to change in and out of, is looking like I haven’t grown or done much swimming since I started wearing that combo like … seven years ago. And now that I can actually swim, wearing cargo pedal pushers are to … catchy … not aerodynamic … not fluidynamic…

Either way last summer I started looking into other options and I couldn’t find any I liked. So recently I found two of the three paper dolls I use to draw clothes (I need a fourth now, she is to be Korean) and I drew up my two favorite ideas. And yes they are practically impossible to tell that they are different styles.

black-and-white-swimsuit-ideas

The upper one was my first idea, hence the reason it has matching sleeves. It basically is a dress over shorts. It’s actually way more complicated but I don’t know whether I’ll go through with it. The second is a Salwar Kameez style though again with shorts. It would take way less fabric, but I’m not sure I like it.

But what is my plan for fabric. Nearly three weeks ago I went to Salvation Army. Mostly we were just looking, but I wanted to look at rayon skirts. I hope that it will balance the line between being natural enough to suit me and synthetic enough to not make a bad swimsuit. I’ll be back with reports at the end of the summer.

Rayon-skirt-for-fabric

Sorry, but I haven’t fully finished the silk skirt yet, and I want to try to make a semi matching top so it may be a while before the final pictures are posted.

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