Tag Archives: black

Style Arc Barb Gets Pocketed

I’ve been trying to update my work wardrobe. I work in a casual environment but because of my level I try to dress a little nicer than just jeans…sometimes.  What I’ve realized though is that I need comfy. Jeans are not always comfy so if I can find some slacks that look good and feel good to wear then I’ll be golden.

Last year Style Arc and Threads did a “limited time” promo for a free Style Arc Pants pattern – the Barb.  They describe it as: Barb’s Stretch Pant is a new version of our famous Linda pant. Features a slimmer leg but not too slim, perfect for the office.  Which actually sounded perfect!

So about that limited time business? Well you can still go get the pattern for free here:  http://www.stylearc.com/threads-promo/

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SIZING

I cut a size 20 which was closest to my waist measurement.  Because these pants are made of a stretch fabric and have an elastic waist they are very forgiving. However, Style Arc does use 3/8″ seam allowances so you don’t have quite as much room for seam allowance adjustments if needed.

ADJUSTMENTS

I did a few flat pattern adjustments on these. The first was to add 3″ to the rise. With the wider elastic I wanted them to be up on my natural waist. I used 1.5″ elastic instead of 2″ elastic so I essentially only changed the rise 2.5″. I changed the crotch curve to match the pants I made in my Palmer/Pletsch pants fitting class.

The biggest adjustment was adding pockets. Especially for work, pants must have pockets! I need a place to keep my phone and clip my ID badge.  I liked the pockets on the previous mentioned Palmer/Pletsch Class pants so I used those pattern pieces for these pants. I had to redraw the pants from to create the slash pocket. Then I reused the pocket bag, but I had drafted a pocket stay mean for a zip fly. Since these pants are pull ons, I had to redraw the pocket stay to be cut on the fold and match up with the pants front pieces.

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Drafting pocket stays is one of the best things I learned in my pants fitting class. If you’ve ever tried NYDJ jeans or pants, they do this to provide their “slimming technology”. Basically it’s built in Spanx! For these pants I had to figure out what kind of fabric to use. The main fabric is a stretch woven, but it would be too bulk to use for the stay. I needed something that would stretch and be thin. I ended up digging through my scraps and finding a piece of black cotton jersey that worked perfectly. It’s a bonus that I don’t have to finish the edges! That makes it be even less visible.

Sorry for the crap photo! I had to play the contrast levels so you could see the black on black.

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FABRIC & FINISHES

The fabric is a Sew Classic Bengaline suiting from Joann. It’s normally $10/yd but I’m sure I used a 40 or 50% off coupon.  The content is 81% polyester, 15% rayon and 4% spandex. It’s not the fancy bengaline Style Arc recommends (and sells), but I am very happy with it for the price I paid. It’s a perfect weight for these pants.

I used 1.5″ Knit Elastic for my waistband and finished all my seams on the serger.

STYLE

These are so versatile! I  can go casual with a t-shirt or tank and my chucks. For work I wear them with a blouse or sweater and my ballet flats. I have yet to wear these out but they would look great with a slinky top and some wedges.

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WHAT I LOVE

  • The price (FREE!)
  • Quick & easy to sew
  • Slim legs

WHAT I DON’T LOVE

  • Style Arc patterns are single sized, so if you print the wrong size you have to start all over again

WOULD I MAKE IT AGAIN?

I totally love these pants! The high waist and pocket stay are very slimming and the leg width really is perfect. I like my pants to be slim fitting without being skin tight. These whip up so quickly that I need to make some more!

Seamwork Aurora Top

The June issue of Seamwork Mag is all about knits. I love knits! There are two cute patterns in this issue – Mesa a simple shift and Aurora – a swingy tank. With the hot weather I need more sleeveless tops, so I went scrounging for some fabric in my stash.

I had a bit of black and white polka dot jersey left from my Coco top. It was just enough to cut out the front and back pieces. I didn’t have enough to cut the yoke, but I think that would have looked weird anyway. I didn’t have any white knit but I did have a promotional IcelandAir t-shirt! Cheap t-shirts are cut so off grain thatI had to do some fussing but I managed to get my pieces cut out of the white shirt. Recycling for the win!

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I cut the 1X size and made no modifications to the pattern. I was a little concerned that the straps were going to be too narrow based on the model photo, but this is well drafted to be proportional to the overall size. I’m glad I didn’t have to redraft that to make it cover my bra straps!

This is a very quick and easy top that is cleverly constructed. The yoke is doubled to be self lined and the armholes and neckline of the main piece are hemmed before attaching to the yoke. I did end up using my sewing machine, serger and coverstitch machine, but thankfully they were almost all threaded with the right color thread to begin with!

The pattern instructs you to top stitch the yoke after attaching the main pieces. I’ve held off on this for now. I’m not sure what color thread I want to use or if I want to do it at all. I might end up doing it on my coverstitch machine so it matches up with my armhole and neckline hemming.

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The one issue I had with this pattern is the bar tacking. After attaching the yoke to the body you are supposed to bar tack the seam allowance down. I understand that this strengthens your seams, which is needed because of the serging and keeps them from poking out, but it also stretched out my fabric and distorted my armscyes. This is more obvious on the back of the shirt. I think on future versions I will do this by hand.

I’m not sure this is the most flattering top I’ve ever made, but it sure is comfortable. I like that the yoke is wide enough to cover my bra straps and that the fit and flare silhouette skims over my problem area.  I could see making another one in a solid color.

I made those shorts too, but that’s for a future update.

True Bias Southport Dress

Summer is finally here which means it’s sundress time! When True Bias released the pattern for the Southport dress a few weeks ago I snatched it right up! I love the blouson silhouette and the tank style works so much better for me than thin straps.

I happened to have the perfect fabric for this – a geometric rayon challis I picked up from the “designer” section of Joann for $5/yd. Despite possibly inducing vertigo in observers, I had intended to make the maxi length until I realized it was only 44″ wide. Oops! I actually really like the short version so I’m not too disappointed.

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Although my bust is bigger than the pattern should make, I looked at the finished measurements and made a straight size 18. No FBA needed. The other adjustment I made was to not make the front plackets. There’s never going to be a need to unbutton this so I did a faux placket with topstitching and just sewed the buttons on. Look Ma! No button gaping! My neckline gapes slightly so next time I make it will take a wedge out of the neckline so it lays flat.
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This is a very comfortable dress to wear! It’s been in the 90’s the past few days in Portland and I’ve been keeping nice and cool.  The shape really works for me and I don’t have to worry about wearing any shapewear to smooth out my lumps and bumps.  I also love that it has pockets. Yay for pockets!

I can definitely see myself making more of these in a maxi version and maybe in a knit too!

My Coco

The pattern is by Tilly & the Buttons and it’s called Coco. The digital version costs £7.50, which is about $12.50. On a side note, this is why my British friends love coming here to shop!

Anyway, I wasn’t that interested in making this shirt when the pattern first came out especially since it appeared to be £12.50, but that was for the printed pattern. Soon after getting another Boden catalog,  I realized I needed a Breton top, so I changed my mind and bought it.

My Polka Dot Coco

My Polka Dot Coco

I did a no-dart FBA and curved out the front side seams in the bust area to accommodate my DDDs.  Since I’ve never done a no-dart FBA before, I made a  test top using some leftover knit fabric to ensure this fit properly. I was very happy with the fit in the bust area. I also took the sleeves into make them more fitted.

My final garment was made using this fab black and white polka dot jersey I found at Mill End Fabrics. Since I was sure about the fit, I did the entire thing on my serger except for finishing the hems and neckline. I sewed those on my sewing machine using a double needle for a professional looking finish.

Overall I really like this pattern and I can see using it as a base pattern for my own variations. However I had a couple of problems with it. First and foremost is that the amount of fabric required is specified inaccurately in the Supplies section of the pattern. It says you need 2 1⁄4 yards x 60in wide,  but this is the amount you need to make a dress. You have to go to the layout page to see the amount needed just for a top (1 3/4 yds). And I think that is still inaccurate since I was able to make my larger sized top and still have over a yard leftover.  I think the pattern should at least specify in the supplies section where you need to look for proper fabric amounts.

My second issue is that the instructions tell you to do a lot of your hem and neckline finishes using zig zag stitch. Nothing screams homemade to me like zig zag. If you make this top I would definitely recommend using a double needle as it provides a great looking finishing seam that also stretches.  I wore this top today and and no one in my craft group had any idea it was homemade. That’s sounds like success to me!

The good news is about my extra polka dot fabric is I can pair it up with some to-be-purchased striped fabric and make one of these Boden Breton tops I love!

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I kept getting the stellastarr* song My Coco stuck in my head while making this top. Here it is for you to enjoy, too.

March Sister Challenge: Lorene

March was our first Sister Challenge. When Natalie and I came up the idea for this blog, I thought it would be fun to do some sort of month challenge where we both make something using the same pattern, fabric, theme, etc.  SInce we live 2800 miles apart, it would be interesting to see what we come up with when we have no idea what the other person is doing!

For this first challenge I bought 3 fat quarters of St Patrick’s Day fabric from Fabric Depot. I sent it to Natalie with the challenge to make something awesome by March 17.

My inspiration for this challenge,  were the fabric decorations my mom used to make. She has them for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s Day…even my hometown Parsippany Day!  I think many were from fabric panels but I know she made some from scratch too.  I can’t really hang anything from my door,  so I decided to make a table topper.

Quilt Sketch

My original concept for my abstract clover mini quilt

I was rather time crunched making this quilt, as I had recently had surgery and then had a snowboarding trip. However I was determined to complete this on time! So as I was cutting my strips I realized that putting my stripes on the diagonal would be much more complex. I decided to simplify this by doing stripes that ran parallel to the edges instead.

Lorene's Modern 4 Leaf Clover Mini Quilt

Lorene’s Modern 4 Leaf Clover Mini Quilt

Other than the stripes, I wanted everything to be very random and freeform. So I just eyeballed it when I cut the angle slices off the stripe blocks. This formed the negative space between each clover leaf. When it came time to quilt I used my walking foot and put some randomly spaced lines radiating from the center of the quilt. This came together very quickly for me. I guess I’m getting better at quilting! My only hiccup was that I used metallic thread and my walking foot to finish my machine binding and it definitely didn’t turn out straight. Oh well!

The final quilt measured around 18″ x 18″ and I finished it right before work on St Patrick’s Day.  In addition to the 3 prints, I used gold and black Kona cottons.

I hope you enjoyed the March Sister Challenge! Be sure to check out Natalie’s awesome Boyle’s Law Mini Quilt!