Shibori Linen Babydoll Top

I’ve got a full glass of wine and “Murder She Wrote” playing on the TV in the background, so conditions seem just right to tell you about my latest sewing project.

Jessica Fletcher drinking wine

No, it’s not this gold lamé number.  It’s a blue linen baby doll top!

blue linen baby doll top

I think baby doll tops/dresses may be another thing that I love, but many people despise.  I just really like shapes that aren’t too form fitting, or that even take it a step further and kind of hang away from the body.  I do like to pair tops like this with something slim on the bottom, to balance out the proportions.

blue linen shibori top

I was waiting to post this one until it became a little more spring-like outside, and I don’t want to jinx us, but it feels like winter is over in my neck of the woods.

backview of blue babydoll top

I dyed the linen with my usual fiber reactive dyes, and I used a bunch of little clamps to make the small square/dot pattern.  I’ve been trying out different resists and I like how this came out a little more subtle than my usual patterns.

shibori dyed linen

Here is a shot of the full piece of fabric.

I’ve been working on some new pieces to put up for sale in my Etsy shop, and I’ll probably blog about some of them here as they are completed.  I perpetually feel like I’m not getting enough done, but I’m trying to take it one garment at a time:)

Cheers!

Jessica Fletcher drinking champagne

 

 

 

Cropped Linden Sweatshirt and a Snowstorm

cropped linden sweatshirt

We just had a huge snowstorm here in the northeast, so I felt like posting about something warm and cozy while I’m stuck inside.

I had a little bit of organic sweatshirt fleece leftover after I cut out my Elf Cardigan, so I used it to make another Linden Sweatshirt.  There wasn’t quite enough to make my sweatshirt the full length of the pattern, so I shortened it to make a cropped version.

purple linden sweatshirt

I dyed the fabric with my usual fiber reactive dyes and I clamped the bundle with an assortment of circular blocks before putting it into the dye bath to create a random polka dot pattern.

purple linden sweatshirt

I ventured out to check out the storm on Saturday and took a few pictures:

snowstorm 2016

car covered in snow

angry abominable snowman

That’s it for now.  Stay warm!

 

Organic Linen Throw

ice dyed linen throw

I was reading the Merchant & Mills Sewing Book a few months ago and one of the sewing projects in the book was a two-sided linen throw.  As soon as I saw it I knew I had to make one!  I made mine using organic linen, which I ice dyed.

linen throw 6

It’s a pretty simple design, just two squares of fabric stitched together, but one square is cut larger than the other so that when you turn it right side out, one side wraps around to the other side of the throw and forms a contrasting border.

mitred edges of blanket

The corners are mitered and the border is top stitched to keep the edges neat.

organic linen throw

For the ice dying, I did a random crumple pattern on the pink/purple side and for the blue side I folded the fabric into triangles before dying it.

I love how these patterns turned out so much.  Both sides look like crazy abstract florals.

linen throw 1

I love to make clothes, but it’s nice to take a break with a project that doesn’t require as much mental energy.  No fitting, no curves, only two pattern pieces, pretty colors…very relaxing.

Bob_at_Easel

No mistakes, just happy accidents.

It was the Bob Ross of sewing projects.

 

Hooded Wrap Cardigan

wrap cardigan with hood

I’ve been working on some new designs for my shop.  This is the first version of a hooded cardigan that I’ve been testing out.

I’ve been working with more knits since I bought a serger and I wanted to make something that would be comfortable and easy to wear, but would still look interesting.

It’s my own self-drafted pattern and this sample was made from organic cotton sweatshirt fleece that I hand dyed.

hooded tie dyed cardigan

I’m pretty happy with it, but there are a few things I need to adjust before it will be ready for sale.

One change will be to have the front bodice panels overlap each other further.  I made it so that they overlap by a few inches, which is fine for wearing the cardigan open, but I realized that it feels much cozier to have them fully overlap each other when you want to bundle up.

hooded tie dye cardigan

Another thing I will change is how the seams inside the hood and around the front edge and hem are finished.  I don’t really like how the exposed serged seams look, so I will conceal them next time.

I’m thinking probably a flat felled seam down the center of the hood and a twice turned up hem with mitered corners around the edge of the garment.  I’m not sure how to finish the neckline, I’ll have to think about that one!

hand dyed cardigan with hood

elf cardigan 14

Overall, I’m really happy with how this design turned out and I’m hoping to have the new and improved version up for sale in my shop soon.  In the mean time I will continue “test wearing” this one in the name of fashion science!

 

 

Ice Dyed Lark Tee

lark tee 2

Hello!  I’m back with a backlog of garments to post!

First up is the Lark Tee from Grainline Studio.

I really like Grainline’s patterns.  They are basic in the best way.  Classic and minimalist, but not boring.  I usually dye my own fabric and I tend to stick to simpler shapes to let the fabric do the talking.

lark tee 7

lark tee 4

For this top, I ice dyed organic cotton jersey.  This was my first foray into ice dyeing and I am obsessed!!!

lark tee 14

Fabric scrunched up in a basket with ice on top, sprinkled with dye.

Ice dyeing is pretty easy, you just need fabric, powdered dye and ice (duh!).  There are a lot of tutorials about how to do it online, I followed the one on Dharma Trading’s website.  The fabric came out awesome!

lark tee 16

Finished fabric drying on the rack.

As far as the Lark Tee pattern, I made a straight size 14 and I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern.  I think next time I will go down a size because the 14 feels a little too big, but the proportions of the tee are good.

I used my serger to sew the majority of the tee together and I used a jersey needle in my straight stitch machine to do the hems and to top-stitch around the neck binding.  Before I hemmed the sleeves and body, I serged the edges to keep them neat, then pressed them up and stitched in place.

lark tee 17

I will definitely make this pattern again and DEFINITELY do more ice dyeing!

lark tee 6

My measurements for reference:

Height: 5′ 5″

Bust: 41.5″

Waist: 33.5″

Hips: 41.5″

Pattern: Grainline Studio Lark Tee – size 14

Fabric: Organic cotton jersey

Organic Cotton Shibori Linden Sweatshirt

shibori dyed sweatshirt

I made a sweatshirt!  It’s the Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studio and I LOVE IT!!!  I’m relatively new to sewing knits and this is my first sweatshirt.  I really can’t wait for the cold weather, I’ll definitely be making more of these.

I made a size 16, because I wanted the fit to be a bit oversized, and the only alterations I made to the pattern were to shorten the sleeves about 2″.  I think next time I will widen the neckband just a tad, but that’s just my personal preference.  I really loved working with this pattern.

shibori linden sweatshirt

I used organic cotton sweatshirt fleece, that I shibori dyed, and it is the softest, coziest fabric I have ever sewn with.  I’ve been trying out some organic fabrics lately, and so far I’ve been very impressed.  Maybe it’s psychological, but the organic cotton fabrics I’ve bought so far have felt softer than the standard cottons I’ve used in the past.

shibori linden sweatshirt

Just hangin’ at the boat yard.  Ahoy matey!

I don’t know why, but I’ve always shied away from sewing knits.  Making basics like tee shirts or sweatshirts was weirdly intimidating to me.  They seemed like they would require special factory equipment and I was more comfortable with a needle and thread.  My specialization at FIT was tailoring and there was something very calming about all that precise basting, stitching and pressing.

I’m so glad that I took the plunge and bought a serger, though!  Being able to make basics, in addition to my more fancy pieces, is very exciting!

https://i1.wp.com/2plunq3tkzat3cwrit1poghlzw7.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2014/07/Caffeine11.jpg

Jesse knows what I’m talking about.

organic cotton shibori

handmade sweatshirt

home sewn sweatshirt

My measurements for reference:

Height: 5′ 5″

Bust: 41.5″

Waist: 33.5″

Hips: 41.5″

Pattern: Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt – size 16

Fabric: Organic cotton sweatshirt fleece

Rainbow Shibori Kaftan Pictures

shibori silk kaftan

I’ve been meaning to post better pictures of this rainbow silk kaftan ever since I wrote about the process of making it during the winter, but I didn’t get around to taking them until last week.  The lighting in my apartment is dreadful, but I was not willing to take pictures outside in February.  So here they are, finally!

shibori silk kaftan

The day I took these pictures was very hot and humid, but I felt so breezy walking around in this…

Patty and Selma, Simpsons

Hmmm…I feel it all the way up my skirt.

silk shibori kaftan

rainbow silk kaftan

I’m definitely going to make myself some more kaftans.  By next summer my muumuu collection will rival that of Mrs. Roper!

Summer Shibori Dress

blue shibori dress with pockets

Hello!  Sorry I haven’t posted in a while.  I’ve been working on getting one of my patterns ready to release as a PDF and I have been neglecting my trusty sewing blog!  I took a break from the pattern to spruce up my summer wardrobe.

First up is this blue shibori dyed dress with dolman sleeves, a gathered skirt, and big patch pockets.  I used my own self drafted pattern.

blue dress 15

I wanted to make myself a few things that were comfortable but looked nicer than my worn out collection of skinny jeans and tee shirts.  Bleck.

blue dress 16

I had some crinkly cotton gauze on hand and I dyed it up with some blueberry fiber reactive dye.  I had just enough to get one dress out of it.  What luck!

blue dress 17

This is also the first time I tried taking pictures outside and they look sooooo much better that the ones taken inside my cave-like apartment!

Back view:

blue dress 8

And a few shots of the inside of the dress:

blue dress 18

I used french seams as usual, including at the waist with the gathering, and contrasting bias binding around the neck.  The hems of the sleeves and skirt were turned up twice and stitched.  I like to make the hems pretty deep, especially on a lightweight fabric, it makes everything hang very nicely.

That’s it!

P.S.  If anyone has any questions about the techniques I used, please don’t hesitate to ask:)

Patchwork Shibori Skirt

I love all of the fabric that I dye and I really hate to waste any of it, so I always save the small pieces of fabric that are left over after I cut out a garment.  When I build up enough of them, I turn them into something new!

shibori scraps

I had a bunch of pieces in various shades of blue, some of which were pretty big, so I decided to make a floor length skirt.  I used my own pattern, which I draped a few years ago.  It is a flared skirt with a wide waistband.  Originally, I designed the pattern as a wrap skirt, but for this project I didn’t have enough fabric for the overlapping layers, so I adjusted it to be a regular skirt with a side zipper.

shibori patchwork

The inside of the skirt. I pieced all of the scraps together with french seams.

I followed the same basic procedure that I did for my shibori kaftan.  I laid out all of the small scrap pieces on top of the paper skirt pattern until I got the best arrangement, then I sewed them all together into larger pieces to cut out the full front and back skirt.  Then I finished the skirt as usual.

shibori patchwork skirt

The skirt at the half-way point.

I was a little confused about how to finish the side seam with the zipper in it.  I sewed the rest of the skirt together with french seams, but combining that with an invisible zipper just didn’t seam (get it?) to work.  I looked up a few tutorials about inserting invisible zippers into french seams, but they all involved clipping into the fabric near the bottom of the zipper, and I wasn’t comfortable doing that.  The zipper is a point of stress and if the fabric started to fray there I would be quite displeased.

bias binding

So, instead I decided to sew a regular seam on the zipper side of the skirt and finish the seam allowance with homemade bias binding!  Piece of cake!

skirt waistband

I made sure to attach one of my labels, of course!

I installed the zipper, then finished off the inside of the waistband with a lining.  I basted the lining into place by hand and then machine sewed it from the right side to make sure the stitches were straight.  Then I added a hook and eye to keep the zipper closed.

invisible zipper

And Voilà!

patchwork skirt

Me and my doppelganger.

shibori patchwork skirt

And now it’s time for me to go to bed…goodnight!

Rainbow Shibori Kaftan

My fabric buying budget has been a little low lately, but I won’t let that dampen my zeal for sewing!  Whenever I run out of new fabric I start hunting through my “archives” to see if there are any pieces that I can recycle.  I found a few test scarves that I made when I first started experimenting with shibori, and I thought they might look cool pieced together into a colorful patchwork of some kind.

shibori collage

Close-ups of the shibori scarves.

I laid out the scarves in different ways until I found a combination I liked.

rainbow shibori scarves

Too busy?

I decided to go with a long flowing kaftan with shoulder cut-outs.  I like to keep the silhouette simple when the fabric is so colorful and kaftans are basically a rectangle with holes for your arms and head.

I first stitched all of the scarves together to make two larger pieces of fabric, then cut out the front and back pieces from these.

shibori patchwork dress

The front pattern piece of the kaftan.

I sewed all of the seams with french seams.  It does take a little longer because you have to sew each seam twice, but they look so nice when they are done.  They make the inside of your garment look as good as the outside!

french seam close-up

French seams for the persnickety seamstress in us all…

And here is the (almost) finished product:

shibori kaftan

After photographing it, I thought the shoulder cut-outs needed a little adjusting.  With such a colorful voluminous garment I think there needs to be a good balance between fabric and skin, so you don’t look like Mrs. Roper…

I made the cut-outs a little bigger and finished them with blue bias binding.  The binding added definition and the hint of blue picked up the blue in the rest of the dress.

I think it tied the whole thing together!

colorful kaftan

rainbow silk dress

I can’t wait to wear this during the summer!

(And to take some better pics outside when it’s not freezing:)