polka dot tap shorts from katy & laney

by Nicole on July 28, 2014

OH MY GOSH, I LOVE THESE SHORTS.

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It’s Katy & Laney’s newish Tap Shorts pattern, and I want to make a million pairs. Like a lot of other curvy girls, shorts have never been my thing. I love to wear them, but it is practically impossible to buy RTW ones that fit me well. RTW shorts usually give me a wedgie (back and front, ew!), the legs are too tight, the rise is too low, and the waistband has to be super loose to actually fit my butt and hips.

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But I think these shorts are really cute, and I like how they fit. Sure, they might emphasize the roundness of my belly somewhat, but truthfully, I feel pretty cute in them, especially styled like this.

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Oh, and I really like the back view!

The pattern itself was great. I have never made shorts or pants before, so I was pretty nervous at first. But the instructions and diagrams were super through and clear, so there was no reason to be worried. It was really fun to see the construction come together, and I was especially impressed with how neatly everything came together around the waistband.

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I made a size 16 with no changes except for hacking off about 2.25 inches before hemming. The original length looked a little frumpy and unbalanced, but I found that shortening them made them look much more balanced and cute. I could possibly stand to take in the side seams slightly towards the bottom, but I like the more exaggerated A-line, so I don’t think I’d make any changes to future pairs (unless you peeps seeing any fitting issues I don’t…and if you do, feel free to point them out). After wearing them all day, I will say that the booty gets a bit saggy, but I think that’s just because my massive butt expands a lot when I sit, which creates the sag. Not sure I could even really get around that, but it doesn’t bother me much anyway.

The fabric is this Moda polka dot cotton-linen blend in putty that I bought at Walker Hall Designs a few months ago. I actually bought it with a Chardon in mind, but changed my mind when I realized I’d like it better as shorts.

Wanna see my super non-invisible, invisible zipper?

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Yikes, huh? Like I’ve said before, I don’t really like invisible zippers, and usually do “normal” hand-picked zips. I actually haven’t done an invisible zip in like two years, so that explains why it looks so bad. But really…I don’t think I care enough to redo it. I’ll probably leave it until I inevitably lose more weight and have to alter them. Weight loss segue–we’ve been playing a lot of tennis lately! And I’ve been swimming laps at the local pool. Diet-wise, I’m just trying to eat more nutritiously–less meat, more veggies, less sugar/refined carbs, less alcohol. So really, I’m not purposely trying to lose weight, but more just focusing on making my body healthier by eating better and being more active.

wpid-20140727_085633.jpgOh, and once again…I didn’t even think to pattern match, and there was definitely an OH SHIT moment when I realized the polka dots don’t really line up along the front. But really, IDGAF and think they look cute anyway.

Pretty sure my next pair will be made with this fabric.

deviled egg emery dress

by Nicole on July 14, 2014

Oh, hi! I made a summer party dress! I have received more compliments on this dress than any other thing I’ve made. The first day I wore it, a girl did a double-take in the bathroom at work and told me, “That is super cool.” The second day I wore it, I got stopped by a group of girls at a coffee shop who wanted to know where I got it, and when I told them I made it, they begged me to sell them (not gonna happen, selfish sewist over here). When I wore it grocery shopping, a male Central Market employee told me it was incredible. And I pretty much agree with all of them, because I LOVE this dress.

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Let’s talk about the obvious part first….THE FABRIC! Eggs are my favorite food, so much so that I have seriously considered an egg tattoo for the past, like, FIVE years but cannot settle on a design or placement. So as soon as I saw this deviled egg fabric, I had to have it. I bought it online from Hart’s Fabric and it was awesome to sew with. The cotton feels great, isn’t too stiff or heavy, and has a tiny bit of stretch which makes it really comfortable to wear. (I also bought onion slices! and machine gun babes! at the same time, but I haven’t sew them up yet because I can’t decide on patterns.)

This dress was my first crack at the Emery dress pattern, which I modified to make sleeveless, with a lower front and a much lower back. Also, I live in Austin, Texas, and it’s summer, and since I also take the do-not-line-summer-dresses-in-Texas approach, I nixed the lining and opted for bias tape instead.

Want to see the back? Of course you do!

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In the summer, I seriously haaaaate sleeves and fabric touching my upper-back. And I’ve loved seeing everyone’s Netties lately, so I decided to see if I could make Emery lower in the back. And it worked pretty well, if I say so myself. I used my French curve to draw the new neckline (backline? whatever, you know what I’m talking about), and then added in two darts at my shoulder blades to bring the fit in. The left side is slightly loosier/gapier because my left shoulder is slightly lower and so I really should have taken that shoulder seam in a little more, but oh well.

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Let’s talk fitting, yeah? Before my first muslin, I did a 2.5″ FBA to the size 14, redrew the neckline/backline, and raised the armhole slightly since the dress was drafted for sleeves. For my second muslin, I added the darts in back, took out some excess fabric above the bust, and decided to sew the side seams at 3/8″ instead of 5/8″ since my first muslin was a little snug. After the second muslin, I decided I was good to go, but before I made up the real thing, I added an inch of length to the front and back bodice since I felt the waistline was maybe a tad high.

AND NOW I KIND OF HAVE NO IDEA IF I SHOULD HAVE MADE SOME OF THOSE CHANGES. First, I can’t tell if the waistline is now too low, and so I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t have added that extra inch. Or is the waistline too high?!?! Seriously, I can’t figure it out on this one. Also, maybe I should have stuck with 5/8″ on the side seams, because now the dress feels a little too loose after I wear it for a few hours.
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But also…I think I need to suck it up and learn the real way to address my fitting issues. Any fitting I’ve done in the past has basically been: make a muslin, pinch out gapey areas until it looks good, transfer changes to flat pattern, make another muslin. So I really don’t know what my fitting issues are, but I’m starting to suspect the following: swayback, since my waistline always seems to sit lower in the back than in the front; hollow chest, since there’s always a bunch of extra fabric above my bustline; uneven shoulders, because one side always looks great, while the other side always has wrinkles; perhaps a little forward shoulder/rounded upper back, because something weird is always going on in that area, especially when I make things with sleeves, and I haven’t quite figured it out yet. So maybe one of these days I should make a sloper so I can really try to understand my fitting issues, but let’s face it…I HAVE TOO MANY PATTERNS I NEED TO SEW FIRST. So my haphazard adjustments will have to do for now.

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Anyway, let’s talk more about why I love this dress. POCKETS, of course. I really liked how they were secured in the waistline of the dress. Every other time I’ve made something with pockets, they’ve just been these flappy bags that I’m afraid to put more than a chapstick in for fear of stuff falling out. These don’t feel floppy at all, although I kinda wish they were a little deeper because my cell phone peeks out and I still kinda worry about it falling out.wpid-20140713_124848.jpg

I also love the versatility of the pattern. It can be made up in a crazy fabric like this for a really cute casual dress, or it could be made up in something much nicer to wear to board meetings at work.

And I love what a simple, well-drafted pattern it is. It can easily be customized a ton of ways. I know a lot of sewists have basically started using this as their sloper, and that might be something I explore in the future, as I definitely plan on making more in the future. wpid-20140713_124930.jpg
All in all, I love this dress. It’s cute, it’s comfortable, and it’s great for summer frolicking.

If you’re wondering what summer frolicking looks like, apparently it looks like this:

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(Actually, that’s what it looks like when I ninja-kick around the yard because I can’t think of any more poses.)

A bit of housekeeping…Let’s be real. A conclusion post about my May creative challenges is probably not gonna happen. So now that I’ve got that off my back, hopefully I’ll just do a better job of updating this space with fun things, instead of feeling obligated to post about stuff I don’t really feel like posting about.

Gif Party!

by Darius on June 2, 2014

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