linen chambray southport tank top

by Nicole on July 15, 2015

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE…. I’ve finally learned how to use the serger I got for Christmas! Yes, it only sat on my table for 7 months before finally using it! I forced myself to sit down with it over the weekend and watch the introductory DVD it came with. Once I watched the DVD, it was a lot less scary and not all that hard. I still find it very fast (and loud!), but I am so happy to have a better way of finishing seams.

And here’s my first garment with serged seams–a Southport tank top hack! I followed Kelli’s tutorial, lengthening 9″ but doing everything else exactly as she instructs (8.5″ would have probably been fine too, but I just wanted to make sure it was long enough). Loose & boxy is not what I typically go for, but I surprisingly love it!

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Continuing with my recent linen obsession, I used a pretty linen chambray from Blackbird Fabrics (blue is sold out, but she still has gray in stock). It’s lovely stuff–so breathable, light, and soft!

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I used matching thread, and these super cool buttons that look like wood but are actually made of coconut! (By the way–I recently learned that chambray itself does not indicate fiber content. Chambray just means the weft is white, whereas the warp is colored. So you can have linen chambray, cotton chambray, silk chambray, etc. Totally never knew that!)

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For me, a loose, boxy top like this is really about the styling. I initially put it on with flats and my Ginger shorts, but didn’t love it. The outfit just felt too tomboyish or something and I felt a little frumpy. But when I paired it with cuffed skinny jeans and Hasbeens instead, all of the sudden it felt cool instead of frumpy. (The jeans are just old RTW jeans. Looking at that horrible pocket placement drives me absolutely crazy now that I’ve made proper jeans, so I definitely need to make some Ginger skinnies ASAP!) I also tried it tucked into a high-waisted skirt and liked it that way too, even though it gets very blousey.

How would you style a loose, boxy top like this?

a second southport, this time in stripes

by Nicole on July 13, 2015

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Hello, everyone! How’s life? I’m in the middle of summer classes at the moment, so if you’ve been wondering why my Instagram has been quiet, that’s why! Most days I get home from work, change clothes for a workout (rotating between strength training at my gym, swimming laps at the neighborhood pool, doing a yoga video, or going on a walk), get home, make dinner, eat, do schoolwork, and then have a bit of free time to either sew, read, or watch a movie/show with Darius. Luckily I’ll be done at the end of the month and will get to enjoy a month-long break after that!

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Anyway, the dress! After I finished my first Southport, I was a little bit iffy on if I’d make another. I liked it, but didn’t know if I liked it enough to retrace and make the necessary adjustments.  But then I suddenly found myself reaching for that dress on the weekends and even most days after work, because of how cool it feels and how easy it is to wear. So, yep, I decided I needed to make another!

This go around, I traced size 14, did a 2″ FBA, and a 3/8″ forward-shoulder adjustment (probably need to go back to the 1/2″ that I’ve done on other garments). Fit is MUCH improved, and the result is that this dress is even more comfortable than the first. I still think I need to either shorten the back piece or lengthen the front piece a little bit, because there is definitely a tilt in the waistline, which I don’t love, but it’s wearable.

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The fabric was a mystery find from a haul back in January at Golden D’Or in Dallas. It has great drape and is super soft. I wasn’t sure it what it was, so I took it to my sewing meetup, and the verdict was that it’s most likely a rayon challis. So yay for me! I sewed with rayon challis for the first time and didn’t even know it! I’ve always been scared of attempting difficult fabrics like that, so it was a pretty good confidence boost to know that I can, in fact, sew with those! Just requires more precision, but it really wasn’t all that bad.

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I also did stripe-matching for the first time with this dress, and I’m pretty pleased with how it came out. The stripes are slightly off on one side of the skirt, but line up pretty well everywhere else, including across the button band and at the sides of the bodice. I wish I would have paid a bit more attention to the stripes around the waist, though, because I don’t love how the space between them is narrower than in the rest of the fabric. But really, I’m sure most people would never notice.

Not much else to say about this pattern that I haven’t already said. This is probably my favorite pattern right now just because of how comfortable it is to wear. Pretty sure I’ll be making another one (or two!) this summer. And I actually just made the tank top hack over the weekend and I absolutely love it!

I’m curious–what’s your current favorite pattern and why?

a to z survey

by Nicole on July 9, 2015

I’ve seen this survey going around a few blogs lately, and I’m a sucker for fun questions like this, so here we go!

A to Z Survey

A – Age: 28

B – Biggest Fear: Darius dying and leaving me behind, or me dying and leaving Darius & Lentil (my cat) behind.

C – Current Time: 10:20 am

D – Drink You Had Last:  good ol’ H20

E – Easiest Person To Talk To: Darius

F – Favorite Song: I don’t think I have one! I’m one of those people who latches onto a song, plays it a million times, then grows sick of it and can’t listen to it for a while. But in general, I really like Bollywood music, rap/hip-hop, Lana Del Rey, Sylvan Esso, Decemberists, Lucius, Conor Oberst, Jenny Lewis, alt-J, First Aid Kit, and the like.

G – Grossest Memory: I don’t have this memory because I was too young, but supposedly I once ate my own poop out of my diaper when I was a baby. I’m surprised my parents didn’t just throw me in a dumpster.

H – Hometown: I was born in Tucson, Arizona, but grew up in Katy, Texas (suburb of Houston). Moved to Austin, Texas after high school and have lived here ever since.

I – In Love With: Darius

J – Jealous Of: People who have money and don’t have to work. I just want to do hobbies all day! I already want to retire.

K – Kindest Person You Know: One of Darius’s aunts. I’ve never heard her say a mean thing about anyone, and she is always very sweet and inquisitive.

L – Longest Relationship: Been with Darius for 8.5 years, married 5.5.

M – Middle Name: Now that I’m married, my maiden name is my middle name (Peterson). Was previously Marie.

N – Number of Siblings: 10, and I’m the oldest! 7 from the same parents (3 brothers, 4 sisters), plus a step-sister, a half-brother, and a half-sister.

O – One Wish: Somehow get a bunch of money so I can stop working and do whatever I want.

P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last: Scheduling person at my doctor’s office. I hate talking on the phone.

Q – Question You’re Always Asked: “Did you make that?” anytime I’m wearing something new.

R – Reason To Smile: Because the world is full of baby dolphins! I know that makes no sense to you unless you watch the cartoon Clarence (which I realize is probably none of you), so let me explain: Clarence is a super happy kid and is on a field trip with a super grumpy kid. Grumpy kid gets to see baby dolphins and is actually happy for once. Clarence explains that this is why he’s always happy–because the world is FULL of baby dolphins. So I love this phrase because it’s a reminder to me of how stupidly awesome the world can be, and how much cool/crazy/funny/awesome/mind-blowing stuff is out there if I just remember to look for it.

S – Song You Last Sang: “Clique”, specifically Kanye’s rap, and I actually changed the words to incorporate Lentil (“my cat’s a superstar all from a home movie”). No shame. On a related note, Darius and I love to change the words to songs. Our most recent success was changing Sublime’s “What I Got” to be about Mario: I don’t cry, when my Yosh runs away/I don’t get angry at Bullet Bills that come my way/ I don’t get angry at piranhas in the pot/ Skip a level with a whistle that I got.” Yep, we’re cool.

T – Time You Woke Up: 4:45 am

U – Underwear Color: gray

V – Vacation Destination: Anywhere I can have a mix of great food and fun places to walk. My ideal vacation is exploring a city on foot, eating wherever looks good, and popping into fun-looking museums and shops. I also love nature, so if I can hike or swim nearby, that’s pretty much my perfect trip.

W – Worst Habit: laziness in general, whether it’s being too lazy to cook, too lazy to workout, too lazy to meditate, etc. I’m working on embracing working hard now for more ease later.

X – X-Rays You’ve Had: Two–one to look at a hurty hip years ago (turned out to be slipped disc), and one to look at a hurty foot years ago (turned out to be plantar fasciitis).

Y – Your Favorite Food: Changes depending on the season. Right now, I’d say avocado on anything, soft-boiled eggs with rice, tomato & mayo sandwiches, and turkey & cheese sandwiches with crunchy lettuce & onion & tomato. It’s the summer of sandwiches, I guess.

Z – Zodiac Sign: Scorpio