Monday, August 25, 2014

Chambray and Batik Polly Tank Top

Fabric: Chambray Quilting Cotton - JoAnn Fabrics (same fabric used in my Archer)
          Batik Quilting Cotton - JoAnn Fabrics
Pattern: Polly Tank Top - By Hand London (Free Pattern!)

Happy Monday everyone! This is also the 'first day of school' here at CSU; however, since I'm in graduate school I've been here every day this summer. Doesn't really feel that different just much more crowded. Over the weekend I sewed up this fabulous tank top, which has been on my list of things to make for a couple of weeks now. This was my first time sewing a By Hand London pattern and if this pattern is representative of their whole collection I'm a devoted shopper. The nicest part is that this is a free pattern, and not just some stick figure drawing hack of a free pattern. They treated this just like any other pattern that you'd be paying for with complete step by step instructions, pictures, and some funny quips here and there.

The fabric is much more vibrant in person

I had originally planned to put the batik fabric on the front panel and use the chambray for the top and back. After cutting out the pattern I realized I wouldn't have enough of the chambray to do that. I made the mistake of cutting out the front contrast batik piece first and I layed the pattern piece out in a weird way to fit better with the pattern on the fabric. In doing so I didn't have a piece big enough to cut out the back in one piece. Whoops, newbie mistake. I ended up cutting out the back piece in two halves and sewing them together to make one piece. At that point pattern matching was out of the question, and I was a little annoyed but because of the randomness of the pattern and all of the colors the pieces actually don't look too badly unmatched. I cut an 8/12 on top, graded down to a 6/10 in the waist, and back to an 8/12 through the hips. It fits great in the top and hips, I like the fit and length overall, but I'm wondering if I should have graded down a bit more in the waist for a more fitted look. I'm always worried that if I grade down too much it will be too tight, but I might take a risk and experiment next time.

1 point for top stitching like a pro. -1 point for not matching up my bias seam with the fabric seam

I really like how the chambray blends in nicely with the fabric. From the front this shirt seems more business casual but the back is definitely all party. I've realized that I actually like sewing on the bindings on the neckline and armholes, it's one of my favorite parts in the whole process. I think it's the attention to detail when top stitching it down, not to mention it looks so polished once that step is done. I still need to work on making sure my seams match up though, luckily this is under my armpit so no one needs to know. I have some leftover scrap fabric that I might use to whip up another one of these in the next couple of days, it was such an easy sew. I've currently been watching House of Cards and have been using sewing as an excuse to binge watch episodes. I've seen some Poly dresses around the blogosphere as well, and I can envision a bodycon black one with a lighter contrast panel. The curves of the contrast panel really accentuate your bodies natural curves which is always an added bonus. As always thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Modified Sleeveless Archer Shirt

Fabric: Quilting Cotton - JoAnn Fabrics
Pattern: Archer Button Up Shirt - Grainline Studios

I made my first Archer Button Up over the weekend! Since then I've worn this three times, counting today, and I love it. The original Archer isn't sleeveless, but I really was wanting for a lightweight button up that could transition between work and out on the town. If you remember from my summer wardrobe overhaul post, button ups were on that list.

Can we talk about how good that collar and placket looks? Shameless bragging

This is the second pattern I've purchased from Grainline Studio, the first being the Tiny Pocket Tank Pattern which I blogged about here. I really appreciate the attention to detail Jen uses and incorporates into her patterns. I modified this pattern quite a bit. I left off the sleeves, shortened the shoulders, back, and yoke; modified the front plackets into more of a V-neck; and decided on a mandarin collar. My modifications were based off of tutorials that Jen from Grainline Studios posted and Andrea from Four Square Walls shared on their respective blogs. Thanks ladies!

Closeups of the buttons and pockets. Again, i'm going to point out how good my topstitching looks!

I sewed a straight size 4 which I was a little worried about just because I wasn't sure how long the shirt was going to be and I usually size up around my hips. This version fits great, I think I might try and grade down to a size 3 around my natural waist next time and up to a size 5 in the hip area just for a little more ease. I also lengthened the pattern by an inch, which probably wasn't necessary, I just didn't want it to end up being too short the way I felt after sewing the tiny pocket tank. I'm will most likely keep this length for the next version I sew (a fall version with sleeves I already have planned out and can't wait to whip up!).

Major swayback here, but I think I'm too lazy to ever really bother doing a swayback adjustment. 
I got through this pattern pretty easily, one day of cutting pieces and doing a little sewing, and then about four hours the next day. The only part I struggled with was the collar, but I finally figured it out after sewing and ripping out stitches a few times. In hindsight I should've made a regular Archer first before trying out a million modifications but who likes things easy anyway?

I think this might end up being one of the last 'summery' things I make and I'm really glad I got around to it. There was a lot on my list that I wanted to sew this summer and a lot I didn't get around to like shorts and dresses. I do feel like I sewed a ton this summer overall and so I'm really proud of that. I've been gathering fabric and ideas for my fall wardrobe, I feel like I need to start early so I can actually wear these things in season.