Pattern Testing | Decades of Style Ophelia Overalls

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I love overalls, so when Janet from Decades of Style asked if I’d be willing test an overall pattern, I jumped at the chance. Plus, pattern testing for independent designers is such an enjoyable process!

Decades of Style is a Bay Area pattern company specializing in bringing home sewists styles from the 1920’s to the 1950’s. The Ophelia Overalls are part of their microline: Decades Everyday. The line’s focus is high quality patterns, but with zippier sewing. And these did sew up pretty fast!

I’ve been wanting to make a striped pant/overall/jumpsuit for a while and thought this pattern would be perfect. Initially I had wanted to use a lighter weight striped denim, but couldn’t find exactly what I wanted… and the timing just didn’t work for a trip up to Stonemountain.

So I went to Joann Fabrics hoping to find a deal. I had to venture in to its Utility Fabrics section to find the stripe I’d envisioned, and ended up buying this pillow ticking! Before washing, it was really stiff but now it’s like walking around in a soft and drapey pillow case.

Word to the wise though, if you plan on making a garment with pillow ticking it SHRINKS SO MUCH. The yardage I bought shrunk about 30%. It was insane and necessitated another trip to Joann’s.

Well, after shortening the pant pieces by 4 inches, I was going to make it work on the shrunken yardage, but then I somehow managed to cut out one pocket the wrong direction. Gah!

I made a straight size 8 (View A). View B has a “cleaner” finish and feels a little dressy. The only modification I made was to shorten the pant legs by 4 inches because I’m 5’2″. If I were to make these again I would also shorten the straps a few inches because there’s a lot of extra strap dangling behind the bib.

The pant legs are divided into four pieces so the pocket edges fit neatly into the seams. Each side has a button and snap closure, but I’ve found that at least on me, I never have to undo the snaps or bettons to get in and out. I just have to loosen the side belts and wiggle!

Both views feature side belts that allow you to cinch the waist. I’m toying with the idea of making a version without the belts for a super relaxed fit.

I’ve been wearing these at least once a week since finishing them. If you’re looking for an overall pattern that has 1940’s Land Girls vibes, these are for you!

Decades of Style is offering 20% off your entire purchase with the coupon code: OVER20 for the next two weeks!

Sketchbook

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Since I started logbooking, my sketchbook practice has pretty much come to halt. I started my second Shinola back in May of 2018 and I’ve only filled about a third of its pages.

This past week I definitely started to feel its absence, so I brought my sketchbook to work and in my more independent/chill classes, I worked alongside my kids.

It feels good and I’m hoping I can find a balance moving forward.

WIP Check

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When I was first learning to sew, I painstakingly made one thing at a time, from start to finish. . . very, very slowly. My skills and brain just couldn’t handle juggling more than one project. I had a big fear of making mistakes, or ruining my sewing machine (?), or I assumed I didn’t understand the instructions. Little by little, I started to realize that things didn’t need to be cut out perfectly, seam rippers are there for a reason, and that instructions don’t disappear if you start a different project.

It appears that increased confidence sometimes comes with haphazard making. There are FOUR (it’s actually more) WIPs / UFOs that I’ve been bouncing between for months. I kind of miss the extreme focus I used to dedicate to each project when I first started. So I’m doing a WIP Check and declaring a moratorium on starting anything new until these four are finished!

1. Kalle Shirt

I planned this shirt in March of 2018, cut it out in May, actually started sewing it in June, and. . . haven’t touched it since. It needs one side of the button placket, the sides, cuffs, and collar.

2. Tamarack Jacket

I don’t even know when the plan for this happened, but it was a LONG, LONG time ago. I cut it out on September 3rd and finished quilting it on October 14th, 2018. I installed one welt pocket over the weekend and plan to finish this WIP first since it’s still chilly jacket weather!

3. Wiksten Haori

The idea for this Wiksten Haori came when Stonemountain started carrying this Canyon Stripe Linen/Cotton fabric. The lining is finished, just need to cut out and assemble the exterior.

4. Peppermint Shorts Hack

I’m not sure this hack is going to work out, but I’m going to push through because I used really nice fabric. Just need to sew up one leg, the crotch, waistband, and hem.

Are you a one project at a time sewist, or do you juggle?

Repeat Pattern Party

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Hi 2019! You’re the year I’m going to figure out Adobe Illustrator! There are two main reasons for this goal: The first is I need to diversify my skills for that impending career change and the second is that I want to design and potentially even produce my own line of fabrics.

First (almost) independently made repeat. My mom had to help get it into my swatches.

As the child of two graphic designers, I really missed an opportunity to learn this software well before my 30s. But, that type of thinking won’t help me now, so while I was home for the holidays, I sat down with my mom for several in-person tutorials.

It is a powerful and imperfect software. Aside from there being a million different ways to do one thing, it has some annoying glitches. It was actually a little comforting to see my mom, a person who has used the creative suite for many years, occasionally struggle to make a thing happen on our computer screens. But, with just a few curse words and a lot of ⌘z’s, I was able to get the basics down for creating repeat patterns!

In the name of learning, I’m going to challenge myself to create one repeat pattern a week for 10 weeks and share them here on the blog. I’m having a Repeat Pattern Party! Will those 10 repeats lead to a fabric collection? Maybe. Hopefully. But honestly, this self-imposed challenge is going to be focused on learning to navigate the software with some ease.

Persephone Pants | The Hype is Very Real

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I’m late to the Persephone Pants party, but I’m glad I came – the hype is very, very real. Anna drew inspiration from 1940’s sailor pants by including a super high waist, waistband inseam pockets, a button fly, and the design element that explodes most people’s heads: no side seams.

For me, one of the most appealing things about the pattern is how similar they are to highly coveted RTW sailor pants. Instead of paying $400, I could make a pair for under $40. Don’t get me wrong – I love supporting small women-run businesses and that $400 price point makes sense, but if the option to make it myself is there, I’ll take it! Also, the instructions are so stellar I’m certain a novice sewist could make them!

Shortly after the pattern was released, I did give it a go, but they just didn’t work out. My waist measurement ranges from 26.5″ to 27.5″ and my hip measurement ranges from 37″ to 38″. Even though that put me somewhere between a size 2-ish to a 6, I settled on cutting out a size 4 (waist 27″, hip 37″). They came together really quickly, but once I put them on, I had a bad case of dumpy butt. They were just too big.

I wasn’t entirely sure what the issue was; Was it fit? Fabric choice? Both? Was it an actual dumpy butt? I suspected the cheap bull denim I bought at Joann Fabrics may have grown, but in an effort to salvage them I tried taking in the back seam and crotch. Those efforts proved unsuccessful and I ended up setting the mutilated pants and pattern aside for a while.

After reading a couple folks had some luck with sizing down, I chopped my pattern pieces down to a size 2 and cut into some 10oz Duck Canvas hoping for the best. And it worked! I didn’t need to make any adjustments after sizing down.

Although I have a lot of love for this pattern, it is making me come to terms with how my body has been changing in my 30s. Things just aren’t as firm as they used to be. The lack of side seams and rear pockets leave your booty and thighs on display. What the hell type of underwear do you wear with these? Or do you just not give a damn?

I have fabric set aside for two more pairs – more 10oz cotton duck, but in black and some Kaufman speckled denim that I’m really excited about. I thought I’d hate the button fly, but I’m warming up to it and will probably keep it on future pairs. It appears I adjusted the position of the left pocket in the wrong direction (step 30), so I’ll be careful not to do that again ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Hot tip: sew a line of stitching in between each buttonhole to connect the button fly and facing together (check out this Tessuti blog post for a visual). It definitely helps keep the fly from peaking open!

Woodland Dopp Kit by Klum House

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I love a good bag pattern, and boy does Klum House have some bags. Not only do they have a variety of awesome patterns, they also carry different levels of kits. A Maker Kit comes with EVERYTHING you need, even the fabric. And it’s pre-cut! And marked! A Finishing Kit comes with all the hardware and pre-cut/punched leather needed to finish a bag, eliminating the challenge of sourcing all those bits and bobs. Or just the pattern of many Klum House designs are available to purchase for ultimate customization options. All of the kit materials are high quality and there are so many colors to choose from. One thing to note is that all of the zippers appear to be brass, so take that into consideration when choosing the other hardware options!

Way back in October, I was excited to see Klum House was getting ready to release a dopp kit pattern. Late October is when I start to fret over the task of finding (and sometimes making) both a Christmas gift and a birthday gift for my husband. He’s a minimalist and doesn’t want for much, so it’s an annual struggle. The Woodland Dopp Kit was a perfect fit! For years he’s been using an old Kinkos lunch box to hold his beard trimmer. The Woodland felt like a project I could commit to making in time and would serve as a nice update for the lunch box.

I can’t keep a gift secret to save my life (plus I wanted his input) so once the pattern/kits were released I had him take a look at the Woodland Finishing Kit. He settled on using leftover waxed canvas and lining from my Making Backpack, a black zipper, antique brass hardware, and tan leather. Klum House packs and ships orders at lightning speed, so I had everything I needed well before I was ready to start sewing.

It came together really quickly, in fact I think the sewing took less than an hour. The instructions and illustrations are great and they even remind you take a snack break. Installing the hardware took maybe ten additional minutes. It was a little challenging to hammer the rivets in, but the end result is totally worth the effort.

One thing I’d like to puzzle out on the next Woodland is how to conceal the raw edges inside the lining. I’m sure there’s a way to do this, but I decided to make one as the pattern is written before making any modifications. My serger really struggled to get through all of the layers and I just prefer the look of clean, concealed seams. Another mod I’d like to make is a more functional handle. I love the look of the leather, but I can’t really grab it.

One tip I have for working with waxed canvas is hitting it with a hot blow dryer. It melts the wax and helps get rid of the creases you make during construction.

I’ve already ordered another Finishing Kit from Klum House – the Maywood Totepack and I’m patiently waiting for the Slabtown Rolltop Backpack pattern to be released. Yes, both would be for me… like I said, I just love a good bag pattern.

Making Backpack Update

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Sometimes you make a thing and although you love it, there’s just something not quite right about it. While making the Making Backpack, I KNEW it needed an additional pattern piece for the straps, but my desire to finish it quickly got the best of me.

So about two weeks ago I decided to fix it. I used the pattern pieces from the Noodlehead Range Backpack and followed the steps to sew. The construction was different than what I thought it would be, and was much easier to sew! I’m glad I referenced this pattern instead of making it up.

I thought I would need to seam rip both the sides and the top to make the straps work, but I ended up only needing to take apart the sides.

It ended up being a really easy fix. I’m glad I pushed through the fear of taking the finished backpack apart. I was really nervous!

The Making Backpack pattern was originally available in Making Magazine, but Anna has updated her pattern to include these triangle connectors. You can find the updated pattern in her shop!

Did Y’all See

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The sewing community on Instagram is just the best. I’ve found so much inspiration, motivation, advice, and all the things on this platform. I’m in total shock that 10.6K have decided to follow me and my sporadic makes. This support has made me feel like there truly is space for everyone in the creative world. Additionally, it’s given me the push to pursue some new avenues…

Through stories, I’ve been sharing cool makes and people, but thought I’d also share them here on the blog. Here’s what inspiring makes I’ve seen this past week:

  1. Natalie Ebaugh | @natalie_ebaugh | amazing quilted coats, currently collaborating with Ace & Jig.
  2. Amy Sacksteder | @amysacksteder_studio | Detroit area artist
  3. Hannah Miley | @paddleboatstudio | designer + maker
  4. Caro Bello | @porcarobello | punch needle goods
  5. Jennifer N Neil | @ersa_fibers | textile artist
  6. Katie McDonough Kutil | @petal_and_print

Slow Fashion October | Week 1 | What’s your look?

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Fashion and style have only recently become an interesting subject to me. My first glimpse into the world of style was back in 2007 (or maybe 2008) when I began measuring vintage clothing for Lauren of Dear Golden. Every week I would sort through giant bins full of the most well made clothing with timeless silhouettes made out of interesting fabrics. Up until that point, I shopped like most girls/women – unaware of how and where clothing was made, operating under the idea that more was better, and mostly adopting others looks. Dear Golden was my gateway into thrifting and buying used clothing. And that habit began to reshape my relationship with style.  Four years of sewing, and now patternmaking have turned getting dressed into a form of self expression paired with more thoughtful consumption.

Although I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of my style, I occasional thrift some things and make some thing that aren’t worn often, or just aren’t as loved as other garments. I also want to be as thoughtful as  possible when I do need to buy items. So, I’m going to try to participate in Slow Fashion October this year, but seeing as this first prompt took me hours to answer, it might not all happen within the month of October (and I guess it’s not supposed to either!).

Do you have a color palette? I sure do and I’m lumping in textures with this too. Give me natural fibers, woven textures, and block printed shapes in neutrals, grays, blacks and whites. If it isn’t a neutral, it needs to be muted and the weirder the brown, the better.

Whose style inspires you; do you have a muse or icon? The most influential folks for me have been other makers (like the women featured below).

Top left: @bayronhandmade | Top right: @threadsnips

Bottom left: @ebonyh | Bottom right: @threadfox

What showed up in your mood board that surprised you? Skirts and dresses are garments I just don’t wear that often. I feel uncomfortable wearing them at my job and when I’m not there, I’m usually doing something that requires a full-range of movement and clothes that don’t get in the way.

As much as I hate to admit, it’s clear living in California is influencing my taste. Warmer weather and constant sunshine are making things cropped, lighter in hue, and the substrates drapey and unstructured.

Accessories Mood Board

Is there a brand you’re always drawn to, for their clothes and/or how they put them together? Why? The ladies of Block Shop Textiles are masters of bold, graphic prints and yummy colors. I love how Lily and Hopie play with color combinations, layers, and statement jewelry.

Elizabeth Suzann not only makes the silhouettes I’m most comfortable in, it’s also just a bad-ass company doing right by its employees, its customers, the industry, and the earth.

What shapes and styles of garments work best for you, your life and your body? Pants must be high waisted! I suffered through enough plumber’s crack during my teens and 20’s for a lifetime. Never again! My three go-to pant silhouettes are wide leg (both fitted and elastic waist), skinny jeans, and slightly fitted / tapered ankle length pants. I do love a paper bag waist too.

Tops must be boxy. Sleeveless, cap to above elbow length, and 3/4 length sleeves. I don’t like a long sleeve – they get in the way. If wearing wide leg pants, I like to balance the volume out with a more fitted, and sometimes cropped shirt.

What are your clothing pet peeves? (lengths, necklines, sleeve types …) Low rise pants. Ruffles. Synthetic fibers. Really bright colors. Fast Fashion brands – they fill thrift stores in CA. Anything that makes me feel uncomfortable (itchy, not full-coverage).

What is your favorite garment or outfit (right now or always) and why? I’ve got mad love for a jumpsuit. Jumpsuits are effortless full outfits, almost like a dress, but with more, uh, coverage. They do make going to the restroom interesting, but are totally worth it in my opinion.

What is the image you would like to project with your clothing? I enjoy that a decent number of people I interact with routinely ask “what are you wearing that you made?” Since learning to sew, I’ve identified more and more as an artist and I like that my style has started to project that image.

Can you describe your style in five adjectives? Comfortable. Handmade. Neutral. Functional. This question is hard.

What’s an example of something you own and love (had to have!) but never wear, and why not? I want to be a clog person. I’ve owned a lot of clogs over the years, but really only one pair has every been worn with some regularity. All others have been awful and Swedish Hasbeens are THE WORST. I purchased a pair of Bryr clogs for my wedding with the intention of them fitting into my regular closet – and they are actually comfortable –  but I just don’t want to wear high heels as a teacher.

I’m capturing more mood boards and inspiration on Pinterest. Are you participating in Slow Fashion October?