archer in plaid

i almost didn’t blog this shirt. not for lack of loving it, but i don’t really have much to say that hasn’t already been said! however, i never tire of examining shirt construction, so who am i to deny you a few photos?

worn with my beloved denim moss skirt

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i made this archer with a very nice shirting from fabric place basement (local). they have a great selection of shirting fabric, and all in the $6-8/yd range. seriously. you can’t beat that! as i cut this fabric, i realized just how nice this fabric is in comparison to the fabric i used for my husband’s dress shirts… er… over a year ago. poor guy definitely needs a few more… anyways, i decided to go all out and properly flat fell my seams, tower placket, top stitching, you know the drill. blousier fabrics get french seams and continuous plackets, but the “boyfriend” shirts get all the proper traditional details.

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i know people go crazy for bias cut plaid, but unless i’m working with a plaid that is symmetrical horizonally and vertically, i tend to go the more conservative route and cut the yoke, collar, stand, and cuffs along the grain (perpendicular to how the main body pieces are cut). it’s subtle, but you can see how the light blue stripe is vertical on the body, and horizontal on the other parts.

tower placket

tower placket

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flat-felled side seam (inside shot)

i don’t know about you guys, but i’ve been avidly following Peter at MPB as he relays all that great shirtmaking info. a lot of the info is quite similar to what i’ve read from David Coffin’s “Shirtmaking” book, but still i find it all fascinating!

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went with a smaller single pocket just to change it up

so, that’s about it folks…

ARCHER FANS UNITE!

—lisa g.

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colette patterns | laurel

the laurel dress by colette patterns is one of those that took a while for me to fall in love with. i suppose, like many, my reaction was a bit meh initially. however i kept loving everyone’s versions of the pattern, and eventually i decided to buy it. i knew i had to do a proper muslin first because to be honest, i wasn’t sure if this shape would work for me. woof. my first try was not good. i graded from a 6 on top (with a SBA) to an 8 on bottom. it was all sorts of wrong and i tossed it in the corner for a time out.

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after a couple days of thinking, i decided to come down to a size 2 up top and grade out to a 6 for the waist/hip. i did a 3/8″ FSA, and removed some width at the top of the zip at CB instead of making a neck dark. ahhh! so much closer! i didn’t even bother with an SBA, and the top portion was basically perfect aside from the neck gape. i still had an issue with the hips area, so i shaved off the top of the hip curve (maybe i have low hips? actually that would explain a lot…) and called it good.

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since my fabric is mostly sheer, i underlined the front and back with muslin. my fabric has this really cool woven stripe, and the underlining makes the fabric design stand out something fierce. i sewed it up, and when i tried it on i was still left with some weird upper hip flanges. i ended up taking out the curve of the hip area, and marking nearly a straight line from the top of the curve to the lower notch.

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it’s weird. i struggled with fitting CP designs so much in the past—cutting, taping, butchering… as it turns out, a lot of my troubles could have been fixed by starting with a much smaller size.

[facepalm]

construction notes:

this is a pretty straightforward make. i certainly didn’t rush through the sewing here, and i only needed two days. many people have omitted the zip on this dress, and i don’t know what kind of contortionists those people are, but there is no way i could get this on and off without a zip! i went with an invisible zip, stabilized with tricot fusible from sunni’s shop. this stuff is the best, and makes inserting zips a breeze! it’s been a while since i did an invisible zip, and it went in perfectly the first time. i do STRONGLY suggest that you put the zip in before attaching the front of the dress to the back pieces. it is a thousand times easier that way.

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i did the bias binding at the neckline per the instructions, but the sleeves i simply turned a hem and topstitched. the sleeves are also supposed to be bias bound, but this fabric was already pretty prone to fraying due to the loose weave. i was good and stitched the hem by hand. since i had underlined the fabric, it was super easy to do this invisibly.

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fit-wise, the armholes are a tad snug, so that’s something to watch out for. also, it never occurred to me to check the width of the lower edge of the sleeve—also tighter than i would have liked. next time i’ll most likely go up a size for the sleeve and armhole. then, i do have a tiny bit of gaping at the neckline. i had taken out some room at the top of the zip, but i think i could adjust the angle of the shoulder seam to help it sit a little nicer. but all in all i am very happy with how the dress came out.

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and that’s about it folks! i suspect i’ll be returning to this pattern a few times since it’s so quick to make, and, let’s face it, shift dresses are everywhere these days!

—lisa g.

lane raglan v.2

i knew i’d be making the lane raglan by hey june again… i just can’t resist a raglan sleeve! so last time i made it sweatshirt style, and this time i went more spring/summer. shockingly enough, we are finally hitting 50F on a regular basis! the winter coats can be closeted for a few months. 🙂

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this is another knit fabric from joanns. i’ve come to the conclusion that i will buy a quality knit fabric anywhere i can find it. the thing i hate about online shopping is that often you have to buy in whole yard increments, which drives me nuts for tee shirt making. usually i need just more than a yard to account for shrinkage/hem bands/pattern matching/etc, so i end up with these odd bits leftover that are useless.

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anyways, i’ve never had an issue with joann’s knit fabrics, but this one was terribly off-grain in one section. it was so bad that i wasn’t sure i’d be able to use it for anything other than maybe a gathered skirt. however, with some fancy layouts, i managed to get the front and back cut mostly on-grain. i had to fudge a bit with the sleeves, but i think it all worked out fine!

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i cut the same size as before, except that i shaped the sides and hemline differently. i left the bust area alone, then flared out a bit and added some length. the pattern allows for a hem band, so i added that length plus an inch or two in the front, and two or three in the back. i gave the hem a slight curve so it wouldn’t completely cut me off at the hip.

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i went with short sleeves with a 1.5″ wide hem band. i used to think that raglan tees look funny with short sleeves, but i’ve come to like them finished as i did here.

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in other news, i finally tried knitting! yeah, it’s april… but i’ll need a bit… okay A LOT of practice before i want to tackle the knitted things i really want to make. initially i started off doing just the knit stitch for each row (which gives you the bumpy rows) but after about three hours of that i was bored off my patootie.

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i turned to google to search out easy knitted scarf patterns and found this post. being able to switch between knitting and stockinette made things slightly more enjoyable, plus it created a fun pattern. so i’m not gonna say that i’m totally in love with knitting, but i am hoping to add it to my skill set. the hardest part was adjusting to the slow pace, even on something like this that knits up rather quickly—just a few evenings in front of the tv.

the whole world of knitting and following patterns and learning the language is still a bit of a mystery, but i’d like to make a spring weight infinity scarf. any pattern/yarn suggestions for a newbie?

—lisa g.

hemlock tee dress

i was at joann fabrics recently, checking out their knits. nowadays they have a decent selection of rayon jersey that is so very soft and has a nice drape. even though i’m turned off by the exorbitant price, they’re either on sale perpetually or i can use a coupon to soften the blow. i was looking for fabric to make a tunic-length hemlock tee (the super popular FREE hemlock tee pattern), and picked up this cute floral print. i couldn’t pass up this fabric because it has all my favorite things—floral print, navy, red, and green. after thinking about it for a bit, i decided the print would be better suited to a dress, and here it is!

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instead of just cutting and lengthening the hemlock pattern willy nilly, i went and traced out a proper hemlock tee dress pattern. go me! this loose but still cute silhouette should really be my go-to. the volume on top helps to balance my hips, or something. i don’t know, i just really like it on me. plus, in a knit i think it qualifies as secret pajamas, doncha think?

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HOW TO MAKE A HEMLOCK TEE DRESS

depending on how long you want the skirt, you will need 1 3/4 yd fabric (one and a half, if you’re particularly thrifty), and some 1/4″ elastic.

i’m a big fan of building in an elastic casing to the waist seam, so i did some fancy maths (stood in front of the mirror with a tape measure…) and made my best guess about how long to make the bodice. i wanted it to hit 1″ below my natural waist, and blouse slightly. cutting straight across for the bodice usually means that you end up with either some pulling at the bust, or excess volume at the sides. to avoid this, i curved the front waist line down by 1″. if you are especially busty, you may need more length. from the shoulder point at the neckline to the bottom of the bodice should be about 18″ in the front, 17″ in the back. this includes the extra SA for the elastic casing. (note: neither my pattern piece below nor the dress i’m wearing are this exact length. after making it once i determined that 18″ would be the perfect length for me.)

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i also wanted the bust to be more fitted, so i curved the side seam in by 1″ (removing 4″ total) and flared back out to the original side seam at the waist. while doing this, i raised the height of the underarm seam to reduce side boob flashing. i have spindly arms and frequently shorten armhole depth.

since i added in the extra bodice length for the bust, i simply cut a rectangle for the skirt portion. i didn’t want anything overly gathered, so i went with a width slightly more than 1 1/2 times my waist measure. for reference: my waist is 30″ on a bad day, so i needed at least 45″ in skirt width. i cut each skirt piece 24″ wide by 22″ long, which (minus 1″ for 1/4″ SA) gives me a finished skirt width of 47″. this ends up being a couple inches wider than the waist seam on the bodice, but i was able to stretch them to fit when i sewed top and bottom together.

construction is very simple:

  • sew one shoulder seam
  • attach neck binding
  • sew remaining shoulder seam
  • turn 3/4″ hem for the sleeves and topstitch
  • sew bodice side seams and tack SA to the back at the armhole
  • sew skirt side seams
  • attach bodice and skirt with a 3/4″ SA. finish raw edge
  • press SA up and topstitch 1/2″ from seam line, leaving an opening to insert elastic
  • insert elastic and adjust to fit. topstitch opening
  • hem skirt

i love this dress so much, that i already have fabric for another version. since it barely takes more time than a tee shirt, it’s a great one day project. if anyone gives this a shot let me know—i’d love to see it!

lisa g.