Denim Urban Tunic or Dress?

Urban Tunic, Indygo Junction

Urban Tunic, Indygo Junction

Yes, it looks like I am on a cowl neck dress tunic streak.   A recent post featured a McCalls 7020 cowl neck top turned dress that would make you think I have no imagination.  Really?  Another cowl neck dress?  But this one is slightly different.   It is a great jumper for grownups.  Pair it with a long sleeve tee like I did here, a turtleneck in the winter, or a tee in the summer.

My Inspiration:

The first time I saw this Indygo Junction Urban Tunic made up was when my mom and I went to the Puyallup Sewing & Stitchery Expo.  Amy Barickman, the creator of Indygo Junction, was wearing it a cute cotton paired with a white tee underneath.   That is what sold it!  I googled “amy barickman wearing urban tunic indygo junction” and found many versions of this dress.  She looks cute in everything she wears.  Here she is below, with Alex Anderson, at what looks like a quilt show promoting her line. Doesn’t she look great in this black and while version?

Amy Barickman, Alex Anderson

Amy Barickman, Alex Anderson

Pattern Features:

It is a simple silhouette in an a-line shape featuring bust darts, bias collar and back zipper.  Some features could be eliminated to change the look completely.   Consider the idea of using a smaller piece of fabric (a great fabric stash buster) and eliminate the cowl, zipper and pockets resulting in a perfect tunic or dress for the summer.

Indygo Junction Urban Tunic Line Drawing

Indygo Junction Urban Tunic Line Drawing

I eliminated the zipper, so I just slip it over my head.  An exposed zipper would be a nice feature as in the line drawing above.

I chose to not insert a back zipper

I chose to not insert a back zipper

What I love about a-line silhouettes:
1.)  Clean, unobstructed front view for prints and patterns
2.) Looks casual but dressier than pants
3.) Versatile: jumper, dress or tunic
4.) NOT body conscious.

If you’ve read my other posts, you know I love sewn down pockets….but not crazy about the little sway-back-wrinkle action going on when my hands are in the pockets.  I might consider some fish eye back darts to take up the excess.  The Badonkadonk strikes again.  If I increase the width on the sides, it resembles a tent, so I purposely keep the width just enough to where it skims the lines of my body.   I won’t be running away from this a-line silhouette anytime soon but I do need to consider  how I’m going to keep the shape but get rid of the wrinkles.

This fabric is a soft denim with some heft – maybe an 8oz. (?) from my stash. Since I barely had enough fabric, it is a little short for me.  Tights are a MUST.  The bias cowl adds so much to the style and it drapes very well.

Urban Tunic Pattern

Urban Tunic Pattern

The bust darts look a bit high here (below) and no wrinkles like in the picture above.   Movement = wrinkles.


The next version will probably be in a fun cotton print with a tee for spring because I’m a copy-catter.

Goofing around...

Goofing around…

I am a fan of the Indygo patterns.  I made up a trench coat pattern here.  Be aware that many of the Indygo Patterns often recommend cottons or wovens rather than knits.  Check out all of the new Women’s Clothing patterns on Indygo Junction.

On to another project.

Happy Sewing,

– Dana

Green Apples and Green Peas

IMG_4050 Before I get started, I feel I have some explaining to do regarding my “break” from posting. It is due to many reasons, none of which may interest you, but I have been doing home remodeling to one room in the house, which leads to much upheaval in the rest of the house. I am pretty disorganized as much of my fabric and patterns are still not at my fingertips. I have also been trying to figure out how to keep up on the posts, offer interesting sewing projects when sometimes I just want to sew and not think in terms of blogging about it. Believe me, there is a difference between sewing and sewing to blog about it. Since I do it all, I have been thinking about ways to stream line and ease the process. I also have such a extensive collection …(hoarder) of patterns, that sometimes I want to make those oldies but goodies that are out of print. Is that just frustrating to read about a fantastic pattern that is no longer available?? When other sewing bloggers do it, I figure I MUST have that patterns somewhere….

There may be more outfits on the mannequin just to speed up the post publishing, so here I am back in the saddle. I hope the posts will still be inspirational yet shorter and more concise. So I will start up with one of the beauties from an independent pattern company….

Here is the Midtown Trench Coat pattern from Indygo Junction. I would include a link, but sadly, it is no longer available. Bummer! I call it my apple green trench because it is that exact color. The necklace is self made from beads purchased at the Tucson Gem Show. Green agate the size of green peas. (More about the necklace below). It may not be the best color on me, but I spotted this fabric at Walmart of all places and thought it might be cute made up in this retro-inspired coat.   It was cotton, 45″ wide and inexpensive. WIN! I thought it would be good practice (muslin) fabric to try out the pattern. It has a red slub stripe running though it which I wanted to feature on the bias cut cuffs and collar.

3/4

3/4″ Sleeves, Bias Cuffs, Side Seam Pockets

I think I like the back the best. The pleats add so much interest and resembles the back of a swing coat.

Back View, Midtown Trench

Back View, Midtown Trench

The line drawings show the slight differences. I chose to insert the pockets into the side seams, but the patch pockets look great, too.  I made the shorter thigh length (32″) instead of to the knee.  I wear it with dark denim and a tank.

Back view of the Midtown Trench

Back view of the Midtown Trench

Green Apple Trench, DIY necklace, Hobby Lobby Buttons

Green Apple Trench, DIY necklace, Hobby Lobby Buttons

Amy Barickman, the founder of Indygo Junction, partners with Mary Ann Donze to make these great patterns available. I have about 5-6 patterns of theirs that I want to make up. When I attended the Sewing and Stitching Expo in Puyallup, WA, Amy was at her booth wearing the Mod Top and Tunic, and she looked so cute.   There is nothing like seeing a sample made up to sucker me into buying the pattern!

Click here again to see the different ways this looks made up in cotton quilting fabrics. I suppose any other medium weight woven fabric would work. Check out the other patterns on the site. You may find something that you can’t wait to try.
IMG_4050Buttons are from Hobby Lobby, and the collar, cuffs and facing are interfaced. There is a slight princess line shaping down the front. The pleats in the back are sewn right down the crease (my choice, not on instructions) to help keep the edges sharp.
Necklace: I’ve been wanting a light green necklace for some time now. I spotted these beads and envisioned them in a simple, multi-strand collar style necklace. The cones and toggle were also purchased at the gem show.
IMG_4064

Green Jasper, 8mm

Green Jasper, 8mm

IMG_4067

18″ Five Strand Necklace

Do you ever get compelled by a color that works it’s way into your wardrobe?

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Mug Cover and Mug Rug

Mug Cover and Mug Rug

This is a little late getting posted, but I thought it might be worth it to give a few ‘guy’ ideas for future presents. It is easy to come up with girly projects to sew, but I have a harder time coming up with ideas for the males in my family. My husband is no exception. He is truly appreciative of anything I sew for him….as long as it is masculine and useful.
So here are my three picks for this year’s Father’s Day:
1.) Handmade shirt
2.) Mug Rug (or small place mat)
3.) Mug Cover (fancy pen and pencil holder)

Mug holding guy stuff

Mug holding guy stuff

I think this may be my tenth mug cover gift because they can be personalized with cute fabrics and they hold SO much stuff. (Also great for manicuring tools, sewing supplies, etc.) Here is the pattern and the link at Simplicity here:

Mug Cover Simp 2450

Mug Cover Simp 2450

Simplicity calls is ‘Buckets Gone Wild’, but I think of 5 gallon buckets when I hear the world bucket, so mug cover it is.

I buy the standard vacation souvenir mugs at the thrift stores for a buck or less or re-purpose some from my collection. I then rummage through my cotton fabric and bias tape stashes. I just maaay have to go to the fabric store to look at the fat quarter combinations if nothing seems to be coming together.

The next idea is a version of a mug rug. I was lucky enough to receive one of these as a gift from Rachel, my student/friend (Sewredy.wordpress.com) She has perfected the applique mug rug and other projects. I wrote a little something about her new blog here.
Here is my version with rounded edges:

Camping Fabric Mug Rug

Camping Fabric Mug Rug

I rounded the edges simply because I find it faster and easier to apply bias tape or self-made bias strips. No pattern is used. These can be made many different ways, but the basic dimensions are approximately 13″ X 8″-ish.

The fabric is a camping motive cotton remnant and I edge finished useing dark brown single fold bias tape from my stash. I used the same fabric on the other side because the drawings are entertaining like the Air-stream camper. If you want more info on how I apply my bias tape, I wrote about it on the thermal iron cover post I wrote here.

The last project is a hand made shirt. I have lost track of how many I have made for him, but it it is a my ‘go-to’ pattern.

McCalls 2149 Men's Camp Shirt

McCalls 2149 Men’s Camp Shirt

Okay, so no hanger appeal. I see that here, but it DOES look better on a human, I promise. I chose version “B” from this McCalls 2149:

Great Pattern for Mens shirts

Great Pattern for Mens shirts

You can tell by the low pattern number that it has been in the pattern book for a long time. I think many of the new McCall’s patterns are in the 6000’s.

I bribed my husband with homemade blueberry pancakes to model the shirt.

Husband in his Father's Day shirt

Mr. B in his Father’s Day shirt

Now that’s a little better. You can see the shirt filled out better and that it had a casual, loose fit.
IMG_3633
Since we love to dance, looser and more comfortable clothes are mandatory to do all the fancy moves. The fabric is a rayon from my stash in what I call ‘Builder Beige and Brown’.

Buttons and collar

Buttons and collar

Here you can see I used the standard men’s brown/tan button which blends in so well, it cannot be seen except for up close.

The ‘guy’ list continued:
4.) Neck pillow or lumbar pillow
5.) Personalized pillow case (Great for travel so you don’t accidentally leave the beloved pillow in the hotel)
6.) Shoe bags (Keeps shoes protected and off clothes in suitcase)

Can you think of some more great handmade gift ideas?

Until next time, keep creating.
-Dana

5 Tips For Wearing Stripes

I saw this Valentine card and thought is was provocative, but in a good way. The zebras caught my eye and I had to look inside. The caption made me smile but it also conjured up all of the fashion back-and-forth we read and hear about stripes.IMG_2640

Inside Caption

Inside Caption

(Card is from a series called “Party Animals” by Recycled Paper Greetings.) But back to our topic….

How DO we feel about the stripe issue? Poor thing has her widest stripes running across her rump region. It’s just the way she was made. And now that brings me to the question of stripe width such as thick or thin. Or how about the direction of the stripe layout and whether it should be horizontal, vertical or diagonal…? How about color(s) of stripes together. Does the garment look like a rugby shirt or kids clothes? And then the stripes’ ability to play well with others. Let’s explore.

I love stripes, so I disagree with the card caption, but I also understand the reason why horizontal stripes may not be the most flattering. It seems to be common sense that in dressing our bodies, long and lean is preferred over short and wide. So from a visual perspective, eyes moving from left to right create width. I get it. But I still like horizontal stripes. Here are some suggestions using stripes in our outfits to best flatter our figures and bring out our best features.

1.) Wear them under a blazer. The horizontal lines are somewhat covered and yet still bring interest to your outfit. This also goes for busy prints. The jacket tones down anything that might feel too edgy or distracting while giving a sharp, pulled together look.download
2.) Mix them with a prints that shares some of the same colors. This helps unify the look without it looking like a mistake. There is nothing like a clean striped shirt, but sometimes a statement necklace or striking scarf can add the finishing touch to a rather classic and traditional look. It will add some fun and bring more color toward your face.download
3.) Look for clothes with diagonal stripes and chevrons. There is a fine line between stripes that make you step back to focus, and those that intrigue your eye. These are busier designs for sure, but also work to camouflage bumps and bulges (if you have any). They also keep the eye moving and are a little more interesting and unexpected. You will probably have an immediate reaction to size and use of stripes and will know whether or not you like it or dislike it.Striped topStriped bias knit topdiagonal stripe dress
chevron skirtdiagonal maxi

For the sewist, I wrote a post showing Vogue 8819, which is a great pattern for using stripes in an eye catching way. My favorite use of stripes is to place the pattern pieces on the diagonal (bias) and use them on neckbands, cuffs, sleeves, skirts, dresses and maybe more. Often, the diagonal or bias drape of the fabric is spectacular. A little practice is needed matching stripes or handling the wiggly seam allowances, but the results are worth it.V8819
4.) Don’t be afraid of mixing thick with thin stripes. Again, be on the lookout for ways the two stripes compliment each other. Is is color? Theme? It needs to look intentional and not like you got dressed in the dark.stripes thick thin

Above, the vest adds some interest to the outfit using a neutral grey vest with a ‘stripe’ created with a contrasting fabric while working well with the cobalt pieces. The outfit might look a little simple without the vest, and the varying stripes add some interest. If the vest had been cobalt, it might run into the problem of Miss Matchy Matcherson. Can’t have that.strip with stripescarf

Stripe thin thick

5.) Use vertical stripes when possible to lengthen the look of the body. It is not as common to find the stripes running vertically because many fabrics are woven with the stripes running from selvage to selvage(crosswise), especially knits. If you are lucky enough to find fabric with the stripes running the lengthwise of the fabric (parallel to the selvages), it will probably be a woven fabric and suitable for pants, skirts or shirts. Men’s shirt fabric is a good example of stripes running lengthwise.verticalsThere is also something called princess seaming that runs from the shoulder vertically down the length of the dress creating a vertical line. This dress is an interpretation of this kind of design line in pattern making that has been used in color blocking, creating a very slimming silhouette. You can read more about princess seaming in my previous posts on the coordinates pattern by McCalls #5890 pattern and the Simplicity #4032 Jackets.
vertical striped dressHere is the question: What is your stripe preference?stripe comparisonsketch comparisonLooking at all of the images in this post, do you have a favorite or do you like them all?

Thermal Iron Cover Tutorial

1Blue Cover up closeWhat do you do when you have to pack a hot curling iron? Well, my mother gave me a thermal cover for either a flat iron or curling iron and I thought it would be great to make some for my Sit and Sew ladies for Christmas. They make great gifts, or make one to keep in your suitcase. I studied it carefully and remade it my way. Here’s how I did it.

Getting Started

Getting Started

<a
Step 1. Supplies Needed:
– Tracing paper, medical paper or something to use as your pattern piece
– 1 Outer fabric approximately 10″ x 15″
– 1 Coordinating fabric for inside lining and outer bias binding (You can use purchased single fold bias tape if desired)
– 1 Small 10 x 15″ piece of Thinsulate or ironing board fabric with a heat barrier layer
– Ruler for drawing quilt lines
– Quilt guide that attaches to sewing machine (optional)
– Scissors
– Matching thread
– Chalk or disappearing marker

Sandwich three layers

Sandwich three layers

Step 2. Layer and Draw:
– Layer the fabrics by sandwiching the Thinsulate between the two coordinating fabrics, with wrong sides to the Thinsulate.
– Pin
– Using your ruler, start drawing lines diagonally with your chalk or marker (whichever shows up best on your fabric) from one corner to the other. Continue drawing 1″ lines on either side of your original line until you have lines on the whole piece.

Draw One Inch Diagonal Quilt Lines

Draw One Inch Diagonal Quilt Lines

Sew Your Lines

Sew Your Lines

Step 3. Sew Your Lines.
-Using a quilt guide attached to your foot, sew the 1″ diagonal lines across the entire piece. Feel free to sew the lines any way you wish as long as the layers are kept together. I chose 1″ diagonal because it was fast and easy.

Round Edges, Trace & Cut Out

Round Edges, Trace & Cut Out

Step 4. Pin, Trace and Cut.
-Take a pencil and round the edges of your 10″ x 15″ pattern piece. (It makes it easier to bind later). Trace around your quilted piece and cut out.

Get Ready to Baste

Get Ready to Baste

Step 5. Baste the Raw Edges
-Set your machine on baste and sew 1/8″ to 1/4″ around raw edge of quilted piece. This will prepare the edges for binding.

Cutting Sloppy Bias Strips

Cutting Sloppy Bias Strips

Step 6. How to Cut Some Sloppy Bias Strips
I know, I know. This is NOT how you make proper bias strips. Use a cutting mat and rotary cutter for pretty bias strips. I am giving you the quick-and-dirty to get this done. Remember, I know our sewing time is limited and we need to get these projects done pronto. Reduce the UFO’s. (Un-Finished Objects)
-Place fabric on grain and fold up one edge to a 45 degree. Insert your scissors on the fold and cut. This is what I call sloppy bias because it is fast and doesn’t use a ruler, cutting mat or rotary cutter. Remember: I shave off time if it works for me and gets me great results; otherwise, do it the right way. As you will see in the following steps, the sloppiness just disappears.

Piecing Bias Strips Together

Piecing Bias Strips Together

Cut 1″-1.25″ strips from the chosen fabric for the binding. With right sides together, take two ends as shown. Stitch and press open. When you press these open, they should continue in a straight line, not a 90 degree angle. Cut off corner of one end of bias. Fold under 1/4″. Start pinning this to the bottom edge.

Attaching Bias Binding

Attaching Bias Binding

Step 8. Bias Strip Attached to Edge
Starting at the lower edge, with right sides together (RST), align raw edges of bias binding and edges of thermal cover. Overlap the raw end of your ending bias strip (you may need to trim off a little) over the beginning folded edge. (The raw edge will be sandwiched between the folded edge and the thermal cover). Pin. Sew in a 1/4″ seam all the way around the outer edge. This is where some of the magic happens IF the sewing is straight and even.

Pink, Clip or Trim Seam Allowance

Pink, Clip or Trim Seam Allowance

Step 9. Trim Edges.
Clip corners and trim around the entire thermal cover to reduce the seam allowance and allow for the bias to turn nicely around the corners. Press when flipped to underside.

Binding Pressed to Underside

Binding Pressed to Underside

Step 10. Magic Happening
Gently finger press the bias strip to the underside. It will naturally fold and curl on the corners. Turn raw edges in so that the fold is just covering the stitching line.

Steam a Seam to the Rescue!

Steam a Seam to the Rescue!

Step 11. Making Life Easier
I used the 1/4″ Steam a Seam fusible tape on the trimmed seam allowance to help the folded bias edge stick until I can sew it down. Pin and press. On the right side, you should notice that the bias edge looks pretty good and is ready for some final decorative stitching.

Fancy Stitching

Fancy Stitching

Step 12 Pick a Favorite Stitch

Time for Tacos

Time for Tacos

Step 13. Fold In Half
You are almost done! Fold in half so it looks like a taco. Pin in the ditch of the stitching, trying to match up your binding stitching lines from both sides. You will then ‘stitch in the ditch’ through all layers in a straight seam from the bottom up to the top leaving an opening 2″-3″ from the top edge. This will leave the opening for your curling iron or flat iron.

Stitch In the Ditch

Stitch In the Ditch

Ready for a Hot Iron!

Ready for a Hot Iron!

You are finished. Now you can pack a hot iron and not worry it will burn something while it cools!