I actually prefer this style of skirt to have an invisible zipper and back darts like McCall’s M7931; however, with my waistline still in flux after baby #4, I decided to go with the more belly-friendly version.
I made a size 12 somewhat arbitrarily as my measurements would call for a size or two bigger, but I know how Big 4 patterns run, and the hip measurement included on the pattern tissue still gave me a couple inches of ease. I also simply pulled the elastic tightly around my waist to figure out how long to make it. I figured that if I continue to lost weight in my midsection, I can just take out and adjust the elastic accordingly.
This is View C length, but I omitted the waist tie. The fabric is a woven poly snakeskin crepe from Joann Fabrics, and I just adore it despite my preference for natural fibers. The colors go with everything and appear quite neutral even though it’s an animal print. (I also made an Ogden Cami out of the scraps, and I’ve been wearing it constantly to work!)
Just before my daughter took these photos for me, I had been at swim lessons with my two boys and baby girl. It made me think about how I would normally pull on some sweatpants and a hoodie or something, but putting this on was really no harder or less comfortable. And yet I felt put together! And cute even!
I’m also wearing a me-made shirt in these photos – something I self-drafted and made from linen. I’ll post it in more detail here at some point, and maybe I’ll include the pattern. No promises though! The denim jacket is from Old Navy (a few seasons back), and I’m wearing the Veja Esplar Leather White sneakers. My bag is from ARE Studio, the Barrel in a color no longer available.
And finally, I have to give a quick shout-out to my photographer and proofreader who let me snap a few of her as we were wrapping up. It’s funny – my blog is older than she is, but now she’s the one behind the lens.]]> 4088
I had gone to pick up Harper from her doll clothes sewing camp last summer (which, let’s be honest – I signed her up so I could have an excuse to to the fabric store twice a day) when I spotted this and instantly knew it would make a beautiful Wiksten Haori.
And then, after I got it made, I found this lovely, tan, stucco wall in downtown Beaverton. The rest of the story is in the photos. Enjoy!
(Size XS made even though I probably measured a medium or large at the time of these photos! Length is medium!)
Worn with vintage Levi’s and Sevilla Smith shoes. xoxo]]> 4070
First, I’ll give you a little history of this room. It’s a small room – about 10×12 and with just one window. It’s a part of our house that was built elsewhere and moved to this location, and then, the rest of the house was built up around it from the 1950s through the 1990s. When we moved in, it was the only room that had original hardwood floors, and as sad as I was to see them go, we had to cover them with new subfloor and luxury vinyl planks since this room was about an inch lower than the rest of the house.
This room has been several things since we moved into the house – junk storage, my husband’s office, a makeshift guest room and probably other things I’m not remembering. The drywall was also covered in holes and marks since the room had actually been the previous owner’s sewing room and had shelving on almost every wall.
So before I could paint, I painstakingly filled and textured all the holes (alllll our walls are textured sooooooo…), sanded and painted the trim and made the walls an ugly shade of avocado green…then bright-ass (husband’s request) green (think Ryobi), then a grayish-white, and finally this warm white – Alabaster by Sherwin Williams. Although I wish there was more light in here, the white walls help me to see what I’m doing and match fabrics/thread/etc. when I’m working. It also feels clean, inviting and relaxing during the time I’m in here.
I’ll try to give you all the deets of this room in case you want to replicate some of it for your own!
Desk chairs: IKEA LÃ…NGFJÃ„LL in Gunnared Beige x 2
Tabletops: IKEA LINNMON in White Stained Oak Effect (I prefer the 29.5″-deep ones) x 2
Table base: IKEA Alex Drawer Unit/Drop File Storage
Table legs: IKEA Adils
Corner shelf unit: IKEA Alex 9-Drawer Unit
Closet shelf: IKEA Kallax Shelf Unit
Closet shelf baskets: IKEA KNIPSA Baskets in Seagrass
Under-table storage baskets: IKEA JONAXEL (not exactly the same, but mine is no longer available)
Wastebaskets: IKEA FNISS
Closet curtains: No longer available, IKEA VILMIE LINJE are similar (hemmed to correct length)
Curtain rod (for closet opening: IKEA HORNEN Shower Curtain Rod
Roman shade on window: IKEA RINGBLOMOMA
Accent lamp: No longer available, similar here at Target
Floating shelf above sewing machines on wall: IKEA Lack in Birch Effect (mine is longer, but I can’t find it on their site!)
Yarn baskets: I got these at the local grocery store, Fred Meyer!
Hanging fabric storage/clothes rack: IKEA RIGGA
Wall mirror (shown below): IKEA NISSEDAL in Black
Dress Form: Professional Female Dress Form with Collapsible Shoulders by The Shop Company
Pegboard above sewing machines: Built by my husband with supplies from Home Depot
Serger thread rack: June Tailor Cone Thread Rack
Thread rack: June Tailor Mini-Mega Rack
(I hang the racks and other things on the pegboard with supplies like these from Home Depot. I tried the IKEA peg board system in the store, and it fell all over the place when I tried to get something off of it. I noticed others struggling with this as well and decided to pass!)
Sewing machine: Bernina B770QE purchased locally at Modern Domestic (entirely NOT necessary to spend this much on a sewing machine, but this was a bucket list item for me!)
Serger: Brother 5234PRW – discontinued but a close cousin to the infamous (and affordable) Brother 1034D
Coverstitch Machine: Janome CoverPro 1000CPX
As I mentioned previously, this room has made several appearances as a guest room. During one of those stints, we purchased the convertible sofa above. It is the IKEA HOLMSUND Sleeper Sofa in Nordvalla Medium Gray. We’ve considered moving this out so I’d have more room to cut fabric, but it does work well for extra guest space, there is storage space under the seat cushions for fabric. (It’s also heavy as all get out, so we don’t want to move it or take it apart!)
Speaking of the photo above…ahem…does anyone have a recommendation for a new ironing board? Because mine is on it’s last leg, literally! You can’t tell from the photo, but it’s in horrible shape and actually falls over sometimes. The iron is my beloved Oliso Pro TG1600 which I sadly also need to replace as it got dropped on the hard floor and no longer produces steam on-demand. (It just steams all the time! Or not at all! It keeps me guessing!)
On the walls above the sofa, I have four IKEA MOSSLANDA picture ledges that hold framed artwork, kid photos and other collectibles. I also store my quilting rulers there.
Above you’ll see several of my printed PDF patterns rolled and stored in a basket. This is my old method of storing them, but I’m in the process of switching to folding and placing them (along with the cut, single-size pieces) in folder-size containers. I’m planning to detail this system more in a future post, but here’s what they look like: (You can buy similar ones here on Amazon!)
That sums it up! I’m sure you’re wondering – where do I cut patterns and fabric?! For that, I use the dining room table in an adjacent room. It happens to be the exact size of my gigantic Olfa 35″x70″ cutting mat, so it’s primarily used for that instead of dining! If we ever decide to take the sofa out of my sewing room, I might put a cutting table there. But that probably won’t happen anytime soon!
Until next time…]]> https://paperdahl.com/sewing-room-tour/feed/ 2 3988
Earlier this week, Jen of Grainline Studio released her latest pattern, the Lark Tee. It’s a basic tee with four different necklines (v-neck, scoop, crew and boat-neck) and four different sleeve variations (cap, short, 3/4 and long) for a total of 16 possible different looks. The second I saw it on my Instagram feed, I hopped right over to Jen’s website and purchased it for $12. (Some people are surprised to know I purchase most of my sewing patterns – but it’s true!)
Later that night, I noticed that not everyone was as excited as I was about the new pattern.
“But we have so many tee patterns already.”
“Are these indie designers just out of things to design?”
Many people felt the same way I did, of course, but overall reception was mixed. It got me thinking – can we really have too much of a certain kind of pattern? Too many indie designers? In the last week alone, I’ve gotten emails from two Pattern Workshop students lamenting the saturation of the indie pattern market and wondering if I was concerned at all that the competition was getting too stiff for them to survive as full-time designers.
In short, my answer is a resounding no. I do not think we can have too many t-shirt patterns. I do not think we can have too many designers. (And no, that is not just because of my affiliation with Pattern Workshop.)
Let me explain.
First, consumer behavior 101 tells us that people buy benefits, not features. Features are things that can be listed in factual bullet points like the following:
Sure, we might look for patterns based on features, but features don’t sell. BENEFITS are what sell. Like these:
Those are very basic examples, so let’s go a little deeper. Why do you think some people pay $250+ for a pair of designer jeans? Is there really anything that makes them better than a pair of $50 jeans? Okay, maybe. Perhaps the denim is higher quality. Perhaps the topstitching is nicer, and the fit is better. Perhaps they were made in the USA instead of imported. But what about a pair of $250+ jeans is better than a pair of, say, a $130 pair of jeans? I’d venture to say nothing.
In this case, the price is part of the branding, and the branding for designs in this price range usually has to do with a very specific benefit. It goes something like this: Wear these jeans and look/feel like a wealthy celebrity/jet setter. It’s not about the spandex content of the denim or the color-fastness of the dye. It’s not about whether they are bootcut or straight or if the rise is high or low. This is why designer clothing/perfume/jewelry/cosmetics ads usually features high-fashion images of celebrities doing fabulous things. It’s also why lower-end product advertising usually lists features. The manufacturer of $30 jeans is appealing to a totally different sense than the manufacturer of $250+ ones or even $100 ones.
This same principle applies to sewing patterns. Some designers can charge upwards of $15 for patterns, and their loyal customers don’t blink an eye. It’s because their customers are purchasing for the perceived benefit of owning, sewing and wearing those patterns. Theoretically, PDF patterns in particular have no tangible value because they are not a tangible good. But in practice, they are worth whatever people are willing to pay for them. So if a designer is having success marketing a pattern for $16, that is its value. The customers are purchasing the experience, not a product.
Which brings me to my next point…
Just as I’ve heard people complaining about the proliferation of PDF sewing patterns and the rising prices, I’ve heard complaints about sewing camps, retreats and workshops. One popular sewing blogger does a lingerie-sewing workshop that costs several hundreds of dollars (plus plane tickets and hotel if the attendee isn’t local). I’ve seen tirades about how “ridiculous” her pricing is and, despite the fact that she probably has more expertise on the topic than 99.5% of us, how she has no right to call herself an expert.
But you know what? Her customers don’t care about the price of her workshop. They aren’t buying her expertise (however much she might have). They are buying the experience.
Attending one of her workshops means learning in a beautiful space, sewing on high-end machines, experiencing rare and delicate fabrics, rubbing elbows with well-known sewing bloggers and enjoying beautifully catered meals. Attendees leave the workshop with not just a new garment – but lots of memories, gorgeous photographs, life-long friendships and even business connections. No lingerie-making book or online class could deliver that same experience.
Similarly, women don’t fork out hundreds of dollars to go to camp to learn how to sew. They go to camp to get away from the responsibility of raising a family or working at a demanding job. They go to hang out with other sewists who are as passionate about fabric as they are. They go to have FUN (and probably to drink wine).
It’s all about experience.
As far as patterns go, the experience includes everything from the presentation of the booklet/pattern (if it’s a paper pattern) to the quality of drafting to the fit of the finished garment. But what you might not realize is that it also includes the camaraderie on social media and the thrill of being associated with a certain pattern brand. When a designer has a good understanding of communicating benefits and creating an experience for her customers, she has the foundation to become a wildly successful businessperson, too. And when a designer consistently delivers that experience, she develops a following of “fangirls.”
Fangirls are people (women, in this case) who will purchase pretty much anything from the person/business of which they are a fan. They will tell all their friends about it, blog about it, post it on social media and pretty much declare it to be the best thing since bacon. I can fully admit that I am a fangirl of Grainline Studio patterns. I own almost all of Jen’s patterns and can almost guarantee that I will purchase new releases as soon as they go public.
There are several reasons for this. First, they are well-drafted, illustrated and explained. Second, they are practical designs that work with my lifestyle and taste. Third, they fit my body type. And finally – this is the most elusive and least-tangible one – they help me feel more stylish and like I am part of an elite group of sewists who use them.
Furthermore, fangirls are forgiving. If their beloved company/brand/designer/etc. makes a mistake or releases a lackluster product, the fangirl will remain loyal (to an extent). If you are a designer, THESE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT YOU SHOULD TRY TO ATTRACT BY THE THOUSANDS. They have the ability to maintain your business and turn your hobby into a career. They are your most loyal followers and customers.
Think about it. No woman takes a photo of a sloppily dressed, unhealthy, unattractive person to her hairstylist and asks for that cut and color. Instead, she asks her stylist to copy the style of the latest and greatest celebrity – oftentimes regardless of whether celebrity has a similar hair type, face shape or features to her own. This is because we buy into ideas and possibilities, not things. We purchase for the intangible aspects of products/services, and that’s how fangirls are created. As one myself, I can attest that I buy based on how products will make me feel and how others perceive me for owning them. That might sound extremely shallow, but I think it’s a common (albeit subconscious) behavior in all people (at least in our culture).
I own lots of t-shirt sewing patterns.
I own lots of t-shirts, both handmade and ready-to-wear.
(I will probably buy more of both because of fashion trends, body shape and lifestyle changes. I also just enjoy trying out new patterns just like I enjoy trying out new clothes at a store.)
I’d venture to say there are thousands of t-shirts available to me as a consumer. There are $12 Old Navy ones, $40 J.Crew ones and $100 James Perse ones (and everything in-between and below and beyond). There are boxy fit ones, slim fit ones, v-neck ones and scoop neck ones. You can buy them cropped or buy them long. There are thousands of different t-shirts because there are millions of consumers all looking for different things.
Our market can sustain lots and lots of t-shirt companies just as the sewing pattern market can sustain lots and lots of pattern designs and designers. Remember, too, that the the market for sewing patterns is not static; new people are entering it every day. So just because there’s already a design for a t-shirt or a pair of jeans or what-have-you doesn’t at all mean there’s not room for more. It could just be that new sewists entering the market are looking for EXACTLY that “new” (but same) design. Or it could just be that they like the experience of one (new) brand over another.
(Also, some people are just pattern hoarders. Ahem, like me.)
]]> https://paperdahl.com/do-we-really-need-another-t-shirt-pattern/feed/ 35 4
How do I love this dress? Let me count the ways.
So yes. It is the Merchant & Mills Camber Dress, and I am in LOVE!
I had read rave reviews of Merchant & Mills patterns before, but I don’t know…something about the packaging and branding made me feel like the patterns were a bit frumpy and old-fashioned. But on a recent visit to Bolt, this Camber Set piqued my interest. I started to look at the dress as a silhouette instead of how it was presented on the envelope, and my vision unfolded.
I wanted something modern, comfortable, flattering and streamlined. I wanted it to be easy and quick to sew but not without enough detail to keep my interest.
And that is exactly what I got.
I used my measurements and made a size 10. From looking at other bloggers’ photos online, I think some people must have gone down a size as mine is less fitted than others. I like this look though, so I’m glad I stuck with it. It’s very comfortable and will also have ample room for my chest after my surgery next month. I also decided to shorten the dress by 15cm after trying it on. I like the longer look, but this shorter length was more what I had in mind for this fabric.
I love the exposed bias facing on the front of the neckline, and the yoke (shown above) adds a nice, unique touch. The fit is superb, and I can’t wait to make a tee version, too. And who knows…I might just have to invest in some more Merchant & Mills patterns – this one is just that good!
Have you sewn Merchant & Mills? What do you think?]]> 8
Recently I was on a fact-finding mission at Nordstrom. That’s what I call it when I’m actually shopping for shoes but telling my husband that I’m just looking for sewing inspiration. In reality, it’s a bit of both. In this case, I spotted some great, casual shorts in the Madewell section that I knew I could easily copy(ish).
The style is nothing new – short, athletic-style shorts with an elastic waist, curved hem and slash pockets. I considered a couple patterns that are very similar to this, but ultimately, I decided to go with Simplicity 1377 which I had previously muslined but never worked on beyond that initial fitting. I figured that all I’d have to do was straighten the pockets (the original line is curved) and add the curve to the hem.
I made a size 12 which corresponded to my measurements. The back rise might be a bit short for anyone with a curvier bum – but I do not have much going on in that area, so it works perfectly for me. Here are the specific changes I made:
I had originally planned to bind the curved edges with bias binding, but I simply didn’t have enough fabric to do so.
The fabric is a lovely, rustic linen that I upcycled from a large women’s skirt I purchased at Value Village for $6 I think. I LOVE shopping the women’s dresses and skirts for great linens. I always seem to find the best colors, and I love that the fabric has a little bit of a worn-in look. Plus, it’s cheap! This is a great option if you are a smaller size and are creative with your cutting. In this case, I had to cut perpendicular to the grain to get everything to fit.
I am absolutely in love with these shorts and plan to use the exact same modifications for a few more. I might even add a drawstring to the casing or try the bias binding I previously mentioned. It might even be cool to make a longer, straight-hemmed pair like some James Perse ones I saw recently.
The top is Simplicity 1071 which I previously blogged here. I love that it can be dressed up or down for lots of different looks (and that it’s super comfy!). Shoes are Caswell by Timberland (affiliate link) and are the most comfortable flat sandals I have ever owned!
What do you think? Is your shorts-game ready for summer?]]> 15
Ohhhh, I have a treat for you guys today! At least, I think it’s a treat because it’s pretty different than anything I’ve sewn before. It’s dress No. 9 from the Japanese sewing pattern book, Drape Drape 3.
I am lucky here in Portland to be able to purchase both English-translated AND actual Japanese pattern books at the local Kinokuniya book store in the back of Uwajimaya Asian grocery which is a bike ride away from my house. Okay, maybe not a bike ride (damn that hill), but it’s really, really close. And it also happens to share a parking lot with Mill End fabric store. #WINNING
So I recently went on a Japanese pattern book binge, and the Drape Drape books were high on my list. I ended up purchasing books 2 and 3. This particular dress is from book 3. I have the English-translated versions.
My measurements put me at the low end of the L/XL, so that is what I cut and sewed. However, I felt like it was a little too loose once I was done (probably not helped by the weight of the draped fabric at the hem), so I ran it through the serger again at each of the side seams removing an additional 1/4″ from each seam. Next time, I would make the smaller size since the neckline is also a little more open than I’d like. It tends to show my bra strap…but maybe that is a good look?
This dress was actually quite simple and quick to make. The only thing I recommend is basting at pretty much every step, especially before serging! It’s easy to get all those little gathers bunched up funny…and no, mine are not perfect. But I am pleased with the outcome either way.
No, the photo above is not an announcement. I simply have bad posture and a wee mummy tummy. It is, however, a demonstration of what drugstore spray tan looks like on skin as pale as mine. Yet another sunless tanning fail for the books.
The fabric is a lovely rayon knit from Bolt Fabric Boutique here in Portland. I’ve been getting tons of fabric here lately – such a lovely store and a must-go fabric shopping destination for any of you visiting the area.
Shoes are a new designer for me – Ethem. They are made in Istanbul, and I purchased this pair at pedX Shoes in Portland.]]> 1317
So! I made these True Bias Hudson Pants two years ago! Seriously! I wear these multiple times a week both around-the-house and out-and-about. I first made them when I found out I was pregnant with Finn (not sure if I made them right before or right after, but either way, I don’t think I could have survived his pregnancy without them).
This fabric came from Joann, and I think they might still have it. I know I’ve seen it there sometime in the last few months. It’s polyester which doesn’t feel great if you live in a warm/humid area, but they have been fab for cooler days.
These are a size 6 (I measure to 4-6) which provide me with a somewhat roomy fit and also lasted through a 50-lb pregnancy weight gain. These were some of the only pants I could wear at the 40-week mark! Super stretchy! I did not make any modifications.
That’s really all I have to say about these pants. They are awesome! Wear them all the time! Like every day!
So here are some more pics.
All done! Never made any Hudsons? You must! Do it now!]]> 33
I have been whipping out the basics lately (since reality tells me that’s all I actually wear), and this boat neck Lark Tee by Grainline Studio is a perfect example. I sized up one size to a 6 and did everything exactly as instructed (including length). I made the long-sleeved version so I can push up the sleeves or wear them long.
I am still a bit undecided about whether I like this particular shape in an oversized version. I’ve learned recently that it’s best to wear a garment a few times to fully determine whether or not I like my modifications (or lack thereof). In this case, I’m finding the neckline to maybe be a little toooo open, and maybe the length is a little long? But that’s the great thing about making one’s clothes…I can’t really alter the neckline at this point, but I can certainly cut off the hem, take in a little at the side seams and shorten it an inch or two. But like I said, I need to wear it a few more times. It really depends on which pants I’m wearing as to whether or not I prefer my tops long or short.
Pictured here are the Birkin Flares, and since they have a high waist, the length of the shirt is accentuated. When I look through my Pinterest boards, I see that many of my pinned looks include very long shirts. Maybe I’m just not used to it as I’ve always favored shirts that hit right at the high hip.
The fabric is my ideal striped jersey (slightly heavy-weight, completely opaque, great recovery) from Bolt here in Portland. I picked it and a few other striped knits from the remnant bin, and they are heavenly. They’re complementing my newly discovered affinity for stripes, solids and neutrals in the best way.
The picture above shows a bit of excess length. AND THAT I MATCH MY STRIPES LIKE A BOSS. Sometimes.
I do love that when I size up, I don’t have pulling under my arms on the back. I have finally determined that I have wide, sloping shoulders despite having a small bust. That makes for some interesting fit challenges since my bust measurement often puts me into a higher size than necessary otherwise. Perhaps I need to start considering a small bust adjustment on more fitted garments. Or a boob job. You know, daily decisions.
This shirt has already made it into regular rotation, and I’ll be making more! I love sewing (and wearing) basic knits!]]> 42
There you go thinking that I finish a complete outfit every. single. day. NOPE. I finished each of these items over a year ago, and I wear them so much, they haven’t been photographed. But here they are! I wanted to share them because they are both such great staples, and oftentimes, I think sewing bloggers don’t post about the “boring” stuff because they don’t think anyone really cares. But I know I live in stuff like this, and maybe you do, too.
So here you go.
You are looking at the Hey June Handmade Lane Raglan and the True Bias Hudson Pants. The top is in a triplex (rayon/poly/spandex) jersey fabric that I previously stocked at Sew Kinetic (now closed), and the pants are a beefy French terry from Mood Fabrics in Manhattan.
For the top, I added a hood and bands around the sleeves and hem. Since I made this, Adrianna has updated the pattern to include these items as well as a thumbhole option and a full-bust adjustment. I *think* this is a size medium, but I am not sure as I made this quite a while ago.
For the pants, I totally forgot to sew lines around the waistband to give that three-casing look. I might get in there and do that at some point. Maybe not. Who knows. I had also planned to do grommet openings for the drawstring, but I ended up totally botching them and had to kind of hand-sew buttonholes (and use a lot of Fray-Check) instead. They are a size 6.
This is a great outfit that (I think) looks semi-pulled-together, but it’s still comfortable enough to wear around the house while doing chores and playing with the kids. Both are great wardrobe staples that I highly recommend!]]> 66