Thursday, November 26, 2015

Mila Shirt from Itch to Stitch

The Mila Shirt is coming soon to the Itch to Stitch* shop. Check it out because this shirt is awesome. It is coming to the shop on Monday 11/30.

(This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I may recieve a small commission, but it will not affect the cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.)

The Mila is a long sleeve shirt with a half button placket, relaxed fit, and long sleeves. It includes options for a full color or just the color band, optional chest pocket and sleeve tabs to roll up those sleeves. 

Maybe the best part is the way Kennis has designed the shirt for different cup sizes from A to DD so you can get the perfect fit. If you have avoided buttoned up shirts in the past because of poor fit in the bust, this shirt may be the one to try. You pick your size and your cup size. No pulling or gaping at the bust! 

The longer length, with curved, hi-lo hem and relaxed fit makes this a great casual top for wearing with jeans or leggings. Make it cozy in flannel like I did, or make it up in a lighter rayon or voile for spring.

I love Itch to Stitch* patterns because Kennis's directions are spot on. I have never made a real button placket like this one before and it turned out really well. Her directions are very precise and detailed with clear illustrations. The designs are always well drafted. I also love that she includes detailed finished garment meaurements (which are available in the product description before you buy). I also appreciate that every pattern includes lengthen/shorten lines. At 5'2", I usually need to take advantage of these lines to shorten pieces. (I shortened the bodice of this shirt by 1/2" to sit appropriately at my waist.)

I received the pattern for free in exchange for helping to test the pattern. Kennis does a great job with testing and I think we came out with a great product. I hope you love it too. 

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ten Sewing Books for your Wish List

Have you made a holiday wish list? Or maybe you are looking for a gift for a sewist. Here are 10 sewing-related books to check out this holiday season. Some of these I have read and some I want to read.

(*These links are all Amazon affilliate links, because, well, Amazon is a great place to buy books. Although they may also be available elsewhere.)

Sewing Techniques
For those who are looking to learn new skills, check out these books which focus on sewing techniques. 

  The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction* 

Written by beloved pattern designer Christine Haynes, this book details the entire process of sewing a garment, from using a pattern, to cutting and marking, all the way through construction. A great reference for both new and experienced sewists.

The Shirtmaking Workbook: Pattern, Design, and Construction Resources - More than 100 Pattern Downloads for Collars, Cuffs & Plackets*

Shirtmaking guru David Coffin discusses all things shirtmaking in this book - including collars, plackets, and cuffs of all kinds.

The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits: Professional Techniques for Beautiful Everyday Garments*

If you want to learn more about sewing with knit fabric, this book from the makers of Colette Patterns covers all the bases from shopping for knit fabric, fitting techniques, to sewing and finishing the garments on your home machine. The book discusses how to sew the garments on a basic sewing machine, but also discusses sergers and coverstitch machines, so that you will have all the information you need to sew beautiful knit garments.

Pattern Books
These two books are ones I haven't gotten to read yet, but I am anxious to get my hands on them. They are each full of mix and match patterns to make tons of different dresses. With so many different patterns and options, each seems to be a good value for the money.

Boundless Style: A Mix-and-Match Sewing Pattern Workbook*

Author Kristiann Boos is the designer behind Victory Patterns. This book includes a CD with downloadable PDF patterns. 15 pattern pieces for you to mix and match - 5 bodice styles, 5 sleeve styles, and 5 skirts lets you create your own custom dress. Detailed instructions are included, with photographs and illustrations for all the construction details.

Sew Many Dresses, Sew Little Time: The Ultimate Dressmaking Guide*

This book by Tanya Whelan is another mix-and-match approach to making and customizing dress patterns. This one includes paper patterns in a pocket in the back of the book for 6 skirts, 8 bodices, 4 sleeves, and 4 necklines, which are all interchangeable.

Pattern Altering and Fitting
If you already sew garments, but want to learn new techniques for making them fit perfectly, check out these reference books. 

Pattern Fitting With Confidence*

In this book, Nancy Zieman, of PBS sewing fame, teaches you how to adjust patterns with her pivot-and slide techniques. She addresses lots of different fitting issues and shows you her method to alter you patterns for address these issues.

The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting*

This is another great reference book for your sewing library. There are lots of detailed photographs to teach you how to recognize fit issues and how to alter your patterns to fix them.

These books can help you learn to make your own clothing patterns.

Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit: Using the Rub-off Technique to Re-create and Redesign Your Favorite Fashions*

I am a big fan of this Rub-off method, described by Stephanie Lincecum in this book and also in her class on Craftsy - Pattern Drafting from Ready to Wear* (affiliate link). She teaches you how to trace an existing garment onto fabric or paper without taking it apart. She then discusses how to alter the created pattern to adjust the fit and add or remove other details. I have used this method myself to copy some of my favorite ready-to-wear garments.

How to Make Sewing Patterns*

If you are really interested in drafting your own sewing patterns from scratch, this is the most comprehensive book I have found. Author Donald McCunn teaches you how to draft a basic pattern block and how to alter that block to fit your body accurately. Then, he discusses how to use that basic pattern to make all kinds of clothing. This book is also a great reference for fitting and altering patterns. This is an older book, so the photographs and styles are less current, but it remains one of my favorite resources because of all the great technical information included.

Just For Fun
This one is not meant to improve your sewing, but I like it anyway. 

The Tula Pink Coloring Book: 75+ Signature Designs in Fanciful Coloring Pages*

Tula Pink is a fabric line for Free Spirit fabrics, so if you love great fabric designs (I know you do!), you might enjoy this high-quality coloring book. Coloring books for adults are the new thing, and it's no wonder, since coloring is a great stress-reliever.

What other sewing-related books are on your wishlist?

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Where to Wear? Tour: Date Night In with Carolyn Pajamas

This week I am on the Wear to Where? tour, which is bringing together some awesome fashion blogger and sewing bloggers for a two week blog tour full of style inspiration for all kinds of occasions. And there is a great giveaway, so keep reading!

Today we're talking "Date Night In." I'm a big fan of date nights in. I mean, date nights out are great, too, but if I'm being honest, most of the time by Friday night I am tired and I just want to stay in and hang out on the couch. Not to mention the price of a babysitter and a dinner and a movie. But still, date nights are important. So curl up on the couch with your significant other, watch a movie, and get yourself some wine and some ice cream. Sounds pretty good, huh? 

So what are you wearing for date night in? If you are hanging out at home on the couch, it should of course be comfortable. But it should be cute, too. So, I sewed up the Carolyn Pajama set from Closet Case Patterns with a purple cotton shirting and handmade piping. I have to say, I love them.

They are as comfortable as pajamas should be, but I wouldn't be at all embarrassed to be seen in them. They are just fitted enough to be flattering and have great details like piping and cuffs. Why have I never had pajamas like this before? They feel so luxiurious.

Now it's time to curl up on the couch in my cute pajamas. What are you wearing for date night in?

Be sure to head over to Wild+Wanderful or Gardening in High Heels to check out the other brilliant bloggers, sewists and stylistas on the tour, as well as be able to link up your own looks and show us what you would Wear to Where! 

Now let's talk giveaway prizes for this tour!!
For the sewists:
Choice of 3 patterns from Cole's Creations, Choice of 3 patterns from Made for Mermaids, Pattern of choice from Patterns for Pirates, Pattern of choice from Scientific Seamstress, Sewing-tee of choice from Sewing Stadium, Pattern of choice from Simple Life Pattern Co, Pattern of choice from StitchArt
For the Fashionistas: Set of 6 cards from Designs by Nicolina, 30 minute Social Media/Copy Consult by Gardening in High Heels, Tee of choice from Handmade Escapade, $20 Store Credit from Jenny Penny Designs, Tumbler from Joy+Tren
A big thanks to our amazing sponsors!
Cole's Creations | Designs by Nicolina | Gardening in High Heels
Handmade Escapade | Jenny Penny Designs | Joy+Tren
Made for Mermaids | Patterns for Pirates | Scientific Seamstress
Sewing Stadium | Simple Life Pattern Co | Stitch Art
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And Check out the other bloggers on the tour:
Wednesday, November 11: Brunch with the Girls
Thursday, November 12: Date Night In
Friday, November 13: Date Night Out
Saturday, November 14: Company Holiday Party
Monday, November 16: Workout Chic
Tuesday, November 17: Coffee Shop Work/Blog Session
Wednesday, November 18: Touring Your City
Thursday, November 19: Tailgate Attire

Friday, November 6, 2015

Finch Fabrics of LA - Review and Giveaway featuring Dakota Top

I've been talking this week about a new fabric store I found - Finch Fabrics of LA. They are a new online store that specializes in designer apparel fabrics. They sent me some free fabric to sew up and review and today I am sharing the third top I made from their fabrics. 

This time I used two different fabrics to make this Dakota Top from Shwin Designs. I love this top because it has a woven front and a knit back. Not only does this add a lot of interest, but it looks polished while remaining comfortable. The stretchy knit back allows for comfort and ease of movement, but the woven front gives a more elegant feel. And if worn under a cardigan or blazer, no one would even see the knit back. There is a placket in the front which is finished with sew-on snaps that are invisible from the outside.

For this top I used this Floral Rayon Challis fabric for the front and the sleeve cuffs and this  Solid Navy Modal Cotton Jersey fabric for the back. I love the small scale navy and white print on the front with the solid back. These fabrics were perfect for this top because they both have a lot of drape. Both fabrics are lightweight, breathable, and resist wrinkles. The result is a top that is comfortable and flattering. 

 From the side, you can see both fabrics used for this top:

Don't forget to use the coupon code WALLYANDGRACE10 for 10% off your order at Finch Fabrics of LA until November 16, 2015.

Enter the giveaway below.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Finch Fabrics of LA Review and Giveaway Featuring Blank Slate Shoreline Boatneck

In my last post, I told you about Finch Fabrics of LA, a new fabric company that features high end apparel fabric. If you haven't checked them out yet you should. They sent me some free fabric to review for you and today I have another top I sewed up from their fabric.

This time I used this Rayon Challis fabric to make this a lovely Shoreline Boatneck Top from Blank Slate Patterns. This top pattern is a quick an easy sew that can be made in either knit or woven fabric. Rayon challis is a perfect choice for this top, since it is light and flowy. It gives this top just the right drape. Rayon challis is one of my favorite fabrics to use for blouses because it drapes well, but it usually opaque enough to skip a lining.


This fabric is lightweight, soft, and breathable. I loved the mint color and the small scale floral print. The design was right up my alley. It makes a wonderful top for warmer weather or layering piece for cooler weather. This particular challis fabric pressed easily, which made the construction and hemming go smoothly. It does have a tendency to wrinkle, though, so you will want to choose an appropriate pattern with this in mind. 

Don't forget you can use the coupon code WALLYANDGRACE10 to get 10% off your purchase at Finch Fabrics of LA until November 15, 2015. And enter the giveaway below. 

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