Tag: patterns: chalk and notch fringe

I just shared my first post at Minerva.com – I’m delighted to be a new member of their Maker team! Full disclosure: the Liberty of London Tana Cotton Lawn was gifted to me by Minerva in exchange for a blog post on their site, most of which I’m also sharing here now.

I may possibly have made an embarrassingly high-pitched sound when the parcel came, and I may possibly have made a lot of ‘ooo’ noises when I opened it. It’s light, smooth, and even silky. It’s just a touch crisp but with a lovely, almost fluid drape; I love cotton and cotton blends and sew with them all the time, but the quality of this fabric is miles above what I’m used to. Featherweight fabrics can sometimes be a challenge but this was a dream to sew.

Even the gathering, which is something I don’t tend to enjoy, wasn’t a problem because the fabric was so easy to manipulate and to evenly spread out the fullness.

I knew, for this, that I didn’t want to take a chance on a new pattern. I wanted to sew something that I’ve sewn before, something that I knew I’d wear over and over. I chose Chalk and Notch’s Fringe dress – I’ve made it several times and, amazingly, it fits my under-five-foot self without a ton of adjustments. All I need to do is shorten the bodice by two inches and I’m ready to go.

I’m a fan of Chalk and Notch patterns in general. There are only a few left I haven’t made, and I tend to sew them repeatedly because I’m always pleased with the results. The Fringe has two views to choose from, and either can be made as a blouse or a dress. There’s quite a bit of built-in ease – and if you’re like me, too much ease isn’t always preferable – so do check the finished measurements along with the body measurements to choose a size.

My body measurements fall into the size 20 but I sewed a 16. I usually do view A, but this time, for something just a little different, I went with view B.

And I love it. It’s light and airy and beautiful, and the fabric feels wonderful against my skin. It’ll be nicely cool when summer comes around again, but I’m not about to wait for that – leggings and a cardigan, or long-sleeved tee underneath, will make it a year-round dress. It’s definitely my favourite Fringe so far.

Fringe wasn’t the only Chalk and Notch pattern I sewed this week: I also made a new (slightly hacked) Page hoodie. I’ve wanted to make a sweatshirt with a lace overlay for months but couldn’t decide on a colour. I found this soft dusty green at the local fabric shop – 95% of their stock is quilting cotton but they’re starting to bring in small amounts of basic apparel fabric as well – and thought it would be perfect.

I used the length from the drawstring hem but the band from the other view, and I also cut the sleeves to elbow length and gathered them in to the cuff meant for long sleeves. The hood was going to be the same as the front but I thought I could get away with two layers of lace, instead, and I do really love how it looks. I love the whole hoodie, really, and – of course – I’m thinking about making another one. In a darker or brighter colour, this time, for a different kind of contrast.

And now I need to sit down at the machines again and finish a hot pink cat-print (yes) dress so I can take photos before the sun goes down.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

We’re expecting 20 to 30 cm of snow late tonight and into tomorrow, but this morning was not quite chilly enough to keep me from taking photos of recent makes.

First up is a Love Notions Melody Dolman. Look, I sewed a collar! Camp-style, so on the lower end of complicated, but still – a collar. And my one-step automatic buttonhole thing on my sewing machine decided to behave, too.

I started off with a size XL for the shoulders and bust, blended to an XXL for the waist and hips. I also – of course – cut a couple inches off the hem. No other modifications… oh, wait, actually, I didn’t follow the button guide. It was laid out in such a way that there would have been a gap between buttons right over my bust, so I added a sixth button and recalculated the distance between each so I’d have a button in the right place.

The fabric is quilting cotton. I sew with it quite frequently – it’s all I can get locally, aside from a few solid-coloured cotton/lycra knits, but besides that, there are tons of great prints that don’t come in other fabrics. I’ll never quite understand the “quilting cotton is unsuitable for garments” mindset, because I’ve had a ton of fun sewing all kinds of printed cottons into all kinds of different items of clothing.

Next up! An Ellie and Mac Everday Tee. I sewed a straight XXL, shortened by almost five inches. Really like the fit of this tee – the scoop neckline, the dolman sleeves, the high-low curved hem.

The fabric was kind of a bitch to sew, though. It’s a very thin rayon/spandex knit that my sewing machine and serger both really wanted to eat. The twin-needle hems I sewed tunneled like crazy, and it’s definitely noticeable in the photo.

Next time I should probably use a stabiliser under the fabric – I’ve never done that before, but then again, I’ve never sewn with something quite so thin, insanely stretchy, and shifty. I found it in a fabric shop about an hour from here, in a bin of mixed knits that were rolled into balls and sold by the pound. (I also found some fantastic cuts of spandex and stretch lace that I’ve been sewing into dance leotards and leggings, but that’s another post…)

Third make is a Chalk and Notch Fringe Blouse with puffins! Quilting cotton, again. I sewed a size 16 with zero mods – I love how well Chalk and Notch patterns fit me right off the printer. A 16 is a couple sizes smaller than my body measurements say I should make, but there’s a bit more ease in the pattern than I prefer for my own clothing so I sized down, as I usually do.

I really should make the other view of the Fringe one of these days. I made one ages ago but I’ve stuck to the button-front since then. Fake button-front, I should say, because if I can get the garment on over my head without undoing the buttons you’d better believe that’s going to be a non-functional placket.

No, I’m not a lazy sewist – why do you ask?

One more make to go, and then I’ll throw myself back into my studio.

Last one for the post is a Made by Rae Trillium top. I love this pattern, and I love this whale-print fabric, and I think they look great together. I pondered sizing a lot and ended up going with an XL – it’s a bit snug, but my weight has been trending downward lately so maybe it’ll be okay. It’s still pretty and wearable.

Trillium really is one of my favourite patterns. It’s a good shape for me, and fits without adjustments. I can’t wait until the expansion pack – with different sleeves and necklines and pussy bows – is released for the updated pattern size range.

Speaking of favourites, I think the Art Gallery cotton I used for this might become one. I’m used to standard-quality stuff, I guess, so when I get my hands on the good stuff I tend to make all kinds of ‘ooo’ noises while pressing, cutting, and sewing. It’s cool and smooth and feels almost silky, in a way.

And that’s that.

On a final note, I’m super-excited to mention that I got an invitation to join Minerva.com’s Maker team! My first fabric arrived last week and it’s on this weekend’s list of projects. It’s a special fabric, too, so I’m doubly excited.

Back to the sewing machines.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

Oof, what a rough couple of months. Things are a little more stable now – although not too stable, given the current world situation. When I’m not at the hospital (I could write an entire post about what it’s like to work in healthcare right now), I’m coping by sewing up the stash, reading, and watching nerdy TV. I’d like to be writing, too, but my creativity is a bit fizzled at the moment.

I’ve started sewing some things for a friend’s baby-to-be because small, cute things are… well, small and cute, and fun to sew. Quick, too. First item is this mini Fringe blouse from Chalk & Notch – isn’t the pattern adorable? It’s perfect for scraps, too. I made this one out of less than a yard of cotton I’ve had in the stash for at least five years, maybe more.

I want to make a whole army of them – both the blouse and dress length, and both bodice variations. I’ve already cut two more, one from pink unicorn fabric and one from a blue abstract print, both cottons. I have a panda-print cotton that’s going to be a dress, and I’m sure I’ll have enough left from that to make yet another mini Fringe, too.

Never let it be said that I only make favourite patterns once. I mean, okay, part of that is due to the fact that finances are terrible right now and new fabric and patterns are not in the cards, but the other part is that I really just do love having nice things in all the colours.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

A springlike Fringe for a very much non-springlike month. Fabric is seersucker that was given to me; I wasn’t 100% thrilled with the pattern on it but I think it looks decently cute as this dress. I paired it with black leggings and a black cardigan for work – could have worn tights, I suppose, but I have none that aren’t black, so.

Really need to get some coloured tights for winter dress-wearing. Otherwise it’s all black leggings all the time.

This is my… hmm… fifth Fringe? No, wait, sixth. I’ve made the top four times and the dress twice, and I wear them regularly. I’d like to try a long sleeve hack one of these days; might work, might not work, but it would be nice for the colder months.

So I started a Sienna Maker jacket in pink corduroy a few days ago – all that’s left is to attach the second sleeve and hem the bottom, but I’m dragging my feet because I’ve tried it on and, somehow, it’s huge. It looks terrible on me. I think I may pass it on if I can find someone to pass it to. Losing the hours of labour sucks, but at least the fabric was a dollar a metre so I’m not losing much there.

I made a 24 graded to a 26 at the hip as per my body measurements (I’d never made a jacket before so I tried to trust those) but, taking a look at body measurements in comparison to finished size, next attempt will be an 18 graded to a 22. Quite a difference. It’ll be rather slim-fit and I won’t be able to wear a bulky sweater underneath it, but I’m fine with that.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

I have several new patterns waiting to be assembled and cut and sewn, and what do I do? I make another Fringe blouse. It’s been staring at me half-done for… well, a while, but this week I managed to get it finished a few minutes at a time. It’s not my best work, but it’s cute and wearable. I love the feathers, but I’m not sure about the scale of the print now that I see it sewn up – I think something a bit bigger and a little more random would have been best.

Excuse the substandard indoor headless photo, but I’m low on spoons today so it’s the best I could manage. This week has been rough, but I said enough about that last entry.

I have a cut of pink-and-grey floral cotton that’s going to become the Esma top I mentioned yesterday, but I’m not sure yet whether I have the energy to both assemble the pattern and cut the fabric tonight. I’ll get it started, at least, and go from there.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

I’m starting to get the feeling that this vacation is turning into a sewcation – I mean, I’m on day two of seven and I’ve already finished 3 projects with just the hem left on a fourth.

Today’s make is a Fringe top in mystery stash tartan. It was kind of a pain in the arse to sew because it frayed every time I looked at it, but I like the result. I think it’ll be a good top for autumn, because the fabric is more substantial than a summer cotton but without being too thick or heavy.

I didn’t make too many alterations to this one – just raised the waist due to both my height and my preference for a higher waistline, and then shortened the sleeves a bit so they didn’t end at an awkward length. My waist and hips are technically a couple of inches outside the size chart on Chalk and Notch patterns but there was enough ease (and in the Victory tank) for it to fit anyhow.

I found Starry Night (the Van Gogh painting) inspired fabric! Just a remnant, but enough for another Victory tank. That’s the project that just needs the hem, and the only reason it’s not finished is that I ran out of the right colour of thread. I picked up another spool this afternoon, though, so that’ll be first on the list this evening.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing