kielo wrap dress with sleeve modification

kielo wrap dress

The Kielo wrap dress, by Named Patterns.

kielo wrap dress

Close-up of Kielo wrap dress tie detail + my knit fabric from Girl Charlee. Notice the gold flecks (threads) in the fabric!

kielo wrap dress pattern pieces

Laying out the 4 pattern pieces on my new large cutting table! (Only 3 pieces if you exclude the sleeves.)

kielo wrap dress

Fin.
(Well….almost!)

Hello from Vietnam! If you’ve been keeping up with my instagram you’d know that I’m on the other side of the world! One of my oldest friends from elementary school has found the love of his life in Hanoi and I couldn’t be happier to be here to celebrate. And that’s where this Kielo wrap dress comes in. I wanted to wear a nice dress for the wedding that was appropriately chic for the occasion while being able to throw this dress in my luggage without worrying about silly things like wrinkles. Hanging this up in a hot shower room = problem solved.

Am I the only one that feels that clothes look about 100% better on the human it’s made for verses the dress form? This time I do stand corrected – I absolutely LOOOOVE how this Kielo wrap dress draped on my form.

(Sidenote – it’s times like these I wish I had a catchy/cutesy name for my dressform. Oh well.)

But how this dress decided to look on ME!? Not all the fireworks that I had invisioned in my mind, to be completely honest. I’m pretty confident though that I’m the harshest critic of my work that I know of. But even that being said, there’s a couple of things that bring me to that final conclusion:

1. This fabric. It looks nice, but do you notice the chevron faintly peeking through in the last photo? This could be a problem. I’m wearing this dress to a wedding today, and I really don’t want to find out later what happens to all photos taken with flash while wearing a black bra underneath this dress. I am already committing to black drugstore tights while the average weather here in Hanoi has been around the mid to low 70’s F during the day and no wind. To camisole or not to camisole? That IS the question.

2. And this fabric (part deux). Did I mention I ordered this specialty knit online? I have come to find out first hand that Girl Charlee is fantastic, and they have quite the selections of knits online to choose from. Only problem is, I’ve never been the no-look no-feel type of fabric purchaser. The screenshot looked great and the amount of stretch the fabric description gave seemed perfect, but if I had handled this fabric in person I definitely would’ve passed on it. Between the sheerness, lack of enough stretch and the just so-so drape, I know I could’ve chosen other suitable options.

Despite my complaints, I do really like the style of this dress! It is a great beginner’s pattern, and I think it looks extra sophisticated with the FREE added sleeve modification pdf pattern + instructions. More on my actual thoughts on the pattern later, but truly not bad for my first go at this pattern.

You didn’t really think I did a muslin first, did you? Lol.

Anyway, I must start getting ready for the wedding! Pics to come. Xo

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burda style magazine turtleneck top pattern

burda style magazine turtleneck top

Burda Style magazine (September 2012) Turtleneck top, pattern #104A

burda style magazine turtleneck top

This pattern is 1 of 10 from the ‘Swinging Sixties’ pattern collection in Burda Style Magazine, 2012.

burda style magazine turtleneck top

My freshly traced pattern pieces!

burda style magazine turtleneck top

Front.

burda style magazine turtleneck top

Back.

burda style magazine turtleneck top

Small cowl neck detail.

Let’s just continue with my sewing-ALL-the-knits obsession, shall we?

So I currently have two quite involved sewing projects on the table that have lots of pattern pieces and notions that I’m not too familiar working with. Did I mention that I need both projects completed by the end of this month? Even still, sometimes you just need a quick win. Like an easy, no-fuss project that you can start in the morning and wear by the afternoon/evening.

So that didn’t really happen with this top because I decided to start looking through my old Burda magazines at eleven o’clock at night, BUT it was still fast! And if you’ve ever worked with (or downright struggled with) a pattern out of a Burda Style Magazine, you already know that it’s a different world from your average big 4 pattern experience. Tracing a pattern admist millions of lines, adding your own seam allowances, and then finally putting your project together with a total of two small paragraphs of instruction. It can be a feat!

I decided to use the knit I just purchased that I mention in this video + make an easy wardrobe staple to add to my Fall wardrobe options. A slightly fitted turtleneck top with only four pattern pieces? YES please.

However after I traced/pinned my new pattern pieces the night before, genius me misplaced the magazine with the pattern instructions the very next day! But instead of panicking, I just realized that I could totally wing this project and put them together without it. I’ve made enough garments just to know exactly how it should be assembled. And even though this isn’t the hardest of pieces to make, I couldn’t help but be incredibly proud of myself!!

I’ve never been consistent with sewing, but I’m always impressed by how much I’ve really learned over the years. And I still look forward to trying new patterns and learning more techniques. Sewing is the best!!

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mccall’s 6754 top + dress review

See me model my McCall’s 6754 peplum top + flared knit dress, new fabric purchases AND talk about my sewing plans for November!
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Closer look at McCall’s 6754 peplum top, version C
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Top-down shot of McCall’s 6754 dress (version D) created for my Olive Oyl Halloween costume.

I can’t believe that it ever took me this long to actually use knit fabrics! If I could live in one uniform for the rest of my life, it would probably be in the form of a t-shirt and leggings. (In case you were wondering, YES – leggings are totally real pants!)

I’ve been sewing on an average of a few garments per year over the last several years, but none get the love that my completed knit projects do. This latest knit peplum top make and my knit sweater top from last year go to all the layovers AND all the laundry days. If you look at both of these patterns, although made a year apart, they most definitely have their similarities. I don’t know it I’m just a sucker for sporting knits with color-blocking, raglan sleeve details or both! Either way, I can’t get enough of wearing these two.

Honestly, most of my other projects get pushed aside in my closet and get worn VERY rarely. I’ve realized that there is a real difference between choosing a sewing project because you think said fabric/pattern is amazing, verses actually selecting a pattern that is both unique + flattering to you AND your personal style. Too many times I’ve been excited to make something, but not really as excited to actually wear it.

As usual, I digress.

McCall’s 6754, an easy knit pattern, is yet another relatively quick-sew with easy-to-follow directions. My video above does a great job showing you how it actually moves on the body (ie. I’m doing ridiculous dance moves to demonstrate that very point. Hashtag. You’re all welcome.) Also, I did modify the pattern around the neckline a bit though. Definitely feel free to check out my official reviews of this pattern both on Pattern Review + Kollabora!

Til next time seamsters 🙂

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seamstress tag, october sewing vlog + a halloween video!

seamstress tag

The #SeamstressTag created by Hollie of Hollie Sews

If you haven’t heard of the Seamstress Tag yet, I’ll have to make this quick because CLEARLY we have some catching up to do.

First off, HEY again. *waves* Let me assure you what I lack in blog posts, you will see that I most certainly make up in YouTube videos. The Seamstress Tag (link to mine!) was a really fun, quick + unique way to get to know other seamsters around the world with everyone answering the same series of questions. Mind you, there have been other seamstress tags created before this one. Somehow this time around everyone got really fired up to get involved in this tag + the videos just keep coming! Not only did a lot of folks start brand new YouTube channels just to participate, but Lisa of Sew Over It (UK) also got in on the fun too!

*faints*

Last time I checked, there were still more sewing babes creating their own tags. Soooooo I’ve tried my best to compile a YouTube playlist where you can check all of them out!!

And please PLEASE let me know if you’ve made one + don’t see yours. I’d love to add you to the list!! 🙂

oct16vlog

 Next up was my October 2016 sewing plans vlog!

Welp. I think that’s pretty self-explanatory. I mostly made mention of the McCall’s 6754 knit peplum top + knit dress I was planning to make for my Halloween costume. If you missed it, click the link to check that video out!

My Halloween costume preview!!

I just HAD to include the actual video clip here because I thought this one minute video was pretty darn epic. No. Lie. You get to see some great snippets of my Olive Oyl costume coming to life 🙂

Okay, okay. I’m pretty notorious for long-wielding posts, but I’ll stop here to break up the content a bit. Tomorrow I’ll be posting another blog post of my review/pics of my completed McCall’s #6754 pattern, both version C (peplum top) + version D (dress). And THEN I have to show you my sewing plans for November video!

I know, I can barely keep up myself you guys lol.  Til tomorrow then! xo

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a new city. a new sewing space.

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1. New sewing space (so far). One word: WINDOWS! 2. Taking measurements of rooms + spaces in the new apartment while we were still waiting on movers to arrive with our belongings.

Hi. My name is Raven.

It has been so long, I figured it appropriate to reintroduce myself. If you are reading this, I hope that you’ve been well! I think it’s been a long year for everyone, yet I can’t believe we’re already in the final days of September.

It is already FALL!

So anyway, I have moved from lovely, sunny San Diego to the Eastern time zone. (More about that in the video below!) This is something I swore to myself that I would NEVER do. But ah the things we’ll do for certain people that make both your heart light + your eyes roll.

Can I get a witness? No? That’s cool.

Well I’ve been trying to step up my Youtube video-creating game since I’ve really fallen off my craft and my hobbies for the majority of the year. I kinda blame my previous little sewing area (also showcased in the video below). It’s hard to work next to the kitchen sink and refrigerator, but I’ll take the most responsibility on this one. But now that I’m pretty settled in D.C., I’ve got a couple new projects on the table that I can’t wait to finish in between my work trips!

So cheers to new fresh starts here in my new city + my new sewing space!

P.S.– Before I go, I’d like to share some really cute sewing Youtubers that vlog their wardrobe makes, pattern/fabric hauls + sewing plans for each month and/or season. You guys, I’m obsessed! Check out a few of these ladies that you may, or may not, know about just yet!

Miss Judith Dee talks about her pattern haul + plans for her fall wardrobe. Umm can I say that I dig her fabric/pattern selections aaaaand her dark purple lippie she’s rocking in this video are on POINT!!

Meet Megan.
Ya’ll. She’s just downright adorable! In her second ever video she shows her completed makes that she models in different locations around her city. I really love how she showcases the imperfections as well, even though I thought her outfits turned out fantastic overall!

And finally there’s Elizabeth in her first sewing vlog ever sharing her makes + plans for her WEDDING!!!! I’m loving her fabric and pattern choices! (Umm can we all collectively swoon at her choice for the Kim Dress from the amazing By Hand London ladies?!?!?! *faints*)

Anyways. Okay. Seriously now. Bye!

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organize your sewing life using Pinterest

seworganized1Pin this! ^_^

First off, Happy New Year everyone!

If you indulged in any of the festivities that involve ringing in the new year, perhaps you made your dress for the occasion. Or perhaps you are considering turning over a new leaf in your wardrobe and beginning to think of alllllllllll the great sewing patterns/outfits that you’ll be able to tackle this year. I know I am!

You would probably agree that most of us seamsters have an issue with having an overabundance of fabric at home. I’ve actually managed to keep my fabric stash pretty minimal, but I have over 200 sewing patterns in my collection so obviously I am NOT opposed to buying a pattern on sale! I often get excited about a new sewing project, but the idea of sifting through the large moving box that houses my patterns is a headache in itself. Maybe for you it’s just easier to buy new project fabric at the store since you really don’t recall what material, nor how much yardage of it, you already have at home.

Been there. Sick of that.

Well, I’ve figured out a much easier way that we will all be more organized and happier stitching divas in the new year by simply using two things that you already have – a smart phone and the Pinterest app.

Let’s start anew, shall we?

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Ipad screenshot example of my sewing pattern collection beautifully organized on my personal Pinterest account.

1. Using your phone or digital camera, take picture of the front envelope of each pattern that you own. For existing fabric you have in your stash, take a picture of the print. These pictures will become the pins for your new boards.

2. On a piece of paper, write down all of the categories you’d like to describe each pattern or fabric. For the fabric, you may choose to categorize by color/print (ex. florals, neutrals, ethnic, etc.) or material type (ex. cotton, polyester, wool, etc.). For sewing patterns, you may choose to categorize by brand (ex. McCalls, Vogue, Colette Patterns, etc.) or clothing type (ex. Dresses/Skirts, Shorts/Pants, Outerwear, etc.). These categories will become the names for each new ‘secret board’ that you create.

You can also create a “wishlist” category for the sewing patterns that you plan to possibly get in the future. If you are anything like me, you have a few pics already saved in your phone of snaps you’ve taken while sitting at the table looking in the pattern catalogs!

3. In your personal Pinterest account, add a new ‘secret board’. Using the categories that you’ve just listed for yourself, name each board accordingly. Be sure to add an underscore before each new category name (ex. “_Florals”). This will help ensure that the boards remain listed together and will be much easier to spot them from your existing boards you’ve already created.

If you are going to add boards for both fabrics and patterns, I would suggest creating all categories for patterns with a single underscore and all categories for fabrics with two underscores to keep them better separated. (Ex. “_Florals” verses “__McCalls”)

4. Begin uploading your pictures to save as new pins! It’s totally up to you how you’d like to describe each pin. For sewing patterns, I organized them by garment type and put the pattern number in the description box. As for the fabric, I’d suggest writing as much as you know in the description box. For example, known fabric type, stretch/no-stretch and remaining yardage.

5. After all of your uploads and descriptions are complete, be sure to select the board cover image for each category. This is an optional step, of course.

seworganized3

Iphone screenshot examples of my sewing pattern collection.

So this may be a cute idea and all, but WHY do this, you ask? Let me give you a few reasons.

  • You can actually plan a future sewing project away from home now because you have all of your patterns and all of your important fabric stash information now in the palm of your hand and on-the-go. ISN’T THAT AWESOME!?
  • Doing this can potentially save you some cash. I am guilty of buying a pattern that I already owned simply because I couldn’t recall if I had previously bought it once before or not. Haven’t you purchased new project fabric before only to realize there was suitable fabric that you forgot you already had at home? Yeah me too.
  • Going to a sewing retreat or meet-up? This is an excellent way to “share your stash” with new friends, or show off your rare pattern finds in your collection without having to pack said collection.
  • Are you a designer meeting up with a potential client or simply planning to sew a project for a family member? Quickly and easily cue up your existing pattern and fabric collection on your phone and easily start sharing your ideas.

So now there is a convenient way for you to organize your entire current sewing life at your fingertips. However, it doesn’t stop there. From now own, let us all vow to make sure to make certain things become habit when you go to the fabric store:

When buying new patterns: Make it a habit to immediately take a picture of it and file it away on your Pinterest account.

When buying new fabric: Take a picture of the bolt and fabric, note the date (if that’s important to you), note yardage purchased, and the type of fabric. And for the love for all that is good in the world, WASH YOUR FABRIC WHEN YOU GET HOME. It takes the frustration out of trying to figure out years later, ‘ has this fabric been pre-washed yet?’. Just save yourself some time in the future and put your mind at ease and wash it per the care instructions NOW.

seworganized4

I make sure to take pics of all fabric on the bolt before I take it to the cutting table so I have the fabric type and proper care instructions. I pin these photos for my future reference! 

So that’s it you guys! Taking a few hours to snap photos and upload to your Pinterest ‘secret board’ will open a brand new way of keeping your stashes organized in a useful, yet very modern way. I’ve been doing this for the last couple months, and it has been such a help to me.

I hope this helps you to start your new sewing year right! Happy pinning! xo

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holidays, oversold flights + knitting

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Wool and the Gang beginner knitting set. BEYOND excited about this!

Before I get to the bad stuff, first things are first – how cute is this company? Their play on words is absolutely genius. This photo alone pays homage to the epic 70’s r&b band, an unforgettable 90’s rap girl trio and the one-and-only Snoop Dogg himself via one skein of 100% Peruvian wool yarn and mammoth knitting needles. Consider me impressed and excited to once again try to learn this skill called knitting.

Obviously it’s the holidays, so I wasn’t just completely being selfish here. Last year, I ran a sweatshop out of my parents house and made a total of 80 coasters to give as gifts for friends. Since this year I’ll be working through both of my favorite holidays, I just didn’t have the energy to be the bearer of awesome homemade gifts for 20 friends again. But I’ve had my eye on Wool and the Gang for around three years now. I couldn’t help but take advantage of their buy 2 get 1 free (for ME!) gift deal and snag a beginner knit kit for both my best friend and my bf’s mom to enjoy this Christmas.

I swiped the freebie gift for myself because I’ll definitely need some sort of new creative distraction after dealing with crazed holiday travelers for these next 2 weeks straight. And this seriously may be the only gift I get this year anyways, so I refuse to feel bad about it! Besides, I seriously can’t wait to see how this turns out for all of us!! I think if you already know how to knit, this Lil’ Snood Dogg project could take you less than 2 hours to complete. That surely won’t be happening here, but honestly I will be so incredibly impressed with myself if I can figure this out soley via the online tutorials, haha.

Regardless, I managed to somehow squish my beginner kit into my rollerboard so the finished result will most likely be modeled on one of my layovers before the New Year (hopefully). I’m going to Canada a few times, so I would love to have it ready for snow!

But don’t you worry about me, eh? I do have a proper scarf packed for myself just in case things gets bad again.

Enjoy your holidays everyone! xo

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Sewing pattern review – Simplicity 1072

simplicity1072Pin this! ^_^

Look at all of those teeth. So much cheesiness, as per usual. Genuinely excited how well this easy-to-sew knit project came out though. SRSLY.
simplicity1072a

I did not one or two, but I actually did (attempted) THREE of these knit tops!! The middle one happened to be a disaster, but I learned something new that day. I can listen to music or have the telly on in the background while I sew, but obviously NOT Periscope.

I managed to sew the neckband inside-out AND sew wrong pieces together while listening to one of Regina’s (of www.byregina.com) amazingly informative and hilarious scopes! If you are seriously interested in motivation and help pumping up your blog and overall brand, she’s definitely your gal.

Despite the epic fail, there are no regrets! The blunder actually motivated me to get MORE fabric and try another one since I was really pleased how the first one turned out. I fear knits no more!

Check my new pattern review video below for a detailed look at this pattern – I highly recommend this one for a quickie addition to your Fall wardrobe this season!

Pattern Review of Simplicity #1072

simplicity1072bOh you know. It’s just me and my bad self 😉

Welp that’s about it for now, but I hope you guys have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! Talk soon! xoxo

P.S.– If you’re at all interested in like seriously awesome and helpful info to help out your blog/brand, I’d highly suggest checking out Regina’s scopes. See her previous scopes here on Katch.me/byreginatv AAAANNNNDDD follow me on Periscope too (@diyraven)! Seamsters unite!

P.S.S.– Does this last knit top look a little Star Trekkie to you??? Lol.

 

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Starting with easy to sew knits

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I love wearing knits. Jersey knits most especially.  I could live in tees, sweater tops and sweater pants without regrets. They pair so easily with jeans (my other favorite thing) and they have so much give in their fabrics. I say all of this to confess that although my feelings for knits is a life-long loving relationship that cannot be broken, I have much apprehension sewing with knits and other stretchy materials.

Wovens and other extremely stable fabrics are just so easy to work with, but knits scare me a little bit. They feel unpredictable under my sewing foot, and after I sew a decent line of stitching on a knit, it pops and breaks under the natural stress and stretch of the material.

But, to be frank, I know that I just haven’t done my homework. I never use the right needles and I have never bothered to do the correct finishing on knit hems. And after meeting with my sewing buddy in Dallas this last weekend, she swears to me that it’s seriously not as bad as I make it out to be.

I really really want to start wearing my own clothing for the everyday, and what I enjoy wearing on most occasions are knit-based items. Admitting my fear outloud to another person that sews was actually my first step in getting the proper help that I needed. Next I took a crash course by looking at these three brief videos, by Sarai of Colette Patterns, introducing you to the difference of knit fabrics and a quick overview on how to work with them – here’s video 1, video 2 and video 3 if you are interested! She also includes a chapter from her latest book about sewing with knits to download for free via PDF (!!!!)

Lastly, I just went to my neighborhood fabric store (JoAnn’s, of course) and selected a $1 easy-to-sew Simplicity pattern. I also took advantage of the Veteran’s Day sale and chose enough fabric to make two sweatshirts.

The last photo is how I left my sewing desk before I had to leave for my 4-day work trip. But come next week, we’ll see how well this pattern really turned out!

BRB.

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Sewing pattern review – Simplicity 1165

simlicity1165

As with most projects that I start, I usually end up completing them several months later for one reason or the other. This naturally means that the masterpiece that I have created is actually out of season. So here I am looking like Summer when it feels like Fall.

However, my elation will not be deterred!! Check out these fancy pants made of loud (and proud) floral rayon fabric.

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Also, I love reading pattern reviews because they prove so helpful before I start my own pattern project. I appreciate the time that other seamsters have taken to share awesome outfit pictures and write detailed reviews of the great and not-so-great things about said sewing pattern. I’ve contributed a few of my own over the years too.

However, I thought I’d take this idea further and make a simple pattern review video instead! There’s no substitution for video sometimes, especially when it comes to seeing how clothes really move on the body.

I plan to do more of these because I feel like these prove helpful to some. Take a gander at my quick pattern review of Simplicity pants pattern #1165.

simlicity1165cNew Ikea project desk and my sewing machine that I haven’t seen in nearly 4 months!

simlicity1165d100 pounds of sewing supplies from home that I finally got around to shipping to myself from Houston!

I know it’s been a while, kids. I’m ever-so-slowly trying to get my life here settled in San Diego. Remember when I transferred to Seattle for work? Yeah, well after 4 months, I just transferred to San Francisco!

Oh the adjustments. But at least I’m working in the same state that I live now AND my sewing life is finally here with me!

More to come. xo.

 

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