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

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!!

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!
mccalls6754 version C
Closer look at McCall’s 6754 peplum top, version C
mccalls6754 version D
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 🙂

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

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.

 

Cropped Kimono, Simplicity pattern #1318

kimono1
Editorial shot (not really) live from my hotel room in Sioux Falls, SD

kimono2
Close-up print + lace detail

kimono3
Wingspan (shirt tucked to show crop length)

kimono4
Obligatory back shot

kimono5
Bonheur. (French for ‘happiness’)

 

I’m making it a point in 2015 to try to sew more for myself regardless of all the other things that get in the way. That means hand sewing or project planning on both work and fun travel days. Days at home mean quality time on my machine. No excuses.

It has been so tiring – but so fun!

If you follow me on Instagram (@diyraven) you’ve already seen a sneak peek of the box pleated skirt (Butterick #B5929) that I’m making out of one of the fabrics that I purchased on my last Japan visit. I’m almost finished, but I had to complete this kimono ASAP before my trip to Abu Dhabi/Dubai coming up this week after my 4-day work trip!

In the UAE it is required for ladies to dress modestly in public (covering shoulders to knees), but most long sleeves I own are for cold weather only. Dubai is going to be pretty blazing hot, so (at the last minute of course) I dug out this recently purchased Simplicity pattern from my collection. I bought 1.25yds of a light, silky polyester fabric and lace trim from JoAnn fabrics and got to work that evening on this kimono.

Even though I was a bit hesitant how the cropped version would look and although I had a couple confusing moments during the construction of this little garment, I’m so pleased with how it turned out! I’ll be able to cover up all my tanks and skimpy tees without being offensive NOR having a heat stroke. It also won’t hardly take up any space in my luggage.

That last statement is actually the most important because I really need the extra space to bring back new FABRIC!!

Priorities.

if I were a boy

backless2

backless5

backless1

backless3

backless4

 1. YES! Those are indeed (baby) dreadlocks – nearly 7 months in!
NO. That is NOT armpit hair.
2. Fabric I scored back in June from JoAnn fabrics via their small ethnic collection.
They had me at hot pink + gold detailing.
3. I hate making bias tape, but I hate the look of stiff store-bought bias tape on
beautiful fabric even more. The struggle is always worth it.
4. Business in the front. Party in the back.
5. As pointed out by a male friend via my Instagram upload of this photo, it totally
looks like I’m pissing on the wall.  Artsy polaroid attempt ruined.

As always, I intended to make this top in time for the appropriate season. Luckily (or not so luckily) Texas doesn’t really have seasons.  So although other places in the United States are making their transition into Fall, we are still busy in the South either getting our tan on or dodging raindrops. Basically, this top is super perfect for the now. Big half-moon window in the back and all.

Allow me give more credit to the backside of this pattern – this. back. is. absolutely. SICK.

That detail alone makes the top for me.
Oh. This is McCalls pattern #6702, version A.
If you aren’t traveling a lot for work or in the middle of a major move, it should be a relatively quick sew? A few focused evenings and it should be knocked out. It’s labeled as Easy, so it definitely wasn’t terrible.

And yeah. Go ahead and scroll up to revisit the last pic again. It totally does look like I’m relieving myself on the wall, doesn’t it!??

:/

another birthday another bathing suit

waikiki

hbay

snorkeling

tokyotemple

eel

tokyodress1

tokyodress2

tokyodress31. Strolling along Waikiki Beach in Oahu, Hawaii (!!!!!)
2. Panoramic shot of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Oahu.
3. This is what you look like after you swim with a school of fish in Hanauma Bay. AMAZING.
4. Me in front of the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, which is one of the largest temples in Japan. Want a fun fact? We got here by accident. The cab driver dropped us here instead of our hotel….which is why I’m pictured at the temple entrance with my luggage. So frankly I still have yet to visit the grounds. Talk about lost in translation.
5. Apparently this is the best place to go for fresh Unagi (Eel) !!
6. Me in my latest handmade look on these Japanese streets!
7. Front + back look at Simplicity pattern #2222, version B.
8. Closer details of buttons, drawstring enclosure + pockets.

Since embarking on my third decade of existence, it seems like every birthday I get the recurrent itch to spend a few days as a clothing minimalist choosing to strictly live in only cute bikini tops + bottoms. This also means giving up real shoes, everyday life stresses and my usual concerted effort to avoid terrible tan lines and the overall process of natural skin-darkening in general. I think my back JUST finished peeling, and if I dropped trou right now I am totally the Coppertone girl doppleganger. I spent 3 full days in Hawaii tanning and catching sand between my toes (and other crevasses) for a living.

I am 31, and I have no regrets.

And I actually got in the water. Like, I didn’t just dance along the coastline and let those baby waves cover my shins this time. With some major coercing from the fellow pictured above I went rolling in the deep. Er, more like wading on a floater board that is. I’m so in love with the ocean, but it’s a beautiful force I’m deathly afraid of. It’s something about viewing the world as merely a head above water and all that is visible to you is endless sky stacked on a layer of endlessly unsettled water with no ounce of land cut in between because it’s mysteriously hiding somewhere far below your feet. Even the smallest wave becomes your own personal giant that can reel you far from the shore. The same shore where those people you recall who were your size now look a like a collection of ants on a sandy ledge.

Yep. That doesn’t sound unsettling at all.

But I didn’t come all the way to paradise to stop living. The next day we went snorkeling and even with a florescent life preserver I was terrified too. Did you know they have prescription goggles for blind folks like me??!! I was so impressed. All the while I wanted to breath through my nose, and I sincerely panicked when water seeped through my equipment a few times. But I did the whole little mermaid thing. Not to mention the romantic swimming hand-in-hand thing (he’s going to kill me for this, lol). These awful tan lines were not earned in vain I tell you.

Then onto Asia. This marks my 3rd time back to Japan. My Japanese tongue is still underwhelming. I told a hotel cleaning staff person ‘good evening’ at 8 in the morning. Oh well, I do try.

We spent two hurried and rainy nights at a hotel in Narita, which is the enclave nearest Tokyo airport. Japan is 19 hours ahead of Hawaii, so we lost a day and gained more jet lag. Determined not to be total bums, we managed to get a nice dinner out and some drinks in the city before his journey back to base in southern Japan and my 12-hour flight back to Houston.

I made this outfit in time for my birthday, so it would’ve been a total waste if I didn’t wear it out on the town. As with most shorter dress patterns, the skirt is always a bit TOO short for my taste. It’s my *ahem* backside. Other than that I think it turned out pretty awesome! I initially had other plans for this fabric, but this romper-style option from my pattern stash with racer-back detail AND pockets was too good to pass up. Not to mention a quicker project to sew overall.

Getting older is supposed to be terrible I think, but I couldn’t be happier about my 30s so far. Goals for next birthday definitely include going to another amazing beach, but not being as terrified of the water next time. So I guess the first step is learning how to swim beyond doggie-paddling and the deadman’s float in a regular pool.

And I’d also like to learn a little bit of French. Is that totally random?

I’m okay with that.

 

sunshine, tan lines + foolishness

hffabric

c rowley muslin

1. I never believed in love at first sight until I saw this fabric. Smitten.
2. Muslin fabric practice pattern pieces for above dress (Simplicity #2250 by Cynthia Rowley) + nearly-but-not-quite-finished-yet baby romper (Simplicity #1594 by Cynthia Rowley, again).

I’m loving being 30. I didn’t quite mean to begin the post here, but hey, why not? I’ll be 31 in a few months and it feels good to not be afraid of that. It just takes a while to get comfortable in your own skin; to be honest and proud of what you personally have to offer the world. You keep getting more steady with your thoughts and opinions, and more accepting of those personal “flaws” – which seriously aren’t flaws at all. 

I bring this all up because I’ve been following Sarai’s Wardrobe Architect blog series. She opens up and encourages us seamsters to honest with our personal style and unique needs when creating our own wardrobes. What hooked me in was the mention of buying a fabric, making a garment, and realizing that it’s not really YOU at all. It’s like you just get caught up in a pattern or fabric without even really looking at if it really suits you. As a result, very few have ever been worn again after the first photo op. That’s me all day. I mean, why do I have so many unused fabrics in my stash? My ultimate goal would be to sew more and buy less. Sewing already grants you the unique opportunity to take fashion choices beyond the department store racks, so why not create an actual wardrobe that would reflect my own core style?

First personal clothing project of the year will be this dress. No more snow. No more layers. No more polar vortex. YASSSSSSSS sunshine and tan lines!

Although I hate doing practice runs for garments, I really want to get this right. I’d like to wear this out more than once this summer and next. I think the sweetness of the dress mixed with the abstract/semi-ethnic vibe of the fabric will pull together a nice bohemian-chic look.

I’ll also be making a vintage bra top with the leftover fabric (I bought 2.5 yds).



 

HA! And how do I explain this foolishness? Well, my fellow is stationed in Japan for the Navy. Sometimes I’ll send him random life video snippets just because. So here’s me in the employee parking lot at the crack of dawn enjoying my last minutes of freedom before a trip. (And looking around to see if anyone has caught me!)

Sewing Tip #2 up next! Have a great weekend friends 🙂