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See Carmen Sew | Online sewing diary.. by Carmen.marie.ross@gmail.com - 2M ago

Can you believe 2018 is almost here? In a week and a half I’ll be in Minneapolis to celebrate the holidays with family and friends! I’m finishing up a pair of pajamas right now, but other than that I think I’ve sewn up everything I’m going to sew in 2017. It has been a very productive year. To see my top 5 makes, top 5 misses, to read about my goals for 2018, and to join in on the conversation, read on.

Top 5 Makes

I had a really tough time narrowing down my top 5 makes this year, which is a good thing! This year I’ve really noticed my skills improve. I think I’ve been better about knowing the correct size to cut, blending sizes on patterns, and utilizing more professional finishing techniques. What new skills have improved your overall sewing this year? In no particular order, here are my top 5 favorite makes of 2017:

5. Simplicity 8221 Plaid Dress

This dress proved very popular on Instagram. I wore it to work last Monday and I felt comfortable all day long. I also learned how to apply heavy-duty snaps and work with flannel.

4. McCall’s 7476 Coatigan

I love this coatigan so much that I wear it practically every day. I wear it mostly as a house robe. It’s so comfortable and warm. I also love this make because I learned how to use my coverstitch machine while making this project. I’ve been searching for lovely knits so that I can make more cozy cardigans in 2018. I have my eye on the Named Esme Cardigan for next year.

3. Simplicity 8222 Mimi G Jeans

These jeans won me second place in the Fabric Mart challenge. I still need to use my gift card for 2018 but I can’t decide what to get!

2. Named Asaka Kimono (with honorable mention to Seamwork Adelaide Dress)

I think this year also felt like a successful sewing year because I truly did get a lot of wear out of the makes I made. Do you ever feel like you never wear anything you sew? I sometimes have that problem, but this summer I lived in this Seamwork dress and I wore this cool kimono as a beach coverup. I think I’ve just been a lot smarter about choosing the right fabrics.

1. Two Piece Set with Simplicity 8394 and Vogue 1486

Oh man, I love this look. My 30th birthday is in April and my best friend and I are going on a Royal Caribbean cruise. I’m already planning on wearing this outfit to celebrate my birthday. It’s just so special to me. The fabric is divine. I bought it at Mood Fabrics LA two years ago. I also learned how to insert boning with this project. It’s just my absolute favorite.

Now let’s take a look at some of the lesser successful projects (despite my best efforts to make them look good on camera). Here are my top 5 losers, in no particular order:

5. Butterick 6247 Sweater

The real problem for me is the fabric. It seemed cool to me when I bought it, but reds just don’t go well with my skin tone. I’ve hardly ever worn this sweater. So I’ve decided that I’d like to give it away to a good home! It’s a size medium. If you would like this sweater, shoot me in an email at carmen.marie.ross@gmail.com and send me your address and I’ll try to get it to you by Christmas!

4. New Look 6490

This top ended up being such a disappoint for me. I loved this fabric. It’s Anna Sui from Mood Fabrics NYC. It’s so cute! But it’s a very delicate fabric that did not hold up well to all of the manipulation that this pattern requires. So despite my best efforts, after one wear it’s already starting to come apart. Secondly, even though the style is cute, I really prefer tops that I can tuck into my pants. I have a vintage aesthetic and I love the look of a tucked-in top. I hardly ever wear shits loose like this over my waist. I prefer a defined waistline. So ultimately the pattern and fabric ended up being all wrong for me and it’s time to part ways with this top.

3. Vogue 1507 Tie Back Top

This project is also really heartbreaking for me because I wanted to love it. I love the fabric and I loved seeing other people’s version of this cool top on the interwebs. Sadly, it’s a fit issue. I could get the top to stay in place to catch some photos, but in reality I would never feel comfortable wearing this out. It’s too cropped and I’m constantly worried it’s going to fall off my shoulders. So annoying!

2. McCalls 6886 Party Dress

At first, I thought this might be a cool dress. But I could never bring myself to wear it out. On retrospect, I think the fabric just looks cheap. I’m not into it.

1. McCall’s 7542 Tulip Top

This is another make where in theory the pattern and fabric should have worked well together, but I’m just not crazy about it. First of all, this top is too small. Second of all, it wrinkles like mad and I can’t stand that. Third, I can’t tuck this top in, either,without it billowing around my waist, and again, I like a smooth and defined waistline. So unfortunately, this top is not a winner.

Top 5 Highlights of the Year

2017 was really fun. Here are my top 5 highlights, personal and sewing-wise:

5. I started a new job

I left the public defender’s office, where I worked for three and a half years, and joined a local non-profit law firm, where I now specialize in education law. It was hard to leave my team of colleagues at the public defender’s office, but I think this was ultimately the right move for me. I think it’s important as a relatively young lawyer to keep learning and expanding your repertoire of skills (just as in sewing!).

4. I bought a coverstitch machine

You need to have the right tools to move forward and progress your skills. I hope to use this machine more in 2018.

3. I learned how to mountain bike

This year I bought a mountain bike, joined a local mountain bike group and rode locally all summer, went to a weekend long mountain bike camp for women in Brown County, Indiana, and went to a mountain biking festival in Hendersonville, North Carolina. I had a great time learning a new sport and I can’t wait to get back on my bike this spring. I might even buy a better bike in 2018.

2. Mixed Media Art Class

I took a local art class this year on mixed media and had a lot of fun playing with paper, glue, acrylics, watercolors, and everything else you can think of.

1. Learned how to ride a motorcycle

My boyfriend taught me how to ride motorcycle this summer. My plan is to take a real riding class this spring so that we might be able to ride together when we go to Italy next fall.

Top 5 Goals for 2018:

There are so many things I want to do next year. I hope I’ll be able to find the time and money to meet my goals.

5. Madalynne’s Bra Making Workshops in Philadelphia

Have you heard about these workshops? Have you been? She has several offered for 2018. Plus, I’ve never been to Philadelphia before. If I can find the time and the money, I’d like to do this. Wanna join me??

4. Mimi G’s Sewing Conference in LA

I went two summers ago and had a blast! I’d love to go again this year. Everything’s kind of up in the air, though, because there’s a good possibility I’ll be moving in the next 12 months or less. My boyfriend is finishing up his phd program and is looking for post-doctorate positions now. So it’s hard to plan big trips without having a clear idea of what our summer and fall will look like.

3. Use my coverstitch machine more

It’s not that I’ve been avoiding it (I swear) but I don’t have any decent knit fabrics. If you’ve come across any cute knits, let me know!

2. Learn to sew a curved waistband

No more ill-fitting skirt waistbands please!

1. Blog Makeover

It’s time for a makeover. I started this blog three years ago. I want to get rid of the image slider bar. I think it makes my page load slowly. So my plan is to makeover the blog over the holidays when I’m back home.

Ok, that’s everything. If you’ve read everything up to this point, you’re a very faithful reader. What did you think? Do you agree with my list? What do you have planned for 2018? Have you written a roundup, too? Link yours in the comments below so that I can follow.

Cheers and have a very merry christmas!

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Believe it or not, I don’t actually try to make everything I sew read retro. It just happens. I think I just have to accept that this is my aesthetic. I’m subconsciously drawn to fabrics and patterns that end up reading very 1960s. So here I am in a mad for plaid dress made using Mimi G’s Simplicity 8221 pattern. I approached this project much differently than what I ordinarily do. Normally, I pick out a pattern and then try to find the perfect fabric to go with it. If I don’t have anything suitable in my stash, I just buy more fabric. But, since I’m going to Minneapolis in two and a half weeks (yes!!!) I figured I need to get serious about making a dent in my own fabric stash. So this time I shopped my stash for fabric first and then tried to find the right pattern to go with it. To learn more about my process and to see some detail photos, read on.

As I mentioned, this is a Mimi G pattern that I’ve had for a couple of years. Coincidentally, I bought this cotton flannel from Michael Levine fabrics when I went to Mimi’s sewing conference in L.A. two years ago. The fabric was $8/yard and this project used up the 3 yards I bought so total project cost was under $30. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with this fabric, even though I love a loud plaid. Then I remembered that Mimi recently made a plaid dress herself using this pattern! So I decided to give it a go.

I didn’t make a muslin beforehand. I’ve kind of given up on doing that and I pretty much just guesstimate my size and forge ahead these days. I’ve found the finished garment measurements on the tissue paper to be pretty accurate. I did have to blend sizes for this pattern, though. I started with a 12 at the bust, 14 at the waist, and 16 at the hips. I also cut my sleeves in a 14 because I hate it when my sleeves feel too tight. I think I cut the belt at a 16, too, because I like a longer belt.

If you haven’t sewn with flannel before, it is a very easy, wonderful fabric to work with. Remember to pre-wash your fabric for shrinkage and I recommend using a size 12 sewing needle.

All of Mimi’s sewing patterns also include free video step-by-step guides on youtube. I watched her video on my laptop and followed along as I made this dress. However, for the life of me I could not get my front placket to sit nicely. It was a nightmare. I had to completely deviate from the instructions and just do my own thing, with a lot of trial and error, stitching and unpicking, until I was able to get the front to lay down nicely from where the dress opens all the way to the bottom of the center front seam.

It was a Make It Work moment. So if you’re struggling with that step, don’t give up. Just try to intuit how to make it come together and hopefully you’ll get lucky like I did.

Mimi’s pattern instructs you to make buttonholes and add buttons. I didn’t want to do that so I opted for heavy duty brass snaps instead, which I love.

Ultimately, I love how cozy and festive this fall dress turned out. Have you sewn this dress before? If yes, add your link in the comments so that I can check it out. I’ll leave you with some up-close detail shots.

Hemmed using double-folded bias tape, one of the easiest ways to hem a dress and not use up much hem allowance.

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The pants that I have sewn for myself are few and far between. Something about tackling a pants project really intimidates me. If you feel that way, too, then Simplicity 8389 is a great pattern for you. They are pants with an elasticized waistband, so no front fly or zippers to worry about it. And with the coordinating tie-waist belt, these pants are classy enough for the office, without looking maternity or old-lady. The other best part? They sew up fast! You could finish a pair in a day if you’re really hauling ass, or spread this project leisurely over two afternoons. For more on this project, read on.

The pattern I’ve used is Simplicty 8389, with four different variations for either drawstring pants or elastic waistband pants. I’ve sewn up View D.

My favorite version I’ve seen so far is this linen pair by Mimi G (she slays at everything). Mimi says this is also her favorite DIY pants pattern, due to its ease and chicness. Mimi cut a size 10, and I figured that even though she’s shorter than me, our waistlines and booties aren’t too dissimilar. Plus, I didn’t want to make a muslin so I chanced it and cut a 10, too. I’m pretty satisfied with the fit, but there is a lot of maneuvering involved to pull these suckers up over my bum. Once we get passed the bum they sit comfortably on my waist. Next time I’ll just be more conservative with my seam allowance and maybe use a fabric with a bit of stretch. I cut the belt in a size 12, though, because I like my belts to be plenty long.

The fabric was gifted to me last year during a sewing secret santa swap. It’s a suiting weight fabric. I even have enough left over to make a matching cropped jacket.

Get it, girl.

I took four inches off the length of the pants for hemming in order to achieve a cropped ankle look. Other than that, construction was really straight-forward. There isn’t much more to say. If you’ve made these pants before, link up to your blog in comments so I can see your version. I’ll leave you now with the rest of the photos from my dreaded indoor photo shoot. Now that it’s cold and dreary out, I’m back to shooting inside, which I find very challenging. If you have any tips for shooting nice photos indoors, please tell!

photo bombed by Lou Lou

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Are you participating in this month’s #cosycardichallenge on instagram? All you have to do is sew a cardigan and post to instagram by October 31st using this hashtag for a chance to win some prizes. I don’t have any delusions about actually winning, though, since there are about a bazillion other sewers who have entered their kick-ass garments into the ring. I’m still glad to have participated, though, because it was exactly the challenge I needed to motivate myself to finally learn how to use my new coverstitch machine. To learn more about a coverstitch machine and project details, read on (and check out the very end of this post for a cool special offer just for my readers).

Oh, by the way, I cut all my hair off and it feels damn good. Anyway, I would describe this project as a cross between a coat and a cardigan. Thus, it’s a coatigan! I did not invent that term, but it works. The weather today was quite chilly and it was cloudy outside, but I just had to shoot this project like RIGHT NOW. The coatigan did a good job of keeping me warm. The pattern is McCall’s 7476.

I decided to make the maxi length version because go big or go home. I cut a size medium and I am glad I did because I like this coatigan slouchy. The project required 2 and 5/8 yards of knit fabric. I found this sweatshirt knit on sale at Joann’s for $10/yard. So after all of my other materials this project probably ran me about $30. Not bad.

I love the way this coatigan came and I am already planning two more versions. I want to make two slightly shorter versions, one with a faux fur collar and one with no collar attachment at all. I went back to Joann’s the other day to scope out their knits selection but it was no bueno. My local Joann’s just completely sucks as far as garment fabrics go. If you’ve bought any decent knits lately, please let me know where! I was scoping out some options on Mood Fabrics but I may need to wait until pay day if I choose to go that route.

The best part of this whole project for me was learning (finally) how to use my coverstitch machine that I bought last month. I really struggled to figure out how to get it threaded correctly. Isn’t that how it always goes? I already had to bring it back to the shop once to get assistance with threading it. I thought I had finally figured it out, but no. So I had to get my boyfriend to sit down with my machine and figure it out for me (bless his heart) even though he doesn’t know how to sew. He just has a good intuition when it comes to machines generally. So of course he figured out how to thread the damn thing and then I was on my way.

All of my seams are serged. Then, enter the coverstitch machine, which I used to hem this coatigan and to apply the topstitching all around the perimeter of the collar and front bands. I hemmed this coatigan lickety split. It was so amazing. All I did was press under my hem and then I went straight to my machine, no pinning or fusing with tape beforehand. This machine did an excellent job.

My new workhorse

So what is a coverstitch? It’s a row or two (or three) of stitching along the front of the garment, and a chainstitch or coverstitch on the underside.

The coverstitch is on the left; the serged stitch is on the right.

Why is this important? It’s important when you’re sewing with a knit fabric that has stretch and you want the stitch to be able to stretch with the garment. Knits can be so challenging, especially without even a serger. After many years of garment sewing, I was craving that professional finish on my knit projects.

Look at how beautiful that row of topstitching is along my collar and front coatigan!

I did use my regular sewing machine briefly to create and attach my large front pockets.

I never realized how much I needed a coverstitch machine until I invested in one. Now, I don’t know how I went on without one. Before I topstitched my front and neck, I did apply some fusible stay tape first so that the fabric would not shift around and so that everything would lay flat. Ok, enough talking, more pictures.

I love how versatile this coatigan is. I wore it casually tonight for my book club. But, you can also jazz it up with a cool scarf to get your Friday night on.

Lastly, I want to talk to you about garment labels. Do you have your own label yet?

Adding your custom made label to your handmade garments is that final, special, finishing touch to really elevate your handmade wardrobe. I look forward every time I finish a project to adding my beautiful label to my garment. If you don’t have your own label yet, I really encourage you to design and order your own labels. In fact, Dutch Label Shop reached out to me recently and offered to give all of my readers a 15% off discount code for any new orders between now and the next 30 days. So if you’ve been thinking of investing in your own label, head over to their website where you can design your own label and have them shipped to you.  Remember to use the code seecarmensew15 for your discount. Thank you again Dutch Label Shop for this cool offer!

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Have you been following the Fabric Mart Challenge? If yes, then you already know that I finished in 2nd place and won a $100 gift certificate to Fabric Mart! These Mimi G jeans for Simplicity 8222 pattern helped me snag a top spot in the contest. I’ve been wearing these jeans almost every day for a whole week. To learn more about my process and the cool leather patch I made, read on.

I love these jeans! They’re actually the second pair I’ve made but the only first pair that are a true success. You can see my first pair here. The first time I struggled with the fly front and waistband. Shout out to my friend Judith for sharing with me the Baste and Gather front fly tutorial, which was a lifesaver. I figured out what I did wrong. When I first inserted the zip, I used up all of the seam allowance on the right side of the front pant. Make sense? So basically the left leg did not overlap the right to create the fly front. I know that sounds confusing, but basically when you first stitch the zipper into place do not use up all of the seam allowance on that side or you will not have the proper overlap.

close up details, including fly front

I cut a size 16 throughout. I lost a little room in the butt, though, because when I was stitching the back pant legs together I used my serger without basting first and the topstitching did not line up. I couldn’t have that, so I cut off the serged edges, basted the topstitching in place, and then went back to my serger. Unfortunately, that cost me a little room in the back so this baby is snug.

The other thing to bear in mind is that once you add the waistband, that’s going to really cinch everything in. I think my jeans are maybe one size smaller than I’d like, but as long as I don’t sit down they look hot as hell on me

Be sure to select denim with a bit of stretch, at least 2-5% spandex. The extra stretch really helps you to perfect the fit. I would be in big trouble if these jeans did not have any stretch.

To add that “extra something” for the competition, I created a custom leather tag imprinted with “See Carmen Sew.”

To make the tag, I designed the text using a font software. My boyfriend is a hobbyist machiner, so he programmed the text into his CNC machine, which then cut out the text in a piece of metal (bottom left photo). Then we took the stamp and leather (purchased from Michael’s) and went to our local Makerspace where we are members (a membership grants you access to all of the machinery). Using a very strong press, I pressed the stamp into the piece of leather, which left a permanent imprint. To give the leather tag a more vintage look, I wiped a little dark stain into it. Then I attached the tag to the back of my jeans using my leftover rivets.

Pretty nifty, huh? I love the way it turned out.

closeup of topstitching details

All in all I’m super proud of these jeans. Jeans are no-joke. They’re hard as hell and time consuming, especially because you have to switch from regular thread to topstitching thread every ten minutes. But now I have the confidence to know that I can sew my own pair of jeans and achieve a great fit.

What about you? Have you tried jeans yet? I’d love to see your version! Post a link in the comments below.

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See Carmen Sew | Online sewing diary.. by Carmen.marie.ross@gmail.com - 5M ago

It’s Week 3 of the Fabric Mart Challenge and I’m still in the game. Next week is the final round and I’m hoping to be in the top 3. I’d love it if you’d check out all of the entries and vote for me! Anyway, this week’s challenge was to create a look that could take you from day to night. I went with a two piece set. As you’ll see, you can easily transform this look to day by switching out the heels for keds and throwing on a denim jacket. For more on this project, read on!

I’m going on vacation next week and need to pack light. Everything has to fit into a backpack that I can stuff underneath my airline seat. So pieces that I can mix and match and wear day or night are key. For this challenge, I created the crop top using Butterick 6175. I’ve made this pattern twice before here and here. It’s a very easy, straight-forward bodice pattern. I added a lining and omitted the facings. I left my sleeves unlined and I added a back zipper.

The skirt pattern is Named’s Pulmu skirt. Named patterns are my favorite independent pattern makers. They’re so fashion forward. I fell in love with this skirt pattern as soon as I saw it. I know I want to make this pattern again, but next time I’ll use a fabric that is more suitable for a high waisted skirt. I needed a fabric with more weight to it.

To transition to a night look, all you have to do is ditch the jacket and put on your favorite heels.

The fabric is actually from Joann’s Casa Collection. I usually never look at those fabrics because I always assumed they were for prom crap and costumes. As I didn’t have any other options, though, I decided to take a gander and I’m glad I did. I was really drawn to this fabric with the 3-D flowers attached. It kind of reminds me of something Marchesa might use. Embellished fabric is really popular right now and I also figured this might be my last chance to sew something white and airy before winter comes.

I love the simple elegance of this ensemble. Plus, you could easily pair the top with high waisted denim jeans, or tuck a simple tank into the skirt.

So what do you think? Have you sewn these patterns before? How would you mix and match these pieces with other items already in your closet? If you’ve sewn up this skirt especially, I’d love to see your version! Provide the link in the comment section.

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Are you following the Fabric Mart challenge? This sweater dress is my entry for this week and I’d sure love it if you’d check out all of the other entries (but ultimately cast your vote for me) here. Does this dress look familiar to you? I’ve made it twice before, once as a flirty party dress and again as a favorite fall dress. Pretty much every woman who sews regularly for herself has made this dress at one time or another. This is my third iteration of this dress and I also made a detachable cowl neck for the winter months, which completely changes the look of this dress. To learn more about why I love this pattern so much, and for some tips on how to achieve a perfect neckline on a knit, read on.

Conveniently, my middle name is Marie, but I did not graffiti this building.

First, let’s talk about this fabric. It is a really nice charcoal knit that I picked up at Joann’s and I just love the weight of it. I want to say it was about $15/yard, which is annoying for Joann’s, but it really is a nice fabric. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I’m a print girl, but this charcoal gray looks and feels very luxe to me. Knits still intimidate me, but nothing beats the comfort and ease of fit that comes with a great knit pattern. Everyone loves this pattern because it’s so easy. My side seams, sleeves, and armholes were all stitched with my serger. The only thing left was the neckline and hems, and I wanted to nail them this time. I’m so pleased with the results.

that neckline though

How to get that perfect neckline on a knit:

Hemming an unbound neckline on a knit has forever been my Achilles heel, far worse than attaching an eased sleeve. For the life of me, I could not finish a knit neckline without stretching the damn thing out and getting wonky stitches. Well, I did a little research and learned that the trick is all about properly prepping your fabric. I bought knit stabilizer tape in a 1/2 inch width and applied it with an iron all along the perimeter of my neckline (on the wrong side/inside of your fabric). After that was applied, I used “fuse a seam” tape to temporarily fold over my fabric and hold the neckline in place. Make sense? I should have taken photos so forgive me. Anyway, once my fabric was prepped and folded over, I went to my sewing machine (where I already had a twin needle inserted) and I increased my stitch length to three. I held my breath and stitched that neckline down. And you know what? This is truly the nicest neckline I’ve ever achieved and I couldn’t be happier!

you can see some of the stabilizer peeking out

Taking the time to do things correctly really pays off. I repeated this method for my sleeve hems and my skirt hem. Once I feel more confident using my coverstitch machine, I’ll coverstitch my neckline and hems using the same fabric prep methodology. The coverstitch machine will allow my hems to have stretch. So once I master all that I’ll report back.

Anyway, I don’t want to talk your ear off, but suffice it to say that I love my slinky new dress. I lived in it all weekend. I wore it to a birthday party Saturday night with a pair of black stilettos. Then I wore it on Sunday paired with these flats for brunch. Then I kid you not I wore it to the office on Monday. It needs to be laundered now.

For the Fabric Mart challenge we were supposed to add a modification. I made a detachable cowl neck collar.

Hopefully it’ll be enough to slide me through to the next round. What about you? Have you made this pattern before? Link yours up in the comments so I can see! Also, what are your best knit tips?

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See Carmen Sew by Carmen.marie.ross@gmail.com - 5M ago

Labor day weekend marks the end of summer sewing for me. In fact, I’m working on a fall knit dress right now. It’s been chilly here in Lexington but maybe I will get another nice day or two to wear this flirty cut-out dress. Additionally, I designed my own fabric for this garment. To learn more about construction and painting on fabric, read on!

The pattern I used was New Look 6509. My kitty Lou Lou decided to chew at the packaging while I worked, so that’s why the envelope is torn up. I made View B, although I think the jumpsuit version of View C would look so fabulous in a stretch denim that I can’t hardly stand it! I’m just itching to sew up View C now. Anyway, the impetus for this project is Fabric Mart, a popular fabric retailer. I’m a contestant in an online sewing contest that they’re running right now. Check out the other entries here and vote for me if you feel so inclined

Fabric Mart sent each contestant a couple of yards of plain white muslin fabric and the challenge was to re-invent the fabric in a creative way and to sew a garment that represents who we are as a designer. If you follow me on instagram (@carmenross88) you probably know by now that I have been dabbling in mixed media art techniques, including painting, stamping, and image transfer techniques. Thus, I knew I wanted to paint on my fabric and even try an image transfer for a pop art look. Here are some up close photos of how I designed this fabric:

I had a lot of fun letting my creativity flow and experimenting with paint on fabric. If you’re interested in learning how to do image transfer yourself, I have a few video tutorials posted on my instagram account. Anyway, I cut a size 8 through the bust and graded to a 12 at the waist and 14 at the hips. Ironically, there wasn’t any time to make a muslin even though I was working with muslin fabric. I just had to make it work, as Tim Gunn would say. Well, I got lucky and it turned out just fine.

The cut outs were easier than I thought they’d be and the dress feels sexy and flirty to me without being too obvious. I finished the hem with bias tape and I also covered the waist seam with bias tape, which is a really neat and tidy way to conceal that seam. I’ll likely be doing that again where I can.

Anyway, this girl has been busy. I haven’t posted anything since July, but I swear I have been sewing. I’ve been working on an ensemble that I’ve had to keep under wraps. I’m participating in my first charity runway event next week. Eeek! The event raises money for Dress for Success Lexington, a non-profit that provides free business attire for low-income women and also provides job readiness training. The challenge was to design your own garment(s) using old outdated clothes. So, I’ve actually sewn up a three piece set but I cannot reveal it until next week. I’m proud of myself because I’ve made the entire garments without relying on a commercial pattern but just kind of making things up as I go along. And you know what? I think it’s turning out pretty damn good. So I can’t wait to share that with you all next week.

In other, other news, I bought a coverstitch machine today o.m.g. I’m going to sew all the knits this winter! Does anyone have a coverstitch machine? Please tell me everything! Do you love it? Has it changed your life? Did I just spend all that money for nothing? Do tell!

And lastly, if you have sewn up New Look 6509, link below in the comment section because I’d love to see your version. Don’t forget to vote (for me)!

xoxo

Carmen

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I’m on a Kimono roll this summer. This is the second kimono I’ve made and I’m just as in love with it as the one I made last month. This is the Named Asaka kimono pattern. I recently ordered two Named Patterns, and I was eager to sew this up as soon as it came in the mail. I love having a short version kimono and the dramatic sleeves are everything. To learn more about this project, keep reading!

I love the versatility of kimonos. They’re so chic, whether you’re wearing it while having your morning coffee, out to the pool, or even running errands in a t-shirt and jeans. Did you see my kimono from last month? I love Named’s flirty, short version with dramatic sleeves.

Named Patterns are so fashion forward in my opinion. This is actually the second Named Pattern I’ve sewn up. Check out my first Named look here. Anyway, I decided to cut a size 40 and I used a very inexpensive polyester from SR Harris.

The fabric was only $4.99/yard and I used about three yards of fabric. I was afraid my kimono would not end up looking luxe because I used cheap fabric, but in the end I think it looks very cool. Plus, since I was using an inexpensive fabric I was not afraid to attach this bright and fun patch that I bought in San Francisco in January.

I think the patch makes this kimono extra fun. I went over to my friend’s house tonight and I had planned to photograph my kimono when it started raining. Fortunately, my friend had this cute umbrella so I was able to photograph in the rain.

You can wear this kimono belted or unbelted.

Have you made yourself a kimono yet? What have you been sewing over and over this summer?

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See Carmen Sew by Carmen.marie.ross@gmail.com - 8M ago

Hope ya’ll had a lovely 4th of July! In Lexington, it’s been raining all week so my fourth was wet, but green. To get into the holiday spirit, I sewed up a red, white, and blue dress using Seamwork’s Adelaide dress pattern. Have you heard of Seamwork? It’s Colette Pattern’s online sewing magazine and each issue features two new pdf patterns that you can download with your subscription. If you want to learn more about this dress and Seamwork, read on.

First, let’s talk about this fabric. You know I love to talk about fabric. This is a beautiful rayon that I bought at Mood Fabrics LA last summer for only $12/yard. I think that’s a pretty fair price. I love this fabric because it feels non-fussy and the print has a cool vintage quality about it.

Plus, the lightweight rayon feels delicious against my skin on hot summer days. For this dress, I only needed a little over two yards, so my fabric only ran me $24. Not bad for a one of a kind handmade with love and care dress!

Adelaide by Seamwork is a very easy-going dress with an optional tie-belt and it features snap closures instead of buttons. Personally, I love snaps. Once you get the hang of how to install them, they’re a game-changer. I so much prefer to install snaps than to sew up buttons, amiright?

The neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding. Usually, I’m a bit intimidated by this finish. For some reason, my bias binding just never seems to want to lay nice for me. This time, however, I’m quite pleased with my finish. Maybe practice makes perfect?

Everything looks very tidy. Seamwork claims this dress can be made in three hours. I’m sure if this were my third version, I’d agree. However, I think three hours is a bit ambitious. I’d say this dress took five or six hours to complete.

I like Seamwork’s patterns because they always include a wide-format version. I don’t give a damn if it’s going to cost me $15 to have Kinko’s print this pattern on a wide format printer. There’s no damn way I’m going to tape 38 pages together before I actually cut out my pattern. So, that’s exactly what I did.

I decided to cut a size 6 without making a muslin first. Sallie Oh cut a size 4 and House of Pinheiro cut an 8, so I just figured I was probably somewhere in between and cut a 6. I did add about an inch or two to the shoulders, though, because when I cut out the pattern and held it up to my body I just had a feeling that I was going to need extra length there. I was right. After you’ve been sewing for awhile you just start to get a sense about these things. Anyway, I have to share with you House of Pinheiro’s version. I love it! That vintage fabric is everything. She looks cool AF.

If you want to make your own version of Adelaide, subscribe to Seamwork! A subscription is only $6/month and each subscription includes credits for two pattern downloads. Your subscription provides you with access to the entire pattern library so you can choose to download patterns from past issues, too. And, if you use my referral link you will get your first month half off for only $3! Whoa! That means each pattern is only $1.50. Such a good deal! Sign up here.

Also, check out my past Seamwork projects here.

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