Posts Tagged ‘style’

Style: Easy-going Palazzo Pants

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These last few months have included a lot of fun travel. I’m getting worn out, but I’m also meeting so many fabulous people and having a wonderful time seeing new places.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

All photos by Brandi Gard

This month has taken me to Nashville, Tennessee area for Inspired Retreat.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

Naturally, I was bored with my current selection of clothes. I had to make something new. I had some fabric that I knew needed to be palazzo pants or culottes. It’s a very breezy fabric I found at Michael Levine Loft in L.A.’s fabric district. I love visiting there, but I need to sew up more of my fabric stash before I visit again. I have too much fabric now!

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

I used a vintage patternsimplicity 8550 for the pants. The size I got measured for a 23″ waist (who has a waist that small?!? NOT ME. but looking at the technical drawing and the flat pattern pieces, I did the math and it was a simple gathered pant with a straight waist. I could alter the waistband without having to change anything else. I did add an extra 2 inches in the length just in case. I’d rather they be too long than too short.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

The fabric I chose is a glorified broomstick fabric (you know broom stick skirts from the 90s?? Yes. Like that. I ironed the fabric before sewing with it, which may cause a problem down the line, but I like the feel of them better when the crinkles aren’t SO dramatic.

In an ideal situation, I would have let the fabric rest before cutting into it. I didn’t, which is why the patterns don’t quite match up at the seams. It kind of drives me nuts, but I’ve actively decided not to care about it because at the end of the day I crossed a project off my list that I’ve been meaning to do for some time.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

I decided to sew and complete these all on Saturday (the day before leaving for Tennessee). I’m thrilled that I finished them and they worked! I plan on making another pair, but with a few slight changes.

It was a real treat to have Brandi of Brandi Gard photography photograph this session. It’s not often I get to take direction from a pro. Feeling so glamorous.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

Outfit details:

  • top: thrifted
  • necklace: H&M
  • bracelet: The Haute Pursuit
  • pants: self-made
  • shoes: TOMS
  • sunglasses: c/o TomKat Studio

Next I plan to finish my Easter dress. And upholster a chair.

 

 

 

Sewing: Easter Dresses for the Girls

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Easter came and went so fast. I can’t believe it’s been over a week since that glorious day. We kept festivities simple with new Sunday Best and a basket of candy for each kid (minus J – she’ll get one next year ;)).

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I made dresses for the girls and bought Felix pants and a polo. It’s kind of unreal how Felix’s pants match the fabric I picked out for the girls.

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I found this great polyester (I’m assuming it’s polyester) in the fabric district in L.A. last month. It’s very drapey, but with how light-weight it is it’s completely opaque. I’ve had trouble finding fabric with good drape and opacity these days. The print and colors aren’t what I would normally gravitate towards, but it’s growing on me. I like the little tulips and the unexpected blue. I love dressing girls up in blue. Little known fact: Pink used to be a boy color and baby blue was a girl color because they were the pastel versions of red and blue. Red being viewed as more masculine than blue. I don’t think color should be relegated to just masculine or just feminine. I like mixing it up.

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Back buttons and pleats for Juniper’s dress

For the dresses, I made up the patterns. I drafted both dresses from clothes that Penelope and Juniper already had and fit. I kept them simple with pleats instead of gathers (whoever says gathering is easy is crazy). I wanted them to be simple enough that they could be pulled over, but with some thinking, that wasn’t going to happen with a woven fabric. Some kind of fastener had to be involved. Due to the fabric’s drape, I decided buttons were the best fit. I hate putting on buttons. Executing the button holes was a breeze. I’ve got an amazing automatic button hole setting on my machine, so I would set it then let it do its thing while I sat or left the room to take care of something else. It was sewing the buttons on that was a pain.

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Front pleat detail for Penelope’s Dress

Overall, the buttons add a sweet element, particularly to the simple silhouette of Penelope’s dress. Both girls have to have help getting dressed, but closing a button isn’t a big deal.

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Back button detail for Penelope’s Dress

The fabric has been a dream to work with. Now I want something in my size. I’m still trying to decide what to do. I’ve got about 2 1/2 – 3 yards left so the possibilities are nearly endless. Culottes? Wrap skirt? Pleated dress?

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Also, I think I have the most beautiful children. I might be a tad biased.

Sewing Style: Sequins and Leather

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This top took me FOREVER to construct. I’ve known I’ve wanted to do this sweater since last winter and I discovered the glories of quilted knits. As the sweetest surprise, Lauren Dahl gifted me a couple yards of this gloriousness from Mood. Yes. You better believe I was beyond giddy to cut into it.

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And cut into it I did. But it took me a month to remember to buy sequins and beads whenever I was at the store.

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And then another 2 months to sew the darn things on. Chris was a trooper through this project. I had a pile of various sized sequins glittering the floor in our living/dining room for about 6 weeks. I’d sew one or two on before having to get to an email, calm a fussy child or police the troublemaking that Penelope and her neighborhood buddies like to initiate.

I kept telling myself it would be worth it.

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The sequins I started with were huge. I didn’t like how big they were. So I graduated them to the smaller size toward the bottom of the shirt. I like the subtle depth it adds to the top.

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I cut out my regular size Lane Raglan only to realize I should have gone up a size if I wanted more of a sweater look. As a stroke of genius, I added a ribbed racing stripe down the sides of the arm and bodice to remedy my mistake.

A happy mistake, if you ask me.

Another happy mistake was with the shoulders/elbows. I had initially cut out leather shoulder pieces, but I forgot to sew them in place when I was constructing the top. Instead of unpicking 5 large serged seams, I opted for leather elbow patches instead. I used Megan Nielsen’s elbow patch download instead of drafting my own. That lovely woman is a life-saver.

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After I completed the sequins and lined the front panel (to keep the sequins from falling apart), the sweater came together rather quickly.

After I triumphantly completed the sweater, I wore it to my grandparents’ house for a dinner we had planned. That night June came down with rotavirus and vomited all over the sequins. Poor girl.

I was confronted with the issue: how do I wash this thing now? It’s got hand-sewn sequins and leather patches. It’s truly a dry clean only top. I don’t like making tops that aren’t easily laundered. I don’t want to be hesitant to get messy. I’m in a very messy phase of life with 3 littles under the age of 7. They’re darling, but disgusting.

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As much as I love this top, I don’t want them to feel like mommy can’t play with them because she’s wearing her ‘nice clothes’. But I still want to have a couple of nice things. I’m torn.

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Speaking of nice things, these pants are my favorite post-partum find. The midrise waist with stretchy denim is fabulous. I’ve lost some of the pregnancy weight so they’re getting looser on me, but they’ve never felt uncomfortable. And I got them about 10 pounds ago. Lulu*s for the win.

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Aaaaand. . . I finally found my leather jacket. I started a pin board of leather jackets to get my mind in the space of what I was looking for. When I was in Vegas hanging with my calligrapals, we went on the hunt and successfully found the jacket. And when I say the jacket, I mean the only jacket I’ll ever buy for the rest of my life. It was worth all those pennies, though. It fits like it was tailored just for me.

Outfit details:

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Sewing Style: Hawaiian Print Scout Tee Dress

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Last night I had a neighborhood meet-up of the artists in the area. I love our neighborhood. There are a surprising amount of creatives and artists. Many of them are young kids. It’s a thrill to see their creativity ignite as they learn new things.

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This is my neighbor Sam. She’s got the raddest style. She’s had such an independent style since I started working with the youth when she was 14. A month or so ago, she approached me to see if I could help her sew a variation of this dress she spied on Urban Outfitters.

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The inspiration dress was made out of a knit. She had in mind using this cotton woven she picked up from Hawaii recently. The print is amazing. Ultimately she wanted a bold version with sleeves and the tunic-style slits.

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We had just about a yard of fabric to work with, so getting the prints to match up was nothing short of magical. They don’t match up exactly, but there’s great horizontal continuity with the seam matching.

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I loved doing the color blocked sleeves. It was a happy accident, really. She had mentioned she wanted a longer sleeve, but I forgot when we were cutting out the sleeve. OOPS! After realizing this, we brain stormed a little and decided to color block instead of cut out new sleeves. I love happy accidents like those.

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I love how this turned out. The best part was that she really owned the project. I helped her pick out the pattern (Scout tee), size the pattern, make slight adjustments, but then it was all her. I made her do all the sewing, and she rocked it! I did the neckline for her, since that’s a little difficult dealing with biased tape, but other than that, she did it all.

I’m so proud.

 

Sponsored Style: Sweater Tunic with Indiesew

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This post is sponsored by Indiesew. Get bundles of PDF patterns from your favorite independent apparel pattern makers at a discount!

Find patterns, browse projects made by community members and beef up your sewing skills all in one spot!

I’m thrilled to be partnering with Indiesew to help debut their spring collection! It’s been fun to find out about new-to-me designers through their collection bundles.

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The Marianne dress from Christine Haynes really caught my eye. I love the possibilities for pattern play in View B and the sweet collar in View A is screaming to be made out of some sweet floral (which I need to find).

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Mother Nature has a funny  sense of humor this year. We have absolutely NO SNOW in our mountain (we should have 4-5′ of snow drifts this time of year). I’ve even seen a couple of tulip sprigs pup up between the mounds of dirt in our front yard. We need snow! I need more winter!

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It’s still fairly chilly, so between that and my desperation for more snow I sewed up a sweater tunic variation of the Marianne. Printing and taping the PDF took longer than cutting and sewing the pattern. The instructions are very straight forward and the fit is true to size. Even with hemming and finishing edges (I like lots of topstitching), this still took me about an hour to make.

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Here’s what I did differently from the pattern:

  • I cut the sleeves 19″ from the shoulder seam notch, tapering them in gradually just like the pattern
  • I cut the front and back bodice short to make it a top. Front piece is 16 inches and back is 17.5 inches (not including seam allowances)
  • Since I was planning on the side slits, I didn’t cut as dramatic an a-line for the bodice
  • I sewed the side seams to just about 9 inches below the armpit seam and made slits on both sides

I’m thrilled with the final piece. I didn’t do any tailoring or fitting afterward. Mega win. The only thing that I could have changed was that I accidentally cut the bottom knit perpendicular to the grain. So it stretches vertically instead of horizontally. There’s still some horizontal stretch, so it works. But if you look at it closely, you’ll see the knit is horizontal when it should be vertical. OOPS! That’s what I get for rushing. :)

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I’ve been kind of in a little bit of a dark grunge zone lately. The black nail polish, monochromatic clothing and acid wash jeans are all things I’m totally crushing on lately. Now all I need is the right leather jacket and I’m set! I found one this weekend that’s close, but the fit wasn’t quite there. Any suggestions on places to hit up for a leather jacket?

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Outfit details:

Save an extra 10% for the first 25 people that purchase the spring bundle! Use code: SPRING15

This post is sponsored, but all writing/thoughts/opinions are my own.
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