Category: womens

Sew Along Dinner Date Dress Reveal

Sew Along Dinner Date Dress Reveal

The sew along is over, and I have so much to share on this project! This pattern is just stunning and you need to make one for your wardrobe ASAP!

Red Dinner Date Dress Sew Along|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
The neckline of this dress is stunning!

 

Red Dinner Date Dress

The red dinner date dress is finally done! I have a bit of a love hate relationship with it. This is princess seam dress is Vogue #V1542. If you follow my Facebook page, you will know that we had a sew along during the month of December for this dress. The designer Vogue pattern has good sewing directions and is overall easy to sew. Don’t let the fancy neckline intimidate you, it’s actually quite simple. I think it’s the neckline that draws everyone to this particular style! It is so delicate and feminine looking, with the handmade details it almost looks like a couture dress. This style would be great for date night, Valentine’s Day, weddings, evening dinner parties or other evening events. Add a shawl and a pretty clutch bag to make a complete look!

Red Dinner Date Dress|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
The floral motif and draped cording is easy to make.

 

Red Dinner Dress Supplies Needed

• 4 yards 45″ wide red sueded polyester fabric (affiliate link)

• 3 static free polyester lining fabric, 45″ wide (affiliate link)

• 20″ invisible zipper

•Matching thread

•Sewing machine, pins, scissors

 

My choice for fabric for this project was a sueded polyester. If I made this dress again I think I would choose a crepe or a velvet instead. The polyester unraveled a lot and showed water spots from pressing. Polyester is not very forgiving, and was hard to shape and mold into the close fit that I wanted for this dress. The dress on the pattern envelope was made from Linen which would also be a good choice for this pattern.

 

Red dinner date dress reveal|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
My sloping shoulders make me feel like the straps won’t stay up on this dress.

Other than the fabric issue, I should have made a few more alterations before I started. I added 5″ to the body length of the dress as it was rather short for my tall 5’8″ frame. I prefer a longer, knee length dress.

Red Dinner dress|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com

 

Getting the Dress to Fit Proper

This photo is so embarrassing! I spent a lot of time fitting the front of my dress, however I neglected to fit the back. How could I not even think of that?? See all those wrinkles at the waist? Those shouldn’t be there! I need to make a sway back adjustment next time with this dress. Also, the armholes are a bit snug for me and I would make it about 1/2″ lower next time around. I have since purchased a full length mirror for my sewing room so I will not make the same mistake again!

The skirt is a bias ruffle, which has a lovely drape and adds to the flattery of the dress. However, it’s not an easy pattern piece to alter. For this reason, be sure to make any needed alterations to the body of the dress and not the ruffle part. I have decided that I will wear a shall with this dress to cover my mistakes in the back of it, if I decide to wear it at all. It’s not my best work and I just don’t feel that comfortable in it. Did I mention I also cut a small hole in the fabric when doing my zipper installation???? Yikes!

Vogue Fit Options

Vogue patterns have a fitting guide on them to help you decide which styles will look the best on your body type. According to the Vogue website, this dress is suitable for the following body types:

Inverted TriangeTHE INVERTED TRIANGLE: Large bust and/or broad shoulders with narrow hips.

TriangleTHE TRIANGLE: Small bust and/or narrow shoulders with full hips and/or thighs.

RectangleTHE RECTANGLE: Balanced on top and bottom, but boxy, with little or no waist definition.

HourglassTHE HOURGLASS: Equally balanced on top and bottom, with a trim waist.

Part of the reason I chose to make this dress was because I was confident that it would look on my apple or rectangular shaped figure. I am not so sure I agree with Vogue that this is a flattering cut for me. It may have been more flattering if I didn’t have large sloping shoulders. I feel like the dress is snug under the arms, and sliding down at the shoulders. I may need to add some elastic underneath the shoulders pieces to make it more secure. This suggestion came from someone on our Chambray Blues Facebook page. It’s a very good idea and I must say I would have never thought of it myself. I love the power of community, we are stronger together than we are on our own! Be sure to stop by and like our page, share a project or ask for advice!

Red Dinner Date Dress Reveal|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
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The next dress we are sewing is a cut and sew sweater dress. Read this post to learn about cut and sew sweater knits, then find a pretty knit dress pattern and fabric to join along! I will post more updates on Facebook, you won’t want to miss it!

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Try some of these other posts for more inspiration!

Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress

Renaissance Costume Pattern Review and Construction Tips

Vintage Blouse Tutorial with Tulip Sleeves

Scrappy Denim Boho Necklace Tutorial

Sewing for the Renassiance Faire

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Anyone Can Make a Cut and Sew Sweater

Anyone Can Make a Cut and Sew Sweater

Anyone can make a cut and sew sweater, you will be amazed at how easy it is! Look for sweater fabric and make one today!

 

Anyone Can make a cut and sew sweater|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
Me in my new fuzzy sweater, I can’t wait to make more of them!

Make a Cut and Sew Sweater

The holidays are over and I am back at work in my sewing studio. I am excited to share this project with you, it is super easy and one of my favorite makes! This Cut and Sew Sweater is made from sweater fabric that you can purchase at the fabric store. It’s heavier than regular knit fabric and there are many styles and colors to choose from. Sweaters that are made in garment production can be made in one of two ways. With a cut and sew yardage fabric or knitted into sweater shape by machines. We all know how much work knitting by hand is, and very few people own knitting machines. By purchasing sweater fabric by the yard you can make a sweater in a very short period of time.

Cut and Sew sweaters were first introduced to me when I was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC many years ago. At that time, it was nearly impossible to find sweater fabric in the fabric stores and I recall roaming the garment district of NYC looking for the perfect knit to make a sweater. I don’t think I ever found what I was looking for! So much has changed since then! I purchased my cut and sew sweater fabric at Joann Fabrics and Crafts, but you can find it on Amazon (affiliate link) and other places.

The Sweater Fabric

Sweater fabric is usually 60″ wide, and comes in different fiber contents such as acrylic, rayon, cotton and wool. Much of it is only dry cleanable, so be sure to read the care label before you purchase. My navy blue “eyelash” fabric has bits of yellow, blue, red and white and is hand washable. I plan to wash it on the gentle cycle and dry it flat. Sweater knits stretch out easily when hung and don’t recover their stretch well, treat it a bit carefully when washing and drying. I was so excited to make this sweater I forgot to pre-wash my fabric (that never happens!), hopefully it will not shrink much in the wash!

The great thing about these sweater knits is that there are so many unique designs available. Cable knits, ribbed knits, argyle, boucle, and chenille all will give you lots of different design options. I recommend using a simple pattern like this Simplicity Pattern #S8738 for your first attempt. It has an oversized vintage look that I completely adore, and it’s easy to follow the directions.

The Sweater Details

There are only 3 seams in this sweater: the shoulders, the side seams, and neck. I serged the seams and added a piece of 1″ wide fusible interfacing in the shoulder seam as a stay to keep the shoulder from stretching. Threads magazine recently had an article about this technique and it worked perfectly! The only pattern fit adjustments needed was in the turtle neck length. I have a short neck, so I reduced the turtle by half to make a mock neck style. It fits my short neck perfectly and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Sorry for the blurry photos, my camera is on the fritz lately!

I added a little bit of length to the sleeves as well, but I shouldn’t have. The sleeves are plenty long and I end up rolling them up most of the time. It is so refreshing to have sleeves that fit my long arms, almost everything I own is short in this area! I can’t wait to make some more sweaters, this one went together in less than an hour from start to finish!

The sleeve and bottom hem are finished with a simple zig zag stitch. You could use this stitch to sew the entire sweater if you don’t have a serger. The sweater fabric really hides a lot of things and makes this a great beginner project. I use an old Elna serger that I have had for more than 25 years. It works great with just about any fabric and I love how easily it sewed this heavy knit.

Anyone Can Make a Cut and Sew Sweater|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
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For more inspiration try these posts!

Sew a 3 Step Buffalo Check Cardigan

3 Step Easy T-Shirt Pattern Hack

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

How to Shorten Pattern Sleeves

How to Measure for Pattern Alterations

 

 

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Sew a 3 Step Buffalo Check Cardigan

Sew a 3 Step Buffalo Check Cardigan

Sew a Buffalo Check Cardigan in just 3 easy steps! It’s warm and cozy, great for those chilly winter days!

Easy Buffalo Cardigan

We recently went on a road trip to the mountains of North Carolina. It was colder than I expected, and I didn’t bring a coat. My buffalo check cardigan was plenty warm despite the freezing temps and I have been wearing it ever since! It was an easy item to sew with McCalls Pattern #7262. This pattern is great for sweater knits, wool or fleece. I used inexpensive buffalo fleece from JoAnn Fabrics for this project and a few simple pattern matching tricks.

Buffalo Check Cardigan in 3 Easy Steps
Simple details make this item easy to sew! Photo from McCalls website.

 

There are many things I love about this cardigan. The flowing design is comfortable and easy to wear over a t-shirt or turtleneck top. The long length covers any multitude of figure flaws and is very flattering. I decided to simplify this project into 3 easy steps to sew for a very beginner to make!

Hubby and I visited the Biltmore Mansion in North Carolina.

Buffalo Cardigan Supplies Needed:

•3 yards buffalo check fleece fabric

•McCalls Pattern #7262

•Marking pen and ruler for marking patterns

•Straight pins

•Serger or regular sewing machine with a narrow Zig-zag stitch

 

Buffalo Check Pattern Matching and Cutting Directions:

  1. Cut out front, back and sleeve pattern pieces and make any needed length adjustments. The pattern pieces are large because the collar is in one with the body of the sweater so they may look a bit odd!
  2. Lay out your fabric on the cutting table, pinning selvedges together to match the print every few inches. Be sure that the black squares match and the red squares match EXACTLY on both layers.
  3. Lay your front pattern piece on top of the fabric. Line up the underarm area of the front pattern piece with the top of a black or red square. Pin in place, checking to see that the fabric design also matches on the bottom layer of fabric. Mark your position of the print (red square top or black square top) on the pattern piece front and back with a ruler and pen. Pin entire front pattern in place.
  4. Repeat for the back pattern piece, matching the print at the underarm seam as before. If you pinned your front underarm at the top of a red square, pin the back piece on the same position in the print at the same underarm point. Pin entire back pattern in place once you are sure the pattern will line up. Do not worry about matching other points in the print. If the prints match under the arms, they will match everywhere else (shoulders and side seams) automatically.
  5. Lay out sleeve pattern, matching the same point in the print that you used before at the front and back underarm seams. Hint: It helps to visually line up the pattern piece to see how the print will match. Mark with a marking pen on the tissue paper pattern so there is no mistake where the prints will line up before laying out the pattern.
  6. Cut all pieces out after re-checking how the fabric will match a second time.

Easy 3 step buffalo cardigan|Chambray Blues blog|www.chambrayblues.com

3 Step Buffalo Check Cardigan Sewing Directions:

  1. Sewing the center back collar seams together.
  2. Sew the front and back shoulder seams together.
  3. Stitch the side seams.

That’s it! Crazy simple right? So, why are patterns always so complicated? Much of it has to do with the type of fabric that is used for sewing. When using fleece fabric you do not need to finish the seam edges. This fabric saves a lot of steps! You can finish the seams if you wish, however, fleece will never unravel and is very stable even after multiple washings. By eliminating the buttons and buttonholes, there is no need for interfacing or facings. I did not hem my cardigan because it was already the perfect length and will not unravel. This cardigan would also make a great gift to sew for someone.

You can see in the photo that the print matches well at the side seam. By taking the time to match the print when cutting there is no need to fuss when sewing the seams together. It’s a great way to learn how to match prints, without a lot of stress! Fleece is easy to sew because it has some give to it. If you make a mistake and the print isn’t matching the way you want it to, you can pull the fabric a bit as you stitch to fix it. Easy peasy!

Let me know how your project turns out! Tag me on Instagram post in our Facebook Group!

 

More easy tutorials can be found below:

3 Step Easy T-Shirt Pattern Hack

Tees to Undies, Refashion Your Shirts to Underwear

Men’s Thrifted Shirt Upcycle Hack in 7 Steps

Sew Along 2018, the Year of the Blues!

Sew a Pocket Square in 3 Easy Steps

 

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Update Your Old Jeans to Fit

Update Your Old Jeans to Fit

What do you do with your old jeans that no longer fit? You can update them so they fit like new with a few scraps of recycled denim, here’s how!

Make Your Jeans Fit|Chambray Blues Blog|Chambrayblues.com
Make your jeans fit better with this easy jean hack!

 

Jeans that Don’t Fit

We are all guilty of purchasing something that didn’t really fit us. Recently, I came home with a pair of jeans that were 3 sizes to small from the department store. I don’t know what possessed me to buy them because I knew they didn’t fit. I wanted a high waist style in a dark denim, but the store did not have my size. I had a coupon and a gift certificate that I needed to use, so I bought them anyway. These brand new jeans were not returnable and had been sitting in my closet for ages. They had never been worn, until now. I could give them to the thrift store, but I was determined to not waste them. After a bit of experimenting, I figured out how to get the perfect fit by sewing an insert down the side of the jeans. The insert is made of strips of recycled denim (I love my scraps of my boys old jeans!) that were stitched together in a colorful stripe. This is an easy project, here’s what you will need:

Make Jeans Fit|Chambray Blues Blog|Chambrayblues.com

Updated Jeans Supplies

• Jeans that are too small

•9-10 Strips of used denim or other heavy fabrics, cut 2 1/2″ wide

•Sewing Machine and thread

•Scissors or rotary cutter, mat and ruler

•Measuring tape

Directions:

1. Measure your waist and record the measurement on a piece of paper. My waist is 42″.

2. Measure the jean waistband circumference. Subtract this number from your waist measurement to get the amount of inches you need to add to the jeans. If you are a curvy fit, you may need to compare the hip measurements as well. My jeans measured 36″ at the waist. So when I subtract 42-36= 8″, 8″ need to be added to get the jeans to fit. By dividing 8 in half, there is 4″ to add to each side of the jeans. If you need to add extra room in the hips, it is easy to shape your insert on a curve so you are adding more to the area where it is needed to fit.

My denim scraps are cut off of our boys old jeans.

Strips are cut 2 1/2″ wide and made as long as possible.

3. Sew the strips of denim together with 1/4″ seam allowance, matching the left edges, the length of the piece. You can piece the strips together if they are too short as needed.

4. Cut into pieces the width that you need for your insert with a rotary cutter or scissors, mine were 4″. If you need more room in the hip, your pieces may be wider in that area. I did not include seam allowance in these calculations for simplicity.

5. Sew the cut strips together edge to edge in long strips until the piece is long enough to fit down the side of your jeans plus 1″ for hemming. Trim away excess. Hem the top and bottom edges of the strip with 1/2″ folded hem.

6. Cut side seam of jeans apart, from hem up through the waistband, removing seam allowance and any rivets that may be in the way of stitching a new seam. Baste pocket to the side of the jeans if needed (My pocket was sewn into the side seam, so when I cut the side seam away the pocket was loose. It was basted in place at the side seam to make the sewing easier for the next step.)

7. With right sides together, sew the insert to the side of the jeans on the front and back. Repeat on the other leg. Press and enjoy!

Make Your Jeans Fit|Chambray Blues Blog|Chambrayblues.com
Make your jeans fit better with this easy jean hack! Don’t forget to Pin this post!

These jeans are now super comfortable to wear! The denim insert has a bit of stretch to it fits great, and it is so nice to have new jeans with a unique design to wear! I am thrilled that this purchase was not a waste of money and I know I will get lots of wear out of them this fall! If you would like more information on diy fashion projects from my Chambray Blues Blog, click here! Thanks to Deborah for having me guest post!

If you love this idea, here are some other recycled fashion posts:

How to Make a Quilted Potholder from Scraps

Mens Thrifted Shirt Upcycle Hack in 7 Steps

Re-cyled Jean Denim Vest

Easy to Make Scrappy Denim Skirt

Make an Upcycled Denim Hat from Old Jeans

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Make a Chill’n Cricut T-Shirt Collection with #YogaLife

Make a Chill’n Cricut T-Shirt Collection with #YogaLife

T-shirts are part of our everyday wardrobe, here’s how you can make your own #yogalife shirts with your Cricut Maker!

Yogalife T-shirt collection|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
This fun t-shirt collection has something for the entire family!

 

T-shirts are something we wear every day.

I often wear t-shirts to bed, to the grocery store, and certainly to yoga class. Sometimes I sew my own, but I have found that by using the Cricut Maker I can be creative and not get overwhelmed by yet another sewing project. Making t-shirts has become a phenomenon as you can see if look at the Cricut website. Some folks even make t-shirts as part of their small home businesses. Cricut has been asking me to share my T-shirt collection designs with you, all you have to do is login to Design Space on the Cricut website, and click Make it! This post is sponsored by Cricut. Any opinions given are completely my own, for a complete list of rules see the disclosure page.

 

 

Yoga Life T-shirts|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
Camisole style t-shirts can be found at your local Walmart.

Sources for Supplies

My blank T-shirts come from the shelves at Walmart. I am sure you can find them in a store near you. I look for different styles and colors but keep in mind most t-shirts shrink at least 10-20 percent in the laundry. It is best if you can wash and pre-shrink your shirt before putting the graphics on it. The Cricut HTV (Heat Transfer Vinyl) Iron-On vinyl is a very impressive product. It adhere’s easily and washes well to cotton and blended fiber shirts. However, for durability, drying them on high heat is not recommended. Tumble dry on low or hang dry for the best results with the colored vinyl. The metallic vinyls are more delicate and should not go in the dryer at all. I do not recommend using generic vinyls in any form, they will not hold up as well and you will wish you had used the Cricut brand.

Here’s my process for designing and creating these shirts:

#YogaLife T-Shirt Supplies Needed (affiliate links included for your convience):

White or Black adult sized t-shirts, (mine were size LT)

Activewear camisoles, gold and burgundy (I used size XL)

White Toddler Size T-Shirt (I used a 4T)

White Baby Onesie (mine was a 3T month size)

Cricut Black and White Iron on HTV-Vinyl

Cricut Rose Gold Metallic Iron on HTV-Vinyl

Standard Grip Cutting Mat (green)

Cricut Maker or other Cricut Machine

Cricut Easy Press and pressing mat

 

Yogalife t-shirts made with Cricut|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
This shirt uses Cricut Brand Rose Gold Metallic HTV vinyl

#Yoga Life Adult Shirt Directions:

  1. Chose which shirt you want to make and download the design file from the Cricut website below:

• #YogaLife design file

• Yoga Posse design file

•Yoga is my happy place design file

•White Medallion Circle of Life design file

•Rose Gold Circle of Life Medallion design file

 

  1. Choose your iron on vinyl color. Cut the vinyl to fit on the  12″ x 12″ mat. Place vinyl with shiny side down on the mat. Roll with a brayer to smooth out and remove any air bubbles.
  2. Insert the mat in the Cricut, follow the prompts for cutting the vinyl. Be sure the “mirror image” button is selected for designs with text. Remove the vinyl from the mat after cutting.
  3. Weed out the negative space in the design with the weeding tools. I find it’s easiest to do this under a window with good light. You can tape the vinyl to a bright window for weeding out the medallion designs that are more complicated.

Tip: Weed from the outside of the design towards the interior of the design in a circular motion. This keeps you from getting confused, making a mistake and removing parts of the vinyl that are needed for the design. When the design is more intricate, this is even more important. Those medallions take a bit of patience to weed out! I enjoyed working on them while watching tv.

4. Cut away any excess plastic from around the design. Gently, place your design on your shirt to determine placement. Use 2-3 finger widths as a guide under the neckline determine where to put the graphic. Be sure your design is centered left to right, use the armpit area of the shirt for a visual to center the design.

5. Heat up your Easy Press to 320 degrees, or heat your iron on the hottest setting. Cover the design with a pressing mat or press cloth, press for 20 seconds. Turn the shirt over, cover with the pressing mat and press an additional 20 seconds.

6. Remove the mat, let the shirt cool slightly. Then gently pull off the plastic vinyl backing being sure all vinyl is adhered to the shirt. Your shirt is now ready to wear!

 

Here’s how I design my t-shirts in the Cricut Design Space. It’s very easy to use and so much fun that I had to make a video to show you!

Children’s Shirt Directions:

1.Download your chosen file from Design Space from the link below;

•Child Pose shirt design file

•Warrior pose shirt design file

2.Depending on what size you are making you may have to adjust the size of the graphic a bit larger or smaller for your shirt. Then, follow the directions for the adult shirts listed above. I use the same 2-3 finger placement technique under the neckline to place the graphics.

I would love to see photos of your shirts on social media! Show them to me using the #chambraybluesshirts for a chance to be featured on Instagram or join our Chambray Blues Facebook group here for more tips and inspiration!

If you are a blogger and would like to join the Cricut Affiliate program, click here.

Make Yoga Life T-shirts with Cricut|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
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Thanks to Cricut for sponsoring! Here are some more great ideas to make with your Cricut:

Flock of Flamingo T-Shirts with Cricut

You Make Patriotic Holiday Family T-Shirts

3 Step Easy T-Shirt Pattern Hack

15 FAQ You Always Wanted to Know About the Cricut Maker

Riley Blake Throw Quilt with Cricut-Part 1

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Renaissance Costume Pattern Review and Construction Tips

Renaissance Costume Pattern Review and Construction Tips

Renaissance costumes are fun to make, I made these costumes recently with my Cricut Maker. Choose fabrics such as cotton, linen or wool for a great result.

Sewing Renaissance Costumes|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

 

Men’s Renaissance Costume

Our son Ted was thrilled with the costume I made for him. Overall, it only took a couple days to put this entire look together. This is an historic costume by Simplicity Pattern #S4059. I really enjoyed making this men’s pattern. It is simple to follow and fits really well. I didn’t need to make any size adjustments which is so encouraging! The white shirt was an easy sew using an old queen size sheet for fabric. The Renaissance time period calls for simple fabrics and colors, such as cotton, wool or linen. All of these are great choices and easy to find in stores. This outfit is cotton and linen. The sheet worked well for the white undershirt as the pattern is just HUGE. I used an entire queen size sheet to cut it from. Those big billowy sleeves require A LOT of fabric, but I love how it looks and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I did use interfacing in the collar and elastic in the cuffs, but you could easily do without them as they didn’t have that sort of thing back in the 13th century. As a costume, no one really expects things to be that accurate and I am all for modern inventions that still look fitting for the time period.

The jerkin or vest features wide shoulders and a peplum hem. These were easy to make and attach with a few simple seams. The green cotton broad cloth vest is lined, I used a scrap of mystery lining fabric from the thrift store for this purpose. It works great in this style.

I didn’t need to make the trousers that were included with the pattern, we were fortunate enough to find a pair of black linen draw string pants at the thrift store in Ted’s size. We cut them off just under the knee and left the raw hem to add to the overall effect of the costume.

Renaissance Costumes for Halloween with Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

The leather details are my own design and were cut on the Cricut Maker. Read the complete leather post here. The leather pieces were attached to the jerkin with rivets and grommets. The leather placket gives authenticity and stability to the laced up front, and the grommets were easy to install through all layers with a hammer and a wooden cutting board surface to pound on.

Renaissance Costumes for Halloween with Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com
Grommets need to be pounded in place with a hammer.

I won’t kid you, it took a bit of muscle to pound them all in place. But, sometimes it’s very gratifying to hammer away at something that has such a cool manly look. The vest is not washable, but could be sponged clean or dry cleaned with the leather trim. I am not concerned with longevity, I think it will hold up just fine. The front lacing is a faux suede cord I purchased at the craft store.

 

Renaissance Costumes for Halloween with Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

 

Women’s Renaissance Costume

This costume was much more time consuming to make. This pattern is Simplicity pattern #3809. I have made this costume before, several years ago so I was already familiar with it’s construction. Overall this is not hard to construct, but the bodice is time consuming. This time I used different fabrics that required more special care. The corset and over skirt are cut from wool crepe that I found at the thrift store. Wool cannot be ironed directly, you must use a press cloth when pressing all seams. Without a press cloth, the material will have an un-natural permanent shine left from the heat of the iron on the surface. In addition, the seam allowance can leave marks on the right side if it is over pressed. Ideally you should use a pressing ham for pressing the seams to avoid this problem. I used a rolled up towel instead, I haven’t invested in a ham to date but hope to get one soon.

Women’s Fitting Adjustments

As usual, I had to make a large number of fitting changes for the bodice and skirt pattern. The corset was lengthened for my long torso and widened to fit through the waist. The skirt was widened and lengthened as well. I am not very happy with the over all fit of either piece, there are too many puckers for my liking, especially on the corset. Most of the problem is due to the interlining and fabric that I used to line the bodice.

Sewing renassiance costumes|Chambraybluesblog|Chambrayblues.com
1/2″ wide plastic boning is stitched to the lining fabric.

The Simplicity pattern calls for the bodice fabric, interlining, and lining. It has three layers. When I made this style in the past, I used a tapestry for the corset, with muslin interlining and muslin lining. That garment fits me well and is very comfortable to wear. This time, I tried a stiffer interlining thinking it would work better for a more structured garment. I used drapery bastiste as the interlining, which is a thin cotton but very stiff and rigid. It was recommended for making corsets on another blog, and I don’t care for it at all. The purple wool crepe is wonderfully form fitting and shapes easily, but paired with the stiff interlining, it doesn’t shape at all the way it should. The combination of the two incompatible fabrics creates all sorts of puckering that wasn’t there before when I sewed this pattern from different materials.

Also, the lining is too thin and doesn’t offer any additional support. It would work better to have the boning attached to a thicker fabric (you can see it warping in the wrong direction above) such as muslin which is what I used in my first attempt at this garment. The thin lining, stiff boning and even stiffer interlining just don’t seem to work together the way they should, but rather cause rippling and puckering when they pull against each other. The casings for the boning were made from pieces of bias tape stitched on either side, then the 1/2″ wide plastic boning was inserted. Boning supplies can be ordered online from Vogue Fabrics Store.

Renaissance Costumes for Halloween with Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

I would not use a drapery product again for this style, I can actually feel it against my skin through the lining. It’s very scratchy and uncomfortable. I am not sure if I want to rip it all apart and remove it, but I might do that eventually. The bodice has several rows of plastic boning stitched into the lining, which is just a scrap of grey satin from the thrift store. Ideally, I would like a lot more boning for support as I don’t think this design provides enough for my large figure. The gold leaf embroidery detail was added around the neck and center front using a varrigated embroidery thread, before the grommets and leather details were installed.

I have been studying corset fitting and drafting for some time, and I think it would be best for me to draft my own pattern next time around. I have too many fit issues to contend with and I think I would be happier with the result of a custom pattern. Also, I am going to invest in some french Coutil for my next corset, it is expensive fabric (about $25.00 a yard) but authentic for corset making and is perfect for shaping a good fitting garment.

 

Renaissance Costumes for Halloween with Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

The chemise was one I originally made from the same Simplicity pattern a few years ago. Made from ivory cotton voile, is is thin and comfortable. It has three rows of elastic in the sleeves to create the full sleeve look. I love it and occasionally wear it out under a vest for special occasions.

Renaissance Costumes for Halloween with Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

 

The front of the corset has grommets and leather trim that was a design I cut on my Cricut Maker. You can read more about that tutorial here. The grommets were easy to apply to the wool, and the lacing is faux suede cord from the craft store. I was not prepared for how much the corset would change my figure. After lacing it up, my skirts were huge. A corset can easily change your waist measurement by several inches, I forgot this when I measured my waist for the skirt. I need to make skirt smaller so it will fit my shape after corseting. This is a good problem to have! The green underskirt was a silk skirt that I found at the thrift store for a few dollars. I should have added pockets to the over skirt, it didn’t occur to me at the time but next time around I will add them as well.

 

The only bad thing about the underskirt being silk is that it is very slippery against the purple wool fabric over skirt. I will need to tack the over skirt up in place so it doesn’t slip down over the bottom layer when wearing it to the Fair.

That’s it! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial, I have so many fabulous things on my cutting table stop by again soon and see what’s happening!

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For more sewing ideas, try these posts:

Sewing for the Renassiance Faire

Renaissance Costumes for Halloween with Cricut

How to Triumph Over Your Unfinished Sewing Projects

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress

 

 

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Vintage Blouse Tutorial with Tulip Sleeves

Vintage Blouse Tutorial with Tulip Sleeves

This blouse is my go to vintage pattern! Easy to sew and fits great, from Gertie’s Butterick collection.

Vintage Blouse Tutorial with Tulip Sleeves|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
This vintage style blouse is an easy sew!

This post is sponsored by Michael Miller Fabrics, I was compensated in some way to make this post. For a complete list of disclosure rules see the disclosures page.

Vintage Blouse with Tulip Sleeves

I’ve been sewing vintage style lately, and I can’t say enough about how well this blouse turned out. This easy to make style is Butterick #b6217 from the Gertie pattern collection. It’s made with quilting cotton by Michael Miller Fabrics who sponsored this post. This lovely polkadot print is called Noir from Gertie’s new fabric collection.

The Butterick pattern is great, it has several options for sleeves, no sleeves, plus optional gathered details. It is generously sized and I love the simplicity of this style. I hacked the pattern a bit and added a solid color back to create a more slenderizing silhouette.

Vintage Blouse Tutorial with Tulip Sleeves|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
The tulip sleeves make this style unique.

Sewing Supplies Needed:

•Butterick pattern #b6217

• 2-3 yards of 45″ wide cotton fabric

•3/4 yard of black fabric, mine was a poly blend crepe

• 1/2 yard light fusible interfacing

•8 buttons, 1/2″ size

•Matching thread

 

 

Alterations and Fit Adjustments

This Butterick pattern doesn’t need a lot of fitting adjustments. The blouse has several long bodice darts and one bust dart, which is easy to let out or take in as needed for fit. I added some to width to the bodice, and I really didn’t need it. I should have made a muslin first, but I tend to just jump right into my projects head first. My only fit issue is around the neckline, I could have taken some of the fullness out, it gaps just a bit as you can see in the above photo. I am not sure if this is due to my neck interfacing being too stiff, but it seems like it’s over all a little too big. Recently, I have decided that I also have sloping shoulders, which could also be attributing to my neckline problem. Bodice length was also adjusted 2″ to compensate for my long torso. I will make more adjustments to this pattern the next time I sew this style.

 

Vintage Blouse with Tulip Sleeves|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
I found this knife pleated skirt in a thrift store, it’s a great piece to go with this vintage blouse.

 

The best part of this blouse is the tulip sleeves, such a pretty detail that makes any large arm look more slender and graceful. The sleeves are easy to sew with a narrow rolled hem at the bottom. The dark colored back gives me more of a shape, as the dark color automatically looks smaller than the front.

Thanks to Michael Miller for sponsoring this post!

 

Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress

Sew a Pocket Square in 3 Easy Steps

How to Sew a Sunny Raincoat

Re-cyled Jean Denim Vest

Easy to Make Scrappy Denim Skirt

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Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress

Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress

I’ve had this Gertie inspired vintage style party dress one under wraps for a while, I am so excited to be able to show it to you! This is a classic silhouette you can wear for any occasion!

 

Vintage Style Party Dress|Chambray Blues Blog|Chambrayblues.com
This vintage style dress is made with cotton fabric from Michael Miller Fabrics.

Vintage Style Party Dress

I love vintage style patterns, and have a number of them in my pattern collection. This vintage party dress is made from Butterick #b6590, from Gertie’s Charming pattern collection. The pattern has dresses in two styles a straight skirt, and a full skirt. I had a hard time deciding between the two because I loved them both so much! I finally, went with the straight skirt to see how I would like the slimmer silhouette. It is a rather generous fit, but I love that it seems proportioned for “real size” women like myself. The sewing is pretty basic, there is a lapped zipper application and a rather unique front neckline. It’s not as complicated as you would think, and is easy to sew. I really like the tab with the rhinestone button, simple styles like this can work great for day or night occasions. In fact, I like it so much I have decided to make the full skirt version for the upcoming holiday season. Stay tuned!

Gertie Vintage Style Party Dress|Chambray Blues Blog|www.chambrayblues.com

The floral fabric is from Michael Miller Fabrics, also part of the Gertie collection that they recently released. I can’t say enough about this fabric collection! The colors are so vibrant, you would never know it’s a cotton quilting print. Full of pinks and reds, the black back ground really makes the colors pop! It really looks great in this beautiful garden setting! Shout out to my photographer Alyssa Eidsness Photography who did a great job with this photo shoot!

This post is sponsored by Michael Miller Fabrics. Any opinions given are completely my own.

Vintage Style Party Dress Pattern Review

For the straight version of this dress, you will need 3 yards of 45″ wide material. If you decide to make the version with the full skirt it will take about 5 yards. The larger skirt is very full! The straight skirt worked great with this cotton quilting fabric from Michael Miller Fabrics because of the narrow 45″ width. If I had gone with the full skirt I would have definitely needed more fabric. The cotton is such a nice quality, refreshing to sew because it’s so well made. At first, I had planned to make a little polka dot jacket to go over the dress, but decided against it in the long run. The floral fabric is too pretty to cover up, and the front neckline just doesn’t lend it’s self to being worn with a jacket. The good news is that the polka dot will be a separate project (also a Gertie print and pattern), coming soon!

The 1950’s style pattern was very simple for this dress, even the unique front facing was not hard to put together. Cutting the facing was interesting, there is a left front and a right front facing (completely different shapes) so be careful when you cut them out as they are cut from a single layer of fabric and the print has to be right side up in order for it to work accurately. I adore the rhinestone button detail and found the perfect style button at Hobby Lobby.

Gertie Vintage Style Party Dress|Chambray Blues Blog|www.chambrayblues.com
I love the dolman sleeves on this dress!

Alterations and Pattern Adjustments

There were a few adjustments that I made to the pattern, but I could have done without them. The pattern is well sized and runs rather generous. I added a bit of fabric extra fabric to the bust and waist since these are my problem fit areas, which could have been eliminated. For this summer wardrobe version I decided not to take the side seams in, as I prefer a looser fit for hot summer days. When I make the next dress for the holidays, I will make it more fitted and plan to wear some proper shape wear underneath. I don’t care to wear Spanks when it’s hot and humid outside! Since I am long in the torso, the only other alteration I did was lengthening the bodice and waist yoke. This adjustment worked well and it hits my waist exactly where it should, it is very comfortable around the middle for this reason.

The back of the dress has a 22″ lapped zipper that extends all the way down to the high hip area. The zipper was not hard to install, but I always baste my zippers in place to be sure they stay put as I stitch them. I  used a regular zipper for this dress since the large print hides the zipper so well you don’t even know it’s there. Had I used a solid or smaller print, I may have used an invisible zipper and stitched it by hand instead.

Gertie Inspired Vintage Style Party Dress|Chambray Blues Blog|www.chambrayblues.com
The neckline has a v-neck with an unusual tab closure and decorative button.

The local vintage corner garden was the perfect place to photograph this dress. Thank you Alyssa Eidness Photography! This is the first time I have ever hired a photographer for my business. For years I have taken all my own photographs for all of my projects. I am finding that sometimes it’s very difficult to get a good shot of myself wearing some thing new with only the aid of the self timer. It’s practically impossible to capture specific details when I am wearing the garment. My family isn’t around much to help me out, and It’s not something I would do every day, but I will definitely use a photographer again in the future for these really special posts. I am glad I did, I think Alyssa really captured the essence of this dress and I love how it all came together in the photos.

Gertie Inspired Party Dress|chambray blues blog|www.chambrayblues.com

Hope you enjoyed this post, thanks to Michael Miller Fabrics for sponsoring!

 

For more inspiration, try some of these other posts:

Mens Thrifted Shirt Upcycle Hack in 7 Steps

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

Easy to Make Scrappy Denim Skirt

How to Restyle a Boring Denim Jacket

Scrappy Denim Boho Necklace Tutorial

 

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Re-cyled Jean Denim Vest

Denim is an easy fabric to work with, this jean vest uses pairs of old jeans for a stylish layering piece!

 

Recycled jean Vest|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com

Today’s project is easy to make from 3 pairs of old denim jeans. The Recycled Jean Vest pattern is super easy to follow, even if you have never sewn before you will have no troubles! You can purchase it from my affiliate link for Annie’s Catalogue here :

Recycled jean Vest|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com

This is a PDF pattern download, what that means is you will have immediate access to download the sewing pattern. It comes in sizes small up to 3x, and has a rather generous fit. Once you purchase the pattern you will need to tape the pieces together and cut out as shown below before cutting from your fabric.

Recycled jean Vest|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com

Vest Supplies Needed:

3 pairs similar colored denim jeans with little or no stretch

PDF sewing pattern for the Modern Silhouette Vest from Annie’s Catalogue

Scissors
Thread
Pins
Sewing machine
Recycled jean Vest|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com

Jean Vest Sewing Directions:

1. Layout the pattern pieces in order from left to right. Cut off the right and bottom side of each pattern piece along the marked line. Assemble the pattern from left to right matching the marked diamonds A1 matches piece A1, B1 matches B1 etc. Tape pieces together. Cut out your desired size on the marked lines.
2. Lay out the jeans as directed in the pattern. Placing your pattern pieces accordingly. Pin in place, cut out.
3. Sew the first panel with stay stitching 1/2” from the curved edge of the side front and side back pieces as directed in the pattern. This line of stitching keeps the pieces from stretching while you are working on it. Press.
4. Beginning with the front side panel and front panel, match the seam edges with WRONG side together. Stitch with 5/8” seam allowance keeping seam to the outside of the garment as shown in photo.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the back panels, keeping seam to the out side of garment. Press.
6. Top stitch seam allowances on front panels on either side of seam 1/4” away from center. Repeat for back panels. Press.
7. Sew shoulder seam and side seams together with right sides together. The seam allowance will not show on the outside of the garment for these seams. Press.
8. I did not finish the hem, neck or armhole seams. I prefer the raw edges to show. If you wish you can zig-zag stitch or serge the raw edges in these areas to finish them.
This project is quick to put together and sew. It’s a great way to get more use out of those old jeans that would otherwise be thrown away or be sent to the thrift store. You could also use recycled bits of fleece or wool for this project.
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Recycled jean Vest|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
Here are some other fun recycled projects:

How to Make a Recycled Denim Ruffled Purse with Cricut and Simplicity

Mens Thrifted Shirt Upcycle Hack in 7 Steps

Sew a Pocket Square in 3 Easy Steps

Northern Territory Ragged Baby Quilt Pattern

Make an Upcycled Denim Hat from Old Jeans

Easy to Make Scrappy Denim Skirt

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Men’s Thrifted Shirt Upcycle Hack in 7 Steps

Men’s Thrifted Shirt Upcycle Hack in 7 Steps

I adore the patchwork look of upscale designer clothing. This sewing hack uses a couple of thrift-ed men’s dress shirts and some fabric scraps to bring new feminine style!

Men’s Dress Shirt Up-cycle

Up-cycle hacks are all over the internet, and some of my favorites use men’s dress shirts. They are inexpensive, plentiful, and come in lots of great fabrics. I have been keeping this one on hand for a project for some time, I loved the orange and blue plaid colors but it was just too unfeminine for me to wear without feeling awkward. It also didn’t fit very well around the middle, which is no surprise as this is my biggest fit problem!

Men's Thrifted Shirt Restyle|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com
Photo from Soft Surroundings website

My inspiration came from this shirt from Soft Surroundings. My former workplace, I always loved seeing how their designers put fabrics together in new ways. The feminine look of the back of this shirt was what I loved about it.

Upcycled Men's Dress Shirt|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com

You can easily make a men’s shirt into a feminine statement piece with these 7 steps. Here’s what you will need:

Supplies:

• 2 men’s cotton dress shirts with similar colors, works best of they are the same size (1 plaid, 1 stripe)

•1/2 yard of contrasting floral fabric

•Scissors

•ruler and fabric marker

•Sewing machine and matching thread

Restyled Mens shirt back|Chambraybluesblog|www.chambrayblues.com

 

Upcycled Men's Dress Shirt|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com

 

Upcycled Men's Dress Shirt|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com

 

Directions:

  1. Remove the shirt back by cutting 1/2″ away from the armhole, yoke and side seams. Leave seams intact.

 

2. Use the piece you just removed as a pattern for cutting the contrasting floral fabric, adding 1/2″ to the top and side seams. Cut floral hem slightly shorter than the original piece, at your natural waist.

3. Cut the second shirt, under the armholes, across the front button placket and remove the back.

4. Pin top edges of floral fabric to the seam allowance just under the yoke. Stitch in place making a 1/2″ seam.

5. Sew sides of floral fabric to the back armhole, underarm and side of shirt. Break stitches at top corner as you sew, clip fabric as needed to get a square seam at shoulder.

6. Sew top of stripe fabric to the floral fabric, putting the button down placket at center back as pictured above. Sew side seams and press.

7. Finish side seams of shirt tails with 1/4″ rolled hem.

Mens Shirt Restyle|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
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Don’t forget to Pin this post!

How to Make a Recycled Denim Ruffled Purse with Cricut and Simplicity

Make an Upcycled Denim Hat from Old Jeans

Easy to Make Scrappy Denim Skirt

Scrappy Denim Boho Necklace Tutorial

How to Sew a Sunny Raincoat

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