Mar 27, 2014

Optimism — It's What's On My Sewing Table This Week

 This week in New York City, where it still feels just like January, this is what passes for optimism:

Yellow fabric for Spring pants!
 I bought this pale yellow cotton from Mood NYC a few weeks back during the LLadybird meetup. It was in the denim section, though it's a little lighter weight than that. I love this color for a pair of cropped pants, made from the pattern I drafted using Kenneth King's Jeanius Craftsy class. It will be my third pair of pants from this pattern, which I have modified since my last pair, reducing the front rise (and adding to the back, because in patternmaking if thou takest away, though must also giveth lest thou dare exposeth one's buttcrack).

Checking the fit with one leg
It's been a while since I have sewn a zipper fly, so I consulted with my Kenneth King video to make sure I got it right on my first third try.

Likewise, it has been a while since I've sewn a welt, so I consulted this tutorial once again.

I am very curvy through the hip, so I do not mess around when it comes to waistbands. Mine is a four-piece curved waistband, reinforced with petersham (that idea came from David Page Coffin's trouser book):

I'm taking a break from finishing details (oh, how I hate sewing belt loops!) to do some stretch sewing, including mommy and me raglan Tees:

What's on your sewing table? Anything optimistic? (A bathing suit perhaps?) Or are you practical and sewing a parka for April?

Mar 25, 2014

Sew Sexy Sewalong — If It Feels Good, Do It

In my long blogging absence I was pleased to see my legacy lived on in inspiring a movement to add a little sexy to our sewing tables (keep your feet on the floor, ladies and gents, I'm talking about sexing up our patterns not our privates!).

(I'm giving myself too much credit here, but I was linked to by the sexy ladies ClioLisette (What Would Nancy Drew Wear?) and Nettie of Sown Brooklyn so that's something considering how little I was participating in our little corner of the Interwebz). 

Anyway, to throw my hat in the proverbial ring, I'd like to add to the discussion on what makes a home-sewn garment sexy. My main criteria for judgement these days: would I wear it to a parent-teacher meeting? If the answer is "no," then I think it qualifies as "sew sexy." And this dress (from the Drape Drape 2 book; thank you, Gingermakes!) meets that criteria. Booty-hugging in the back and with long drapey folds that draw your eyes downward towards your, um, uh, bobbin casing, this dress is definitely something I wouldn't wear to Kindergarten pickup. (OK, I would, but only with a long cardigan on top and thick leggings underneath — because this thing is SHORT, and to think I even sewed the XL size!).  

And what I love about this pattern (which was the most difficult puzzle I've worked on since figuring out how to put together my kid's play kitchen one Christmas Eve) is how easy it is to wear. So you're not constantly adjusting or checking to make sure just the right amount of cleavage is showing, which means you can relax — the true key to feeling sexy in something you made.

I have a few weeks lefts for another addition to this project (which you can see more of in their Flickr group here). I'm hoping to sew up a dress with a back cutout, should the pattern arrive in time. 

Do you have a fave sexy pattern? 

Mar 20, 2014

Closer Look at Anouk

As a Canadian, I've got a lot of pride that some of the best indie pattern companies out there right now are from my Home and Native Land (proud, but not like,  jumping around with red and white body paint or anything —  that is not how we roll in Canada).

There's Sewaholic in Vancouver, Thread Theory in Victoria, B.C. (where I lived for five years while I went to university...yes, I took five years to do a bachelor's degree; if you lived in Victoria, you wouldn't want to leave either. It's the most beautiful little city in the country), and Toronto-based Victory Patterns

What I love about Victory Patterns in particular are a few things:

1) Many of designer Kristiann Boos' patterns feature a couple variations — which can be uncommon in the indie pattern world. (Having two different hemlines does not a variation make in my opinion, ahem). So when you have the option of adding sleeves or a different collar for example, you have more room to play when it comes to sewing several versions of one of her patterns.
2) Her designs are distinctive: in her current collection of 10 available patterns you would have a hard time finding similar options elsewhere. She's not just turning out yet another pencil skirt or peter pan collared T-shirt. The Anouk, for one, is unique with its pieced placket, yoke, pintucks and cleavage opening (I know that's not the technical term, but c'mon: it's like, sneakily sexy):

3) And finally, what I love about Victory Patterns' designs is that they all seem to have been created with fabric fiends in mind: the majority feature many pieces and unique design details, giving the maker room to create something unique by blending fabrics, prints and textures. Or, of course, you could keep it simple and let the design details stand out on their own. 

Now, for a closer look at Anouk, which I first made as a sleeveless dress, using yellow ponte (gifted to me by the lovely blog reader Nurse Bennett), some scraps of white stretch denim and the remaining Marimekko printed cotton from my Mommy Poppins bag

It's very sweet and flattering as a dress. I love those bodice details. Each Anouk is like a snowflake....totally unique and beautiful:

Recently I attempted to make the other version of Anouk — the beltless tunic with sleeves. However, my deltoids proved to be too much for the sleeve cap and I had to rip them off, resulting in yet another sleeveless version. If I were to attempt it again, I would grade to a couple sizes up for the armscye and sleeve. Without the belt, I think the tunic version is a little maternity style, but it's still cute: 

I happened to have blue and white striped cotton to match my chambray, so I made my placket in a similar fashion to the Victory Patterns sample version.

And I'm on a covered button kick right now, so I matched my placket. COVERED BUTTONS ON EVERYTHING ALWAYS AND FOREVER:

 Have you made an Anouk? Share links in the comments below. I'd love to see more versions of this great pattern.

Mar 18, 2014

I Would Have Posted Sooner But...

Last weekend I glommed my way into a sewing blogger meetup in NYC even though I've been absent from the virtual bee for nearly a year (and only heard about it the night before from Gingermakes). As always, it was inspiring to hang with so many ladies who share my passion for fabric, sewing and DIY fashion. Plus I came away with a bag of fabric to last me few the next projects in my queue.

Being there, I realized how much I've been missing out by not posting in my blog — or reading and commenting on others. Of course, at the time I stopped blogging, I felt like I was missing out on real world interaction with likeminded sewers (which I have since remedied by taking up teaching!), so I guess I am beset by the modern ill of always feeling like the thing I am not doing is the thing I should be doing. (As I type this, I'm looking longingly out the window at a sunny day — even though I know it's minus one million degrees out!).

I gave up blogging here for a while because of fear and frustration over the fact that some of my content was used in an inappropriate way, as well as search terms that have no business bringing people to Beau Baby were the No. 1 entry point to this blog. I tried deleting posts and even certain individual words throughout my blog to cope with all that, and it still doesn't seem to have helped. To move ahead I will have to work on self-censorship (not just language, but also avoiding writing about or posting pics of my kid), which is not a totally impossible task.

Though I haven't been blogging, I have been sewing a lot— including this striped jersey Scout tee I made Sunday night. Like the pleather patch pocket (say that three times fast!)?

This is another of my fave recent makes — a chambray men's style collared shirt with snaps (can I get a what-what for no buttonholes?): 

Instagram filters were made for no-makeup days, n'est-ce-pas?
I made the pattern for the above button-up a few years back in advanced patternmaking class at FIT. I must have aced that assignment because this shirt is perfection. I wore it on International Women's Day, a la Rosie the Riveter.

I bought a bunch of yards of that chambray at Mood, so I made this tunic version of Victory Patterns' Anouk with the remainder:

I've used that pattern once before to make the dress version, which I much prefer to this. The yoke details are so cute, but the non-belted tunic length looks maternity — and I'm not wild about being asked when I am due. Also, I should have sized up apparently, because though the sleeveless version fit perfectly, when I attempted to add sleeves, I felt like the hulk — as in, I could rip the whole thing open if I got angry enough ("Who used my fabric scissors to CUT PAPER!?!? RAWR!" ...riiiiiiiip. Sigh.).

Oh, and to complete the sentence I started in this post's title: I would have posted sooner but...
-I couldn't figure out the captcha
-I was trying to figure out if those "first kiss" videos were faked
-I got cable and can't tear myself away from the Will&Grace marathon
-I was busy searching satellite photos for that missing plane

Your turn:


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