I'm sorry, I really couldn't help myself with this post title. I know it's lame, but then again... shhh.. don't tell anyone... I'm kinda lame!
Anyway! Hiya friends! Welcome to August. Time, man.... it's flying. I had a pretty wonderful July, if I do say so myself (and I do). I got a nice long visit in with my family in PA, doing nothing but lounging by the pool, reading alll the mystery novels, having looong chats with my Mom, and catching up with my sister, one of my two brothers, my Daddy-o, and playing with my little nieces and nephews (for as long as my energy would allow). Sometimes there's just nothing like family to recharge you and make you feel centered again. Although Nick always says that every time I come home from visiting my family I revert to being a little kid again. Eh... what can you do? Once the baby of the family, always the baby of the family!
Oh you wanted to talk about sewing! How silly of me! Yes, well this is my July make for the Mood Sewing Network, and I'm pretty stoked about it. The fabric for the skirt is this Ultramarine Green Embroidered Linen, and it's delicious. I almost didn't click 'buy' on this fabric because, quite frankly, I'm not a huge fan of the color green (had it been red, there would have been no hesitation). I mean, besides in nature. Obviously. I think my anti-green sentiments stem from my painting days when I discovered that Phthalo green (similar to this 'ultramarine' hue in the skirt) is an evil, evil color that does not play well with the other colors. It is a color bully, squashing out all the colors with a more delicate chemical makeup. And it doesn't occur in nature. So I kept it well and good away from my palette, just like I do with bullies in real life.
Now that you understand my completely rational bias against green, let's talk about how this fabric won me over. Because it did. Completely. First of all - it's linen, the fabric of summer. Second of all - it's embroidered, which means it's full of both visual and textural candy. And finally - that print!! What would you call that print? Tribal? Aztec? I'm pretty down with Mood's description of it being simply 'geometric'. But whatever it is, I think it's pretty fantastic. So fantastic that I embraced it's green-ness and grabbed a couple yards to call my own. I actually had an immediate idea that I wanted to make it into a full skirt. I felt that with the embroidery and the print it would have a really lovely gypsy/bohemian/70's vibe when worn as a full skirt.
I used Colette's Zinnia skirt pattern, view A, for the pattern. I haven't made something from Colette in ages. I guess for awhile it just felt like their styles weren't speaking to me, but I've already discussed how I feel like my style has been changing recently. Anyway, it was nice to revisit this beloved indie brand. Zinnia is a really straightforward skirt, definitely great for a beginner. It has an a-line shape and a gathered waist with a front button placket. I always feel a bit like a cheater making 'beginner' or simple patterns, but that feeling only lasts for a minute or two. In reality, I just choose patterns that feel right stylistically, not based on skill level. And a gathered, full skirt is, yes, easy to sew, but it's also a classic that never goes out of style.
I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I didn't even consider print matching until I was well into cutting out my pattern pieces. Thankfully I had just cut out the back skirt piece, and one half of the front before I stopped and was like, "Oh shit, yeah, this could be one hell of an eyesore if I don't do some print matching!" So I made the minimal effort of making sure that the horizontal bands of the print lined up across the front (true confessions: I thought I did a better job with matching up the print at the center front, but I forgot to take into account that the button placket would eat up some of the print. Whoops.)
This linen took a little bit of finagling to get everything working right. After I pre-washed it and hung it to dry, the embroidered areas shrank up a bit, leaving the wide, plain, white, linen selvedges a bit wavy. I steamed it and pressed it, but the shrinkage was done. I had planned on using the plain white selvedges for the waistband and button placket, but now they were all buckled. In the end I just cut them away from the embroidered area and gave them a good press to restore their shape, and cut my pattern pieces from them that way. It all worked out, as you can see.
The linen was also slightly sheer, so I decided to line it with some white cotton lawn I had in my stash. I debated doing this, because the embroidered linen was also quite heavy and could get pretty thick in places, and I didn't want to add to the bulk of the gathered waist. However I'm glad I went for it. It really gives the skirt some good support, and it's completely opaque, which makes getting dressed much easier (no digging around my unmentionables drawer for light colored undies, or, god forbid, a slip). The Zinnia pattern doesn't include instructions for lining this version, however it was really easy. I just cut the skirt pieces out of the cotton lawn, minus about an inch in length. I sewed up the side seams and hemmed it before doing anything else. Then I simply sewed the linen and the lawn as one layer when I created the button placket and the button band, enclosing the lawn along the center front, and allowing the rest of the hem to hang free. Gathering the two layers of fabric was a bit touch and go, but it worked out just fine, and after some serious trimming, the waistband is pretty much bulk free!
Those of you that follow me on instagram know that I had a helluva time choosing buttons for this skirt. I bought two sets of buttons, the jade green plastic ones you see here, and also a set of bamboo buttons. Being genuinely stumped myself I took a poll of just about everyone I know - Nick, my Mom and sister, all of instagram - to see which they preferred, and the consensus was overwhelmingly pro-green! Who knew so many people like the color green?!? Of course I still wasn't totally sold, and delayed my decision making until the last minute, when I finally rationalized that these green buttons really were a perfect match with this fabric, and the bamboo buttons are more likely to go with some future fabric/project down the road. So practicality wins the day.
This striped top is also a new make. It's another of Closet Case File's Nettie bodysuit, made up in some navy and white striped rayon-y knit that I picked up at a Houston fabric joint. This summer has really been the season of Nettie's for me. I actually have another Nettie hack all made up that I've been wearing out and about that I need to photograph and write a post about. This bodysuit was a seriously quick make. I honestly made it - from cutting to hammering on the crotch snaps - in one evening after work. I even stopped to eat dinner somewhere in there. And that's just one of the joys of sewing a knit with a pattern you know works. This may also just be one of the best looking knit sewing jobs I've ever done. The neck and leg bindings look ace, the stripes match up on the sides, and kinda on the sleeves too! The insides were all sewn on the serger, and the sleeves were hemmed with a twin needle. For the snap crotch binding I used self fabric interfaced with non-stretch fusible interfacing. It worked much better than trying to handle a slippery, silky fabric, although it was a bit thick when it came time to hammer in my snaps. Next time I might just interface some lightweight woven fabric and see how that works.
I've really been gravitating to this silhouette of a skin-tight bodice paired with a full skirted bottom. It's a classically feminine look that just nails it 90% of the time. However I'm always a bit wary of how I put this look together because I think it can read too '50's housewife' for me. That look works for plenty of women, but it just looks silly on me. I think the print mixing of this outfit, and the type of prints used, help the whole outfit feel more modern and bohemian than June Cleaver. At least that was my aim!
Well, my lovelies, I think that was plenty of words for this post! I have a few more summer makes planned over the next couple of weeks, so I should be back soon!