Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ginger Made: Belladone, v.3 (Or, the “I Call the Big One Bitey” Dress of Maximum Happiness)

Duuuuuuuuuuuuudes! I like this dress very much. Very, VERY much. IT HAS PIRANHAS ON IT. I felt completely and totally exuberant the moment I put it on!  Can you tell?

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

But let’s back up for a minute. So, if you’ve been involved with the sewing community for a while, you probably know that people who sew are some of the kindest, best, most generous people around. True story! I’ve made so many wonderful friends through this here blog that have come to mean so much to me, and even though I know sew-y types are amazing, I’m STILL continually surprised by their kindness. Just one recent example: I commented on Mary‘s Sweden-inspired dress post that I had a trip to Stockholm planned, and the lovely and sweet Naomi Molly emailed me a gazillion tips about her town. Man Friend and I have enjoyed SO much good food, window shopping, and delicious coffee this week thanks to her expert recommendations. Take it from me- people that sew are amazing!

Deer & Doe Belladone Dress | Ginger Makes

In that vein, this AMAZING fabric was a gift from Jennifer. I skipped the #NYLon2014 trip because of the aforementioned trip to Sweden, but Jenny saw this fabric in London, thought it was my style, (should I be worried about this, readers? Heeheehee!) and grabbed some for me as a surprise. How awesome is that?! I can’t even tell you how much I love this fabric, dudes! But I especially treasure it since it was a gift from a friend.

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

Here’s the thing: I know that it’s easier for me than most to get to know other people who sew since there are quite a few who live here in the city, and even more who trek here for visits from all over the world (it’s a perk of living here that I remind myself of every time NYC gets me down). But, I’m guessing no matter where you live (OK, except for maybe you, Em!), there’s SOMEONE in your area who sews (and if not, internet friends are awesome, too!). I think I’m one of only a few major extroverts in the sewing community, but even if it’s a struggle for you to make the first move, I really encourage you to reach out and get to know someone who shares your passion. It’s really worth it! It’s just so energizing to spend time with other creative people. So, if you’re feeling too shy, nervous, or busy to connect with other people, but deep down you’d like to get to know someone, I really encourage you to take a small step today. Tweet about your next project! Email someone to tell them how much you like something they made! Offer to walk a friend through an easy sewing project! You can do it!

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

OK, I’m done cheerleading. FOR NOW. Let’s talk dress! When Jenny gave me the fabric, I wasn’t sure what to make, but I knew it needed to be good! Oona suggested I make the Belladone dress since I really love the pattern, and I loved the idea! So this is my third Belladone (here’s #1 and here’s #2)! I just love this pattern. It’s so cute and wearable!

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

I didn’t really do anything differently than I did on round 2. I stabilized the bias edges of the back cut-out with Hug Snug (I bought two rolls from ZipperStop ages ago and it lasts FOREVER) to keep them from stretching out like I did last time, and I just serged all the seams (no lining this time around). I love how easy it is to sew a garment from a pattern you’ve made before!

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

I didn’t bother matching the print since it’s so random, but I did place the pattern pieces on the fabric carefully to feature my favorite dudes. I also lined up the waistband pieces so the waistband would be a row of ferocious teeth, which is fun, but probably not too noticeable. I made yards and yards of matching bias tape- not my favorite thing to do, but I like how it looks.

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

So yeah. That’s the story of this dress! It’s a fun, fun, fun dress, and it will always be extra special to me. Thank you, Jenny, and thanks to all the rest of you for being so supportive, kind, and generous. Now, tell me! Have you made any friends since you began sewing? If so, was it easy for you to reach out and make friends? What tips would you give to someone who’s looking to make friends? Have you ever received an awesome sewing-related gift?

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes



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Meet the New Baby: Juki TL-2010Q!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well! I’m traipsing around Iceland at the moment, but I thought I’d share a little review of my new machine with you while I’m away. I’ve had my new Juki TL-2010Q for several weeks and have constructed quite a few garments on it.  There are already a few reviews of it online, but most seemed to be written by quilters and I thought a garment sewing perspective on this machine might be useful to someone who’s considering this guy.

So, long story short, this machine is entirely Oona‘s fault. I visited Sew-Right in Bayside, Queens with her when her machines were on the fritz, and friends, I had NO intention of buying a new machine. NONE. I was just there to play with a Bernina or two and to gab about sewing! I’d heard the Thread Cult podcast episode, “Boost Your Sewing Machine IQ” with Harvey from Sew-Right and was intrigued to visit the shop. I expected to be completely blown away by the Berninas as I’d always heard so much about them, but nothing really clicked for me (although the Bernina 350 Special Edition made a buttonhole so beautiful it nearly brought tears to our eyes… you guys, it was ART). What DID click was this machine! I placed my foot on the pedal and was smitten! I tried fabric after fabric on it, placing layer upon layer of thick denim under the presser foot, and he chomped away happily! Impressive! I managed to tear myself away from the machine, thought about it for about a month, and did some research to see if I really wanted it. I noticed in a photo on Cloth Habit that Amy owns this Juki, too, so I sent her a long, annoying email with many, many questions, and after her kind reply, I knew this was the machine for me!

Juki TL-2010q | Ginger Makes

So, some facts about the machine: it’s a straight-stitch semi-industrial. What this means is that it only does straight stitches- no zigzags, no buttonholes, no fancy stretch or embroidery stitches. It’s also much, much faster than the average home machine (about 150% faster). This thing is FAST, like an industrial, but doesn’t take up as much space (and isn’t as loud). It has a speed control lever, though, so you can cap the speed if you’re worried about getting used to it (or letting a child or newbie sew). Also, it has a knee lever to raise the presser foot and a thread cutter (for both needle and bottom thread) in the pedal- you just press with your heel and it cuts the thread. Between the knee lever, thread cutter, and faster stitching, I feel like I whiz through garments now!

Juki TL-2010q | Ginger Makes

This machine is a BEAST. It’s a SOLID machine, and is insanely heavy, so it doesn’t shake at all when sewing. It topstitches beautifully, and stitches together garments really quickly. Mary Ann at Sew-Right uses it to sew bags, and I can see why- it has no problem getting through thick fabric (I tested it with six layers of heavy denim and it sewed without complaint). It comes with a MASSIVE extension bed- good for big projects, but a bit too big for my workspace- and several feet, including a walking foot, a zipper foot, and a 1/4″ foot (dudes, this makes topstitching super easy). I love that it comes with the walking foot- I love using one, and buying them separately is annoying. It uses Juki industrial feet, which are really cheap, so that’s nice.

On the negative side, this probably isn’t a good stand-alone machine for garment sewers. Like I said before, it’s straight stitch only, so if you want to sew knits/buttonholes/etc, you have to use another machine. I’ve been really happy with my basic Janome mechanical, but have wanted something heavy duty as a second machine, so this really fits the bill, but I couldn’t have just this machine. It’s been a nice luxury to be able to say, stitch on one machine, and do all my topstitching on the other without having to stop to re-thread. Another thing that’s different/slightly annoying is that you have to oil this machine before you use it every. single. time. It’s very quick and easy to do, but I struggled at first to remember to do it.

Juki TL-2010q | Ginger Makes

Now, I know you could find tough, reliable straight-stitch machines in the used/vintage market, and it was every bit my intention to buy one as a second machine. But I couldn’t shake a nervous feeling about it. I grew up with used cars and appliances that always felt like they were inches from death, and it kind of stresses me out now to think about spending money on something that’s not under warranty (especially after my previous car, a 1976 Volkswagen purchased on eBay… an awesome set of wheels, but it was just too nerve-wracking to have to mutter a prayer before turning the key every single time!). I know it’s a luxury, but I wanted to invest in a machine that’s covered by manufacturer’s and dealer’s warranties, so that’s why I splurged on this machine. I absolutely get the appeal of vintage machines and I really wish I had the guts to get one this time around, but I’m just terrified by the thought of buying something used and having it crap out on me right away! I also really liked buying this from a dealer. It’s really nice to have someone show you different machines, help you decide what works for you, and run you through the paces with a new machine. My Janome Magnolia 7318 was a gift, and was purchased online, and while I love it, it would’ve been nice to have someone to show me its capabilities in person. :)

So, that’s my new baby Juki! Hope this review is helpful to someone! Now, tell me, what’s your philosophy on sewing machines? Top of the line with lots of bells and whistles? Cheap beginner machine? Vintage all the way? Too many machines to count? Dish!


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Ginger Made: Hazel, V. 2 (Or, the “Insert Portlandia Joke Here” Dress)

Hi, guys! Hope everyone had a lovely and safe long weekend, and those of you in the U.S. enjoyed the holiday!

Today’s dress is kind of a funny one. This is my second version of the Colette Hazel dress- here’s my first version. When I made it two years ago, I wasn’t in love with it and ended up putting it on my top 5 misses of 2012 list because I just didn’t like it. The funny part is that, despite not loving it, I wore that dress a fair amount that summer and over and over and over again last summer. It ticks the right boxes for a summer day dress- easy to wear, easy to launder, doesn’t make me hot and sweaty, doesn’t need special shoes… perfect! So I found myself wanting another version!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

I was so excited to use this fabric, despite the fact that I’ll be a walking hipster joke (everyone’s seen this, right?). It’s a gorgeous wax print from Vlisco- they still have the print, “Speedbird”, in a couple of different colorways. I really love the colors and the striking design. I should warn you, however, against checking out their website- the fabric is SO, SO beautiful that you might find yourself ordering more than you can afford! I’ve admired Vlisco prints since I discovered Cathy‘s amazing creations from her days in Benin, and when Susan of Moonthirty fame told me over Instagram that they ship to the US, I lost my mind and ordered two pieces. It’s been in my stash for a while, just waiting for the right pattern! Right now I’m trying to talk myself out of this print. It’s so beautiful! Must not… buy… more fabric… stay strong… stay… strong…

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

Here’s the problem. When I made this dress back in 2012, I noted that the darts are way too long, but if you shorten them to the proper length, they stick out terribly and look worse than when they’re just too long. Welllllllll, I forgot about that when I was making this version- it’s not that noticeable in the soft, light-colored fabric I used originally. Vlisco prints are medium weight cotton with lots of body, bordering on stiff. So, the too-long darts were a pointy DISASTER in this! Sadly, I didn’t realize how bad it was until I had already sewn the dress up completely and trimmed the seam allowances. I resewed and resewed the darts, steaming them, curving them, everything I could think of, but no dice. I finally followed Anne‘s suggestion and didn’t stitch the dart, instead catching the excess for the dart in the stitching line like a pleat. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the alternative. If I ever make this dress again, I’ll figure out a way to change the dart to gathers, but I didn’t have enough SA left to do that and true things up correctly. Ugh!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

Another problem is that I can’t get the positioning of the straps right. I wasn’t really satisfied with how I placed them in my first version, so I decided to make them more comfortable. I futzed and futzed with them this time around, and thought I had them positioned correctly, but after wearing the dress all day, I’m still not loving them. I think they need to be straightened out entirely. Oh, and, I didn’t notice until I edited these photos that the darker stripe of the fabric gives an unflattering shadow to the bust area! Ugh!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

I spent lots of time working out the print placement to avoid any embarrassing birds and to match across all the seamlines. But before I cut it out, I decided to relax and just cut things out carefully, but without going crazy. I could’ve matched everything, but it would’ve used up all the fabric and it felt kind of wasteful. Usually I would annoy myself with matching everything up perfectly, but I decided to just match it across the center back bodice and call it quits. I’m happy with how this looks and I have enough fabric leftover to make a special garment for the next baby girl born into my friend group. Somehow it felt like better stewardship than throwing away tons of odd scraps. But I may not feel that way the next time I’m dealing with a large-scale print… I dunno! Let’s see, what else… I used scraps from my Roller Skate dress for the pockets to conserve fabric, and it’s a fun detail, too.

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

This dress isn’t perfect, and I’m not sure I’ll revisit the pattern again, but I still like it and I know I’ll wear it lots. I mean, there are birds ALL OVER this dang thing- how can I not like it?! Also, it matches my adorable clutch so perfectly! Gail made it for me and brought it when she visited NYC a few weeks ago… she’s the kindest, most generous gal around (and talented to boot)! Thank you, Gail! ETA: I made this dress as part of Heather‘s Summer Sundress Sew-a-long… but I’m forgetful and didn’t remember that when I was writing the post, oops!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

Alright, your turn! Are there any patterns that you have a love/hate relationship with? Are you obsessed with wax prints, too? What are you sewing right now? OK, I’m out- it’s time to finish the 4th of July weekend with our annual Jaws screening! Who’s better than Robert Shaw?!


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Yoke + Gathers Sorbetto Hack Tutorial!

Ginger Makes | Yoke + Gathers Sorbetto Hack

Hi, guys! I’ve been meaning to share the tutorial for my Colette Sorbetto hack with you for a while (see my Rambo top and my Watch This Lace top) and finally got organized enough to photograph it today! Before we dive in, let me just make it clear that I’m not a professional, so there may be better/different methods for pattern alteration, but this is what I did. Also, if you don’t already have this pattern, you can download it for free here! Got it? Allons-y!

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

First things first: take your bodice front and fold it back along the pleat line, eliminating the pleat.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

To create your yoke, draw a straight line perpendicular to the fold line, below the armhole and above the dart. I drew my line 5/8″ below the armhole- this was a flattering yoke placement for me.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

Trace around your bodice above the line you’ve just drawn, and add a 5/8″ seam allowance below this line (the seam allowance for the neck and armhole is already included in the original pattern so you don’t need to add it). Be sure to mark your fold line so you don’t forget it! This is your front yoke piece.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

Next up, the bodice front! First, you need to decide how much fulness you want to add to create your gathers. For both of my versions, I added 4.5″ to the flat pattern, resulting in 9″ extra in the piece. You could add more or less- your call! But once you’ve decided, trace along the line you drew to create your yoke and continue it the desired amount past the center front/fold line. Then, draw in your new CF/fold line, making sure it matches the length of your original pattern and marking the fold on it. Next, fold out your dart and crease it so it stays closed. Then trace over your side seam, beginning below the yoke line.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack tutorial

You’ll notice that your side seam is slightly shorter than your center front line. Use a hip curve to gently blend the hem line and give it a nice curve. And before you cut your pattern piece out, be sure to add 5/8″ seam allowance above the yoke line!

Ginger Makes | Colette Sorbetto tutorialNext, take your back bodice piece and draw a line (again, perpendicular to the CB/fold line) to create your yoke. IMPORTANT: your back yoke line needs to be positioned the same distance below the armhole as your front yoke line! It’s going to look super janky if it doesn’t match at the side seams!

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

Now, trace around the back bodice piece, beginning and ending at the yoke line.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

Add your seam allowance to the yoke line, mark the fold line, and you’re good to go! Now, you need to decide if you want gathers on the back of your shirt or not. I didn’t add gathers to the back on mine because I didn’t want any extra volume, but you could if you liked.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

If you DON’T want gathers, just trace around the back bodice below the yoke line, trace the yoke line, and add 5/8″ seam allowance above it. If you DO want gathers, extend the yoke line beyond the CB line the desired amount like you did for the front bodice.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack tutorial

That’s it! This is a good time to double-check that your side seams are the same length, and if they do, congratulate yourself!  To sew, gather your lower bodice piece with basting stitches and stitch to the yoke. Press the seam up carefully, using the tip of your iron, then stitch the side seams together. Finish the neckline and armholes with bias binding as directed by the pattern. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can finish the top with a second yoke like I did for the brown Rambo version. Cut second front and back yokes, and stitch them like you’re sewing an all-in-one facing (tutorials here, here, and here). This will give you thinner straps and a lowered neckline- you can see this in my brown top.

Hope this is helpful! Drop me a line if you have any questions! Also, I’d love to see your finished top if you make one using this tutorial!





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Ginger Made: Simplicity 1690 Crop Top + Gathered Skirt!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well! I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve blogged- it’s been a strange month and life sort of got in the way of blogging for a while. But it’s good to be back!

So, this month’s Mood Sewing Network project is a bit of a different one for me. I’ve been wanting a full, mint green skirt for the longest time and it’s finally warm enough to wear one! I chose a creamy cotton voile, thinking it would be nice and light for summer.

Simplicity 1690 | Ginger Makes

You don’t really need a pattern for a skirt this simple, but I was inspired by Pattern Runway’s free Easy Gathered Skirt- it has a flat front waistband with elastic at the back. I don’t usually like elastic waists, but it’s nice to have the adjustability (and the freedom to eat a big lunch without fear of popping a button or breaking a zipper).

Simplicity 1690 | Ginger Makes

Cotton voile is SO easy to sew- I love it! It’s not totally opaque, but I left it unlined- I can always wear a slip if I want to. It’s not too sheer to see the pockets through it, so that’s fine. Since it’s a light, fine fabric, I used silk pins inside the seam allowances and did a blind hem by hand. That’s it! Piece of cake.

Simplicity 1690 | Ginger Makes

Next up, the top. I was immediately attracted to this beautiful silk print. It’s such a great combination of colors! I’d planned to make a buttondown with this, but I changed my mind after seeing a few girls rocking the crop top + midi skirt look (check out the République du Chiffon Anne-Marie pattern! It’s got a fun hipster-does-80′s-mom vibe!). It’s a bit of a different look, but I thought I’d give it a try.

Simplicity 1690 | Ginger Makes

I used Simplicity 1690, a simple kimono top that I’ve made before, and shortened it by 7″ to create a crop top (it’s actually 9″ shorter than my first version, but I had lengthened that by 2″). Now that I’m looking at the photos, I think it needs to go a little shorter, even, so you can see the waistband of the skirt. I tried to carefully plan out the print placement, but I’m not certain I was successful. Ikat is tough, dude! It often ends up looking a bit too anatomically correct! Annoying!

Simplicity 1690 | Ginger Makes

I feel about 50% trendy and 50% frumpy in this look. I may try shortening the top even more to see if I like it better. If not, I’ll just mix the pieces up and wear them separately. I have a feeling the skirt will look super cute with my Nettie bodysuit! I am really loving easy-to-wear separates for summer this year, though. They’re a fun change of pace from sundresses!  How about you guys? What are you making these days? Any favorite summer trends?

OH- before I forget, here’s the winner of the Fashionary giveaway!

Excluding my replies and duplicate comments, there were 125 entries before the deadline. The winner was #28, Rox Guillemette!

I hear that- I ALWAYS want to jump ahead to the next new project! Rox, I’ll be in touch!


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Ginger Made: The Rambo Project!

Hi, guys! I’m already giggling a little bit because this garment is pretty funny. A while back, Seamstress Erin asked me if I wanted to take part in The Rambo Project. You can read more about it on her blog, but in a nutshell, she received a box of old turbans, costumes from Rambo III, and sent them to a bunch of sewing bloggers so we could refashion them! I’m super excited about this! I love that we’re taking old, unloved items and reusing them, I love that there’s a Hollywood connection, and I love in particular that it’s to a schlocky action movie. I’m an action movie junkie, and I remember my dad watching Rambo on his Betamax player after I was in bed when I was a little girl. I tried to sneak peeks, but alas, he always caught me and sent me back to bed!

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes

I wanted to make something really over the top with this, since it was such a fun project. I had a vision of a shorts jumpsuit or little shorts with suspenders. I thought and thought and thought about how to accomplish this out of a scarf-sized strip of fabric, and started realizing that I was descending into one of my patented Ginger Overdoes It moments. I mean, I’m all in favor of overdoing it, but when you start having trouble sleeping because you’re trying to work out in your head how to cut out all your pattern pieces, you’ve probably gone too far. I decided to scrap that idea and keep it simple.

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes

The fabric is stretchy, very narrow, and had lots of holes and snags. It had a fun stripe on either end, and solid fabric in the middle (really should’ve taken a before pic!). I planned to utilize the stretch and make a fitted tank top, but it was looking very 1930′s men’s swimsuit-y and, well, that’s a bit too unisex, even for me!  I decided instead on my yoked Sorbetto Top hack.  This worked well with my limited amount of fabric and allowed me to have some fun with the stripe placement.

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes

I sewed this up much like the last version, splitting the front and back so I could have yokes and slashing and spreading the lower front bodice before gathering it into the yoke. But this time around I decided to skip the bias tape and finish it off with inner yokes. This makes the straps narrower and gives a more summery look to the top, which I like. It’s also about 1000x less fiddly than dealing with bias tape- win! Well, it helps if you don’t sew the yokes together in such a way that it’s impossible to turn them right-side out, but, you know, you win some, you lose some. It wouldn’t be a sewing project if I didn’t have to pull out the seam ripper at least once!

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes

All in all, this is super wearable! I know that I’ll snicker a little every time I put it on, which is an added bonus. Action movies hold a very dear place in my heart (I’ve seen Terminator 2 so many times that an old coworker had a t-shirt printed for me that reads “I’d rather be watching T2″, ha!), so I’m excited to combine two of my obsessions in one project! I’m also really looking forward to seeing the other turbans-turned-magical-garments as they pop up on blogs!

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes



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Review + Giveaway: Fashionary Sketchbook + Tape Measure!

Hi, guys! I have a fun giveaway for you today, hooray!  Vikki from Fashionary contacted me to see if I would like to do a review and giveaway of the Fashionary Sketchbook, and you know I don’t like to turn down an opportunity to give away stuff on this blog!*  Vikki asked if I wanted to give away the classic women’s sketchbook, or the “Tiger Mania”. Um…


Please don’t laugh at my terrible sketches… or my stubby baby fingers… or my disgusting iron burn…

If you haven’t seen it before, the Fashionary Sketchbook is really cool. It was designed to make fashion sketching easier and quicker by printing the pages with faint outlines of models. You can trace/draw/paint over the outlines as you feel inspired! This is great for me- although I’ve always been into fine art, I’ve always been terrible at drawing, so this book helps my little sewing idea sketches look better. Also, I tend to doodle ideas on scraps of paper whenever inspiration strikes, but then I have weird loose papers stuffed into notebooks. This is a much more organized approach! I’ve been wanting to try one of these for a long time, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to test one!

The Fashionary also has a dictionary of fashion terms, tons of little drawings of different design details, and even a chart that tells you what the care symbols on RTW garment labels means! Those have always mystified me… so I choose to believe that they all say “Wash in one giant load on hot, dry everything together, and leave in the laundry basket for at least a week before folding”.

Vikki also sent me their tape measure to review. It’s a tape measure marked on one side with standard measurements for a woman’s size 38, and on the other for a men’s 48. It’s meant to aid you when you’re patternmaking or draping without a live model or a mannequin handy. This would be nice for a fashion student, but probably not very useful for most home sewers.  It’s interesting to look at, though, and might be fun for those of you who are into patternmaking.

I’m not really into sewing with a plan (well, I make plans, but they generally derail), but I’m enjoying jotting down garment ideas in my Fashionary. It feels more flexible than lists of garments, and it’s nice when you see something that you like and want to get it on paper before you forget it (I’m recently obsessed with a crisp striped shirt I saw on a chic elderly Manhattanite… it looked AWESOME and I wanted one just like it the moment I saw it).  So I’m looking forward to using this to collect my sewing ideas in one place.

I’m basically just typing in the word “crotch” here so I can disappoint a few perverts… or maybe hook them on the joy of sewing?

OK, if you wanna win your own TIGER MANIA (OMG, I LOVE IT!) Fashionary, let me know in a comment below! I’ll close the comments at noon EST on Friday 6/6 and pick a winner at random soon after. I’m happy to ship internationally, but I’ll probably send it the slowest/cheapest way. OK, do you use any kind of sketchbook? Do you like to plan your sewing in advance? How do you organize your ideas?

*NOTE: Actually, I do turn down giveaway offers. I love being able to give away free stuff to you guys, but I also want to make sure that they’re responsible products and things that my readers would be interested in (sometimes I get approached by sketchy RTW clothing companies or people with books that have nothing to do with garment sewing… that’s just not what we’re about over here).


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Me-Made-May 2014 Round-Up!

Hey, there, buckaroos! Hope you all had a great weekend! I did, until the Blackhawks lost game 7 in OT, and now I’m a little crabby! :)

So, did you do Me-Made-May this year? If so, are you glad it’s over? For some reason it feels like such a difficulty to wear handmade clothes every day! I’m not much of a stylist, so I didn’t go to any great trouble putting together fancy outfits, but it still felt tough to wear something me-made all the time! I documented the month on my Instagram account, but I thought I’d share a quick pic roundup here on the blog now that it’s all over.  Here’s what I wore!

Day 1: Megan Nielsen Briar Top

Day 2: Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress

Day 3: McCall’s 6553, v.2

Day 4: Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt + Style Arc Romy Anorak

Day 5: Sewaholic Renfrew top (unblogged)

Day 6: Papercut Patterns Bellatrix Blazer

Day 7: Knit skirt from Workroom Social‘s pop-up class

Day 8: Papercut Patterns Petrouchka Top… you’ll just have to take my word for it!

Day 9: Tessuti Anita Ponte Pants

Day 10: Colette Patterns Sorbetto hack

Day 11: Colette Patterns Laurel dress

Day 12: Colette Patterns Sorbetto top

Day 13: Sewaholic Renfrew top (again)

Day 14: Grainline Studio Scout Tee, v.2

Day 15: Plaintain tee (again)

Day 16: Grainline Studio Archer Shirt

Day 17: Colette Laurel, v.2 + Megan Nielsen Virginia Leggings, v.2 (both unblogged, whoops)

Day 18: Bellatrix Blazer (again) + Victory Patterns Lola dress

Day 19: Papercut Patterns Anima Pants

Day 20: Cation Designs Dolman Top

Day 21: Megan Nielsen Briar Top (again)

Day 22: Tessuti Anita Ponte pants (again)

Day 23: Sewaholic Renfrew top (AGAIN) + Style Arc Romy Anorak (again)

Day 24: Republique du Chiffon Michelle Blazer

Day 25: Grainline Studio Archer Shirt (again)

Day 26: Papercut Patterns Petrouchka Top (again)

Day 27: Colette Patterns Hazel dress

Day 28: Plantain Top (AGAIN)

Day 29: Cation Designs Dolman Top (again)

Day 30: Republique du Chiffon Michelle Blazer (again)

Day 31: McCall’s 6553, v.1

Some Observations:

  • I wear jeans every day. Or rather, I wore them 21/31 days. I’ve never made a pair of jeans. I’ve been saying I need to sew a pair for a really, really long time now.
  • Because I wear jeans, I wear tops. I prefer to wear woven tops. I wore woven tops 5/31 days. I only have 4 me-made woven tops! Need more of those.
  • Related to that, I wear knit tops all the time, because they’re easy to wear with jeans. But I don’t like to wear them very much- I look over these photos, and the days that I really don’t like how I look, I’m wearing a knit top.  If it wasn’t Me-Made-May, I’d probably be wearing a RTW buttondown with my jeans most days. So I find myself wearing things that I don’t feel that good in because they’re handmade. Hmm.
  • Lots of the garments I wore this month were from patterns I’ve used more than once (10/31). That’s probably a good indicator that they’re wearable.
  • Wow, I’m really not a skirt girl! I only wore one once! It was a bit colder than usual this May, or there probably would’ve been a few more dresses in the mix, but I really prefer them to skirts.
  • This May I made four (4!) pairs of stretch/sweatpants (well, one went to my sister, so only three are in my wardrobe, but still!). This was partly because I was pattern testing, but also because I was tired of being dressed up on lazy/housecleaning days!
  • Confession: I didn’t wear my favorite garment, my Victoria blazer, because it was dirty… the entire month. :o
  • I thought I have a fairly cohesive style, but looking over the pics, I’m not really seeing it! Weird!

Well, that’s about all the thought I can put into this for the time being. What are your thoughts on the Me-Made-May experience? Any new conclusions?  What items are missing from your handmade wardrobe? What’s your favorite everyday look?



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Dude Sewing: McCall’s 6044!

The unthinkable has occurred. I sewed something for Man Friend!!!

What? You didn’t think I’d ever get around to it?  I finally decided to use our anniversary two weeks ago as a firm deadline and I actually finished it in time!

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

This is the ubiquitous McCall’s 6044. There are so few sewing patterns for men, and even fewer of them are styles that Man Friend would wear. Luckily, this western-style buttondown is really close to what he likes in a RTW shirt. The pattern also includes options for a yoke-less, regular buttondown, with the option of short or long sleeves.

I’ve had this plaid flannel stashed for quite a while with the intention of making a men’s shirt with it. It was $5/yd at one of the cheap, small stores in the Garment District. I’m really not in love with it, although I like the colors- cheap flannel just doesn’t stay on grain at all! It stretched, sagged, and just generally made matching the plaid really unpleasant. Even after spending tons of time lining everything up, it doesn’t look all that great. Ugh!

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

I cut the front and back yokes, the pockets, cuffs, and the top button placket on the bias. I only had two yards of fabric, but I was able to squeeze all those pieces out with just tiny scraps remaining. So I cut the undercollar, the inner collar stand, and the inner cuffs from a contrasting fabric (the chambray-look flannel I used for my Meissa blouse).  I really like the subtle detail of the contrast, actually.

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

Just a little bit of contrast at the collar stand!

I cut a straight size medium and didn’t make any fit alterations (I treated this as a wearable muslin). I could probably narrow the shoulders just a touch, but other than that, the fit seems OK, or at least as good as his RTW shirts. Do you guys see any fit problems in these photos? I’m not very confident diagnosing them in men! The only changes I made were eliminating the pocket flaps (I sewed them on, but Man Friend didn’t love them), shaving 1/8″ off the undercollar and inner collar stand (this makes it easier to roll them to the inside), and adding tower plackets to the sleeves. I followed the Four Square Walls tutorial for sewing on the collar, and I sewed on the cuffs the exact same way.  This technique really makes sense to me.

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

Let’s talk about those tower plackets!  As drafted, the sleeves are two-piece, and you stop sewing the seam a few inches before the cuff edge so you can narrow hem the opening you’ve created instead of using a placket. That’s a simple way to construct a shirt and good for someone who’s intimidated by plackets, but I wanted it to look a little nicer. First I changed the two-piece sleeve to a one-piece (I just overlapped the pieces and taped them together), then I downloaded Lisa’s tower placket template instead of drafting my own (thanks, Lisa!!).  I have David Coffin’s Shirtmaking, the primer for techniques like this, but my reading comprehension must not be that great as I struggled to understand how I was supposed to sew it on.  Luckily, a Google search brought up a photo tutorial from the Colette Hawthorn dress sewalong, which really helped me to make sense of the process.  This would’ve all gone pretty smoothly, but I made an idiotic mistake that complicated things. You see, when you do things differently from the pattern instructions, it’s wise to make sure that your construction order will still be the same. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that it’s way easier to sew sleeve plackets when you haven’t yet sewed the sleeve seam, and I’d already sewn the seam, serged and topstitched it, set the sleeves in, and serged the armhole seams! I had to wrestle and wrestle and wrestle to get the placket sewn in with the sleeve closed, and it really wasn’t fun at all. Whoops!

My next dumb mistake was that I didn’t realize that adding a tower placket made the sleeve edge larger (since you’re sort of binding the edges of the slit you make, instead of turning them under and hemming like the pattern instructs you to do- does that make sense?), SO, when I went to attach the cuffs, I had to sew with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. Super scary! I realized later that I should have just increased the intake of the pleat to make the sleeve the proper size, but at the time I was too frazzled to think it through clearly. Live and learn!

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

Man Friend: “Whoa, it looks like I’m peeing!” It totally does.

After my great debacle with pearl snaps on my Archer shirt, several commenters mentioned the Snap Source snap setter as a better option. I ordered it and used it for the first time with this shirt. It’s a much easier process, and way less frustrating than the Dritz snap pliers (I’m not even going to link to them because I hate them and don’t recommend them at all). But I must not have been getting them on tightly enough or something because twice since I finished the shirt one side of a snap has pulled out of the fabric and I’ve had to fix it. I think the real solution here is to just use buttons! I used a button and buttonhole on the top collar stand button- I inspected his RTW shirts, and the ones with pearl snaps all had one button in that position.

I’m just glad I finally made something for Man Friend! He’s so supportive of my sewing, and it’s about time that I took the time to make something for him! He’s looking forward to the “real” version of this shirt, a blue and red plaid flannel that he picked out from Mood a few months ago (just a word of advice, ladies, if you take your fella into the fabric store, you MIGHT end up leaving with a bag full of fabrics for him and a whole bunch of crazy requests! I may have agreed to make him a pair of pinstriped dress pants… eek!). Next time around I’ll know what to look out for!

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

I had to tell an idiotic joke to get one real smile in the entire batch of photos!

Alright, let’s talk about dude sewing! What have you made for the men in your life? If you’re a sewing fella, what do you like to sew? Are there any patterns that you wish existed? Any favorite men’s patterns?


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Ginger Made: République du Chiffon Michelle Blazer!

Hi, guys! Bon weekend! OK, so I suppose that after my last couple of posts you’re expecting me to be sporting some kind of muumuu this time around (wait, now I’m tempted to make one), but it’s back to my regular programming!

This month’s Mood Sewing Network project is a fun one! Now, I don’t wear much black, I never wear white, and I DO NOT wear black and white together. I just don’t! But for some reason, this print just called my name and I went with it!

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

This is a Theory poly-cotton blend, soft and with lots of drape, that I found at Mood Fabrics NYC.  I knew immediately that I wanted to make a statement blazer with it, and I thought the black and white would be fun for spring paired with bright colors. I also thought I would make a pair of matching pants, buuuuuuuuut I made a mistake that involved recutting a couple of crucial pieces, so I don’t think I have enough fabric leftover now.  Ah well, no use crying over spoilt ikat!

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

Could you tell there were pockets?

I picked out the new Michelle pattern from République du Chiffon, a French company with really fashion-forward designs. It’s an easy-wearing, boyfriend-style blazer with a shawl collar and patch pockets (there’s even a teeny-tiny chest pocket!). It’s an oversized style, which probably isn’t the most flattering shape for me, but it keeps things casual for everyday wear.  I can’t say enough about my love for RDC!  Geraldine’s designs are super, super cool and I kinda want to buy every single one of ‘em.

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

I spent approximately 1000 years matching up the print at all the seamlines. I cut everything out in a single layer to make and used my walking foot to keep things lined up. It takes time, but the results are worth it. It’s never perfect, but it’s good enough for me- the patch pockets are nearly invisible, and the center back seam is pretty closely matched. But I’ll tell you a little secret: I picked out a lovely silk ikat print for the lining, and after spending an unbelievable amount of time matching up the jacket shell, I just didn’t feel like matching the lining, so I opted for a grey silk from Chic Fabrics. Sometimes you just need a break from all that detail!

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

I really enjoy sewing blazers- every time I try a new pattern, I learn new techniques! They’re just so fun to sew! However… this was one of the most difficult projects I’ve taken on in recent months. It wasn’t because of the style, or because of the fabric, but because the instructions for this pattern are entirely in French (and there are only a couple of illustrations)! My rudimentary French was stretched to the max, and I spent LOTS of time with my handy French-English dictionary! Wow, what a brain workout!  Luckily, Geraldine posted a step-by-step photo tutorial right before I started working on this. It was invaluable! If you make this, be aware that the photo tutorial uses a different construction order than the pattern instructions call for, so don’t get tripped up by that.  I really like the results of the photo tutorial.  This is the nicest, cleanest finish I’ve ever had in a blazer!

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

Center back seam looks pretty good…

I don’t usually gravitate towards poly-cotton for blazers, but I really liked how it worked for this project- it’s not stiff, it doesn’t crease or wrinkle, but it’s still easy to press. Perfect!  I’m not 100% sold on the oversized shoulder look on me, but that’s not enough to keep me from loving this.

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

OMG, a tiny little pocket for all my itsy treasures!

I’m a complete blazer addict! I just love how they can dress up any outfit! I really like making statement blazers- they’re so fun to wear! I’m especially excited about this one since it’s a little outside the box for me. I’m looking forward to finding ways to pair this with clothes in my wardrobe.

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

How about you? How do you like to wear blazers, if at all? And how do you like to style and accessorize black and white garments? What’s on your sewing table?

Republique du Chiffon Veste Michelle | Ginger Makes

Have a wonderful weekend, especially if you’re in the States and have a three-day weekend ahead! And a very happy wedding day to Nic and Roisin!!!



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