Archive for the ‘style’ Category

Sewing Style: Floral Two-toned Shift Dress

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I live in this dress. It’s comfortable enough to throw on and chase the kids all day, but it’s nice enough for a date night out.

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I originally bought this fabric (Mood!) like 3 years ago on a girls’ weekend to L.A. fabric district. We each bought a yard of this gorgeous fabric to see what we would do with it. I was so nervous to cut into the fabric, I ended up tying it around my waist and joking with a “no sew” tutorial. To see what everyone else did with the fabric, click here.

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Just before leaving for Hawaii back in May, I decided it was time to do something about that yard. I didn’t have enough yardage to make a dress knee length, so I got creative and color blocked the top to give me a little extra room at the hem. I didn’t want it to look like I just pieced a top and a bottom there. I sliced and diced Megan Nielsen’s Briar tee pattern. I raised the neckline a touch and pieced the front and back. Piecing isn’t as hard as you might think. Especially if it’s in straight lines. It’s easiest if you have some tracing paper. I like to use large sheets of tracing paper from a roll (you can get them in 24″, 36″ and 48″ widths). See below for the full tutorial.

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melissaesplin-how-to-color-block-dress

We had so fun at the photo shoot that I forgot to get a straight on back shot of the dress so here’s one flat from my studio.

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Sewing the ‘v’ together was a little tricky since I didn’t want any puckering to occur (go slow!), but I tell you, using two knit fabrics for piecing like this is a lot easier than piecing two woven fabrics together. There’s a lot more wiggle room. Literally.

how to color block-01

First things first, you’ll need:

For this, I used a pattern piece from the Briar Sweater pattern. This technique works on any pattern piece.

 

how to color block-02

Draw a line where you want your color blocking to happen. Drawing directly on the flat pattern how you want the pattern piece to look and where you want the seam to fall.

Then slip the pattern piece under the tracing paper and trace each section carefully. Transfer markings and information.

THEN ADD SEAM ALLOWANCE. You’ll add the same seam allowance to your color blocking lines as the pattern calls for. Write those seam allowances on the pattern pieces.

how to color block-03

Cut your fabric pieces out and align right sides together from the top corner to the middle. Pin at the pivot point.

Sew up to the pivot point and release your presser foot while keeping the needle in the fabric. Align the remaining fabric pieces and pin. Continue your line.

how to color block-04

Here’s the key: press your seam and top stitch the seam allowance to that side. I chose to stitch the seam allowance pointing upwards because of the fabric choices it just looked better.

melissaesplin-how-to-color-block-dress

Now sew your pieces together as directed in the sewing pattern. DONE!

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View More: http://piersonphotocompany.pass.us/melissaoutfitsOutfit details:

  • hat and bracelets: c/o Tai Pan Trading
  • necklace: handmade (tutorial)
  • dress: handmade by me! using Briar tee pattern
  • shoes: Toms
*This tutorial is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

Sponsored Style: Striped Tunic Shift Dress

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This post is sponsored by Sven Clogs. Original hand-crafted clogs since 1974. Clogs made-to-order with premium styles and materials for man, woman and child.

Connect with Svens Clogs on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram!

After I made Penelope’s sweet summer romper, I knew I needed to make a matching look. I mean, seriously. Gold clogs and red striped fabric? YES. So much yes.

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All images by Pierson Photo Company

I’ve got a few of these dresses in my closet now, I can’t stop making them. Can we talk about how awesome shift dresses are?! I can have a giant food baby in there and no one would ever know. And yes. There was a food baby in there. No real baby.

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To switch up the style just a touch, I added a tunic-style hem with a slit on the sides and a high-low hem. The blunt high-low hem changes the look from any other shift dresses out there. I feel like it adds a bit of edginess in there. Maybe a slight ’90s vibe? I’ve been crushing on the ’90s hard core lately.

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Creepy skull!! Hahah! I love that. This is one of the few stores I’ve been to lately that didn’t have Christmas Decor up already. Sheesh. It’s still September. I’m not sure I want to think about Halloween quite yet!

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This dress is perfect for Summer, but I’ve been layering it with blazers and jackets to transition to fall. I think the black leather warms it up for the cooler season that’s approaching.

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Let’s talk a little about the sewing process! Here’s what I did:

  • Used Megan Nielsen’s Briar Tee as a base
  • Raised the neckline
  • Lengthened the hem to a dress
  • Shortened sleeves
  • created a high-low hem

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Creating a split hem isn’t as hard as one might think. It’s a little trickier when serging the side seams, but not impossible at all. Here’s how to do it with a serger:

  • Serge the side seams before putting the layers together (if it’s woven, if it’s a non-fraying knit, no need for this step).
  • Sew the seams about 5″ shy of the desired slit spot.
  • Switch to a regular sewing machine, with a straight stitch sew all the way to the slit line (make markings on both sides for consistency).
  • Fold the seam allowance back in on itself and sew a top stitch around the slit. I do up over and down on one slit in one go.
  • Hem front and back as desired.

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If you’ve been nervous about split hems like this, don’t be! They’re super easy! Let me know if you need illustrations for the above instructions. :)

Outfit details:

Let me just say, I absolutely love these clogs. They fit perfectly. I’m wearing them constantly. They’re the perfect momiform shoes: they’re easy to chase kids in, they’re comfortable all day and they look so cute! I’m a huge, huge fan. Seriously, I can’t seem to get enough.

Sewing Style: Floral Button-Up

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This outfit has been in the queue of things to blog for MONTHS. I got the skirt just in the nick time for Inspired Retreat. It traveled marvelously well and proved to be just the perfect statement piece I needed for a dinner there.

The top was something I sewed in May for Silhouette Summit. There’s something about going out of town that urges me to sew like crazy!

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I had this fabric in my stash from an excursion to the fabric district years ago. I thought I would just make something for Penelope with it, but it just sat. And I never made anything for her. The bright, tropical print was screaming at me the second I purchased my flight to Hawaii, so I did something about it.

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I made this button up without a collar. Basically using Grainline’s Scout Tee, extending the middle front and adding buttons. It was easy enough. I sort of wish I would have made a collar for it. It wasn’t the easiest fabric to work with, but I think a collar would have looked nice.

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It was part laziness, part strategic planning that I opted for only 4 buttons in the front. I tie the front of most of my button-ups anyway, so I just omitted them for that very reason. Tying up the excess like that makes for a sleeker line with the skirt since there’s no bulk of a shirt underneath the skirt. I know. I’m genius. It’s not a matter of style, but a matter of comfort in this case. I don’t like bulk.
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It was an easy enough sew, taking me just under 2 hours to make it happen from beginning to end. I feel a little Miami granny-ish with the florals, but paired with the metallic knife pleats I just own the look.

Outfit details

I was stoked to find Pleated Empire is local to Draper! I’m a huge fan of the rebel skirt (featured above) and their Floral Blazer and Mesh Ribbon Skirt.

Sewing Style: 90’s Influenced Fit & Flare

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Megan Nielsen sent me this gorgeous lawn (at least I think it’s a lawn) about 2 years ago. It was more time than I would like to admit. Why, oh why do I tend to let such pretty fabric just sit in my stash? I have no idea.

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I wanted it to be something flowy and free for summer. Miriam convinced me that I should make a fit and flare dress. She’s right. She’s always right when it comes to sewing matters.

I didn’t have any good light-weight stretchy black knit on hand, so I ended up dicing up an old maxi dress that I made (and never blogged, only wore once) while I was pregnant with Juniper. That fabric is getting much more use now as the top and sleeves of my dress.

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I used the scout tee for the base of this dress. I pieced the front and took in the sides to compensate for the knit in the back. I considered not taking it in and having it with more of a 90’s proportion, but it feels so feminine with the tapered waist. I’m glad I didn’t make it baggy.

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The dress is so comfortable and light-weight. Perfect for those hot summer days. It was an easy sew, too. Because of the knit back, I didn’t need to put in any enclosures. And I put in a knit binding at the collar so that was super easy.

Anyone know a good technique for binding a woven neckline without it puckering or curling? Let me know. I’m all ears!

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Outfit details:

  • dress: scout tee, revised | fabric from megan nielsen
  • necklace: H&M
  • bracelet: THP shop
  • shoes: Forever 21
  • bag: coach (!!!! a mother’s day gift from my mom !!!!)

All photos by Sam Pierson

Sewing: The Feminist Bathing Suit

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When I tell people that I like to sew my own swimming suits, I tend to get the same reaction of awe and I-could-never-do-anything-like-that self-doubt. Sewing a swimsuit isn’t that hard. Shopping for one is hard.

Let me put this in perspective. How many women out there go to the store, pick out the first suit they like, try it on, love it and go home? And if you’re reading this and you do that, you’re either pre-pubescent or a freaking unicorn. Because that doesn’t exist.

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Every woman I talk to spends at least the double-digits in hours either searching for, trying on, buying/returning a swimsuit. It’s a laborious task finding the swimsuit of the season. It is!

I’m thin. My BMI is in the “you need to gain weight” range. It always has been. So many think it might be easy for me to find a suit I just love. It’s not. I always end the swimsuit excursion feeling emotionally bankrupt, thinking: My boobs are too small, my torso is too long and my body is too pasty. 

Why? Why on earth put myself through that kind of torture? WHY?!?!?

 

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You know what? I have an amazing body. WE ALL HAVE AMAZING BODIES. It’s just that 99% of the time our bodies don’t fit the block created by one manufacturer or another. And is that bad? NO.

So I’m not going to waste another minute feeling upset that my body doesn’t fit a man-made proportion, or spend a second on the things I could do to enhance or change my god-given proportions. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve thought about it. It’s just not for me. Not right now.

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Now I spend that half-day obsessing over muslins and sketches. I huddle over my sewing machines finishing every detail as best as I can. I’ve drafted my own sewing pattern through lots of trial and error (version 1.0 here), so now I have a pattern for swim bottoms that fits me perfectly. I can adjust that pattern to the style I’m going for. Drafting a top takes more time, but it’s worth it.

At the end of the experience, I have a swimsuit I’ve made. A swimsuit I’m proud of. A swimsuit that fits me. 

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Some may think that sewing is so antiquated. I’ll tell you there’s nothing more empowering than that sewing machine. If you’re on the fence about sewing a swimsuit this year, get off the fence and start making one right now. It’ll be the best investment in you you’ll make this summer.

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Outfit details:

  • floral knit: L.A. Fabric District
  • scuba knit: Fabric.com
  • necklace: H&M
  • shoes: Forever 21
  • bracelet: THP shop

I drafted each pattern from scratch. I would consider starting at Burdastyle, if you download their patterns make sure that patterns have seam allowance before you cut them out. :)

If sewing isn’t for you, check out my swimwear inspiration board.

All images by Sam Pierson

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