Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Time to Vote: The Black and White Challenge.

Today is the day to vote!!!  We have been drooling over the looks behind the scenes and we are so excited that they are finally up for voting today.  Please be sure to scroll down to see all the looks and then cast your vote (the poll is located at the bottom of the post--so look for it there.) 

A HUGE thank you to all the designers for their spectacular black and white creations.  They have spent lots of time and efforts on each of them---and it truly shows.  Thanks to each one of them for agreeing to be a part of inspiring each of us to sew more for ourselves.  That is exactly what we want this competition to be---an INSPIRATION!!!

It is one vote per IP address (or computer).  Good luck everyone!!!

So, enough babbling...let's get to the looks.... (the poll is at the bottom of the post).

Sew a Straight Line--Black on White with birds all over

I wanted to keep things cool and classic for Black and White.  I also wanted to play with the idea of contrast, inspired by the theme.  I made white cropped skinny jeans, a feminine tee, and a biker-inspired black leather jacket with a twist.  I hacked up a men’s XL leather trench and a knit sweater, both purchased at a local thrift shop, and used the resulting materials to make the jacket.  The basic shapes for the body of the jacket started with McCall’s 4305, a dress pattern c. 1974. I changed things up a bit, wanting an off-center/asymmetrical look, and a placket to accommodate a zipper.  The front even has a wind-guard-weather-stripping…thing (no idea what this would really be called) below the zipper to protect me from the elements when I’m on my bike.  And by “bike”, I mean bicycle.  I haven’t ridden on a motorcycle since college.  But I get cold easily and pedal fast, so it’s totally going to get good use! The collar is self drafted, with a high-mandarin style. I added silver hardware: the angled zipper and collar snaps, to make things look more authentic.  The sleeves, side-back panels and hem are all from the knit material, and I love the tone-on-tone contrast of it.  The jacket is also lined with some fun floral fabric.  The lining and the knit details add an feminine, unexpected softness to an otherwise hard fabric and design.
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The tee is self-drafted, with banded dolman sleeves, banded waist, and a draped neckline.  It’s made of jersey knit with a fun, trendy bird print, and it’s super comfortable.   The jeans are white stretch denim, and were made by altering Jalie 2908.  I lowered the front rise, and took the legs in quite a bit from the wide bootleg of the pattern to a super skinny fit, and then cropped them to just above the ankle.  I also did some basic fitting through the waist to give a better fit to my body.  They are traditional five pocket style, with zippered-fly and rivets.  It’s hard to tell, but the design on the back pockets is a cursive “s”.  The front pockets have a secret.  Click on over to my blog, Sew a Straight Line to find out what it is, and to see more pictures and read more details of this week’s look. 
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The Sewing Rabbit--Classical Stripes

Week 1 of Project Sewn is here, and I am so excited! When Liz and Elizabeth revealed this week's theme, I was totally stumped. This happens to be a trend I do not particularly follow in my daily wardrobe. In fact, I am pretty sure that ever since I had 3 kids I stopped wearing the color black altogether. It just seems so dark a color for my otherwise bright and colorful world.  Unless I am getting dressed up. Then black always was, and always will be my go-to color.

That being said I decided to make a nice, classically striped date-night dress in these fabulous colors. Made entirely out of cotton, this dress is wonderfully comfortable, and quite possibly one of the nicest things I have ever made for myself. I always like to start with a bodice block that I know fits well - which for me is the Burda cap sleeve dress found here. I altered the bodice pattern by bringing up the neckline, trimming the sleeves, as well as fitting the bodice back a bit slimmer to my body. To make the fabulous front bow I used a technique found in Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamicho, which was incredibly challenging for me. The book shows you some basic guidelines, but leaves it to the reader to know how to put general construction together. The bodice alone took me a couple of days to construct.
The skirt of the dress is a nice classic black and white 3" stripe which I pieced together from my black and white cotton. I kept a simple gathered top, as it showcased the stripes to perfection without taking too much attention away from the knot top bodice. And of course, as every girl knows, pockets make every dress better!

You can see more pictures of the Classical Stripes Dress over on The Sewing Rabbit's Blog. I hope you like it!

Mama Says Sew--Black and White
 For the first theme, we were asked to design a look based on the current trend of combining black and white. My first thought was, "Oh, that's a trend? Huh." You can bet that I've noticed it a lot more now though!
My look started with the idea for the pleated skirt. I pieced strips of black and white fabric vertically, then created knife pleats around the entire skirt to give a dynamic black and white look that moves with me. I started with the waistband from McCall's pattern 5631, then drafted the rest of the skirt myself.

The top I made with a black and white checked shirting fabric. I started with a vintage Simplicity pattern {8738}. I shortened the sleeve length, added an extra layer of ruffles, and used a zig zag stitch on my machine to create contrast on the edges of the ruffles. I made the shirt with a mandarin collar so the emphasis would be on the front of the shirt, rather than the collar.
 For more pictures and my take on sewing with vintage patterns, head over to my blog.
Four Square Walls--Cool Ikat
It's unavoidable: if I'm wearing a black and white ensemble, I have to wear a red belt. My inspiration for these three pieces was actually Stanley's winning design on the most recent season of Project Runway for the Marie Claire editorial challenge (see here). He sewed an open leather jacket, drapey white culottes and a black and white graphic tank. I knew for this challenge I wanted to make a gathered skirt with draped pockets for some more volume, a fitted tee, and a (non-leather) white blazer to top it off. The pushed-up blazer sleeve is all the rage. No tea-length culottes here, though.
For the blazer I modified New Look 6013 quite a bit. The shell fabric is a stretch cotton sateen that was stained on the selvedge so they gave it to me for $1.99/yd. As for changes to the jacket pattern: I added a full lining, cropped it at the waistline and added a rounded peplum for some shaping, de-pleated the sleeve caps and added contrast black lining just to the rolled up sleeve part. The skirt is pattern-less, made from ikat printed jersey and lined with black rayon bemberg. I gathered the fabric by zig-zagging over a long strand of dental floss. I highly recommend this method, as it's much smoother and faster than stitching three full lines and yanking on the thread. The cap-sleeved top is made of some sheer accordian-pleated stretch fabric. To make it, I traced the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern front for both the front and the back, deepened and widened the neckline, left off the sleeves and sized it down severely to accommodate the stretch of the fabric.
See more details on my blog at four square walls!
Cirque Du Bebe---Where the Critters Play 
Phwoa what a week! Being a bit color-happy it was actually quite refreshing being 'restricted' to black and white. I had this black and white woodland animal silk crepe de chine in the stash, all lined up for nothing in particular but something extra special. And week one of Project Sewn seemed fitting! I paired it with a black silk crepe de chine and then set about figuring how to contrast the two to make this print sing!
I knew I wanted to make something for the top half, but I really wanted it to be a piece that could transition between day and night. I don't know about you, but I always tend to think of blouses and shirts  being day wear / office wear. So I wanted to create a 'dashingly handsome' blouse, something beautiful and feminine and after-five-worthy. For that reason I went for simple lines and blocked sections of color to make the print stand out. My favourite part is the understated collar! It felt like at every step of the way there were design decisions to be made: placket sleeves, self cover buttons, French seams...
 ....and a whopping big triangle in the back...it needed some edge! Which was not as straight forward to sew as I thought it would be. I imported parts from a total of four different patterns (this tank, this bow blouse, this shirt and this one) and made several muslins to get a fit that is drapey and loose without billowing. And this is coming from a girl who doesn't 'believe' in muslins! So long, comfort zone. I made the front and back hems curved with the back slightly lower to skim over butt level as I think this is a flattering length. I'm so happy with how it turned out and pretty proud to attempt something where I didn't know if it was going to work out until the last minute!
For all the deets and more pics head over to Cirque Du Bebe!
Sew Caroline-- Love, Audrey
For this week's challenge, Black & White, I channeled my inner Audrey Hepburn and came up with this adorable dress complete with a Peter Pan collar and bow belt.
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For this dress, I took the super simple Shift Dress by Favorite Things, left off the sleeves, added a peter pan collar, and used shirring all the way around the waist of the dress (instead of elastic just in the back). I added a black bow belt to complete the outfit. The white eyelet fabric I chose adds to the femininity of the whole ensemble!

Pop over to Sew Caroline to see more pictures of this Audrey Hepburn-Inspired outfit.



  1. Oh my gosh, how do I choose ONE out of these - well done ladies, stunning!!!!

  2. Very hard to choose just one, I'm really impressed with what you all created!

  3. Not an easy vote..! All are stunning and inspiring :)

  4. Wow, well done ladies - seriously!! Don't know how to narrow it down to vote for one, argh!

  5. these are AMAZING - - I don't know how I'm going to vote - such great looks and details!!

  6. Ahhh, so much loveliness!All of these looks are inspiring me to sew something for myself. Wow!

  7. Absolutely fantastic - all of them!

  8. You girls are amazing!! All the looks are so pretty!!

  9. Even though I can only vote for one....I wanted to vote for all the looks for different reasons. Beautiful work ladies!

  10. Great job everyone. You've made it hard to choose one to vote for.

  11. I honestly can't even vote... It makes me too sad to think that I can't vote for everyone. I am SO impressed. Holy wow!

  12. AMAZING! I want to vote for everyone!

  13. Ditto what everyone else is saying...they are all amazing looks!!

  14. Holy... well, sheesh. That is tough to pick!

  15. Very hard to choose! Such a great job ladies... this is so fun!

  16. Seriously, how do you want to choose ??????????????????????

  17. This is too, too difficult. All the designers did an amazing job! I did vote for one, but had to do a lot of thinking before casting my vote. All designers, you rock!

  18. Wow it's beautiful style ...they are all amazing looks!!
    Mens Leather Jackets