my favorite DIY boho-inspired tank


My favorite things over the past few weeks have been walking around historic Charleston and house gazing,  spending time with the husband and baby, and making anything in flowy, drapy rayon. So these photos pretty much sum up the end of  a beautiful summer. Well that, and it also reinforces the fact that I don’t know how to pose for photos without holding Liam on my hip. I suppose he is my greatest accessory and my favorite photo prop. 
IMG_4040If you have been following along with my sewing blog then first of all, let me say thank you. But also, if you remember, this is not the first time I blogged about this tank top (oh here it is). The original idea for this tank top came last summer and this floral one is now my fifth in my collection. No matter what stage my body is in: pregnant, not pregnant, postpartum, just ate a big burrito, wishing I was eating a big burrito… I always fall back on flowy boho-style tank tops. They go great with skinny jeans, cut off shorts, or wide leg pants (as seen above).

IMG_4013I found this old gem from a never-blogged-about photo session. This version is made in pandalicous voile and I wore it last summer when I was still breastfeeding all the-live-long day, in dire need of some Vitamin D, and apparently thought my feet were pretty funny.

The Fabric:  Art Gallery Fabrics rayon

The Pattern: self drafted tank using my favorite flowy ready-to-wear tank top. Follow these steps for how you can make your own pattern from your favorite tank:

  1. Pick out your favorite tank from your closet. The one you wear all summer and can’t live without.
  2. Lay out some paper on a table or floor (either taped together computer paper or a roll of parchment paper).
  3. Fold your old tank top in half, lengthwise, and place  on top of the pattern paper, holding it in place with weights or tape.
  4. Using a pencil and a small ruler, trace around the tank top leaving exactly 5/8th inches around the tank at the side seam and the bottom. This will be your seam allowance. You do not have to leave a seam allowance along the folded edge or neckline.
  5. On your paper make sure you write down which line was the folded edge (where the folded lengthwise portion of the tank was laying on the paper).
  6. Follow steps 3-5 for the back bodice as well. (for my tank top, I actually used the same pattern piece for both front and back. This works well if you want the back neckline to match the neckline in the front. However if you want a higher back piece or something different like a racer back, then make sure you are tracing both a front and a back piece and labeling them as such.
  7. Cut our your patterns pieces from the paper. Now you should have your bodice pieces!
  8.  You will use bias taping for the neckline and straps so you do not have to make any pattern pieces for this. I’m not going to re-invent the wheel so here is an excellent tutorial from Dana on how to create your own bias tape. This way you can match your bias tape to your bodice fabric. Or if you want to use store bought bias tape then carry on, my friend.

Construction

  1. Right sides together sew the side seams of the bodice using a 5/8 inch seam allowance.
  2. Finish off your seam using a serger or zig zag stitch because rayon will fray!
  3. Turn the garment right side out.
  4. You are now going to add your bias tape to finish the necklines, arm holes and to create your straps. First stop and go get a glass of water/wine/lemonade. This will take a minute or two.  I made about 75 inches of bias tape and then cut into four pieces: 26in for my right side straps and arm holes 26 inches for left side strap and arm hole, 11 inches for the front neck line, and 11 inches for back neck line. Your numbers may be different if you have a shorter torso or want shorter straps. I would wait and cut your bias tape as you go along.
  5. First, sandwich in the raw edge of the neckline with the double fold bias tape and stitch close to the edge. But makes sure your stitch is catching both sides of the bias tape and also that your slippery rayon bodice fabric is still sandwiched in-between.
  6. Repeat step 5 with the back neckline.
  7. Next, pin your 3 and 4 bias tape pieces with the arm holes sandwiched in, but before you begin sewing in place, try on the garment to decide how long you want your straps to be. From there you can adjust how much of the bias tape you want to use. Sew in place.
  8. Hem the bottom of the tank and you are done my friend!

Final Thoughts: I decided to go back a day later and reinforce the straps at the area where they meet the neckline and sew a small “x” with backstitches in place. Just to ensure I don’t have a strap malfunction one day while I am at the park or grocery store.

If you are new to sewing, then this might all look like Greek to you, but you know what, just play around with the bias tape and you’ll never believe what you can do. I am now a sucker for finishing off all my tanks and hems using bias tape but if you would of given me a pack of bias tape just 3 years ago,  I would of thrown in back at ya and said no thanks!

until next time, may your tank tops blow in the breeze and if you live in Charleston, may you be lucky and get a breeze sometime soon! xoxo Priscilla

 

 

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A little black dress and a pink door 

A few weeks ago, I went out to dinner with just my girlfriends. And while I was getting ready, simultaneously tearing apart my closet to find something decent that didn’t involve wearing a nursing bra or purse large enough to carry around Will’s junk, I realized I have a closet full of crap and nothing to wear. All of my ready-to-wear clothes are either out dated, too “junior” looking, too tight, or too short. And much of my handmade clothing just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. Sewing, for me, began as a hobby.  Something to fill my time in between when I got home from work and when Will got home from work. I was sewing garments simply because I saw a fabric that I really liked, or I wanted to practice sewing a different type of pattern, or I was sewing just to have something to share on the blog.   And now, as anyone who has a one and a half year-old knows, ain’t nobody got time for hobbies. 

All that being said, it doesn’t change the fact that I still love fashion. And I still love the idea of creating and evolving my handmade wardrobe. And plus I still need to get dressed every morning. (Well that last one’s negotiable. I guess I could just hang out in pajamas all week long. Been there, done that. #postpartum). So I’ve decided I’m going back to the basics. I’m throwing out/selling /donating about 75% of my closet. And I’m only going to be sewing pieces that I will really wear over and over again. Shirts, dresses, and pants that I know would look good on my body type.  And I’m going to take the time to research the fabrics that I buy to figure out which fabrics are going to be best for which sewing pattern, instead of just buying yards and yards of pretty fabric and hoarding it away while deep down knowing that if I saw a dress in the store out of that fabric, I would never look twice at it. Let that be a lesson. Just because the fabrics looks pretty in the store, that does not mean it was destined to be on your body. So alas, here we are now. I tossed out about 8 dresses that were falling apart, sent 10 to GoodWill, and listed a few to sell on Poshmark. And in their place I added this little black dress. My first “basic” piece of clothing for Priscilla’s new and improved less-is-more closet. 

These photos were taken over the weekend on a walk through downtown Charleston. And now I can’t stop thinking about how I need marble front steps in my next house. I think I want blue shutters too.Okay, actually I want a pink door. Yep definitely want a pink door. Back on James Island, just a bunch of rain puddles. Nothing to see here folks. 

The Fabric: black rayon from Five Eighth Seams

The Pattern: the Jorna by Jenna Brand. (I’ve blogged about this pattern before. See here)

My Alterations:  This pattern is designed to be sewn with knits, and although I loooooove the silhouette of this dress, I already made one in knit and I instead really wanted to try this same pattern in a lightweight rayon, something that I can transition from day to night. So after making a few different muslins, I determined that with the low scoop neck, I could totally make this out of a rayon with just a few modifications and still not have to add a zipper or buttons.  So I modified the pattern to account for the lack of stretch in the rayon fabric by adding an extra inch to the shoulder height, and 2 extra inches to the sides of the bodice (and the same for the lining pieces), so there was extra room for my mom boobs to fit in there, but without changing the overall shape of the dress. I also added an extra inch of length due to my height.

Final Thoughts: I know there is nothing impressive about simple A-line solid black dress. But this dress can be worn as a cover up with sandals to the beach, sneakers and a diaper bag on my shoulder for running errands, and heels and tassel earrings for a night out. It was a sad day when I dropped that hot pink tube top dress from Forever 21 to Good Will but it was time people. It was time.

Until next time, may your walks be sunny and your closets be uncluttered! xxoo Priscilla

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a DIY jumpsuit + an old oak tree

My “momi-form” these days has been the same two pairs of denim cut off shorts and a flowy tee shirt or tank top. Reason being is because it’s hot, I’ve got a 30 pound toddler on my hip at all times, and frankly because I just don’t care to be wearing anything else. Unless it’s this jumpsuit. If you follow my instastories on Instagram than you know that I was participating in this year’s “Me Made May” and thus I vowed to wear handmade clothes every day for the month of May. The fabric stores and pattern designers love this month because that means more money we sewers will spend. But for me, it was an opportunity to really clean out my closet and decide what I needed more of and what I needed less of (buh-bye all you too tight, denim mini skirts circa 2004). I was able to donate 6 very large garbage bags full of clothes and shoes. And I also decided that it’s so refreshing to have a few solid go-to pieces that I can just wear on repeat each week. Plus a few handmade fun pieces. Like this jumpsuit. IMG_6077And now before you get all like “Whoa girl.. you made a jumpsuit..that is crazy creative!” you should know that Kelly from True Bias has an awesome tutorial on her blog of how she merged two of her sewing patterns: The Hudson Pants and the Southport Dress, to make this jumpsuit. I literally did exactly what she said to do and even bought the same type of fabric. So if you want a tutorial, you won’t find it here at Fashion and Fishing. So head on over to her blog (click here). But before you head there, if you want to see photos of a really cool old oak tree that also happens to have me wearing a jumpsuit, then you have come to the right place. Now roll the photos.IMG_6084IMG_6143 IMG_6154IMG_6145IMG_6156IMG_6110The Fabric: black rayon that I bought locally from Five Eighth Seams. If you are not sewing in rayon than you don’t know what you are missing!

The Pattern: The Hudson Pants and The Southport Dress by True Bias

Tutorial Used: The Southport/Hudson Jumpsuit

My Alterations:  I added waaaaay more length (4 more inches) to the already 2 inches extra that Kelly addes to her lengthened bodice piece.  I also added large ankle cuffs and after a day of deliberating, decided to enclose elastic to the ankles cuffs.

Final Thoughts: My problem with rompers, jumpsuits, and one piece swimsuits is that my torso is so long that in order to get the straps to go over my shoulders the pant portions rides up so much and gets stuck up in, well…. you know. So by making my own, I was able to add as much extra length to the bodice piece to keep everything in place and also have a nice fold over the elastic band. I would never be able to achieve this in a store bought jumpsuit. Also I was afraid the cuffed ankles on rayon pants would make me look too “Stop. Hammer time.” but it doesn’t. Or maybe you think it does, in which case, I’m cool with that too. 🙂

Until next time, happy sewing! xxooo Priscilla

Buy or DIY: a polka dot maxi wrap dress 

I went to a wedding recently and all the girls my age were wearing maxi dresses. Seriously, every last one of them. Which is something I could definitely get on board with. I mean, think about it. You can still get all dressed up but don’t have to shave your legs. And then you are have all this extra material to twirl and hold in your hands while you’re on the dance floor (because I seriously never know what to do with my hands). So I knew since I had an event coming up, I should search around for the perfect new maxi dress.  I searched online and found this: I was in love! But then I saw the price was $220 and I was like, nope. The timing’s just not right for us… maybe if we’d met at a different point in our lives… it’s not you it’s me… blah, blah. So I tabled the idea of buying a new dress and decided to make my own dress, inspired by this one I’d fallen in love with online. And I knew just what sewing pattern would do the trick…If you follow my blog you’ll remember it was only recently that I tested the Highlands Wrap dress by Allie Olson. So I already had the pattern fresh in my mind and knew I could finish it in time. I also knew that since the rehearsal dinner would be outdoors by the water, I should account for the wind and make a few changes to the pattern. I ended up omitting the side slits for that reason and also added an extra snap closure inside.  The hardest part was trying to find fabric. I knew I really wanted a rayon or a voile to get that drapey, flowy, come-hither-and-dance-with-me look. In fact, my original idea was to try and score some of Sew Caroline’s voile from her Gleeful collection like she did for {this} dress.  But it was all sold out in my local store and online. I only found a few Etsy shops still carrying it but in limited yardage. Then, to my luck, I found {this} fabric on Fabric.com for only $5.98 a yard! And the quality is surprisingly pretty good! Very light weight with a great drape, but not too cheap or see through. Buy or DIY: A Maxi Wrap Dress


So there you have it. In the case of the flowy, maxi length, navy blue polka dot dress, I think it was a much better choice to DIY than to buy. I am still loving this pattern and have plans to hack my next one into a wrap skirt. Now only if I could find the right fabric…

xxoo Priscilla

a handmade J Crew inspired ruffle tee

I spent a few days cleaning out my closet last week and soon realized that I had almost twenty casual knit shirts that were either too tight, too short, or too old. It appears the only tee shirts that I could find that actually fit were commemorating a 5K that I may or may not have ran in years ago. I was in desperate need of some plain, solid tees.  But luckily, there are a few things that I keep in the house at all times: granola, avocados, bug spray, quarters for the parking meter, and 3 yards of solid white knit fabric. So when I saw this j crew ruffle shirt online, I decided rather than pouring more money into online shopping, that I could whip up a handmade version using a yard or two of my white knit. Half way into this creation, I decided to simply add a tiny peplum to create my “ruffle” look. It is a much more subtle ruffle than the inspiration top from J Crew but I figured with my hoola hoopin’ hips, I didn’t need to bring too much more attention to that general area. And let’s be honest: it was late and I was deep into a Netflix binge sesh of Parks and Recreation. I also sewed the peplum piece rights sides together, hiding my seams, but I think if I had sewed it WRONG sides together, exposing my seam allowance, I could have achieved J Crew’s ruffle look a little better. But alas I created what I wanted. A comfortable, wearable, plain white tee.   The Details:
Sewing Pattern: Lark Tee by Grainline Studio (pdf or paper version found on Indiesew.com) I sewed a size 10 and did not have to add extra length to the bodice. I made the crew neck with the cap sleeve.

Alterations: added a peplum piece that was 4 inches in height and 1.5x the length of the shirt. Folded in half and gathered. Then added to the bottom of the hem line to create a “ruffle”.

Fabric Used: 1.25 yards of ponte de roma knit from Girl Charlee. I love the feel of ponte knit. Its a little heavier than a jersey but easy to work with and still has a nice drape and stretch.
This shirt will be my first wear on my “Me Made May” quest, where I will vow to wear at least one handmade garment every day in the month of May. I will not be blogging about all of my wears each day, but you can follow along on my Insta stories (@priscillatbrown) and see if I can make it all 31 days this month! xxoo Priscilla

a DIY wrap dress + a windy morning

Every so often I see these gorgeous, flowy, maxi dresses online that make all my Hawaii beach dreams come true. And then I remember that I quit my job to be a stay at home mom and therefore these $200 designer maxi dresses will just have to live in my Pinterest boards forever.  But luckily for me, there’s a new sewing pattern in town: the Highland Wrap Dress. I was beyond excited when Allie Olson asked me to help test this new pattern earlier this year. I love testing new patterns and getting the opportunity to watch a pattern come to life. And this has been my favorite to date! I’ve been waiting patiently for launch day to share photos of this dress. So here we go:

The best part of this pattern (besides that I’ve yet to see anything like it out there in the patten world) is that I can see myself making countless variations: a midi length, sleeveless, cap sleeve, a chambray version, a maxi skirt hack, and on and on and on… Check out indiesew.com if you’re interested in purchasing this PDF pattern for yourself. 
The day we took these photos, we had such a busy weekend planned. But as a tester I wanted to submit photos of my finished garment by the end of the day. So we drove 3 minutes down the road to Sunrise park early on a Saturday morning. We hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet, Liam was still in his pajamas, and the wind was coming off the harbor so fast. But as I was waking around thinking the wind was going to ruin the photo shoot, Will looks up from behind the camera and says “I think this is the best thing you’ve ever sewn.” And he might just be right. I’m almost certain this dress is asking to be worn barefooted on a beach somewhere. 

The fabric is a lightweight rayon challis from Joann’s. I can’t seem to find it online but the local Charleston store had a large bolt in stock. That’s all for now.  If you’re over seeing photos of me in wrap dresses than, spoiler alert: I just ordered some fabric for my second Highland Wrap dress. You’ve been warned.  

xx Priscilla 

diy bell sleeve tutorial

IMG_5782.JPGI just recently realized that while I was off being pregnant and breast feeding for the past year and half, my entire wardrobe went out of style. Luckily a recent 24 hour stomach flu gave me the opportunity lounge in bed with stacks of style magazines, catching up on the world of fashion in 2017. And I’ve got to say, I am more confused than ever.  Cropped goucho pants… no thank you. But distressed skinny jeans… got it. Shoulder cut outs…ugh, over it. But bell sleeves…okay, I’ll give it a try. And so I did. I decided to take my favorite shirt sewing pattern and create an ever-so- trendy “bell sleeve top.” Maybe I can now fit in with the cool kids. Now on to research what restaurants the cool kids are going to…IMG_5785.JPGIMG_5799.JPGIMG_5786.JPGsewing pattern: the Lou Box Top by Sew DIY. look for this pattern {here} at Indiesew.com

fabric: rayon challis from JoAnn’s

rice bead necklace: Candy Shop Vintage in Charleston, SC

baby: 13 months old and sweet as can beIMG_5801.JPGSteps to adding the bell sleeve

  1. sew your Lou Box Top as instructed but DON’T hem the sleeve.
  2. cut out two additional rectangle pieces of fabric that are twice the width of the shirt sleeve pattern and about 6-8 inches in height.
  3. right sides together, sew the side seam of the rectangle piece, creating a tube.
  4. hem the bottom of the bell sleeve.
  5. do a basting stitch across the top of the bell sleeve, leaving long strings on each end.
  6. pull the thread of the basting stitch to gather your bell sleeve.
  7. right sides together, pin in place the gathered part of the bell sleeve to the original sleeve, making sure to evenly space out your gathers.
  8. sew with a regular straight stitch.
  9. press your seam downwards.
  10. put your new top on and do a happy little arm dance. IMG_5787.JPGSo that’s it from this wanna-be trendy mom. Happy spring everybody!