Color Blocked Wiksten Tank

So I did it!  Selfish sewing!  I finally sewed something for myself and what do ya know?  I like it!

There are a lot of reasons I don’t sew for myself, or adults in general.  One reason is because fit is soooo important and it feels like details REALLY matter on adult clothing.  Kids can wear elastic waistbands 24/7.  They can have slightly crooked hems or wonky seams and no one will care or notice.  Heck, it makes them look even cuter!  They look adorable in anything you put them in and most of the time they are just going to run around and roll in the dirt, so perfection isn’t necessary.

Adult clothing is different.  There are curves you can’t ignore.  You can’t just put elastic waistbands on everything (or can you? :P).  You want to wear your clothes in public, to work, where people may look at you funny if something is totally ill-fitting.  Or with unfinished seams, or crooked.  Unfortunately, it will not make you look cuter.

Adult clothing also requires a lot more fabric.  That means more money, and just more fabric to deal with, and combined with the reason above, it means more time!  I love how little material you need and how quickly you can whip up something for your wee one.

But the MAIN reason I don’t sew for me is because I don’t like my body!  Because I have body issues, it’s hard to imagine liking any clothing on myself and I don’t want to invest time and money into sewing for me if I’m not even going to like how it looks.  I feel much more compelled to sew for my sister because I know it’ll look cuter on her, like the Winter Party Skirt or the Wiksten Tank in Ikat.

But I decided that shouldn’t stop me and after giving up my Ikat print fabric to use for my sister’s top, I thought about what else I’m into now and I thought I’d try color blocking!  This is a pretty big trend right now and I thought with some bright colors it’d be a fun, youthful spring top.  So without further ado, here’s my color blocked Wiksten Tank!

I used 3 different colors of cotton fabric and sewed them together before cutting out the pattern pieces making sure they were lined up perfectly so the color blocks would match up at the side seams.

When it started coming together I wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision to color block, or if I had picked the right colors.  It looks so BRIGHT.  Maybe too youthful and bold?  I felt like something from the 80s or early 90s, or maybe something super hipster from American Apparel?  I really didn’t know if I could pull it off.  But after finishing it and trying it on (and toning it down with a cardigan), I realized that I liked it!

Let me just stop and say that I chose only the most flattering pictures to share with you.  Trust me, most of them were not so pretty.

And getting a good picture of yourself is hard!  I apologize for the awkward poses and poor lighting/quality.

So the pattern is the Wiksten Tank and I HIGHLY recommend it.  It’s a very simple and straight forward top (no buttons, zippers or special materials needed).  It comes together quickly and the fit is pretty flattering for most people I imagine.  The loose bottom covers little tummies quite nicely!  Because it calls for french seams there are no unfinished exposed edges and this makes the top look neat and professional.  It’s definitely a good top to start with if you’re just delving into adult clothing sewing.

It’s funny though, I kept thinking that the tops were waaay too big.  I made a size small for my sister and I thought for sure that it was going to hang off her petite frame.  But it fit her perfectly!  When I made mine, it looked like a circus tent!  And I was a bit disappointed to find that it fit me perfectly too.  Hah!  I think that it just comes from only sewing tiny little toddler clothes, I didn’t realize how much fabric you need to cover an adult body.

Anyways, I’m kinda inspired to sew more for me!  Between the Sewing for Me series that Kojo Designs and Sewing in No Man’s Land hosted and Made by Rae’s Spring Top Sewalong, I feel like not only is it doable, but it’s important to take the time to create for yourself.  I’d love to make a top to enter in the Spring Top Sewalong, so I’ve got some work to do!  You guys have any great patterns for women’s tops that you’d recommend??  Do you like to sew for you?

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Blossom By Blossom Dress – Special Occasion for PR&P

For winter’s rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

-Algernon Charles Swinburne

Well winter certainly isn’t over yet, but I thought the poem was fitting.  The dress has winter imagery, but spring colors underneath and flowers blossoming all over, so I immediately thought of winter turning to spring.  Hence the poem and the name 🙂

So here’s my entry for this week’s Project Run and Play Sew-along.  The theme is Special Occasion/Party Wear.  I had fun making this dress.  I can’t say that it’s a super original idea, but it was definitely a new challenge for me.

I started with the idea of finding a sheer patterned fabric to lay over a solid fabric.  I used this curtain, and though it was much more opaque than I had originally imagined, I liked the tree branch image.  Because I had a “sheer” fabric, I thought an illusion neckline would be something fun to try.  It turned out to be barely noticeable (because of the nearly opaque white fabric and the light colored green underneath), but that’s probably much more age appropriate for a toddler.

I wasn’t planning on making the main body of the dress two different colors, but the idea sprouted from my indecisiveness at the fabric store.  I would usually never pick a nearly neon green, but it went so well with the purple and I figured it would be hidden under the white anyways.  But once I started playing with it, I really liked the colors and made each one peek out a little bit.  They really shout “spring” and “fun” to me!  It was a nice contrast to the stark white and bare branches of the curtain material.  The fabric is a cheap nylon.

I hand rolled and stitched the neckline and armholes, which was new to me.  I don’t really know if I did it right, and it doesn’t look super clean, but I wanted the hem to be as small as possible.  They are still not nearly as small as pictures I’ve seen online, but I guess I’ll keep working on it.

I finished it off with a bunch of flowers and petals cut from the curtain fabric and handstitched to the dress.  I just can’t resist putting fabric flowers on anything! 🙂

I like the way the fabrics look, but with hindsight, I wish I had chosen something different.  These fabrics are synthetic and stiff and unforgiving.  I sew at night when Yuki is sleeping and I’m horrible at using measurements (a major weakness), so last night I realized that the bodice fit ALL WRONG.  It was super baggy in the front and perfect in the back.  The neckline was too big and almost falling off her shoulder.  So I added some pleats to the front and had to take in the bodice a bit.  Now it’s a bit of a squeeze to get her arms through :P.  I really don’t know how to get that perfect balance of fitted, but still fits.  If the fabric had even a little give, it probably would not be so bad.  Oh well – live and learn!

The shoes are kind of a fun story.  I realized last night that Yuki didn’t have any shoes to wear with the dress.  I felt ridiculous buying shoes JUST for this outfit, especially since this girl has an outrageous amount of shoes for some reason.  But I went to Payless and these gladiator sandals, originally $12.99, were marked at $4.  They have a buy one get one 1/2 off promotion, so I thought I’d buy something else and these shoes would be $2.  But when I went to check out, it turns out the sandals were on clearance for $2 so with the half off deal, they were only $1!!  So then I didn’t feel so bad. 🙂  I didn’t particularly like the silver flowers they had on them, so I made a few more flowers with the curtain material and hot glue gunned them on.  I think they look great and match perfectly with this dress now!

I also made a petticoat with tulle to give the dress more body, but I think I actually prefer the dress without.  I guess it’s a good thing to keep around though.  It can be paired with any skirt or dress and since it’s kinda huge, she can probably use it for a long time.  This morning she just wore it around the house like a tutu and turned around in (very slow) circles.  Where does she learn this from!?? 😛

(Please ignore how crooked that top row of tulle is.  I was in a super rush :))

For our photo shoot today we went to the Palace of Fine Arts.  Just another gorgeous spot in our city.  And the weather was amazing!!  It actually felt like spring!

Well, I guess that’s it for this outfit AND the Project Run & Play Sew-along.  I think next week the three actual PR&P contestants that are left will do their signature look.  It’d be fun to keep playing along, but I feel like it’s time to move on to other projects that are calling my name.  I’ll have a few tutorials coming up and a reflection on this sew-along challenge coming up, but for now I’ll just say that it has been so much fun participating.  I have learned so much, been so challenged and am so inspired!

I leave you with two outtakes from the photoshoot:

I told Yuki to lean in and smell the flower.  I think she’s either kissing it or nibbling on it.  Yum.

And this picture is SO our daughter.  You can put the girl in a dress, but that doesn’t make her act “like a lady!”  She was climbing and picking up rocks and scraping her knees the whole time.  That’s my tomboy!  She makes me proud 🙂

Linked up this project here:
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