Tag Archives: J Crew

The Platanos Shirt

Spoiler alert, this is a t-shirt. I know. I know.  A whole blog post for a t-shirt? Scraping the bottom of the barrel, am I? But listen, I’m proud of this t-shirt, for a variety of reasons, and also, it’s my damn blog and I’ll post whatever I want to post! You’re not the boss of me!

While I might revel in vintage dress patterns and elaborate makes, the reality is that my ever-growing self-made knit shirt collection, courtesy of several amazing designers and their generosity in offering free and reasonably priced knit-top options (like Sewaholic’s Renfrew, Cation Designs Dolman Sleeve Top, Grainline’s Hemlock Shirt and Deer and Doe’s Plantain), is the place where I can see most clearly that sewing has made my life easier and better. I didn’t start sewing because of the political, socioeconomic or environmental issues surrounding clothing production and fast fashion, but the more I’ve learned and understood, the less comfortable I am participating in an unsustainable and human-rights-violating system. I do still buy, on occasion, ready-to-wear, from places I know I shouldn’t, because I’m not perfect and I really like J. Crew and I get lazy and it’s cheap. Especially shoes. New York eats shoes. But the more I know about clothing and the fashion industry, the more I’m inspired to take myself as a consumer more seriously, and be careful and thoughtful about the things I buy and use. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about my workout wear and if I’m brave enough to try to make more than yoga pants. But that’s a conversation for another day. The point is, being able to make a t-shirt, or 10, that fits well and gets that so elusive compliment, “that looks store-bought!”, means that I never have to run to Forever 21 again for a handful of crap that falls apart in a week. It means that my sewing can extend beyond the world of the glamorous (because I’m SO glamorous) and into the practicalities of my every day life. That honestly fills me with a great deal of satisfaction that I really can’t explain. Sewing the basics, while maybe boring for some, actually really excites me, well, maybe not in the act of doing it, but in the end result. It means that I can wear something I made easily every day. While the price might end up being around the same, or more, because  4 dollar t-shirt from H and M is hard to beat, somehow it’s worth it to me. A t-shirt can be a step on the road to freedom from consumerism. And this one? This one is pretty cute:

IMG_2445Please note, my hair is up in these photos because my lovely and wonderful mother, who took these, refused to photograph me with my hair down because, “It’s making me overheated just to look at you”. June in San Juan did not please my mother in terms of it’s humidity.

IMG_2460The pattern is Deer and Doe’s Plantain, but in San Juan I figure it’s a Platanos. It’s a very simple make that I’ve made, what, maybe 10 times now? I also made a new one for my mom which she wore down with her, a longer tunicy style that looks fabulous, if I do say so myself. I love this pattern. It’s just a seriously flattering t-shirt. I love the neckline, I love the fit, the only thing I ever do is length it a bit.

IMG_2446I got the fabric for this from fabric.com, and it was on sale for 1.95 a yard. And I bought a yard. So in this case I suppose I DID beat Forever 21. Ha! And I think the pattern of the stripes even has shades of J. Crew. So there you go. Oh! And I matched the stripes!

IMG_2457I get very excited about doing this basic thing correctly. I also made the shorts, which I only wear in San Juan because, well, they are bright yellow linen shorts. So. I guess that just feels right to me. Because no matter how many of my own t-shirts I make, I will never really be a hipster. I’ll never achieve that level of cool, or facial hair.

Our green roof is a little bit of a jungle right now, but it’s still pretty!

IMG_2443So maybe yes, it’s just a t-shirt. But I love it, I love that I made it, and I love that I can, and will, make a bunch more. Why not? It sure beats shopping…

IMG_2454What do you think? Do you sew basics or do you buy them? Do you get a sense of satisfaction from making stuff like this, or does it seem like a waste of time?

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Filed under Clothing, Deer and Doe, Sewing, Travel

The My Lips Your Lips Tulips Skirt

And the quest for cute basics continues! This is a funny story, this skirt. I downloaded the Burda Style Marie FREE PATTERN months and months ago, planing to make it in a brocade, or something, something flashy and interesting and different. Yeah. That worked out well for me. NOT. (Remember when people used to say NOT? I miss the 90’s. NOT.) But sometimes the best laid plans and all that. You would think it would discourage me from planning, but no, I’m a glutton for punishment, so the planning, it will continue, with the help of spreadsheet and really long meetings.

How do the really long meetings fit in here? Well, when I have really long meetings, or am seeing a show I don’t love (which….happens, even though in an ideal world it never ever would), I plan sewing projects. I make lists of projects with fabric choices and notions next to them, in the order in which I plan to do them. And when I deviate from that order (and, believe me, I will. I always do) I still get a great deal of satisfaction from checking each item off the list. Am I a crazy person? Mayhap. But I’m also in possession of a cute new black poplin skirt. And I actually just realized I don’t own any other summer weight black skirts. And I LOVE black! So screw brocade, this was clearly the right choice. What do you think?

Oh, I like this pattern, I do! Only, well, the bottom of the skirt is a little restrictive to movement. It’s like a little cloth chastity belt/corset, I can’t really spread my legs that wide or walk that quickly. So no biking for me in this baby. But otherwise, I think the pleats are charming and the shape is cute. It’s like a tulip, don’t you think?


And it makes for an excellent setting for my extremely pink t-shirt, courtesy of J. Crew. Did I pay too much for this t-shirt? You bet I did. But such is the price for bubblegum pink vintage cotton. And what is vintage cotton, you might ask? NO ONE KNOWS. But it’s at least 30 dollars a yard.

Here is a close up of the front:

Which looks exactly like the back:

I think poplin was a good choice. I got it at Joann’s, and I actually rarely frequent Joann’s, but it was on sale. I don’t know why, but I trust Joann’s for bottom weights, and I have yet to find anyone in Philadelphia who can be my skirt/pant hook up on a consistent basis…any ideas?

Initially I thought I would make a black circle skirt with this fabric, with a nice wide sash. But I was looking at this pattern, and I just thought, yes. I need one of those. I need a neat slim black skirt that makes my bottom half look like an Empress of the Night Tulip. But all joking aside, I do like this style, it’s very “Young Professional” (a phrase I avoid at all costs) but it’s also cute and fun and has that high waist I so love.

And it goes perfectly with my new Clarks super supportive cool Art Teacher sandals. I’m owning this foot thing, people. OWNING it.

Glamour Shot!

Cousin it? Just a little bit? It’s very hot this year, really. NOT. Happy Me Made June, everyone!

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Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Fabric, Sewing

Moses Supposes Shirt

I went to college in New Haven, Connecticut, which has excellent pizza, freezing winters, miserable springs, and terrible shopping. There is a college bookstore, which is great if your entire wardrobe consists of sweat pants. There is a J Press, which is great if you want to look like an enormous tool all the time. There is a Salvation Army, which is great for Halloween and thrifty costumers. And there is an Urban Outfitters and a J Crew. And an American Apparel, which moved in just after my graduation. Thank you, American Apparel, for your terrible timing and cotton basics.

So if you wanted to shop and if you didn’t want to hop on a bus to the mall in Hartford, you either went to J Crew or Urban. Or both. And if neither of these two options satisfied your needs, you sighed, and thought longingly of H and M.

Before college I never really shopped at J Crew. It’s rather too rich for my blood, and I’m not wild about the tailoring, it seems exclusively manufactured with Empire Waistlines. Plus a lot of it is poorly made and falls apart in your hands. But during college I rather developed a taste for it’s little thin t-shirts and headbands and wool blend sweaters. And I love all of the embellished tops it does (or did, I browsed the website to try to find photos to show you but now they have all magically disappeared. I swear they were there just a season ago!) with ribbon and ruffles and beads. But I hate the price tags.

So using a shirt I got from Gap Outlet for the princely price of 5 dollars, and some seam binding I got from the PA Fabric Outlet for 30 cents a yard (love!) I made myself this:

Seam binding roses!

This is actually fairly easy to do. I used a tutorial on Ruffles and Roses and just sort of adapted it for seam binding rather then strips of jersey. It’s fun and easy, and I think it looks fairly J Crewesque, which was rather the idea. If you are interested, there was a fascinating discussion about J Crew over at Colette Patterns, very interesting, calling into question the brand and it’s marketing.

Happy to be beating the corporation!

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Filed under Clothing, Embellish, Sewing