Jessica Sews | Made Again Patterns Joey Tank

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First things first - you guys are the best. Thanks for the encouragement on the launch of Made Again Patterns. I’m soaking in loads of good vibes and putting them to use on the creation on the first clothing pattern. And this is it!

Introducing the Joey Tank! Inspired by summers from the late 90s - a time when days were spent at the neighborhood pool, with tan shoulders and daisies in our hair, cruising around with way too many people in the backseat of the one guy who had his license, 11 pm curfews, the sound of dial up internet and managing 26 different conversations… and finally… cue the Dawson’s Creek theme song.

To me, this tank captures all of that! It’s upcycled from a men’s button down (check out that pocket in back) and so easy to throw on with a part of shorts (which do not pass the regulation finger tip length circa 1999).

So here’s where I’m at in the development phase - I have the digital base pattern created plus the written and illustrated instructions drafted. What you see here is version one. I’ve made a few updates like continuous straps and binding which will be in the final version. Plus there’s a straight hem cropped version as well! I’ll be grading it and sending out to my testers in the next week with a hope to debut in July! (if you’d like to volunteer to stitch a sample and make notes in exchange for a free pattern, you can do that here) You can also follow Made Again Patterns on Instagram and Facebook for release updates. I’m also doing some behind-the-scenes of the process there too. Until then… happy summering, sewing and spending your time doing what you love doing most!

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Jessica Sews | Peplum Eyelet Refashion + Wide Leg Dawn Jeans

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There are a couple fabrics that instantly draw me in when I’m shopping for fabric at the thrift store - eyelet and chambray. You saw my chambray refashion earlier this week, so here’s one example of how I’ve harvested eyelet fabric and remade it into a different silhouette.

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I was instantly drawn to this navy eyelet dress, but it was a couple sizes too big for me. Sure, I could have tried to alter it down to fit, but I’ve been in more of a chop chop mood lately plus I had a pattern (Simplicity 1425) that I wanted to try out. After a wash, I went to town cutting along the seam lines to see what kind of yardage I would be left with. I’ve had some questions about how I disassemble garments and it varies from piece to piece. Something like eyelet can be a beast with all of the thread used to create the actual eyelet, so in this case I just cut along the seam edges.

From there I laid out my pattern and realized I’d need to make some changes to have enough fabric. I omitted the pleats in the peplum by folding them up on the paper pattern and cutting that smaller shape out. I also decided not to do a collar stand and have a flat Peter Pan style collar instead.

I lined both the lower portion of the bodice front and the whole back so I could wear a bra underneath. The fabric I used was left over from Bea’s 18th century dress.

On bottom I’m wearing my wide leg Dawn jeans again. I’ve only worn them a couple of times (I usually save true white for later spring and summer or vacation) and I absolutely love this style. I’m even thinking I need to go check my stash to see what fabrics I have to make a second pair! If you want to see the first way I wore them, check out this post.

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Jessica Sews | Hayden Tee, Dawn Shorts and DIY Shoes!

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Alright alright, I’m two months behind on these photos. I’ve chopped my hair and gotten glasses, but I am still LOVING this head to toe self made outfit. From the hat on my head to the soles of my shoes - everything is #memade! Let’s jump in and I’ll tell you more about each piece!

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My hat is re-worked straw from a style I made in the past (mine had been crushed from a season’s worth of heavy use). I re-blocked it using the same wooden crown and brim blocks I used the first time (see a progress shot here). For the band I used a thrifted and vintage silk necktie in a navy striped pattern.

The top is sewn using the Hayden pattern from Seamwork. I cut my normal size but ended up taking in the side seams considerably as well as doing some extra cropping to the hem (check out my Instagram stories if you want to see the longer version). I’ll cut a smaller version in the future and likely do an even more aggressive crop! I also cut the back bodice in two with a seam to conserve the fabric. (I do that a lot, especially when I’m trying to eek out my pattern pieces from thrifted or limited yardage. The fabric is a linen cotton blend from Joann Fabrics, which I also bought in the contrasting colorway, which I’m hoping will be a romper or jumpsuit in the very near future!

The shorts were sewn using leftover denim from my jeans and in Megan Nielsen’s Dawn pattern. I LOVED THESE SHORTS and can’t wait until the weather here is nice enough for everyday wear. I’m planning on doing another pair in ecru denim and mayyyyve a pair in black. That would put me at 9 versions of Dawn, so suffice it to say, I love this pattern.

On my feet I’m wearing some espadrills I made from upholstery webbing. Here’s a DIY post for that!

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Jessica Sews | Raglan Top + Wide Leg Dawn Jeans

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Look how tall my son is!! He’s only 4.5 and already taller than the average 5 year old. Schroeder genes*, baby!  *Everyone in my family is super tall - my dad is 6’6’’, my brother 6’7’’ and my sister 6’. I’m the shortie coming in at 5’9’’

Look how tall my son is!! He’s only 4.5 and already taller than the average 5 year old. Schroeder genes*, baby!

*Everyone in my family is super tall - my dad is 6’6’’, my brother 6’7’’ and my sister 6’. I’m the shortie coming in at 5’9’’

One of the first spring pieces I made this season is this blouse. It was a fun project because I was able to sew it up quickly, I used fabric I already had (via a thrifted skirt I upcycled) along with a stashed pattern also found at the thrift shop! I even did the bias binding on the neck and sleeves using the skirt lining! I had to piece one sleeve to get enough yardage, but I’m so glad I did because this top is a new favorite of mine! I got the idea to “harvest” fabric from one of my historical costume friends (PennyRiver on etsy) and have picked up cool prints/wool/silk to use with both costumes and modern pieces

I made it again in eyelet (also from a thrifted skirt), which I also love but didn’t get any photos of wearing in Florida (which is a shame because I wore it multiple days!) I’ve already cut it out of a third fabric, which I’m embroidering before I put it together!

Unfortunately the pattern is out of print, but if you see it under a new number, please let me know (it’s Simplicity 8391). There are four on Amazon right now (here) and a bunch on ebay (here)

The pants are another version of those Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans I love! This is the wide leg cut and they feel roomier than the tapered option. If you’re thinking you need some jeans in this silhouette, I cannot recommend this pattern enough. I mean, I want to say “I’ll make them for you!!!” but I honestly have three stashed fabrics in my queue for myself I want to do first! (if you’re wondering - a lighter denim for a 70s style wide leg and patch pockets, pink twill - I’m not sure whether to do a straight or wide leg there? and black denim for short overalls!). After I made the first pair, I was able to whip these up very quickly. I really want to commit to never buying another pair of store bought jeans again. Never say never I guess, but I feel really great about being able to tackle this item in my wardrobe myself.

The sunnies are from Target, the bag is an old Coach bag I lost the strap for so I used a belt in it’s place and the sandals are Clark’s from when I partnered with them many moons ago.

My kids were being super cute, so this is gonna be next year’s Christmas card. Sure they’ll be inches taller and look older, but taking photos of children is SO HARD. Capture the magic when you can. I don’t know why they wanted to be in this photo shoot, but hey! Why not? Bea’s dress is something I designed and sewed up using $2 cut of fabric. It was super quick and easy and not super fitted so she can hopefully wear all summer. Remember those little rompers (one, two, three, four) I made her last year? She hit a growth spurt and only wore each one a couple times!

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Time Traveling | Making My Blue Brain Hat

18th Century Brain Hat 1780

I love hats! Especially the fancy, floral, floofy numbers from bygone ears. For a large part of history, women wouldn’t leave the house without a chapeau!

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For my 1780s look, I decided to work with a straw hat I had in my stash. Once upon a time I thought I might have a go as a milliner and thus collected a lot of straw hat bodies and blocks to make new hats of my own. This base was actually a modern hat, but the size was perfect for this project. Here’s what it looked like when I started.

After removing the inter and exterior bands I started steaming the hat out. Moisture allows the straw to relax and take a new shape (which is why you may have noticed if you get a straw hat wet at the beach, it will lack the definition it had when you bought it). I wanted it to have a very shallow crown, like a bergère hat that was popular in the 18th century. I knew I’d be covering the hat with fabric, so an identical shape wasn’t necessary - just the rough form. I also found that I could flip the back brim up and it would hold nicely, which I knew would be a good place to slip in some decorations. I gave the whole thing a good steam and let it dry.

Covering straw with fabric on 18th century hat

Next I started on my fabric covering. Around the brim I created half inch pleats using a cotton sateen, a bajillion pins and a ton of patience. I first pinned the pleats to the edge of the interior brim, as you can see at the right. As I brought them to the edge of the brim, I let them spread just a bit and then brought them back in on top where the brim meets the crown. This was an easy place to become too perfectionist and fiddle! One thing I like to remind myself about historical sewing is that imperfection is historically accurate. We’ve become so accustomed to huge racks and full size runs of identical garments it’s no wonder something handmade feels a bit foreign to the eye with a little jumping stitch here or a slightly bigger pleat there. I’ve started to really love what a handmade piece looks like - one of a kind!

So anyway, when I got the brim pleats to a place I liked with pins, I hand sewed it down to the straw.

With the whole brim complete, I moved onto the brainy bit at the top. I used the same fabric but in a darker shade of blue and I love the combination of the two. For this part I turned to The American Duchess Guide to 18th Dressmaking (which I highly recommend!) and used their tutorial in the 1780s section to create the texture. Once it was all pinned in place, it also got tacked down with heavier buttonhole thread.

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Under Side 18th Century Hat

Now that the top of my little hat looked perfect, I set out to make the inside of the crown just as lovely. I made a very large and shallow tube (only a few inches deep) which I gathered at one side and created a drawstring channel at the other. The gathers were drawn in to match the circumference of the crown and sewn down. The drawstring channel was also draw up using a piece of string, tied, trimmed and tucked into the new crown covering. I also made two ties that were tacked down before the gathered interior crown bit went on. These let me to pull the hat down tightly and further emphasize the flipped up back!

Feathers on 18th century hat

Lastly was the question of feathers - how many and in what placement. After trying a bunch of different combinations, I settled on just one white feature layed horizontally in the back and tacked down.

In all I used 1 yard of light blue fabric and just a half yard of the darker blue. I had enough leftover to make a matching waist sash/belt to coordinate everything together. Because there are so many pieces to an 18th century kit (shift, stays, petticoats, bum rolls, socks, shoes, buckles, gown, fichu, apron and hat to name a few) I think I’ll keep my costumes from this era in the same general color story with this pretty blue as the common link.

I can’t decide if I should make one more gown (I do have the fabric on hand) as a birthday present to myself (it would photograph so beautifully in the snow!), do some modern sewing or start planning for the next era. I realized when I was sick for a day earlier this week that I cannot not have a project sitting around to pick up and play with. And as all of our outdoor chores are coming to an end for the season and it’s time to sit by the fire for the next few months, I do think another lap project is in order. Are you interested in progress shots or is a big reveal more fun? I’m not sure which way to take this one on. Let me know what you think!