Monday, April 14, 2014

Oliver + S School Photo Dress in yellow

Just in time for Spring that is finally arriving in south Texas, I have made Rachel a new dress in that favorite hue of mine. I was waiting for what seemed like years for her to get big enough to fit into these patterns. She finally gained enough girth for them a year or so ago but I was still just lovingly gazing through my collection from time to time. Enough of that! It's time to get busy stitching them up before she gets too big!

The fabric is a nice weight cotton from, my favorite place to buy cottons for kids clothing. I have found that these quality cottons, priced between $7 and $10 per yard, wrinkle far less then the quilting cottons available locally. I don't know about your kids, but mine does not like to sit still and take care not to wrinkle her clothes. ;)

I love the details of this dress - the roll collar, kangaroo front pocket, slightly belled and cuffed sleeves, front yoke and princess seaming, full lining with separate pattern pieces that aren't a repeat of the outer dress. Most toddler dresses from the big 4 just aren't very detailed. I suppose most people who make kid clothing like simpler designs but I prefer a challenge. That's why I'm willing to pay the premium for these Oliver + S patterns.

Speaking of the kangaroo pocket:

 Can you tell she loves it? She is definitely going to be a pocket person. As for sizing, I traced the 18-24 month size for the width and the 2T size for the length and got a perfect fit. This girl is tiny. In August she'll be 4. I'll probably be able to make her a fall version with just an inch or so added to the length and not have to re-trace the pattern.

The zipper I had to special order online from Zipper stop because I couldn't find a good match locally. The button peeking out on the left I happened to have in my stash. It is connected to the other side of the collar with a thread loop. The lining I did in white cotton sheeting from Hancock's fabrics. No pictures of that, though. It's too overcast today to take any interior shots.

This was such a fun little dress to make! I am still in a sewing funk for making stuff for myself but have a number of garments I want to make for her lined up. If you like seeing kids clothes on my blog then you are in for a treat. If not, well, sorry. I've got to go where my mojo takes me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Summer Vogues

I'm still alive in case you were wondering, just having a MAJOR case of lost sewing mojo. The new summer Vogue patterns were released online yesterday, which has me excited for warmer temperatures.

I'm starting with a fun Badgley Mischka scalloped dress, Vogue 1398. I always have to stop myself from making stuff that is too twee because I tend to gravitate toward it. This looks pretty sophisticated to me, though, even with the tiers and scallops. I love the color too, and might just have to totally copy the example dress.

I saw the other Badgley Mischka dress, Vogue 1399, on the runway (youtube) and gasped, so you can bet I'll be getting it too. I love the topstitching and the color, but wonder why the collar is collapsing a little.

Both Kay Unger dresses are gorgeous, but I think Vogue 1392 is a little too sexy for church. That's where I wear 95% of my fancier clothing. People always ask me that. Anyway, Vogue 1393 is totally on trend with all the sheer panels designers are using. They made the example dress with lace, but it could also be made with crepe and chiffon. There's lots of possibilities with this one.

I think my small girls would be lost in all the blousy-ness of Vogue 1394, but the other Rebecca Taylor dress, Vogue 1395, is a lovely and simple summer frock. I usually pass over these types of dresses in favor of clothing with refined fit, then wonder why I don't have many easy things to throw on in a moment's notice.

I don't care for midi-length skirts on my body, even though I know they are extremely in vogue. You've got to pick the trends that work with your body, IMO, or you end up looking like a fashion victim. So I'll just pass by the Lialia and the Tracy Reese patterns, even though I think they're beautiful dresses.

As for the non-designer offerings, I really like Vogue 8995. I do feel like we've seen a lot of these color-blocked designs in the last several years, and I own a few of them (even though I've yet to make any up.) What I like about this one is the construction lines. The side panels of the skirt are slanted in on a diagonal, making the thighs appear narrower. I also like that it's designed for a woven instead of a stable knit.

I love the drama of the full skirt of Vogue 9001, as well as the wide scooping neckline (which I will probably need to raise.) Lovely seaming lines too.

Claire Shaeffer's newest jacket is also very beautiful. I'll probably raise those pockets up to give some fullness to the bustline. Gosh those sleeves are pretty. I love it!

Vogue 9004 is a neat architectural top. The neckline is making my eyes twitch though. I wonder if it would lose its drama if I evened it out?

I'm usually not a big fan of cowl necklines on my body, again because my girls would get lost in all the fabric. But I like the looks of view A on Vogue 9006. The front princess seaming would enable me to sew some definition into the bust area. It looks easy to make and easy to wear.

Lastly, I really like the lingerie pattern, Vogue 9015. Silk nightgowns are impossible to find. When I was getting married 14 years ago, I bought several silk chemise and robe sets at Dillard's (I think). That is now a thing of the past. Probably I could find some at fancier department stores like Saks, but I never shop at those. Might as well make it myself, right?

It is a really nice collection in which I found a lot to like. Someone on Vogue's facebook page complained about the volume of dress patterns but I couldn't disagree more. I love dresses. They're simple, feminine, easy to pull out and not have to think about.

Now I've only to wait for a good sale!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Vogue 8903 - Navy silk jersey shirt-dress

This month's Mood Sewing Network garment is NOT another silk blouse. It's a... silk jersey dress. I may have a bit of a silk addiction. I just can't help it. Once I got over my fear of sewing with it, I want everything in silk! This fabric is from Mood fabrics and has recently sold out, but you can find plenty of other beautiful silk jersey prints here including another colorway of this print.

I had a lot of difficulty deciding on a pattern for this fabric. It really wanted to be a maxi dress but I'd only ordered 2 yards. It had to be a fairly simple design because of the linear print. Finally I settled on making a shirt-dress from Vogue 8903.

Initially I wanted to make the view with the collar and roll up sleeves but I didn't have enough fabric for the collar and the sleeves were too bulky to roll up. As a result this looks more like a fall dress then a spring one.

I'm not in love with how this looks belted and am toying with the idea of cutting a few inches off the bottom hem and wearing it sans any waist definition. The fabric is light weight and drapey and I'm thinking with the shorter length it will be sassy instead of kindergarten-teacherish. 

Dressform pictures:

While cutting the pattern out, I paid special attention to lining up linear print. Especially at the fronts I wanted the little fawns to match up perfectly. That was probably the most difficult part of making this dress. I had no fit issues since it's a looser design and my fabric is stretchy and I was also able to skip the muslin stage.

Isn't this print so fun? These little animals sort of remind me of Hugh Lofting's fabled push-me-pull-you from the book Dr. Dolittle. In hindsight I probably should have put some interfacing along the front button facings. The pattern didn't call for any but the neckline would stay up a little better and not flop over so much if it had been included. I always like front details like these pockets for the added volume they supply my small busted shape. These do blend in a bit, but would have looked awful if not matched up.

The insides were sewn with French seams including the armholes. I had to use some stretch lining from my stash for the inside yoke and pocket flaps because of fabric shortage.

Although the fabric was easy to sew with and the pattern simple and not needing any altering, I had to hardest time finishing this dress. My sewing mojo has completely evaporated. I really hope it returns soon because there are so many cute things I want to make!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Peter pan collar blouse in taupe stretch silk charmeuse

Can y'all stand another silk blouse?

I made this one using Mood Fabric's stone stretch silk charmeuse. Originally I picked this fabric to use for a nightgown with some other pretty brown lace. This must have been before I wised to the practice of ordering swatches because the browns didn't match. I thought it would make a great neutral blouse for my wardrobe and it really does go with a number of other garments.

This was my first time using silk charmeuse with stretch and I love the ease of movement. I used the matte side for the body of the blouse because I thought the shiny side might be too fancy for my lifestyle. The shiny side can be seen when I roll the sleeves up slightly and also on the peter pan collar. At the back I used a button and thread loop for closure.

The pattern is Butterick 5817, which I made only a few months ago in a silk crepe de chine. This time around I used the peter pan collar applique. These types of collars are really in style, but I find most of them to be too prim and buttoned up for my taste. This one I liked because it still has a relatively normal rounded neckline. I don't like to feel choked!

I deviated from the instructions by slip-stitching the collar applique to the blouse instead of top-stitching it down. It looks more like a real collar this way. When it came time to stitch the neckbinding down to the blouse on the inside, I only used the machine at the center front and on the back. The rest was slip-stitched down as well. You can see the slight puckering resulting from my hand stitches on the close-ups.

I used french seams throughout except at the center back. After using french seams at the armholes of my white and black polka dotted blouse last month, I decided to try them out again. The sleeves went in without issue, and this will be my go-to method for attaching sleeves in silk blouses from now on.

Here's the blouse with the sleeve hem and bottom hem visible. On my previous blouse from this pattern I noted that the sleeve length was perfect without the need of attaching the cuffs. I didn't even cut them out this time around.

Whew! It's been an extremely frustrating month of sewing for me. I'm so happy to end on a positive note with such a pretty new blouse. You will probably see this pattern made up again a third time. Even though the example blouse on the pattern envelope is kind of ugly IMO, I still think that big bow applique could be really cute in the right fabric.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Burda 9-10-116 - Mustard yellow wool pencil skirt

It's been over a month since I last posted anything due to the disappearance of my sewing mojo. I think this happened to me a few years ago around the same time. Maybe I'm just needing a break after the business of the holidays. Well, I have managed to make a winter skirt using a pattern I've previously sewn that didn't require the making of a muslin.

After sewing my red leather version, I had no intention of ever making another one. The style is pretty unique. However, that other version is one of those skirts that migrates around my body every time I wear it. You know that kind of skirt, right? I don't know if I got the lining off grain or what. Also I didn't have enough leather to make the back vents so I have to take tiny steps when I'm walking. Getting in and out of the car is difficult. Consequentially it is now living in my "needs attention" area of the closet. Someday I hope to reuse the leather for another garment. Since I still really like the style of the skirt, I decided to remake it in a yellow wool crepe

This fabric was an online purchase several years ago. I can't remember exactly where I got it from. The lining (not pictured) is some inexpensive polyester stuff bought because it perfectly matched the wool crepe. Yellow is horrible about show-through, so I knew I had to match the color precisely. The matching zipper was ordered from Zipperstop.

The seamlines show up on this fabric much better then on the leather. At the back you can see the double kick pleats, which make this version much easier to move around in.

The pegged shape of this skirt won't fit over my dressform, so here are some close-ups on me:

I'm really happy to add this pop of color to my winter wardrobe.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Vogue 1323 - Ivory + black polka dotted silk blouse

I'm in love with silk blouses. Seriously. I wish I had a closet full. The only other one currently in my wardrobe is constantly on repeat. When I saw this beautiful ivory and black embroidered dotty crepe de chine at, I knew just what I'd make with it.

I picked Vogue 1323, a Rachel Comey design. I love this pattern so much for the interesting neckline and and front pockets. Any extra volume I can add to the front of my tops is a welcome addition for this small-busted gal. I also wanted to try my hand at a placket which I'd never done before. I chose to use a contrasting black for that part, picking another silk crepe de chine so that the fabric weights would match.

Sewing with crepe de chine isn't difficult, it just takes a little bit of finesse. You've got to go slow and treat it with loving kindness. I had to take lots of breaks while doing the miles of topstitching on the pockets and pocket flaps. The weight of this fabric was perfect for a blouse and isn't see-through with the proper skin-colored undergarments.

I cut a 10 through the shoulders and tapered out to a 12 through the hips - my normal Vogue sizing. Then I added 2.5 inches to the bottom to make it more of a tunic and 5/8" to each side to accommodate the longer length over my hips. I eliminated the hemline slits and curved the sides up a bit. To the back I added darts to give it a little shape and spaced out the gathers along the yoke.

The neckline of this blouse was a complete bear to sew. When I first began this blouse 3 months ago, I mistakenly used a heavier wool sateen for the placket. It looked AWFUL! The bottom of the placket was so bulky that the silk under it was pulling and puckering. Of course I did not notice this until it was completely sewn to the blouse including the slip-stitching on the inside. I considered trashing it in frustration and had to put it aside for awhile. After a week or two I decided to unpick the neckline and ordered another silk crepe de chine in black to remake that area. I interfaced the outer placket and collar and they behaved, but the inside placket facing gave me so much trouble. Silk cut on a curve does not like to behave and seems to grow. Anyway, I persevered, and I'm glad I did.

I haven't made vented cuffs in a really long time and these were kind of fun. For some reason I chose all four-holed buttons so I had to use thread shanks in order to prevent the silk from puckering.

For those areas that I didn't want an embroidered dot I used my seam ripper and carefully removed it. I had to do this whenever the dots were in a seamline, under the cuffs or on the yoke facing. There is a bit of interfacing sewn under each dot, which makes it a little raised off the fabric.

All the insides were sewn with french seams, including the armhole seam. I wouldn't have attempted french seams while setting in a sleeve except that the pattern instructions called for them. What a beautiful finish for a nice blouse! I'll definitely be doing that from now on.

Dressform pictures:

I'm so happy to have this project finally completed and could not be more pleased with the end result.