Thursday, June 9, 2016

Burda 6906 - Green + ivory rose print palazzo pants

This project started from my desire to add a pair of wide leg palazzo pants to my wardrobe. I wanted something fitted at the waist that was still flowy and comfortable, and settled on Burda 6906. I really liked the yoke of this design - somewhat unusual on a pair of pants - and the piping on the top and bottom. I'm always on the lookout for those little something extras. The pattern suggested viscose or rayon crepe, so I went cruising through Mood Fabric's selection of rayon crepes. I knew I wanted a print for these pants, and chose this green and ivory artistic rose stretch rayon crepe, now sadly sold out.

The care for this fabric was hand wash in cold water and line dry or dry clean. I do dry clean on occasion but not typically for casual clothing, which these pants were intended to be. However, after putting the fabric through my machine's delicate cycle and hanging up to drip dry, the black dye started to run into the ivory and it looked terrible. I figured it wouldn't be useable to me that way and I had very little to lose by drying it in the dryer, so that's what I did (after washing on delicate again.) It came out exactly like it went in, and if I lost any of my original 2.5 yards to shrinking, it wasn't evident when I was cutting out the pattern pieces.

The fit of these pants is just perfect right out of the envelope. I flat measured the waist since that measurement was not included the pattern paper and went with the 10 instead of my typical woven size 12. I wasn't much worried about the hip measurement as this fabric has a good amount of stretch and they are pretty roomy through the hips as drafted.

I did try to match the roses on the print as best as I could, particularly at the center front and center back. The sides look okay - maybe not as perfect as I would like (especially on the right side) but really who is going to notice on these busy pants? I am always my own worse critic. Who was it that said a little imperfection keeps things interesting? That needs to be my new mantra.

The pattern directions only instruct you to put piping along the bottom of the yoke, but that didn't make much sense to me, so I stitched it to the top and bottom as per the envelope example.

I used knit interfacing on the yoke and yoke facing to give the pants some stability but still allow them to be stretchy and comfortable. The piping along the top acts like a waist stay and prevents that seam from stretching out. The back is closed with an invisible zipper.

This was a really fun project. I got the exact look I was going for, had no fit issues to speak of, enjoyed working with the fabric and my zipper went in perfectly the very first time (which pretty much never happens to me.) Definitely expect to see this pattern again soon, maybe the shorts view in a stretch denim chambray.

Note: This fabric was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Simplicity 2187 - Red & white geometric print jumpsuit

I'm trying something different with my newest project - a jumpsuit. (I was calling it a romper but that sounds like something a toddler would wear.) This pattern has capri-length pant legs which I cut off to shorts before cutting into my fabric.

The fabric is viscose jersey from Mood fabrics and has been used by quite a few of my fellow MSN bloggers. I waited forever to purchase it and was only able to get a yard. There was also a black color way but unfortunately they've both sold out. This was my first time using viscose jersey and I really enjoyed working with it. I laundered it before cut out and it came out of the dryer looking exactly like it did when it went in the washer.

Others who've used this pattern have complained that there was too much fabric in the upper part of the shorts, resulting in a saggy rear end. I decided to cut my typical knit size of 10 as drafted, with the knowledge that I could always cut fabric off the top of the shorts if that was the case with mine. After basting the shorts and top together and trying it on, I could see that I didn't need to remove any fabric after all. I do have a long torso; someone with a normal length torso might find it too long.

The center fronts are suppose to be finished with facings and the back neckline with bias tape. It's been awhile since I worked with bias tape, though, and I guess I forgot how to do it effectively. In an effort to try to save the project from the trashcan I decided to try fold over elastic in a contrasting color. This is the first time I've worked with it and I wasn't sure what to expect. I had to play around with how much to stretch it and did end up restitching things a few times, but I love the effect!

The fronts don't exactly meet at a modest point, hence the camisole.

I used some black ponte from my stash to edge the belt with. I had to do a lot of stitching in the ditch by hand all along the black edges. The belt took just as long to make as the jumpsuit did but I love the way it turned out.

I used 3/4" elastic for the waist instead of the called for 1/4" and topstitched it down from the outside. The bottom of the shorts were hemmed with a wide twin needle.

I finished all the interior seams with the overlocking stitch on my sewing machine. Knits don't ravel but I like the finished look of it on the inside.

It remains to be seen how much wear I get out of this jumpsuit. I love the way it turned out and think it looks well made but it's just not the type of thing I see anyone else around here wearing. Maybe I'll save it for date night..

Note: This fabric was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Butterick 6175 - Boxy floral top w/ scalloped hem

This fabric is a longtime stash resident. I think I got it from Gorgeous Fabrics years ago and only bought one yard for some reason. At 45" in width, it really wasn't big enough to do much with, so I decided on a boxy cropped top.

This was a really easy pattern to stitch up. I cut the size 10 and made no adjustments to the pattern for fit.

The directions for the scallops are not very helpful IMO. All they instruct you to do is trim the fabric close to the stitching and clip up to the V of each scallop completion. That will result in some choppy half circles. Instead you need to grade the seams and notch the curves aggressively. I did a tutorial on this years ago. Check it out if you're interested.

I sewed three buttons on the back instead of the called for one. I found these shell buttons in my loose button container. I like how their iridescent colors match the colors of the print.

Next time I use this pattern I will cut the neckline down in the front as it's a tiny bit too high for my choke phobia.

Dressform pictures:

All edges of this design are finished off with facings, which I had to cut in a white stretch cotton from my stash due to fabric shortage. I tacked the facings to the outer fabric with a running whip stitch. If using a thinner fabric then cotton sateen, I would suggest finishing off the armholes and neckline with bias bindings.

All fabric edges were finished with the overlocking stitch on my regular sewing machine.

I just ordered some high-waisted white shorts from Gap to wear with this top. If I don't like the way those look I'll probably make Butterick 6178 (view D) to complete the outfit.

Monday, May 2, 2016

McCall's 7351 - Sleeveless shirtdress in white, green and black floral

Shirt dresses seem to be everywhere right now and this particular pattern is getting a lot of online love. I actually bought this pattern for the pointed hemline view, but decided to give it a go with a longtime stash fabric that I believe I bought locally a number of years ago.

This is a great pattern with lots of nice details - front button band, collar with collar stand, bias bound armholes, pockets, shirttail hemline - but what I love most about it is the way it skims the body but is still loose and comfortable. I've seen this dress belted by a number of others but I plan to wear mine just as you see it here. I cut my typical size 12 and made zero changes for fit. The length was a bit long for my preference so I did cut off 2" before hemming.

This fabric was not fun to sew with. It's 100% polyester and really resisted ironing. I love the print, though, and the fabric has a gridline texture that can be seen in the below close-up. Even though I hated working with it, the dress does not wrinkle in the least when it's worn. It will be great to throw into a suitcase and take on trips.

I love patterns that have pleated center backs instead of gathering. They lay nice and flat against the skin.

Of course I love all the topstitching on this dress and chose to do mine in black. Originally I sewed on black square buttons, but they completely disappeared on the dress so I replaced them with some simple white ones. I will always opt for pockets on the bodice of garments to give my bustline a little oomph.

When I make this pattern again I plan to raise the armholes about 1/2" as they're a little low. My undergarments don't show but I have low-set armpits (if that even is a thing) so keep that in mind if you're planning to make this dress.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Jalie 2921 - Sleeveless scarf-collar top in white striped metallic knit

I've used this pattern twice before, once with 3/4 sleeves and once with short sleeves. The short sleeve version was purged awhile back because the ties were really long and didn't look very good tied into a bow, but the silk jersey version is a nice basic that gets worn to church from time to time.

I used Mood Fabric's oyster/brown gray metallic striped cotton jersey knit. It's a thinner knit perfect for a top and has a matching larger stripe. Putting the two together in a simple garment would be a really fun look. I'll have to comb through my patterns to see if I can come up with something for fall.

Since I wanted more of a casual look and didn't want to tie the scarf into a bow, I cut the scarf shorter and on the fold. I cut a size T and made fabric facings for the armholes. A twin needle was used to hem the armholes and bottom hem.

This fabric has a subtle metallic sheen to it. I'm kind of a Magpie when it comes to fabric selection. If it's shiny or brightly colored my brain says, "Oooh, pretty! Come to Mama!"

This top match a ton of stuff in my closet and acts like a neutral. The skirt I'm wearing was made pre-blog, but I posted it way back in 2008. I recently lopped off 2 inches so I could wear it with flats in a casual setting. I'm all about the flats these days.

Here are some dressform pictures:

This was a fun and simple top to whip up. I have several other things to photograph and blog, provided I can get my photographer to cooperate. ;)

Note: This fabric was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Vogue 1027 - Black & neon knit faux wrap dress

I'm eight years late to the party with this pattern from 2008. It's a designer pattern from DKNY and is still in print. I don't think knit wrap dresses ever go out of style. This dress is drafted to be quite a bit longer, but I wanted more of a casual look, so I cut it out to fall right below the knee.

The fabric was an impulse buy from JoAnn's and is a rayon/polyester blend. I rarely get fabric there anymore but I was running in during a pattern sale and stopped in my tracks when I spotted it. The colors are SO saturated and practically glow in person. I'd never seen anything like it.

After doing some pattern research on, I decided to cut the size 8. My typical Vogue size in knits is a 10, so this design runs a little big. I added 1.5" to the length of the bodice before cutting out my fabric. The belt is drafted to sit above the waistline which I didn't want, and I have a long torso.

The pattern of the fabric looked random when I bought it but when I went to cut it out I found that there was a definite line of symmetry down the middle. Luckily I had purchased enough to accommodate this mirroring.

I added 3/8" clear elastic to the neckline to prevent any gapping. I can bend over and grab things without exposing anything so that decision was a total win. The armholes are finished with shaped facings included with the pattern which I quite like. There is also a piece of elastic sewn under the belt which keeps the dress right at the waist. This fabric is white on the wrong side, so my belt was stitched right sides together and turned, which also saved me from having to topstitch on a single layer of knit.

I enjoy wearing comfortable day dresses during the summer, and I'm happy to add another one to my wardrobe. I will definitely be using this pattern again in the future. Now that I've got the fit down and have more experience with putting elastic in necklines, the next one should be a really quick project.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Vogue 1425 - Pamella Roland white & black lace dress

I got started on my Easter dress early this year so I wouldn’t run out of time like I usually do.

I fell in love with this Pamella Roland designer Vogue pattern the minute I laid eyes on it. I had to have THE EXACT SAME DRESS as the example on the envelope. But, you know, I have a lot of projects swimming around in my head at any given time, and I was willing to wait for just the right fabric to come along. When Mood Fabrics posted this Theory black cotton guipure lace a while back, I shouted “perfection!” at my computer monitor and snapped up 3 yards. Sadly it sold out while I was swatching the other fabrics I used for this project and there’s nothing else comparable listed at the moment. They do post them from time to time, so keep your eyes peeled if you are interested in making this pattern.

The body is made from Mood’s Jason Wu whisper white blended double faced crepe, of which only the blue colorway is currently available. (It must have sold out yesterday because I just checked on it on Friday in preparation for this post. This just proves yet again that if you like something on Mood’s website you’d better buy it quickly. It won’t be there for long!) Crepe remains one of my favorite fabrics to work with and wear. This one is made from a blend of viscose, cotton and nylon and is really beefy but drapes beautifully too. Because of that thickness I was able to leave off all the interfacing, underlining and horsehair braid the pattern calls for.

This pattern is fairly straightforward. I muslined the top and had only a few slight tweaks to get a perfect fit. I added 5/8″ to the bottom of the bodice for a long torso adjustment but probably could have done without the extra length. This dress is heavy, and the weight is pulling the bodice down slightly. I also took about 10 inches out of the width of the skirt due to fabric limitations from a cutting error. I sewed the top of the lace invisibly by hand to the bodice, a necessary step that is not addressed in the directions.

Vogue’s example dress has lace that is twinning on the back bodice which makes my eyes twitch, so I was careful to match mine up so that at least the top edge of the lace is uninterrupted from one side of the zipper to the other. My eyes also twitched from the lace that is swinging about below the hem of the dress, but after making this garment I can tell you that it is somewhat unavoidable. The lace is simply too heavy. I cut mine to so that the longest edges would be 1 inch above the hemline, but you can see it dipping down to the bottom edge in the first picture.

I love the pockets on this dress. I’ve not always seen the point of them but I’m coming around to the pockets-in-dress loving side.

The trickiest part of making this dress was attaching the skirt to the bodice. There is so much fabric to wrangle and it is a super thick seam. I had to aggressively grade the fabric so that it would lay as flat as possible against my waist. You can kind of see the various layers on the inside through the lining, which was made from Mood’s antique white silk habotai.

I opted to hem the lining and outer skirt separate from each other. There are certain times when it makes sense to hem the skirt to the skirt lining, but for the most part it is a recipe for disaster. Different fabrics drape differently, and unless you get it just perfect the hem will look bubbled and home-made. For this dress I whip-stitched the skirt invisibly by hand and machine stitched the lining. Oh, I forgot to mention that I took a 2″ hem without adding anything to the hemline. Per the pattern directions it is only suppose to be a 5/8″ hem, so my dress is 1 3/8″ shorter then drafted.

Dressform pictures:


Whew! That was a ton of work! I wish I had sewn some sort of waist stay during construction to help with the weight. I might still do it if I can figure out how to add one without creating more bulk in the waist area. However I am really pleased with how this dress turned out. It feels expensive and is well fitting. Black and white is timeless, and I plan to be wearing it for years to come.

Note: All fabrics were purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.