Saturday, January 31, 2009

McCalls 5471 - White blouse w/ ruffle cuffs

You never can have too many white blouses in your closet, right? I was missing one with long sleeves, and this design fit the bill.

This fabric is a stretch poplin, but I think it might have been a little too thick for this blouse. It tends to wrinkle easily and not stay ironed and crisp. However, I do love it and will get a lot of use out of it. Maybe no one else will notice my wrinkles...

This is a simple fitted blouse with 5 sleeve variations. Most people who've made this have used the shorter ruffle (view A), but I really loved the ruffles around the cuffs and two button loop closure.

My stars, these cuffs were difficult to make. I had a hard time getting to the small openings with my machine, and with the long cuff and ruffles and stiffer fabric, it was a challenge. I had to sew the opening by hand with really tiny stitches and forget about top-stitching. That's my only beef so far with my new machine - that it is very wide even with the tool tray removed, and I have a hard time hemming or doing detail work on long sleeves.

So on to the insides. I used a lot of bias tape for this blouse. Here you can see it around the sleeve facings:

Here's more around the armhole seam. I also used french seams for the shoulders and sides.

Bias tape along the princess seams and french seams down the sides:

You can see all 5 sleeve variations on the pattern envelope. This pattern also features custom cup sizes, which I love. I did get some cave in right under the bust, so took that in about 3/4". That made the fit better in the torso as well.

I'm not sure what's up next. I went through my winter projects and picked out the ones I really want to finish before I start spring sewing in March. I have an ambitious pile of 6 garments. Some are easy so shouldn't take as much time as the others, but then again I always seem to have issues with things I think will be easy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My picks of the new Buttericks

Do I need more patterns? No. Do I love new styles? Heck yeah!!! So here are my picks of the new Butterick spring line:

I love this knit dress, but do I really need another fitted V-neck and flared skirt design? Probably not. But then I don't have anything with elbow-length sleeves. Although do I really like that much volume for sleeves? I guess I'm on the fence about this one.

No indecision about this design. I already have some yellow floral watercolor fabric in my stash that would look perfect. I like view B.

Not that I have anywhere to wear this, but the short red strapless dress on the envelope is super cute, IMO. Especially with that big fabric flower pinned to the bodice.

I've seen these shirts with beads sewn in between tucks like A and B at the mall. They are really neat and unusual. I'll be making A for summer.

Cute blouse. I think view C in an olive green to match an orphan skirt in my closet. That's a fabric in my stash as well.

I love the square neckline with collar on this little summer jacket. I'm thinking either A or C.

What do you people think? Did I miss any of your favorites?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

BWOF 11-2008-118 - Large print green shift

Yes, this is me, in the dead of winter, standing outside in a mini-dress I just got done making. I'll bet you're wondering if I'm about to jet off to Hawaii or some such tropical island like Dawn. Um, unfortunately not. This dress is featured in the magazine with tights and a long sleeve shirt underneath, which I thought totally chic. But when I tried my version on with the same accessories, it didn't look too cute. This is still a mystery to me. Perhaps the fabric pattern I chose has too much black? Anyway, I've decided to wear it for a short 'n' sassy summer date dress instead.

Justin said, "That dress makes your legs look... white!" Yes, thank you dear, it is the middle of January and I've not had a chance to work on my tan lately. I'll forgive you if you need to put on some shades. This little sheath looks deceptively simple, but of course I had to have some problems with it. The binding around the neck was super saggy and at first the length was to my calves. Very dowdy. Because of that, I think I was a bit over zealous with trimming the length and it ended up a little short. Oh well, Texas summers are known to be hot.

I got this fabric from Denver fabrics for $4.75 a yard (they still have some) so in using 1.5 yards the total sum was under $8.00. Woo hoo! I love inexpensive good quality garments. I thought this big print would look great with this pattern and I've been on a green kick lately. I did spend several hours cutting it out so I could match up the pattern on the sleeve and dress sides.

It's a bit hard to see but the lines of the reglan sleeves are curved in and very unique. You can see that here in the neckline close-up:

I did my typical french seams for the sides and sleeves. Bias tape was used where the sleeves meet the dress and I got to use my double needle for the first time at the hems. So there is that exposed raw edge at the hem but I'm just going to have to live with it. I slip-stitched the neck binding down as well.

Here's me a few days ago not too happy with the outcome. I actually did a post for this dress last Wednesday. Did you catch it? Right after I blogged I had an epiphany of what accessories to pair it with and now I actually do like it. Ug, these shoes, not my favorite.

Here's the magazine picture. I really think my pattern had too much black so, combined with more black in the shirt and tights, it was not quite as chic as this rendition:

And finally I would like to thank Cennetta and Kathy for nominating me for this blogger award. I'm flattered that you take the time to follow what I'm working on and make such appreciated comments. Thank you, thank you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Vogue 7762 - Black & orange floral dress w/ side gathers

This is one of 3 dresses I've decided I must complete this winter. This is the second (or is it 3rd?!) winter they've been in my to-do pile. For some reason when I picked this fabric out I mostly saw the turquoise color. Surprise! It's got much more orange in it. I needed a pattern without princess seams since the flowers are so large. This design features front pleats and back darts for a fitted look.

One thing about making long sleeve dresses is the arms are never very roomy on me, resulting in restricted movement and discomfort. (I suppose that's why all my dresses have 3/4 sleeves.) I've been wanting to try turning the long sleeves into bias sleeves, but have been worried about the outcome. With having an extra yard of this fabric, I decided to go for it. If the result was unflattering, I could always cut out regular sleeves and use those instead. Success! The bias sleeves are wonderful and this dress is very comfortable. I can raise my arms over my head without any restriction. I'm using this method for long sleeve dresses from now on.

Here's a close-up of the front tucks since they're a bit hard to see in the front view:

I added a full lining. This was hard to photograph since on the hanger the front bags forward and looks misshapen.

I put bias tape around the armholes to cover the exposed seam:

Here's the inside of the sleeve. I did french seams and hand sewed the invisible hem on the ends. Since this was such a small opening and the sleeve was cut on the bias, it would have been completely stretched out had I attempted to do this with the machine.

I think I liked those larger sleeves of this design with I bought this pattern years ago. Then I realized they were a bit impractical.

I am currently working on BWOF 11/2008-118, a simple dress that looks like a frumpy bag with a stretched out neckline. It needs a lot of work. Why are simple projects always so much trouble?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Reconstruction/recycling/refashioning contest - part 2

Well, never mind. After taking the dress completely apart, I don't have enough fabric for the blouse. In fact, I don't have enough fabric for anything in my pattern stash. Or rather, anything that doesn't cut the pattern of the fabric up brutally. I think I can squeeze this little top from Vogue 1100 out of it, but I haven't bought the pattern yet and it's sleeveless. I'm still in winter making mode. At least the short sleeved blouse had some sleeves. So, I'm abandoning this project for now. Thank you to those who left suggestions on the previous post.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Reconstruction/recycling/refashioning contest - part 1

In keeping with my 2009 sewing goals, I have decided to enter Pattern Review's reconstruction/recycling/refashioning contest. Check out this dress I made last winter. I love the fabric, and since the floral pattern is so big, I tried to pick something that didn't have a lot of seams. What was I thinking with these sleeves?!!! They are horrible!

After I made this, I decided to loose some weight. It was only 10 pounds, but now you can see the dress is really big. I've had this hanging in my closet for a year awaiting some kind of overhaul. I could take it in and redo the sleeves, but one of the things that really bugs me is the center back skirt seam. Do you notice how the flower pattern on the right side repeats itself right next to that on the left side? Obviously I wasn't paying much attention when I cut this out. Most people would never notice this, I'm sure, but it really bugs me!

So I've decided to totally recycle this fabric and make a completely different garment. I want something not too busy that will look good with such a big print. I would love to do a simple little bias skirt, but don't have the fabric for it. Hmmm... What do you people think about this blouse? It's blouse 126 from BWOF 9/2008. Instead of darts the design has elastic encased at the front and back waist.

I really ought to make the long sleeve version, since I'm lacking long sleeve blouses in my wardrobe. On the other hand, I love the shorter sleeves because of the cute cuffs. I have enough fabric to do either... Not sure which one I should make. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

McCall's 5522 - Red fitted blouse

Since my red dress ended up in the wadder pile, I thought I'd make a red blouse using the same crape-back-satin. I've used this pattern before for my tuxedo-inspired white blouse. It is such a great fitted blouse and this probably won't be the last time you see it being used. Oh, I finally found a great contoured wide black belt. (Macy's - I love that store. Plus they are always sending me coupons.)

I'm wearing the blouse with this skirt.

I love the bust gathers and fitted midsection. For this garment I did topstitching around the collar, button placket, fitted torso princess seams, and cuffs.

I didn't do my usual french seams on the inside because I was topstitching and that would have been super bulky. Here's a few close-ups:

Here are the cuffs. At first I wasn't that pleased with the double button look, but now I think it's fine.

Here's the pattern envelope. I made view D, the white blouse on the top left.

And my shoes, in case anybody is interested. I'm making a black dress with gold buttons and topstitching for spring specifically for these shoes, but like them with this outfit when it's not so cold outside that my feet freeze.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Oh goody, new Vogues are out!

Can you stand any more of these new pattern posts?! I feel like I do it all the time but I just love to see the new styles. (Plus, once it's on my blog I don't have to keep track of the paper I wrote the pattern numbers down on. )

This first one is by far my favorite. It's 1087, a little knit dress with some serious style. Oh I just love it!
Here's 1093, a cute summer jacket. I'm not crazy about the pockets and pocket flaps right under the collar. A little too much in one spot for my taste. I'm also not sure those hip pockets are going to look too flattering on me. This is a pattern I'll have to inspect in the store before committing to purchasing it. But I do think it's very unique and I like unique clothing.

Super cute dress and top. The jacket is nice as well. This is 1100.

Another knit dress. Do I really need any more patterns for knit dresses?! The contrast neckline of the one on the left really sold me on Vogue 8553.

There's a few more that I like but I'm sticking to these 4 for now. Check out the new designs here. Now I really do have to get to bed before I get in trouble with hubby. (Apparently I always fail to get in bed quietly and wake him up.)

McCall's 3830 - Snow leopard skirt

After matching all those vertical and horizontal lines on that military jacket, I needed a break and something easy. So I chose this straight skirt, thinking I would whip it up in a day or so.

Well, I always seem to do something wrong on easy projects, and this was no exception. I thought this fabric was acrylic when I bought it. I wondered why it was priced at $17.99 a yard! But at 60% off I went ahead and got a bit because I thought it was so pretty. It turned out to be wool. And somewhat thick. I wanted to add a full lining, only for some unknown reason I decided to use the facing pieces as well. It's not very flattering to have a double layer of thick wool at the waistline. So I had to pick that all apart and cut more lining since I stitched the facings down to the previous lining so securely. One day's project turned into 3. I am simply not a fast seamstress! I like things to be just so and that makes me very pokey.

I used an the invisible zipper foot on my new machine for the first time. I went in like a dream. Here you can see the fabric a little better.

Inside lining:

So, I'll bet you're thinking this is one plain outfit. And why does she have on purple shoes?! They are actually plum and the perfect match to this cut of wool fabric:

Which is going to be made into this jacket and worn with the leopard skirt. I didn't want to wear it with another solid color but also didn't want to be too matchy-matchy. Hopefully it will turn out cute.

This is jacket 115 from BWOF 9/2008. I copied the plum because I already had the shoes and thought it looked so nice. It's kind of military, too, right? Huh. Guess I'm on a military kick lately.

I've got a few other things in front of this jacket. Hopefully I'll get to it sometime in February.