Wednesday, September 30, 2009

McCall's 5752 - Black knit dress

Have you ever had something waiting around in the pile of things to make that you never seem to get around to? Even though you know it would get lots of wear and be relatively easy to make? That is how it was with this dress. I kept seeing people make it up with great success. And I really needed a LBD as I feel it's a wardrobe staple that I was sadly lacking. I just couldn't force myself to make it. Black is great and goes with everything, but I really don't love sewing with it. I get so bored - I like color and I like print. And it's hard to see, especially at night. Did I mention hard to photograph?

I finally dug in my heals and clenched my teeth and just did it. I loved this design the minute it came out last year. It's a knit, has ruching and a wrapped bodice. What's not to like?

You better believe I'm working the spanx with this dress because that ITY black knit is thin and the ruching stops just above the belly button.

SO, this pattern is called "The Perfect Knit Dress", and has added fitting instructions for FBA, broad/narrow back, sway back, and full arm. I think they forgot to include a SMA (small bust adjustment) because this dress is definitely made for someone with bigger boobs. Check out the super floppy gathered back-of-the-neck area:

And very droopy and baggy front wrap area:

Fortunately, I didn't have to think about this for long to come up with a solution. And it was relatively painless to boot. I ripped out the back neck piece and gathers and ironed it flat. Then trimmed it starting at 1/2" on the side to 1 1/4" in the middle, and back to 1/2" on the opposite side. Put my gathers back in, s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d the back to fit the collar which was now a full 1 inch shorter, and stitched.

Aaahhhhh, much better. Fitting issues are always SO much easier on knits, don't you think?

New far less droopy and now flattering neckline:

This is a close-up of the ruching at the side. Gathers are not my favorite thing to do.

I did my usual french seams where possible (but not at the underarms) and folded the seam allowance back at the collar and slip-stitched in place. Oh, and did a twin needle hem instead of the double turned under skinny hem per the instructions. Those always look wonky IMO.

It's finally done and I can stop staring at it and thinking I really need to make that but just don't want to. Next up is another blouse for my wardrobe contest entry, BWOF 10-2008-113B.

Monday, September 28, 2009

October's Burda picks

Another month of slim pickins. But that is okay with me. A few awesome designs are better than a slew of seen-that-already looks, IMO. I love how they are including a back view on the online blackline drawings now.

Up first is this super cute cropped jacket, style 108. The yoke overlay is bias cut and it is outlined with piping. Y'all know how much I like piping. Throw in a fur lined collar and some toggle fasteners for the finishing touches. Love it!!!

There's a whole much of LBD's - that's Little Black Dresses - and I found 2 that I really like. Not sure they'll both be in black, though. This first one is 113 and they've made it up in crepe-backed satin. I can see the dress in crepe with the bow and maybe undersleeve on the satin side. I love the neckline, front bow and sleeves.
Dress 114 uses the same neckline and basic shape but adds in some lace, large fabric flowers and hemline godets. I'm not sure I love the godets but everything else looks great. In the magazine photos of this dress the lace is missing. I guess someone forgot to sew it in?
I think jacket 126 is gorgeous!!! All the details and lines they've included really make it special. I love it in leather but don't have the nerve to try it. (Plus, where the heck do you buy leather skins in Texas?!) Maybe I can find some interesting tooled moleskin or imitation leather.
Did I miss any of your favorites?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pride goes before a fall...

I was proudly showing Justin last night how I had lined up the plaids for the back of my new dress. Then I said something along the lines of "I've gotten so much done lately and haven't had any wadders. It's such a nice feeling."

And what do you know but today when I got the dress far enough along to "try it on" - with only the shoulder seams attached - that I noticed a big problem in the pattern's drafting. The straps sit on the ends of the shoulders!!! If you look closely at the dress on the envelope, you can just see the strap on her left shoulder is waving way away from her upper chest because it has been moved to the top of her shoulder. The right strap - that would have given a very clear indication of any glaring issues - is completely covered by a huge fabric flower!!! Now I realize had I done a muslin I would have figured this out and not ruined my fabric. However, this still really irritates me! I feel like I've been lied to and mislead into thinking this was a well fitting dress. You might sometimes expect this from envelopes that only feature drawings of the garments, but not ones with actual photographs!

I'm feeling a little meh about sewing at the moment.

***Edited to add:***
The straps sit on the downward curve of the shoulder where it becomes the arm. So it would be practically slipping off. And I don't have narrow shoulders either. I did buy some extra fabric for this to match the plaids, so I can cut another bodice top. I'll probably do that after I've thought about it for awhile. I'm just annoyed about them covering up the true nature of the dress with that dang flower!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Vogue 1051 - Brown pinstripe pants - Wardrobe contest garment #4

These went together very quickly. Probably because I made a muslin first and then these shorts so had the fit issues ironed out. I love these pants. I am going to have to restrain myself from making a closet full of them. No, I'd get too bored, so won't do that. But I'll definitely make them again.

These feel very RTW. After all my fiddling around with the crotch and inner leg seams on the gray pair (which ended up a little tight IMO), I simply used the cutting lines of the original pattern and scooped out 3/8" from the crotch. Oh, and added a bit to the waist sides, but I always have to do that.

I cut these out one piece at a time to match up the pinstripes on the front and rear and here at the sides. I barely had a wide enough piece of fabric to get it all in. Next time I'm buying a little more then the envelope calls for.

Another butt shot. Not because I'm that proud of my butt, but rather very happy with the way these fit. And also to show you the cute welt pockets. I omitted the loop and buttons this time around. I'll have to not walk in any puddles in these.

Here's the front fly. I wish I had looked back at my blog for the other pair as I'd wanted to extend the fly a little lower. However, I forgot completely about it.

This time I didn't use a contrasting color for the waist band. It's actually Ambiance that I interfaced and turned under at the seam line.

More Ambiance for the pocket linings:

Four down, six to go. As previously stated, I'll be taking a little break to make a new dress that's not brown or aqua. I spent all evening cutting out McCall's 5923, which I still have a bunch of cutting to do on. NOT EASY! Lining up all that plaid and bias sides is way more difficult then the actual sewing will be. It should go quickly when I finally get the laying out done.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Butterick 5284 - White blouse w/ front tucks - Wardrobe contest garment #3

Gosh, it's been 10 days since my last post. My fall schedule is really kicking my behind. And this was actually completed early Wednesday but we were too busy to take pictures. At any rate, here is my latest creation. It is being worn with this skirt.

This is view C with the darts of B/D and the sleeves of A. Let me just say, the sizing on this was ridiculously huge. (I am not one to complain about sizing on big 4 patterns. They are what they are. Know your measurements and how much ease you prefer in a garment, then cut according to the measurements on the pattern pieces. If the pattern doesn't have measurements printed on the pieces, get out your measuring tape and a calculator that adds inches, and measure it for yourself.) I am usually a 12 in the big 4, but I cut this out in an 8!!! Even the sleeves were super big around. And making it without darts like the pattern picture? Heaven forbid!

I loved the curved tucked panel of this top and the cute cuffed sleeves. Otherwise, it's a simple collared shirt. With a collar stand. I do not make collared shirts without collar stands. The collars never look right IMO. The fabric is a crisp white cotton poplin picked up at Hancock earlier this spring. I needed something a bit neutral for the wardrobe, and this fit the bill.

When I first attached the sleeve cuffs, the cuffs were too tall. I measured the similar sleeves of this dress and found the white ones were 5/8" bigger. No problem. I trimmed them down and like these much better.

Here's the collar and button band close up. Who knew white was almost as hard to photograph as black? If you use the flash it gets completely washed out. If you take your photos at night with no flash the fabric looks very yellowed. The next 4 were taken near a window in the afternoon and the fabric looks super wrinkly. So... there you go.

This had some fun needle work to do. I actually enjoy putting in collars and collar bands if the fabric has some give to it. This cotton was a breeze. I have learned my lesson with polyesters and collar stands and won't be doing that again.

Just a few modifications to the inside construction were made. I used my typical french seams for all vertical seams. Not only are they neat on the inside, but crisp and tidy looking on the outside where the seams are slightly visible. Here at the shoulder you can also view the bias tape used to cover the sleeve/armhole seam.

Here's the armhole and side french seam:

Three down, 7 to go. The Vogue 1051 pants in a brown pinstripe have already been cut out and I started construction on them yesterday. During the commercials of Project Runway, of course. After that I'm hoping to take a little break from the wardrobe and make myself a dress for my birthday in early October. If I get 4 garments done each month for the wardrobe contest I think I'll be sitting pretty. Y'all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

McCall's 5523 - Aqua tweed skirt - Wardrobe contest garment #2

This is my second piece for the wardrobe contest over at Looks really simple, right? That's what I thought. I can knock this off in a day, I told myself. Well, it was too big in the waist and then too small in the hips. I take it in here and let it out there, but that messes up the line and I have to go back and fix something else. Three days and lots of tweaks later I finally have it completed.

This is a looser woven fabric and frayed like no body's business. But no worries, I lined it, so all those strings are contained on the inside. The fabric was bought last spring from JoAnn's. It was part of their "Monaco" collection. I loved a bunch of that line, so bought lots when they marked it down.

I really like the peekaboo back to this skirt. You think it's straight until you see the rear view and get a little surprise. I'll be making the pleated version at some time, especially now that I've got the fit ironed out. I wanted this skirt to end at my knees, so I doubled the petite length adjustment. That way the back flounce didn't have to be shortened any.

Here's the side invisible zipper and chocolate brown lining I added. I used this really silky upscale lining - also from JoAnn's - I think they call it "newberg". It's $8.99/yard but I always use a coupon. I use to not care about the quality of my linings but I think I'm turning into a slight fabric snob. :)

Here you can see the lines of the back flounce a little better. For the lining I cut the same pieces as the outer fabric and used the facings for interfacing.

And that's that. Two down, eight to go. Up next is Butterick 5284. I'm making view C with the sleeves of A and darts of B. Why do two of these blouses have darts and two don't? Notice they all look tapered in the waist. Whatever. I'm using the white poplin. You can never have too many white blouses, right?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Rusted Root in lavender

This pattern is from, and it's my second FO in a row from them. All their patterns have been top notch and without a mistake to be found. I loved this one for its lacy leaves panel down the front and cute puffed sleeves.

It was so fun to knit! (I actually mostly finished it within two weeks of starting, but got the bind-off row too tight on both sleeves and neck trim. That took another two weeks for me to get around to it.) I am now in love with knitting lace. It really keeps it interesting when you have to do different stitches every other row. I did do slightly more decreases on the waist shaping then suggested, and also put in some increases as I wanted this to stop right at my hips.

This yarn is Bristol Yarn Gallery Somerset color 106, with 85% pima cotton and 15% silk. The pattern suggests Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, but as I used that last time and it is a little itchy to my sensitive skin, I decided to go with a different blend. It is super soft and drapes beautifully. I love this sweater, in case you can't tell. Isn't this lace gorgeous?! I'm so proud.

These sleeves look way more puffed on the model. The problem is, I have non-spaghetti arms. They aren't muscular, just fleshy. I had to do a very loose BO on the trim which makes it stretch out a bit when worn.

Okay, almost done with McCall's 5523. It's completely sewn (in one day!!!) but I'm having some fit issues - slightly too big in the waist and slightly too tight in the hips. Nothing that can't be fixed. Although I am pretty distracted with the U.S. Open at the moment...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Simplicity 2614 - Sheer aqua blouse with front tie - Wardrobe contest garment #1

I have loved this pattern since it came out earlier this year. But I kept seeing it in sheer fabrics and had to think about it for awhile to figure out the construction. I made view E with sleeves but opted for a neck tie with angled ends.

The beauty of this blouse is that the back and bottom front are bias cut which allows it to be pulled over the head without the need for a zipper. This fabric has gold threads throughout, and I like the way they meet with opposing angles at the sides. This is one of those patterns which includes pattern pieces for A, B, C and D cups. I made the B.

Here at the back you can see the sleeve gathers well. All the gathers on this top really give it a feminine look, and work very well with the thin fabric I used. I chose to deviate from the pattern by cutting the neck tie on grain and not bias. I thought this would work better with the bias back and allow me to eliminate the back facing. Getting rid of the need for facings was the most challenging part of making this blouse.

See the cute gathers along the shoulders and bustline? I'm wearing a nude cami with built in bra underneath.

Here's the sleeve. The only thing I'd do differently if I make this again is to cut a bigger hem allowance for the sleeve. They only allow 3/8", which is fiddly to sew and doesn't match the hem at the bottom of the top nor my topstitching along the neckline. No one will ever notice that, I'm just being super picky.

Another deviation I did was to take away the center front seam in the top front. What is the point of breaking up the fabric in this area? It takes less work and looks better, IMO.

Okay, SO, here is the inside front and what I did to get around the front facing. I found this almost opaque nylon interfacing at JoAnn's. I sewed it to the front V and treated it like any other facing by clipping, grading the seam, and understitching. Then I turned it to the inside and topstitched, and then trimmed close to the stitching.

At the back neckline I simply turned the seam allowance of the tie to the inside and slip-stitched. I used french seams everywhere except for sleeve and bodice intersection. Here I finished the exposed edges with a zigzag stitch.

French seams at the side and front:

One down, 9 to go. Does anyone have any good name suggestions for this wardrobe? I was thinking "Mint Chocolate Chip", but the colors aren't really mint. They're shades of aqua. I am not very creative about naming things.

I just got this new super cute NewLook pattern yesterday. I love the pockets, sleeves and collar on view C. It's not up on the website yet, but even if it were, I doubt you'd be able to find the latest patterns quickly. Does anyone like the new Simplicity/NewLook website? It seems pretty awful to me. There is no way to copy the pattern envelope and post it to a blog. I have found that if I go to the website I can copy the picture there.

Rusted Root is being blocked. And next up is McCalls 5523, view A. I'm making it in the tweed fabric for my wardrobe. It should be a quick sew.