Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Simplicity 2724 - Black & white ruffled front two-in-one dress

Whew! FINALLY done with this dress!!! I've been working on it for at least 2 weeks, which is a long time for me for something relatively simple. I had zero fit issues, just have been super busy this month. This dress looks a little different from the envelope picture, as I made several design changes. More on that later. The black and white pinstripe is some kind of linen blend, purchased at Hancock's last year for a bias skirt that I never got around to making. The black bottom is a stretch cotton twill, purchased online for a simple skirt. I saw the two together and thought they would pair nicely with this design.

As you can see I changed the sleeves. I really wanted a winter dress, and saw this in my mind's eye with long sleeves and french cuffs. The only pattern I could find with french cuffs was Butterick 4609, which has really blousy upper arms. I laid the Butterick sleeve on top of the Simplicity sleeve and traced the more tapered upper arm onto it. So this is yet another frankenpattern. I sure am found of them lately.

I did have to adjust the pattern a bit to accommodate my square shape. That is a typical change for me.

Here at the side you can see the invisible zipper concealed under the sleeve.

When I started this dress I assumed the collar and collar stand went together. However, this design is for one or the other, not both. I do not like making collared garments without collar stands. I have done so in the past and have never been pleased with how the collar flops over. In order to incorporate the two together, I had to trim 1.5 inches off both ends. I also cut 5/8" off the width of the collar after comparing the pattern piece to other shirts in my wardrobe. It went together nicely and I'm very pleased with the outcome.

As previously blogged about in this post, I borrowed the functioning front opening idea from Trena's review on patternreview.com. This was very simple to do by extending the front facings down to the bottom of the dress top, creating loop closures, and including a modesty underlap so my skin wouldn't show through. I also copied the way she sewed her ruffles down, as I didn't think the puffy ruffle the instructions have you sew would look very good in this fabric.

French cuffs at sleeve bottoms:

Here you can see where I used bias tape to cover the armhole/sleeve seam and front facing edges. It was also used at the side seams because the shirt was fitting a little too tightly and I had to take a smaller seam allowance there. The shoulders and sleeves were sewn with french seams. I decided to line the skirt with black Ambiance for two reasons. One was because as this is a winter dress, I wanted to be able to wear tights/hose and not worry about slips or fabric riding up. The other was that I wanted a nice finish for the inside skirt seams, and sewing bias tape down 6 panels didn't sound like fun.

This is another month with only 3 garments completed. I am just not having the same productivity as last year. When baby girl is born it is sure to drop some more. I always wish I could clone myself and have one of me sitting at the sewing machine to sew up all the backlog I've got. :)

Next up, a lined jacket. I just may do two in a row!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

June happenings and a sneak peak

June has certainly been a month of busyness. My boys have had swimming lessons for the past two weeks which have eaten up every morning. By the time I drive the 45 minutes to the swim academy, wait around in the heat for the lessons to wrap up, run an errand or two, serve lunch and get everyone into bed for naps/quiet time, I'm completely bushed. Whew! Being pregnant in the summer is kicking my behind!

Also in the month of June, both my boys have a birthday. And a birthday party. Thankfully they mostly have the same friends, so I can get away with throwing only one party. This year each had a specific request for a fancy birthday cake. Nathan - turning 6 - wanted a CARS cake, and Daniel - turning 4 - wanted a "Cookie Dog" cake. (Cookie Dog is his much beloved and somewhat mangy stuffed dog that he carries around everywhere. Don't ask me why he named it Cookie Dog. My kids went through a faze where they named stuffed animals after food.)

Here are my cake creations. I used Wilton cake pans with directions, which were invaluable. They were both A LOT of work, but my boys were so happy that it was definitely worth the effort.

In between all this activity I have managed to squeeze in a wee bit of sewing time. Here is a sneak peak at my latest project, Simplicity 2724. I borrowed the actual buttoning shirtdress idea from Trena's review, so it looks slightly different than the envelope picture. The top fits great, the skirt only needs a small fitting tweak at the side hip. But there is a lot more work to be done, as I'm lining the skirt, making the collar/collar stand view, and modifying the sleeve to be long with french cuffs.

Wondering whatever happened to my Burda 4-2010-125 red wool skirt? I ended up making a very dumb rookie mistake and cutting the back off grain. I couldn't figure out why the side seams were pulling toward the back and the waist area had stretched out even though I stay-stitched it. Upon closer inspection I detected my error, but unfortunately do not have enough fabric to re-cut. What a bummer! I'll remake it sometime in the future, when I find more red wool or order again from Fabric.com.

Yikes! It's already June 20th and I still have a lined jacket to crank out for this month after I finish the above dress. Why do I always leave that project for the very end?!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Jalie 2919 - White sweaterknit cardigan

This sweaterknit was a very recent purchase from Fabricmart.com. It's not anything special in terms of content - probably 100% polyester - but it has great drape and will be sufficiently warm for a cool fall/spring day. I wanted a cardigan and was all set to make up Simplicity 2603. Except that I wanted something a little more structured and didn't have enough fabric for the more drapey Simplicity. Enter my first ever Jalie pattern, also purchased from Fabricmart.com.

This pattern has already been made many times, and those ladies have stated it was narrow through the shoulders and had tight sleeves. I have rather fleshy arms, so knew that was going to have to change. While I love to sew, I do not like to draft or design. I also like to skip making muslins as much as possible. So, Simplicity 2603 (already purchased) was put to good use after all. I used the front, tie and upper back from the Jalie pattern. The shoulder, sleeve opening, sleeve, and narrower lower back are from the Simplicity pattern.

This will mostly be worn with jeans or slacks and a white shell (currently being knitted) underneath. And since I am always cold during the winter, this pattern is sure to be used again and again when I find more sweaterknits. I did make this several inches shorter then the pattern, and can also see it in a waist length for some variety.

The long front tucks and folded over front "tie" sold me on this design.

Several construction techniques were changed from what the pattern instructed. I used french seams throughout and slip-stitched the tie closed at the inside front. I didn't do my usual bias tape enclosure of the armhole seams. The fabric was just too thick and cumbersome and my sewing room felt hot and stuffy. It doesn't ravel, and I don't feel the least bit of remorse.

Skirt 125 from Burda's April issue will be completed either today or tomorrow. I am using a rich shade of red and it is looking gorgeous! After that I have got to make something in a print. All these recent solid colors, while very versatile, are starting to bore me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sleeveless Slinky Ribs in rose pink

First let me just write that even though it's been 7 months since I posted a knitted FO, I have been knitting the entire time. Well, as often as I usually knit at any rate. It has been a terrible year for me for this craft. You name it, it has happened - ordered yarn that turned out not to be the weight advertised; getting gauge and knitting an entire lace yoke only to have it turn out too big; running out of yarn for the sleeves and having to wait 3 months for it to be restocked; getting talked into a sport weight yarn at my local yarn shop when I went in there for lace weight; etc, etc. BUT I have not given up as I love knitted garments and am determined to improve my skills and knowledge.

Without further ado, here is my very first knitted FO for 2010. It is "Slinky Ribs" from the book Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. I LOVE her patterns as they always turn out looking like the example picture and are put together interesting ways and knit in one piece. You'll notice that mine does not have sleeves. Well, it was suppose to, but I must not be very good at short rows because the one sleeve I knit was a hot mess. Especially at the underarm. Now I realize I would not be parading around with my arms up, and that most people would never see the sloppy underarms. But I would know it wasn't perfect and consequently it wouldn't get worn. You may think I need therapy, but I think knowing my quirks is a good thing.

To finish the armholes I simply copied the neckline finish. One of the best things about this design is that the ribbing comes down to the midriff area - at least that is the way I made mine - and this keeps the silhouette nice and fitted. Although I'm a little done with time consuming ribbing at the moment.

I am really not a pink-loving person and own maybe two pink tops and randomly one suit. However, this yarn was given to me by a step-aunt. Free yarn - who can say no thanks to that? It is Sirdar Opium Cotton with Silk, an older yarn I'm sure. No telling how long it was in her stash. The content is 58% cotton, 37% acrylic, and only 5% silk. I'm guessing that 5% was only thrown in there so they could call it "cotton with silk". But hey, the label claims it's machine washable so no complaints from me!

These cute little ball buttons were purchased from JoAnn's.

Surprisingly, this sweater is the perfect match to these orphan capris made last summer. Yes they look funny pinned to Her Highness. Use your imagination, people!!!

I do have a white sweaterknit cardigan completed, but that will have to wait for another day.

Oh, and it's my sister's birthday: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ELISA!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Burda Style 11-2009-120 - Black & white tweed skirt

This was almost instant gratification for me, only taking 2 days start to finish. That could have something to do with the fact that I didn't have ONE fit issue. Burda must have had my measurements in mind when they drafted this pattern. I didn't even have to add anything to the waist for my square shape! This tweed is from JoAnn's Venice collection bought last fall when it was marked down 50% off. I almost bought it in purple as well, but now am glad I passed. Details are incredibly hard to see, as are any stitches, making mistakes hard to rip out. Can you make out the double front pleat and patch pockets? They are a bit easier to see in person, though.

No hem allowance was added so that the bottom of the skirt hits me right above the knees.

The pockets extend up to become belt loops and are sewn on invisibly by hand. They are purely decorative; there is no way to get your hand in there as the opening is too small.

I like the fact that the full lining is flat across the front. This will result in minimal flair-out of the front pleat when I walk.

Here's the first top I paired it with, made two springs ago. It did not photograph well at all. (Perhaps it's the sharp contrast of white with black? I don't pretend to know much about photography.)

Then I had some fun playing dress-up. One of the hardest things for me about being pregnant is not being able to wear my normal clothing. They feel like friends to me, now sadly neglected. Perhaps it cheers them up a little to be given a brief airing. Hey! I see you rolling your eyes at me!

This red sweater is my notorious Christmas outfit. I always wear it either Christmas Eve or Christmas day. I think this year I'll have to make myself something else for some variety. It's a little embarrassing to have on the exact same outfit year after year in pictures.

We're off to the lake for a long weekend to celebrate Justin's grandmother's 90th birthday. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend as well!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Burda picks for June

Okay, WHAT is up is up with Burda's site??? I just tried to download this month's pictures and couldn't even find a link to the magazine or their envelope patterns. Luckily they were found at the German Burda site. Are we having to go there now for previews and such?

Back to the actual reason for this post... This first simple knit top is really cute. I am going to fight my impulse to always use a print and actually use a solid color to show off the fun front gathers. I expect to see a ton of these tops made up soon. Simple knit tops are always so popular with the online sewing community.
Dress 109 is the longer version of top 108. I wish I could have the dress from the magazine, it is such a pretty print. The perfect border print knit is already in my stash. Too bad I'm currently only sewing for fall.
Must admit, when I first saw this next design in the magazine, I wrote it off as being too voluminous through the hips. However, Eugenia's version has changed my mind. She used linen and doubled the bottom band, resulting in much less poof through the hips. Now I need one too.

Ooh, ruffles and eyelet? Love, love top 120A, and already have some soft green cotton lace on hand to make it up in. It'll have to be lined, though. I wonder if that side zip is really necessary?
And lastly is this fun and flirty skirt, 121. Although do those ruffles look a little off to anyone else besides me? It seems like the middle ruffle needs to be moved down an inch or two to be centered correctly. Hmmm, I think some length will need to be added, and perhaps I'll use a more solid fabric. The magazine has it made up in more white eyelet.
I should be liking the maternity designs as well, right? They are cute, but mostly dressy office wear. I was all set to trace off knit dress 132, which I totally could get some use from. But then last night the other preggo dress I was making turned into a huge wadder, reinforcing my view that expecting patterns bite. Now I'm scared to sacrifice more fabric for something else.