Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vogue 8706 - Red doubleknit dress w/ asymmetrical neckline

This pattern came out in early spring and I instantly loved it. It's fitted, has interesting design lines, a fun piping finish to the armholes, and would look great in a doubleknit - all elements I adore. I obviously also liked the red dress on the envelope, seeing as mine is identical.

This fabric is a pontaroma knit purchased from Hancock fabrics. I bought it half off with a coupon but I've noticed they've since raised the price by a few dollars. It must be popular stuff.

I had very minimal fit issues with this pattern. Based on the tissue printed measurements, I cut a size 12. I added 3/8" to the hips at each side seam, for a total of addition of 1.5" in that area. The printed bust measurement for a 12 is 34", which should have given me only a few inches of negative ease. However, I had to take out at least another inch from the side seam with the gathers, as it was way too big and ballooned out. Also, the left front underlap was really snug and positioned too far down for me. Raising it 1" took care of the problem. I also raised the gathers on the right side to just below the armpit. Anyone with a fuller bust should really like this pattern, just be aware that you might want to cut the front underlap (piece 2) longer where it joins the side seam.

I'll not be eating any big meals while wearing this. I got out of the habit of wearing Spanx when I was pregnant and now find them terribly uncomfortable. Maybe after the weather cools off I'll change my mind.

I love that the dress is form fitting but has a high asymmetrical neckline and modest length skirt. Contrasting design elements are pleasing to the eye, don't you think?

This is a detail shot of the piping finish along each armhole. The facings are cut as one with their corresponding outer piece, so the only edge that needs to be finished is the armhole. What an interesting way to finish off an opening! The piping pattern piece is included, so there is no guesswork needed.

Here's what it looked like before I pulled in the front piece at the right side, raised the gathers and repositioned the front underlay - way too voluminous for my small girls.

Two posts in one day - am I a crazy productive blogger or what?! Haha. We are going to Lake LBJ for the weekend for some jet skiing, fishing, swimming, family fellowship and, of course, fireworks. I wish all my fellow Americans a fun and safe Independence Day!

July Burda picks

Well, I've had a dress finished for several days but keep forgetting to take any pictures before twilight. Hopefully I'll get those taken tonight and posted before we are off to the lake for July 4th. In the meantime, here are my favorites from this month's Burda.

One of my favorites is top 105. I like the front folded ruffle-type treatment and that the bottom and skinny strap are made from a solid color. It's not that fitted but is sheer so that some body shape can be seen through it.

Dress 122 is a simple jersey style with cinched waist. I bought a really fun belt from Target several months ago that needs a simple solid colored dress to wear it with. The armholes of this dress have two different widths of bands - each folded together so that the unfinished edges are not showing (hard to explain) - but I'm wondering if 5 layers of fabric might be too thick in one area.
This next one is blouse 113B. The sheer fabrics along the neck, sleeve edges and ties are left unfinished. I like it - it's different and interesting.
Okay, so I love the IDEA of dress 130 - the colored lace, unlined sleeves, piping down the sides forming the outsides of the pockets. Theirs is too boxy for me and the neckline too high. I might decide to use this design with a more fitted pattern.

I've already seen dress 131 made up on with piping along the neckline and sleeve edges. LOVE! What a cute square neckline and cap sleeves!

Five designs that I really like from one month's offerings is great for me. I also appreciated their organza butterfly DIY instructions as well as the fabric necklace shown on page 58. (Am I crazy to like it? Would you wear something like that?) The preview for next month doesn't look too promising but maybe Burda will surprise me again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New fall patterns from McCall's!

I received an email from McCall's this morning advertising their new fall lineup. In the last year or two, they haven't released much that I've been super excited about. I have bought a few here and there, but most of it has looked very 80's to me. However, these new fall patterns look really fresh and modern, and I'll be snapping them up at the next pattern sale!

This first one is 6396. Now it's been a long while since I've worn a jumper, and it might be too young of a look for me, but I really like the plaid view on the left. Especially with the tights and booties they've styled it with. I have several shades of booties and TONS of tights. What do you think? Is it too young of a look for a 34 year old woman?
Several of these new designs combine pleather and fabric, which I find texturally interesting and different. I'll be using my stash of black lambskin instead of pleather. 6397 is yet another jumper. I LOVE the first design with leather bodice, tweed skirt and exposed zipper. I'd add the pockets from the other views.
Top 6401 has a long sleeve version, but I prefer the sleeveless one with shoulder tabs over gathered "sleeves". The collar looks to have a stand which is a necessity for me in shirtmaking.
Skirt 6402 has another leather/fabric combo that I like. The other views are great too, and I usually prefer to have a waistband on a skirt.
The stretchpants resurgence still looks 80's to me, but I adore these from 6404, with leather insets sewn down the legs. They're a little hard to see in this picture, so I've posted the line drawing as well.

Check out this little shrug/cardi/jacket design from 6407. It's super chic in the stripe and contrasting bias along the edges. The back is cinched in so it's got some shape back there. My only problem will be finding the perfect fabrics to make it up in.

Lastly is cardigan 6408. There are several views that I like. Check out the back of the longer version with asymmetrical hemline - so pretty and cozy for winter!

Anyone else excited about these new offering like I am? Did I miss any of your favorites?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

NewLook 6774 - Yellow linen dress

This pattern was picked specifically for this yellow linen border print. I went looking for a dress pattern with a fairly straight bottom and somewhat simple top. My favorite was the view with the pockets and flutters on the shoulder straps. But lately I have noticed that while I'm drawn to these younger styles, I feel childish when I'm wearing them. So I went with a straight front, no flutters and no pockets. (The pockets would have just been in the way, as it turned out.)

This gorgeous yellow linen with embroidered floral border was purchased last year at either Hancock's or JoAnn's - I can't remember which. For all my love of yellow, I really don't own that many garments that feature it as the main color. After it was 90% completed, I was not happy with how long the skirt was. Not wanting to lose any of the embroidery at the bottom, I created 3 tucks which are 3/8" in length, and they pulled the skirt up to the desired length. I think they turned out to be a really interesting design element, and gives this simple dress a bit more detail.

The front and back gathers were spaced out evenly around the waist inset to avoid any poofy pregnant look, a necessity with this limited draping fabric.

As you can see from the tiny line drawing, I did make some changes to the back. Since I wanted to space out the back gathers more, having a zipper right through the middle was going to be a problem. This was easily solved by cutting all the back pieces on a fold and moving the zipper to the side seam.

Here's the invisible zipper at the left side seam. I took lots of pictures when I put it in for a zipper tutorial. I'll try to put that together and get it posted in the next few days.

The line drawing would have you believe there is some sort of banding along the top of this design. It turned out to be topstitching. It bothers me to have only one tiny bit of topstitching on a garment, plus I didn't want to have to interface the entire bodice when I only needed stability along the very top. Adding a band was simple enough, and I was sure to make it the same width as the shoulder straps.

The banding along the inside was the one to get the interfacing, as you can see in this next picture. Since I was using linen, I added a skirt lining to avoid having a baggy bottom when wearing it. The lining is inexpensive cotton/poly broadcloth from Hancock's. I wanted to be able to wash this dress and finished all of the exposed seams in the skirt.

I love it!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Butterick 5645 - Green & yellow knit cowl top

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions for my recent dress fiasco. I have decided to save the bodice and replace the bottom with a straight black skirt in black wool crepe. BUT, I am totally sick of working on that project. So I did what I always do to cleanse my palate - make something easy out of a knit.

This fabric is a polyester knit from which was purchased several months ago. Y'all know by now my love of all things yellow, right? This is one crazy print, and I needed something simple so as not to cut it up too much. And with cowl necklines being so popular right now, I decided to jump on a current trend while it's still current.

I made a small because the finished bust measurement printed on the pattern was around 34". Well, it is A LOT bigger then that, which I'm okay with because it's suppose to be really loose. Probably you would not need an FBA if that is usually a concern. Also it is not nearly as blousey around the stomach area as the picture depicts. I still really love it, despite those small quibbles.

I did cut 1 1/2" off the bottom before I sewed the elastic casing. Also, I finished the back neckline with bias tape for a neater finish. The top has a tendency to pull towards the back a bit which throws the sleeve slits off the center of the shoulder. To remedy this I installed lingerie straps with snap closures and now it stays put.

Here at the shoulder you can see the back neckline finish and lingerie strap. This was my first time to make them and I'll definitely be doing it again - super easy!

I'm busy working on a simple yellow linen dress. Have a great rest of the weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Waving the white flag

Here is the dress I've spent the past month working on. Gorgeous, right? This is one of my favorite fabrics. Ever. It's silk charmeuse. I bought one yard from and another yard from

If I was a paper doll it would be perfect. Too bad I'm three-dimensional. Check out the lower back. And oh yeah, the side seams are undone because they were wobbling horribly.

Here's the back.

Yes, I made a muslin. Several in fact. They were all of the top, because how hard can it be to fit a bias skirt? Aren't they just suppose to float over your curves? I took out the center back seam and put in darts because of limited fabric - I had 2 yards but they were one yard pieces. That is self-made black silk charmeuse piping along the neckline and armholes. The top fits perfectly. The skirt is abominable.

I'm going to spare you all the sorted details. I am currently heart-sick. If I had more fabric I could make the straight skirt version. But I don't. Bias skirts tend to eat up yardage.

Why do I torture myself with bias garments?