Friday, July 27, 2012

Fall Vogues

I am really excited for fall, and am having to force myself to keep making summer garments. Although I'm not sure how long I can keep that up, especially with the new fall patterns being rolled out. This line was an especially good one from Vogue, which has always been my favorite pattern company.

1314 Tracy Reese ruched knit dress 

 It's a long sleeved dress with ruching through the waist, a simple but flattering silhouette, and a great way to show off some interesting fabric.

1315 Rebecca Taylor knit dress

This dress has interesting pockets and a fun neckline finish. It's described as having a blouson bodice, but several inches are going to have to be added to the bottom of the bodice to achieve that look - especially on me since I've a long torso. The sleeves might be a bit short too.

1316 Rebecca Taylor colorblocked dress

What a striking dress! The fit through the torso looks a little wonky, but maybe that's just how she's standing. I'm thinking of using leather for one or two of the colors.

1317 Chado Ralph Rucci front tying dress

This is the first Chado Ralph Rucci design that I've liked in a long time. It's flirty and interesting but still very fitted, which really appeals to me. Plus there's miles of topstitching. My only concern is the giant tie in the front adding bulk right under the bust.

8825 Very Easy Vogue knit dress

This is the exact same fabric I used for my latest dress! All of you that tipped me off about that two days ago were spot on. This dress is cute and fitted. I like the front tucks and the wrap-around belt.

8829 Vogue Easy Options shirtdress

The example they have made up for this design is too shiney and dated for my liking, but this view is really fun. I also like the long sleeved collar version, maybe in the shorter length.

8833 Wrap blouse

Pretty and classic, this pattern includes a collar stand, which is my preferred way of attaching collar to bodice.

I am very impressed with this new fall line, especially all of the long sleeves being offered. Now what I've got to do is find more space for storing patterns before these hit the store!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

McCall's 6163 - Blue + black geometric print faux wrap dress

I have been working on a dress (not this one) for the past 2 weeks with nothing to show for my labor but heartache. The fabric I picked was a silk/cotton blend that was very soft and very delicate. It was labeled dry clean only but, well, I don't always follow those labels. I wash most silks and all cottons in the washing machine with great results. I decided to wash this one too, did a light pressing, and then cut out my pattern. However, while I was sewing it together, I could not for the life of me get the wrinkles out! If the iron was set too low those wrinkles wouldn't press out but when it was too high it would scorch in a second. The more I washed the scorched parts the more it would resist ironing. After two weeks of making a muslin and sewing/washing that fabric I finally gave up and threw it in the trash can. Not wanting to muslin another pattern, I made up this knit dress.

This ITY knit came in a free bundle from a few months ago. They like to advertise their 10 yard fabric bundles as being worth $75 but all I ever get is cheap polyester linings or thin cotton voile that I never want to do anything with but use for muslining. Maybe I've just had bad luck, I don't know. Anyway, this was the first piece of fabric that I actually liked from one of those bundles.

I like this design for the collar and collar stand, the ruching on the side, the gathered 3/4 sleeves and the look of a wrap dress without the peek-a-boo possibility of an actual wrap dress. This is a straight size 10 and has the perfect amount of negative ease, IMO. Usually I size down for a knit dress but this pattern didn't need it. The side zipper was omitted because my fabric was very stretchy.

There is a center back seam that has a lot of shape to it and makes for a great fit - sway back girls take note! I used bias tape to finish my neckline because I like it and clear elastic and I are not friends. The bottom hem is 1.5" as I just do not like skinny hems at the bottoms of my garments. Otherwise I made no other deviations from the directions. All hems were sewn with a twin needle.

The side tie is completely separate from the dress but I think distracts the eye from any lumps or bumps going on in that area. Also it really looks like a wrap dress with it tied up in the front.

I realize that sewing it up in this busy fabric somewhat hides all the design elements that make this dress cute. Well, what I really wanted to do is make it in an expensive silk jersey. But, I didn't want to ruin my nice fabric if the pattern was a dud, so I used the free fabric instead. I guess you could call this a wearable muslin, although I tend to think of those as garments that get worn even though they aren't that great.

Here you can see the bias tape I used to finish off the neckline. All of the seams were finished neatly with my overlocking foot. Gosh, I love that thing! For the silk jersey version I will interface both the top and bottom collar and collar stand as mine, with their single layer of interfacing, are a little floppy. I also plan to cinch up the neckline about an inch since this neckline is a little loose and the collar likes to slide a bit towards the back of the dress. Just minor quibbles.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Butterick 5353 - White peacock dress

Along with my love of all things yellow, I also adore anything printed with peacock feathers. Apparently a lot of other people feel the same way because every time I find one online and put it in a wish list awaiting a sale, it will immediately sell out. I found this one on Mood's online store and, even though it is considered home dec fabric, snapped it up. It is a cotton canvas embroidered with gold thread and the feathers are partially yellow. It's also one of Iman's new home decor fabrics.

Being a cotton canvas, this fabric has no drape, so I needed a design that was fitted. I made a muslin to perfect the fit and made the following alterations:

- Cut an 8 for the neckband, a 10 for the top, a 12 for the waist, and between a 10 and a 12 for the hips.
- Altered the side front to fit my small bust
- Added 1" to the bottom of all bodice pieces (this is standard for my long torso)
- Altered the waistband to not be so nipped in (also standard for my square shape)
- Reshaped the front armholes to be more cut in

Cutting this dress out was difficult and was done on a single layer of fabric. Those feathers are basically vertical stripes so everything had to line up. I had to make sure the feather "eyes" were evenly spaces over the dress and NOT at a bust apex. The front and back princess seams had to be cut so that the bottoms met at the correct spot on the stripe and flowed into the waistband. Did I mention I only bought one yard?! It was very stressful and I was extremely apprehensive of making a cutting error and not having any more fabric to correct it with. This is when some prayer is definitely helpful!

Now, you would think that since I made a muslin I would have zero fit issues, right? Too bad I didn't make a muslin of the skirt as well as the top. If you look down at the envelope picture you will see that this pattern includes two tucks on either side of the waist. The puffed out stomach area that resulted from those tucks turned out to not be a very flattering silhouette. Thus the skirt had to be completely removed, the side seams ripped out, a dart added to each side front and the front side seam curved in more toward the waist. I really don't know why I didn't mock up the skirt along with the top other then that I was still thinking about my previous dress which had a full skirt and didn't need the lower half to be fitted. It was dumb and I have learned my lesson.

Here you can see the gold embroidery better. I am really proud of finally figuring out how to fit patterns to my small bust.

More dressform pictures:

This pattern calls for a full lining which I made out of black Ambiance. I thought about doing the lining out of the same cotton sheeting used in my last dress but the white in the dress isn't a true white. Clashing whites is a slight pet peeve. Also I would have had to special order a zipper online to match the slight cream color and that was just too much trouble - especially since I had both the black Ambiance and the black zipper in my stash.

This was a great pattern and I really love the finished garment.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Butterick 5641 - Black & white paisley border print dress

My latest creation has the classic fitted bodice/gathered full skirt shape that never seems to go out of style. I used a cotton border print from that has textural dots which you can see in a closer picture. Black piping was sewn onto the neckline and sleeves to add interest and make the "collar" pop.

I was drawn to this pattern because of that "collar" and also because it features separate pattern pieces for the various cup sizes. Well, this pattern is great for the more well endowed, but it does not contain the necessary pattern pieces for an A/B cup. Even though it claims to. The size 10 has a bust circumference of 36". That is NOT A/B size! I had to take a small bust adjustment to the A/B cup pattern pieces in order to get it to fit. I cut a 10 everywhere except at the bust which was tapered down to an 8, and at the waist which was tapered out to a 12. 

My skirt was cut without side seams as I wanted to preserve the scalloped bottom of the black and white paisley. It is also 20" narrower so that the scalloped area met at the correct spot at the center back. As designed it was 80" wide. That is one full skirt! I also decided to attach the skirt at my actual waist and not the dropped waist that the pattern features. This was achieved but cutting 1" off the bottom of all the bodice pieces.

Here you can see the interesting texture of the fabric. I really love to add piping to areas. Little details like that make garments look expensive. The one thing about this pattern that I don't love is how wide the shoulders are. I have to wear a strapless with this dress and the only one I own has gotten too big. A minor quibble.

The pattern calls for lining the bodice only, but I chose to do a full lining since this is a thin cotton and I was worried about see through. Plus the extra layer helps the skirt to have more body. While perusing the cottons at Hancock's, I ran across this high thread-count sheeting that I'd never noticed before. It was super wide and felt incredibly soft, so I decided to get it for the lining. I wish they had other colors so I could use it for any project that needs a cotton lining.

This dress also had a huge amount of hand sewing of the lining: along the waist seam, the zipper seam, the bottom of the collar. I always turn on the TV for this part and just enjoy the monotony.

This dress barely zips up on my dressform as the dressform has gotten too big for me. However, I no longer have to add any ease to things fitted on it so that is kind of a good thing.

Here is the pattern picture. I was making the shorter skirt of view A with that fun bottom tuck, but needed the extra length once I shortened the bodice to waist length and had to omit it.

We spent last weekend and part of this week at lake LBJ, hence my red complexion. Fun was had by all and since the city we stay in is unincorporated, we can legally shoot off our own fireworks. My boys really love that part. I hope all of my American readers had a fun and safe 4th of July.