Saturday, September 29, 2012

Yellow tweed sheath w/ tie collar

My newest dress is in a beautiful yellow Oscar de la Renta tweed from Mood. When I saw this fabric online, I knew it had to be mine. It's mainly yellow, has loads of texture and sequins, and a total lux feel to it. I set about finding the perfect pattern to showcase it and had a bit of a roller coaster along the way.

My first pick was McCall's 5972, the curved collar design. I made a muslin but could not get the skirt portion to fit me. Fine. I'll just use my TNT straight skirt pattern for that part, McCall's 5972. Of course I did not muslin the collar. Those never give me fit issues. I finished the entire dress plus the lining before trying it on and guess what? I hated the collar. My fabric is really thick and the seam along the edge kept rolling out. Ugh! What to do? Take off the collar and have a plain sheath dress? Find another pattern with a collar I liked better? Did I mention I was totally out of fabric? I decided to make another collar using NewLook 6968, but had to wait another month to use my September Mood fabric allowance.

Yes, these shoes were the wrong choice. I should have chosen my brown high healed loafers. Just look at these pictures with your thumb over the shoes, okay?

This fabric has subtle horizontal stripes, which I was careful to line up along the sides.

The collar on the NL pattern was cut on the bias so there was no seam to roll to the outside. That pattern has a back zipper and the collar relaxes on either side. Mine already had the side zipper per the original 5972 pattern, so I sewed my back collar pieces together.

Isn't the texture of this fabric pretty?

You may notice that the front tie of my dress is a bit different then the front tie on the pattern example. Because my fabric is thick, I thought I might need some extra length when I was tying the long tail of the collar, so I lengthened it by 4 inches. That turned out to be entirely too long. I tried looping it around another time. I tried tucking it in rather then looping it. I thought, "Holy smokes! This is another dud collar!" Then in a moment of divine inspiration my hands suddenly knew what to do and I tied it in this perfectly lovely single knot. It made a well fitting dress in a pretty fabric become something really interesting and special.

The full lining is made from bemberg Ambiance, also ordered from Mood. The armholes were finished with bias tape as per the pattern instructions. Can I just tell you how much I love this method of finishing sleeveless lined garments? I am pleased that pattern companies are starting to incorporate this technique in their instructions. The neckline is also finished with bias tape, but that is because I removed the original collar after the armholes and lining were completed. That was kind of fiddly to do since there were 3 layers of thick fabric, one layer of lining, and one layer of underlining, all to be graded and tucked under a narrow strip of bias tape.

The entire body of this dress was underlined with polyester organza. I needed something to sew the outer fabric to so that it had some structure. Also, the loose weave of the tweed unraveled just by looking at it, but behaved itself much better after being stitched to the organza. This is the first time I've underlined an entire garment and I really liked the process and the finished result. My bottom hem was easily slip-stitched up to the organza and is invisible on the outside. I added a pretty lace hem tape to keep all the strings tamed inside.

Dressform pictures:

Here are all the patterns I used for this truly frankenpattern dress:

McCall's 5972
McCall's 3830

This dress was a LOT of work, and a bit of drama, too. It was totally worth it, though. It feels expensive, you know? Heavy and substantial. I think this must be what a designer dress feels like.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Mood Sewing Network

Whew! I am back from vacation and have a TON of unpacking to do. I'm planning to post some beach pictures as soon as they get uploaded to the computer. Also, there's one dress near completion and one already done that I need to get pictures of. But first...

(click the one on the right sidebar)
I was out of town for the big reveal, so most of you are probably already aware of the new Mood Sewing Network. If not, here it is in a nutshell:

- Nine bloggers were asked to participate, representing a broad range of experience levels and points of views. Mood has plans to add to that number over the course of time, so if this sounds like something you would really like to do, there will still be the opportunity to do so. (This will be happening in the future; I have no more information about how to go about joining.)

- I get a modest allowance for fabrics on the first of every month. I pick out my own fabrics and choose my own projects.

- Wadders are allowed as they are par for the sewing course.

- I am not paid any money.

The MSN is a fun way for Mood to get people excited about their fabrics and about fashion sewing in general. I am honored to have been picked and am excited about all the beautiful fabrics I'll be sewing with in the months to come.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Beach bum

Wonder where I've disappeared to lately? We are vacationing this week at a beach southwest of Galveston called Surfside.

Here I am catching up on some light reading from the balcony of our rented beach house.

I have several posts I need to write, including the reveal of my involvement in the Mood Sewing Network that you've probably already heard about, and a dress I finished up last week but was too busy packing to snap any pictures of. I'm not computer savvy enough to be able to accomplish those tasks so far from my home computer, so you'll have to wait for next week for the information. Have a great rest of the week, y'all!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Burda 9-2012-106 - Black wool doubleknit semifitted top

Wow! It has been a long while since I posted anything. August was probably the most horrible month of sewing that I can remember. I had four wadders in a row. Four! I ruined some really beautiful fabric. I learned never to underline two-way stretch fabric with one-way stretch. I learned (again) that sewing with synthetic fabric often yields crappy results. Also, silk jersey shrinks in the dryer.

This top was totally not on my radar for early September but I really needed something that didn't require yet another muslin.

The pattern is from this month's Burda magazine which I ordered here. I used a perfectly lovely wool doubleknit bought online from a year or so ago. It is a nice medium weight and is not at all scratchy. It is also very warm and I was sweltering while snapping these photos. A small bit was used earlier in the year for this dress and I still have a yard left over.

I like this simple design a lot. The shaped front darts allow the top to be roomy but still fitted through the bust. The bell sleeves have just the right amount of flare. The top and bottom bands give it some interest and the back neckline is a subtle surprise.

Notice the front neckline is slightly raised and the back has a tiny plunge. It's not too low, though, to keep it warm for winter. I'm sure there's some name for this type of design. The back has a CB seam to give it a bit of shape.

Here you can better see the neckline and the darts along the sleeve head.

I cut a size 36. Normally I'm a 38 but because they used this exact design for both stretch and non-stretch fabrics, I figured it would be too big in the doubleknit. The only modifications I did were to raise the bust dart apexes by 1.25", cut 1.25" off the bottom before attaching the bottom band, move the band seam to a side instead of the CB as per the instructions, and bring the CB seam in 5/8" at the small of my back.

I have been hunting for a simple semi-fitted knit dress pattern and think this one will work perfectly for that. Expect to see it again soon. And because I know I'll get a question about it - No, I did not make these blue pants. They are from New York & Company, a mall store that always carries pants that fit me really well. I avoid making pants as much as possible.

This is the magazine picture. Mine looks exactly the same since I used black.