Thursday, October 25, 2012

Simplicity 2459 - Brown polka dot baby dress

Here is a little dress for Rachel. She's 2. Trying to get a 2 year old to stand still so you can capture the different design elements of her new dress is hard.

First she wants to dance.

Then she wants to wander away.

She spots something on the ground that peeks her interest. Fine, maybe I'll get a good shot of the back this way.

Or not. Taking a picture of the back of something on a toddler is just about impossible.


Aaaand, I give up.

This dress is the combined effort of my mom (who was in town last week) and me. She did all the major sewing, I finished up the details. I've made this pattern before in overall form. This time around we made the small for the width and the biggest size for the length. It seemed a little short, so a solid band was added to the bottom. The fabrics are thin whale corduroy, both from JoAnn's.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vogue 1261 - Black + white colorblocked tee

The idea for this top came while I was making view A last year. I was just starting to notice the colorblocking trend and thought it would be fun to have one side in black and the other in white. During the month of August (aka the month of wadders) I stitched it up using some polyester jersey. The fit was horrible on that first one and the fabric was gross. But worst of all was that it looked like some sort of court jester costume. Hmmm, what now? I decided to cut the front in black and the back in white, a la the Michael Kors Spring 2013 fashion show. He did pants, though.

The fabrics are both bamboo knits, purchased with my September Mood fabrics gift card. For me, the hardest part of making these types of garments is finding two fabrics that are the same content but different colors, especially if I already have it in my mind that I want to use specific shades. Mood has this knit in 21 colors! Here is the black and the white. This is the second time I've used bamboo knit, and it definitely won't be the last. It's incredibly soft and feels like pajamas. (And FYI, I'd just had my daughter a month before those pictures were taken, and was about 25 lbs. heavier.)

Okay, let's talk about fit. I am not a fan of the original drafting of this pattern. See how wide the neckline is? Now picture it with 2 extra inches in the center front and center back. Yeah, that first one was so wide it was falling off my shoulders. I'd made the XS. Also, the ends of the sleeves were drafted too tight and they cut off my arm circulation. My alterations were to pinch out 2 inches from the center front and center back, resulting in 4 inches total eliminated from the width. I cut the front and back on the fold and added 3/4 inches to the bottom of the sleeves on both front and back, tapering to nothing at the underarm. I cut the neck binding 2 inches smaller then drafted.

Then, because I am always looking for little details to make my garments unique, I hemmed the white fabric in black thread and the black fabric in white thread. I used a twin needle to get a coverstitch look.

I have spent the past 2 weeks in pants making hell and needed an instant gratification project. Start to finish this top took approximately 3 hours, and I'm a slow seamstress. That's a quick make! I think it's super cute and the high-low hemline is really on trend right now. This is a great top to throw on when I don't feel like making much effort but still want to look put together.

Vogue 1261

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Red wool + leather DKNY dress knockoff

When I saw this advertisement of Ashley Greene in a DKNY leather and wool dress, I instantly knew I would copy it. Mixed material garments are everywhere right now, as are cutouts.

I was going to do it in black just like the example. However, as I was getting some winter projects together, I happened to set some red wool crepe next to my roll of leather hides. The reds were a perfect match, so I made a red dress instead.

The red lambskin I purchased awhile back to make into a skirt. I still have two skins of it left, maybe I'll get to that sometime this winter. Both fabrics were purchased online from Sometimes they have really good sales on their skins, and I think these red ones were $15 a piece.

When I started work on this dress, I had nothing to go by except that taxi cab picture posted above. DKNY has since released the RTW dress on their website. Personally, I think it's a bit of a disappointment. The leather is pulling across the front and the cutout looks smaller because the neckline under the collarbone is lower. Obviously they made that dress custom for the Ashley. Anyway, mine is different in that it has leather across the back and no sleeves. (I actually did make the sleeves, but they pulled terribly, so I went back and removed them.) Also, their dress has a seam at the waistline and more of an A-line skirt. The top of it has princess seams which, had I thought to do the same, would have made the bust a LOT easier to fit. Oh well, there's more then one way to construct a garment.

The hardest part of this dress was getting a tight fit through the bust. If it was too tight the leather at the neck would gap forward; too loose and I was showing off my strapless bra. I worked and reworked this area quite a bit, and finally got it to a point I feel comfortable with. Good posture is a must AND, I'll be wearing it strictly as a date night dress and not to church.

I used that same bias tape finish for the armholes as my last dress. I also added a facing to the lower neckline and started the lining below that. The triangular shape of the leather was slipstitched to the lining after the upper neckline had been sewn by machine.

This dress has a full lining made from red polyester. I usually like to use Ambiance lining but couldn't find any in a matching shade.

 I used a really old pattern from my stash, NewLook 6717, long OOP. I'm not sure why I hung on to it this long. I used to purge patterns after they'd been used and I made the ruffled version years ago. (It is now too big and I don't care for the floral anymore.) But, it's a nice basic dress with lots of variations and design possibilities. I made a muslin to perfect the fit and raised the neckline up to my collarbone. Then I drew a line where I wanted the wool to meet the leather and added seam allowances.

Knocking off designer dresses is fun and challenging. I'm hoping to get another one done in the next few weeks!