Saturday, May 29, 2010

Vogue 2925 - Brown & gray tapestry-look jacket

Here is my jacket for May, and I'm just barely getting it done before the month is over. This pattern has been used twice for the knit top - here and here - and it's one of my favorite TNTs for jacket shells. I've always loved the jacket as well, and finally got around to making it. The design is very simple and contains no princess seaming, which was perfect for this busy jacquard/tapestry print picked up at JoAnn's last fall. I loved the colors and the mixture of textures and prints, and thought it very unique. Please excuse the pantsless state of Her Highness. I have some really cute gray jeans that match perfectly, but you can't put pants on a dressform.

Cutting this jacket out nearly did me in. Lining the horizontal stripes up was one issue, as was making sure the bottom peplum got attached in an area of fabric wide enough to accommodate its curved shape. In other words, it had to work with the horizontal stripes on the sleeves and not contain any of the other lines of fabric at the side seams. This was difficult, especially since I nearly didn't have enough fabric to fit it all in. I should have taken a picture of my scrap pile after it was cut out - very minuscule.

I cut a 12 at the shoulders, bust and hips, but had to taper out to a 14 at the waist. This design is very snug, and I wanted to be able to layer it over pants. Also, the waistline was dropped 1.25", so that it would hit below the waistband of whatever bottom I pair it with.

The shaping of the front is handled by one diagonal dart at each side. I matched up the stripes of fabric so that the bottom torso was aligned. The mismatched stripes from the dart are completely invisible under the sleeves, unless I lift my arms for some reason.

I had two main problems with this pattern. The first is that the front lapels are cut separately from the jacket fronts. When all the layers are sewn, there's 4 pieces of fabric and interfacing coming together in one spot at the center front. At which point the lapel gets folded over and ironed down. It's super bulky! Even if sewn perfectly, it won't lie completely flat, and both sides of the fronts and facings are visible at the same time. This is one instance where my busy print actually aids in disguising this flaw. If I had used a solid color it would look very messy. My other issue is that the sleeve cap was too tall and had to be cut down 5/8". I'm not one to complain about sleeve caps, but these were ridiculous.

Here you can see how the front facing lines up with the jacket front, as well as the hooks and eyes sewn to the inside opening. Incidentally, this brown sequined top was one of my Macy's bargains I blogged about here. Isn't it the perfect match?!

I found this brown chocolate lining in my stash, and have at least 3 more yards of it for some reason. It's a little thicker then the usual linings I use and didn't slip around much. I was completely out of fashion fabric for the inside back peplum and had to use lining fabric instead.

Now I'm off to do some alterations. Oh joy.

Friday, May 21, 2010

NewLook 6909 - Gray pinstripe wool dress

This was a new pattern last fall that I absolutely fell in love with: the rolled standing bias collar, collar bow, front pockets, tucked cap sleeves and fitted sheath shape. I knew a pinstripe was needed to show off all the bias details, and found this lightweight wool at Hancock's for 50% off. Looks exactly like the envelope picture, right? Sometimes I am very influenced by the pattern picture, as I'm sure some of you are as well.

I would try this on for you but it doesn't fit currently. I'm 6 months pregnant. However, it fits my custom dressform perfectly, so it is sure to fit me. Very few alterations were needed. A bit was taken off the upper side seams for my small bust and some was added to the waist. I have a very square shape. The only other fit detail was to shave 3/8" off the center front panel in the hip area. That was kind of a strange princess seam, and you'll note on the envelope picture how their mock up is baggy on the model in that area. I'm guessing most people don't have hips that jut forward at the side front seams, but I could be wrong.

The pattern pieces were cut out individually to insure that they were on grain and mirror images of the other half. This is a pain, but makes for a very expensive looking garment.

Here is the neckline and bow detail that I so adored. The rest of the dress is pretty simple, and I feel it adds a bit of whimsy without being too cutesy.

An invisible zipper was used at the back and the collar closed with two hooks and eyes.

Here are the cute tucked sleeves. The pattern calls for them to be fully lined, as you can see, to hold the tucks in place.

Don't you just love a dress with pockets? Especially these with their bias facings and angled tops. So fun.

I added a full lining to this dress using black Ambiance. I simply cut the dress out in lining fabric - minus the pocket openings - and used the facings for iron-on interfacing. It's super simple to do, and a must with a wool dress, IMO. The only exposed seam at the armholes was covered with black bias tape.

This dress is definitely for fall with it's wool content and dark color. I'm thinking of knitting a red wool wrap to wear with it on chilling mornings before something heavier is needed. That collar doesn't look like it will cooperate with any of my winter coats. Up next is a jacket so I can keep up with my quota of at least one jacket each month. And I'm not fibbing this time as it's already partially cut out.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mail Call!

I've gotten several deliveries lately and thought y'all might like to see. It's mostly fabric. No, I do not need more fabric. But I LOVE it. I love interesting textures, fun prints, luxurious silks, fine wools. I also love a good bargain. So when I received an email from notifying me of their current 20% off sale, a perusal of their site was inevitable. It can't hurt to just look, right?

This first fabric is a cotton border print with textured circles that I became aware of thanks to Jessica. I tried to order it a month or two ago, but they ran out somewhere between when I paid and when they went to cut it. I was very disappointed and ended up canceling the other things that had been purchased at the same time. (I don't think the online order lady was too happy with me, but it's not my fault they didn't update their database.) Anyway, more of it became available, so it was the first on my list. I paid for 2 yards but received 2.5. It's 53" wide, and I know I want some sort of summer dress. This must have been a popular choice because it sold out in record speed. Aren't the colors just gorgeous?

On the left is an ivory stretch medium wale corduroy from Jones New York. I've wanted an ivory corduroy skirt for a few years now. I paid for 1 yard and received 1.5. They must have been in a super generous mood because all of my fabrics came with a lot of extra yardage. I'm planning to use Burda 6/2009/104, minus the front welt pockets and second row of decorative buttons.

On the right is a black silk chiffon dotted swiss that I'm planning to make using the Wenlan blouse design shown in the book Twinkle Sews which is available through BurdaStyle. When I first looked at this design 6 months ago, it was free. Too bad I didn't download it then because it's now costing $7.99. I love it, so I'm going to purchase it despite the cost hike. But darn it, that's a lot of money for something I have to print out and tape together!

This next cut is a large geometric graphic print rayon and silk burnout. These are not my typical colors, but something about it begged to be purchased. The black areas are sheer, and it has a wonderful silky feel and drape. I'm planning to use McCall's 5631 - view C with the tucks at the bottom. I'm thinking of leaving off the fabric tie belt since it's to be worn with the black Wenlen blouse above and that has a tie around the neck.

On the left is a funky polyester stretch woven with gold thread throughout. This will be a simple long sleeved dress - probably McCall's 5975 - with long sleeves and rounded plain neckline. Picture it with a matching fabric tie belt, chunky gold necklace, maroon tights and tall black boots. For winter, of course.

On the right is a white sweater knit that I'll either use for Simplicity 2603 view D or Vogue 8616 view C. Opinions?

That completes the order from Fabricmart and I should have stopped there. But of course I had to check out my other online fabric haunts, finding more good stuff at You guys know you can always find online coupons for 20% off for, right? That coupled with free shipping on orders over $35 makes them a great deal in my book.

This pink and brown cotton madras fabric jumped out as a must buy. Gorgeous fabrics had a bunch of these madras prints a month or two ago. But I was feeling cheap at the time so I passed, and most have since sold out. This fabric was $6.98/yard, $5.58 after the discount. The color combo is super cute. I'm thinking a simple shift dress for summer with plenty left over to use for baby sister if it's still in style in a year or two.

Of course I have to get the free shipping so go looking for something else. They have a bunch of tropical wools in all different colors for $9.98/yard, $7.98 with the discount. Buying wool online can sometimes be a gamble because you can't feel it and sometimes it's super scratchy. These were both listed as 100% worsted wool, but they are very different drapes and weaves. The gray has more body and is a tighter weave. But seeing as I bought it for the Rebecca Taylor suit from Vogue 1169, it'll be perfect. The red is much more fluid and has a looser weave. That was purchased for Burda 4-2010-125, minus the back bow, which it will be perfect for as well. I am 9 for 9 with all of these fabrics, and could not be more thrilled with them.

Okay, that's enough of that. Waiting for me when I got back from Disney were two pairs of boots that were recently purchased from I wear boots all winter but only have had the choice of black or brown in past years. How boring. This year I was determined to get some more color in my footwear, so put several pairs of bright boots in a shoe wishlist and waited for the spring sales. These two came down to a price my cheap self could live with. Plus I put the entire vacation on my Visa for which I accrue Amazon gift certificates. So that made them even less expensive. Did I happen to mention I love a good bargain?

These first ones are J. Renee red booties, and are actually quite comfortable. Although I probably wouldn't want to wear them for a day long shopping excursion. They were originally priced at $89.95, came down to a sale price of $38.49, and only $13.49 when paired with a $25 gift certificate!

The purple pair are Sam Edelman (which I had never before heard of) and made of purple suede. They match the slew of purple garments I have either made or am planning to make for fall. Original price was $149, sale price was $59.58, with yet another $25 gift certificate I paid $34.58. Which was not such a great bargain as the red boots but still a wonderful deal.

And that's it! You've probably grown bored of reading this post. I am surely tired of writing it, and am off to work on my latest project, a gray wool dress for fall. Pictures coming soon!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Burda 2-2010-104B - Fuchsia floral skirt

Oops, guess I kinda lied. In the last post I wrote my next project would be a cropped trench coat. And it was my full intention to go ahead with that project. I even spent several hours altering the pattern for the cropped look that was desired. But during cut-out a few nights ago, something was amiss with the plaid. After I got out my trusty triangle the problem was obvious - the print of the plaid is off grain. Grrr... However, all is not lost. This is 72" wide fabric and, oddly enough, the other half of the width is on grain. Of course that wasn't the side I was currently cutting. I have several yards of this fabric. (It was a marked down decorator print that I purchased years ago.) All the pieces can be cut from the half that is on grain, but I am now totally turned off of this project. Time for something super quick and easy!

Enter the simple A-line skirt design from Burda's February issue. Which I totally would have passed by without a second glance were it not for Eugenia's fabulous two renditions. This fabric is a stretch sateen - one of my all time favorite fabrics to work with - purchased last August to match this knitted sweater. Too bad the fuchsias actually didn't match. Although I don't think head-to-toe fuchsia is a look I'd like. I'm suppose to be finishing as much winter stash as possible while pregnant, but this pretty floral was calling to me.

It's a simple design with slanted side pocket openings and a medium sized waistband. I had only minimal fit issues when attempting to add a bit at the waist for my square shape. Sewing with stretch sateen is always a dream.

I did cut each piece out separately in order to avoid getting two of those hydrangea-looking flowers side by side at a seam and also to balance the colors.

The pockets were edged with bias tape. Both side seams were constructed with french seams.

The back seam also had to be finished with bias tape since it contains the invisible zipper.

I'm not sure what's up next and am feeling a little scattered lately. I've vowed to sew winter but am being influenced by all the pretty florals and floaty things other fellow bloggers are making.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

McCall's 6070/Simplicity 3503 - Brown & ivory floral knit dress

I received the lovely gift of sewing time this afternoon for Mother's Day, and was able to complete the knit dress I started before going on vacation. It isn't maternity, but does have an empire waistline and gathers at the CF and CB, so I thought it would work for my growing bump another month or so. And, I can wear it as a regular dress after the baby is born. (That's the remains of my splotchy sunburn on my legs.)

I LOVE these ITY knit dresses. This is the fourth I have made (see here, here and here) and they get worn and worn all summer. I can wear them with a pair of sandals and look put together, then throw them in the wash and not have to worry about line drying, ironing, shrinkage, etc.

This fabric was a fairly recent (last 6 months?) purchase from The dress design gets a little lost with the dark color. Perhaps I should have picked something lighter or even a solid. Oh well, I love it all the same. I might add beads to the bottom of the back ties if I can find something suitable in a small quantity.

Okay, so this is actually a frankenpattern. (I think I first heard that term on Trena's blog. What a great word!) What happened was I picked up the McCall's pattern first. I liked the gathers along the tops of the shoulders, the overlapping front a back pieces, and the back neck tie. When I got it home and actually examined it, the instructions have you put a row of elastic along the top and bottom of the midriff band. That seemed a little weird. Then I decided I didn't care for the amount of skirt fabric gathered into the band. I put it aside to think about it for awhile.
Here at the back you can see what those elastic casings are doing to the midriff band. I personally just don't think that's the cutest look.

Somewhere along the line I stumbled upon Simplicity 3503. It has a similar design with gathered drop shoulders and a crossover front and back. I passed over it initially because it's just too darn low for me. But I liked that the midriff band was contoured unlike the straight across McCall's band. Also, the skirt was an A-line cut with gathers only along the CF and CB. I put them both together, using the top of McCall's and the band and skirt of Simplicity's. I used a very stretchy knit, so had no worries about it coming together with any problems.

I'm off to cut out my next project, a cropped trench jacket. Got to keep up with my jacket quota. I hope you all had a very happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hurray, it's got a butt!!!

I finally received my custom dressform in the mail, the day before we left for Florida. How torturing was that? (If you'll remember from this previous post, it arrived back in March without a derriere, and I had to send it back to the manufacturer to be fixed.) The first thing out of my son's mouth after I dragged the heavy box inside was, "Does it have a butt?" Why yes, this one does! Here she is, no name as of yet.

I checked all of her measurements, and she is absolutely perfect on top, and just a little small on the bottom. It's hard to pinpoint because I currently can't try these clothes on and pinch out the ease, but I think my lower back is more padded then she is. At any rate, I certainly am not sending it back again. What a hassle.

I dressed her up all day yesterday - how fun! - with first putting her in one of my best fitting dresses.

You can see in the back how the fabric deflates right at and above the rear end. I'm thinking of buying a shapewear half slip and padding her up. Perhaps I could find some silicone butt enhancements to use. Any tips or suggestions?

She's already been put to good use. I put my recent yellow linen jacket on her to starch the collar. It had some weird rippling going on right at the front that I wanted to get rid of, and used the high-tech technique of stuffing rolled up socks under the collar and spraying it with starch.

Then she got to try on the sweater I started knitting while driving on vacation. The stitches I picked up along the neckline look terrible to my eye, and I'll be redoing that, but otherwise it's a perfect fit. Whew, that's always such a relief.

I'm sure you'll all want to know the details about it - where I got it from, price, experience, etc., but I'm holding off doing a full review until I get the final bill. This has indeed been a strange experience. I had to jump through a bunch of hoops to get her, but I totally think it was worth it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Burda picks for May

I've read several blogs where people totally love this new issue of Burda. Me - not so much. I do really love two of the designs, and that is just fine. (By the way, I mainly do these posts so I can keep track of which designs I like from which magazine. Then I can easily click on the BWOF tag and all the drawings come up with their corresponding months.)

This is blouse 125. WHAT a cute neckline!!! I'm not crazy about the sleeves, though, and am thinking about just making it sleeveless.

Blouse 129 is awesome. It's fitted with pockets and topstitching and other fun details. This is my kind of pattern! (Hopefully that collar has a collar stand. I'm currently feeling too lazy to go downstairs and check.)

Oh, and we did make it home safely today in one piece. Thanks for all your well wishes. It turned out to be 13.5 hours in the van - yuck! Allison C. wrote that she's amazed at us Americans that drive such long distances. We did this time because it was more economical than flying and having to rent a car, and we really didn't want to have to rely on Disney transportation. We also wanted to see some of the southern states we'd never before visited. However, I draw the line at driving more that two days to a destination, and always fly when I visit family in far away Oregon.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Vacationing in Florida

Hi there! I've nothing sewing related to share with you since we've been vacationing in Florida at the "happiest place on earth". Or, Walt Disney World, for those of you without kids. (Yes that is a sad child in front of the legendary Disney castle, but keep in mind this was our 7th day at the parks and the poor kids were tired of smiling for the camera and saying "cheese". Plus that day was just plain HOT. We thought we would be smart and go at the end of April to take advantage of spring-like weather. Hah!)

After that I booked 3 nights in Pensacola so we could visit a beach with white sands and play in the ocean. Of course I had no idea of the impending oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We did manage to get in one full day of wave frolicking, though, and might have done another day were it not for my lobsterish appearance. I hate to be sunburned and always slather on the sunblock. However, we used that spray can type and it was a bit windy, a combination I can't recommend. It will leave you with a painfully splotchy sunburn. Happily, my kids and husband were somehow spared the worst of it. Seeing a sunburned child always makes me a little upset at their parents. This is probably the only time you will see a picture of me in a bathing suit, and you're only seeing it because of my strategically placed son. :)

The other boy was very busy all day building sand castles and digging trenches. He was mighty serious about the whole business, which is very fitting with his personality. We all had a great time, minus the sunburn, and I think they enjoyed it just about as much as Disney. But not quite, I'm telling myself, because Disney World was a whole heck of a lot more expensive.

And here is how we currently feel. Who knew vacationing could be so tiring?!

Tomorrow we are leaving bright and early for the 12 hour drive back home to Texas. I have been dreaming of my sewing machine these past few nights and will be glad to get back to my normal routine. And my newest copy of Burda. And my dressform that had the nerve to show up on a UPS truck the day before we left when I was in the thick of packing. And home cooking. If I see another french fry I am going to scream. My brown dress that you saw a bit of in the previous post sadly did not get finished in time for this trip. Which turned out to be fine, as the other 2 dresses I took never saw the outside of my suitcase.