Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Vogue 1367 - Blue silk crepe de chine blouse

I'm usually the last person to switch over to fall sewing every year. August is so hot around here and I'm never ready to start thinking about making cool weather garments. However, what little enthusiasm I had for making maternity clothing has completely evaporated and I'm wanting to make some things I can wear after this baby is born in October. I always nurse my kiddos for the first year so will need my clothing somewhat unfitted on the top. A silk blouse was of course my first thought because I seriously love them and all the other ones I've made will be too snug.

The fabric is a silk crepe de chine by Thakoon from Mood Fabrics that is unfortunately now sold out. He's listed as "famous designer" on their website, and here are a few other of his crepe de chines. I love to use this type of fabric for blouses. It's the perfect weight, not too thin, and flows nicely about the body. It's also not a slippery fabric to work with, you just have to go slow and take your time. I washed and dried it prior to cutting like I usually do and didn't notice any fading. The pattern I used is Vogue 1367, a Rebecca Taylor pattern that I loved the construction lines of. It is not maternity but fits over my baby bump because it's meant to be loose-fitting. I do NOT plan to wear this until after the baby is born, though. The side view isn't too flattering.

See what I mean? The hemline turned out looking a bit different then the pattern line drawing. The front is 3 to 4 inches shorter then the back and the hems do not have the rounded-off square sides as drawn. I don't mind the differences, though. It looks just like the example photo. I wouldn't rate this pattern as particularly easy. There are plenty of fiddly bits to it - lots of gathering, a bias neckband, topstitching, sleeves with continuous lap sewn into thin cuffs, and a 5/8" double folded finish to the curved hems.

Dressform pictures:

I was nervous that the bias edges of the yokes would stretch out while I was stitching them, particularly because I wanted to use french seams. To combat this I used a trick I haven't utilized in a long time - I starched them. This made the fabric stiff and retain the shape of the pattern piece while I worked with it. After the blouse was complete I washed it to remove the starch. It worked perfectly and there's no puckering or rippling along those seams. I left off the topstitching along the tops of the sleeves since I always iron the armhole seams toward the sleeves.

Here at the inside you can see the french seams I used throughout the blouse, including the armhole seams. With this thin fabric and bias edges I didn't want to use an overlocking stitch to finish off the fraying edges. I had to be careful while topstitching from the outside so that it caught just the top edge of the french seam.

I couldn't use french seams for the sides because of the double curved hemline. After stitching the seams I pressed the edges open, folded the raw edges in again and topstitched. It's not visible because of the business of the fabric. I put a little dot of fray-check at the bottom of the sides to hopefully prevent the fabric from any strain when it's being put on or taken off.

Here's the example picture:

I like the pants a lot too and may get around to them later this fall. I'm thrilled to add this silk blouse to my collection, of which there will definitely be more. Anyone else thinking toward fall already?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

NewLook 6974 - Red, white & navy stars and polkadots dress

I made this dress for Rachel to wear for July 4th. Why I always pick this holiday to make her a new dress and not her birthday or Easter I don't know. I'll have to remedy that from now on.

I purchased these two fabrics from earlier this spring. They are both the good quality cottons I like to use for childrens' clothing. The red star fabric is by Michael Miller and the navy w/ white dots is a Riley Blake fabric.

Originally I was planning to use the navy for the straps, bow, and peeking out of the bottom as seen on the example dress on the pattern envelope. However, I quickly realized all the work of those godets would be lost in the business of the fabric, and so used most of the navy for flat bias piping sewn into the godet seams. I could have ordered more navy for the second layer under the dress, but by then was tossing around the idea of not even lining it because the star fabric is pretty thick.

I cut a size 1/2 for the width and a size 3 for the length. This tiny girl continues to slowly grow upwards but hasn't put on much girth, and I'm always so happy Simplicity and NewLook offer patterns in the 1/2 size.

Hanger pictures:

I used bias strips of star fabric to finish off the armholes because I didn't have the lining to do that job. (No picture of them, though - I completely forgot.) Since the star fabric is somewhat thick and the piping added some bulk, I couldn't put in a 5/8" double folded hem per the instructions. Instead I cut a curved hem facing and invisibly machine stitched it to the inside. All seams were finished with the overlocking stitch from my regular sewing machine.

I always enjoy working with cotton fabrics and had fun making this cute little dress. I don't know if I'll make it again since I actually cut into the pattern pieces instead of tracing them like I usually do for girls patterns. There were too many pieces and I just didn't have the will to do it.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Yellow + white ponte maternity skirt

All the maternity skirts currently available for sale fall into three categories: black/navy/gray, denim or striped maxi. If you want any type of bright color or pattern, you are out of luck. Or, if you know how to sew, you make your own!

It was pretty much love at first site when I spotted this Theory yellow striped ponte at Mood Fabrics. It's yellow, is a ponte knit which is the perfect weight fabric for a skirt, and it's visually interesting with the stripes. I paired it with Burda 7023, labeled "super easy", and that was no lie. It only has two pieces, a little gathering, some elastic in the back, and a hem. This fabric stitched together beautifully and I had no problems matching the stripes along the side back seams.

This is another great Burda pattern with plenty of room for a growing bump. I can see this skirt fitting until the very end.

At the back I used 1.5" elastic and stitched it down along the the top on the inside and the bottom on the outside of the skirt fabric.

And that's pretty much it! If I can find more cute ponte knits I'll whip this skirt up again. I also may have purchased a few more yards of this yellow stripe for a dress for my more permanent non-maternity wardrobe, but don't hold your breath to see it anytime soon. ;)