Saturday, December 26, 2015

McCall's 3830 - Silver sequin straight skirt

Just in time for year end festivities I have made something sparkly! A sequin skirt has been on my list for a few years now. This fabric was purchased months ago but has just been sitting there staring at me because I was procrastinating. Sewing with sequins is always extremely messy and time consuming. I finally decided it would be handy to have for New Year’s Eve so I stitched it up. Surprise! Because I chose a fabric with super tiny sequins, they didn’t need to be removed for the seams or darts, and I had no messy piles of them to clean up. I used Mood fabric’s baby sequins on mesh, which they carry in several different colors. I ordered a yard for this straight skirt and have plenty left over.

The pattern is my TNT (Tried ‘N True) straight skirt pattern, McCall’s 3830, which I have made a thousand times. I wanted to keep the sequins from catching on my blouses so I opted for a grosgrain ribbon waistband. I also fully lined my skirt with some silver china silk.

The back invisible zipper has to be gently pulled up to not get hung up on any sequins. It didn’t give me any problems to insert.

I’m on auto pilot when I make this pattern. If only all my sewing could be such a reliably good fit!

I had to add a band of fabric to the bottom of the lining since I cut it a little short. I always like my lining long enough to cover the top edge of the turned up hem. Then I do a sit-down test to make sure it doesn’t peek out.

The waistband is made using a 1 3/8″ wide petersham grosgrain ribbon that I stashed for this project. This is the 3rd time I've used this type of waistband finish and I love to do it. Next time I'll snap some pictures and post a little how-to here for anyone interested. I also sewed a 1″ wide ribbon in the same color to the bottom of the skirt and turned it to the inside for the hem. It was whip-stitched in place by hand. I didn’t want any scratchy sequins touching my skin or chewing up my hosiery.

Finding ways to use fancy fabrics in my non-fancy lifestyle is fun to me. I have it styled here for a casual date night or New Year’s house party with friends but it could easily be paired with a silver silk charmeuse blouse and heals to be cocktail party appropriate.

Note: Both fabrics were purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Vogue 1389 - Casual coral sweatshirt

After making two lined dresses in a row I decided I needed an easy project. For me, the easy projects I undertake usually end up being a lot more work than I think they’ll be. Not this time, though. I whipped up this fitted top in just a few hours. The fabric, a Thakoon coral sweatshirt cotton, was purchased from Mood fabrics a few years (!) ago and has long since sold out. Mood has a number of similar cotton terrycloth options available. My personal favorite is the grey and metallic terry knit, which I’ll probably get for another one of these tops.

Originally I had a large piece of this fabric which I cut into for a casual dress. Unfortunately it was not matched well to the pattern, and the project ended up in a trash can. I had a large scrap piece left over and loved the color, so I saved it until I could find a way to use it up. I used Vogue 1389, a Donna Karan designer pattern. It’s a bit of a sleeper pattern that hasn’t been made much by the online sewing community. The example garments are all gray and a bit boring but the design lines are really nice.

This is a well fitted top. The sides wrap around to the back and are angled in such a way that they provide some nice waist definition. I cut my usual Vogue size 12 but lowered the armholes by an inch. They are super high as drafted! The wide neckband and sleevebands I sewed using the opposite side of the fabric for a little contrast. I had to piece my back together because I was short on fabric.

That back seam and the side seams were sewn with the wrong sides together, then ironed flat and topstitched so that the wrong sides show on the outside. This is a fun finish that I used on a project a long time ago. I contemplated using it to finish the arm seams as well, but thought it might be too distracting with the contrast along the neckline. Now I wish I’d done it.

I adore the length of these sleeves. Unless it’s really cold, I find myself pushing up my long sleeve tops to just below my elbows. They would be really easy to lengthen if you prefer the longer length.

I finished all the inside seams with the overlocking stitch on my machine. The neckline and sleeve bands were topstitched down to prevent the seam from twisting or flipping out.

The hem was sewn with a wide twin needle.

I first made this top up in a silk jersey and it did not have enough stretch recovery to make the neckline lay flat. The result was not flattering, so keep that in mind if you want to make this pattern up. Also the neckline will get stretched out when being attached and will need to be washed and dried to shrink it back, so a wool knit might not be the best choice of fabric.

Note: This fabric was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Vogue 8946 - Fuschsia wool ponte dress

Ponte knit is a well known and much loved fabric amongst the sewers of the world. It’s beefy and stable qualities make it a great option for body-con dresses and structured designs. I’ve sewn with my fair share of it over the years and, as with most fabrics, there is a spectrum of quality available. When I spotted this “fuchsia rose wool ponte knit” on Mood Fabric’s website some months ago, I snapped it up faster then lightning. I adore natural fibers and was positive that a ponte knit made from wool would be heaven to work with. Unfortunately many other people must have been as intrigued as I was since it sold out in record speed. However, here is a neat striped jersey knit that I’ve had my eye on for awhile that looks to be similar, and I currently have this plaid ponte in my stash awaiting the perfect pattern pairing.

The fabric was 60″ wide so I purchased my standard I-don’t-know-what-I’m-going-to-make-with-this length of 2 yards and went combing through my extensive pattern stash. Vogue 8946 immediately jumped out at me. The pleating details would really sing in a solid color and the long sleeve version would be perfect for winter.

I did a bit of pattern research and decided to cut my typical Vogue woven pattern size of 12. Usually I will go down a size for anything made in a knit fabric but this dress was described as close-fitting and it certainly is. After I got the fronts pleated and the top sewn to the bottom, I pinned it on my dressform and used liberal amounts of steam to get the pleats to lay nicely. This is where using a wool really worked out. It was simple to manipulate and took the shape of my dressform easily.

This pattern calls for a back zipper and, even though I was working with a knit, I did my best to follow the instructions. I do prefer a zipper in dresses as I often do my hair and makeup before getting dressed and they’re just easier to put on and not get smeared with deodorant or powder. I fused some knit interfacing along the center back and made several passes at zipper insertion. Every Single Time the bottom stuck out like a tail until I finally admitted defeat and did away with it.

The body of this dress is fully lined in black tricot from my stash. Vogue included a separate front pattern piece for the lining, which I always appreciate. Apologies for the dark pictures. We haven't had much sun around these parts lately.

I finished all the wool seams with the overlocking stitch on my machine. I don't think the edges would have unraveled much, but they did change in appearance when they came in contact with my iron. Better safe than sorry.

I took a 1.5″ hem instead of the narrow hem the directions call for. I slip-stitched it by hand onto the tricot knit lining. I also slip-stitched the sleeve hems by hand but not onto lining as I left the sleeves unlined.

Hurray! Another long sleeve dress to add to my wardrobe! That brings my total up to 5, not including my funeral dress or sweater dresses. I have other dresses I consider winter appropriate, but most are 3/4 sleeves or shorter - not sure why. Anyway, I do want to use this pattern again for a sleeveless summer version but I’ll definitely be adding some length to the hemline. I like the shorter length for tights and boots but probably not for bare legs.

Photo bombed again!
Note: This fabric was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network