Friday, June 27, 2008

What's Next?

Simplicity 2996- a Threads Magazine Collection dress. I bought this pattern for view A, the long-sleeved blue dress, but once I got it in my hands, I decided I like view B, the short-sleeved print dress on the lower right, the best. So B it is! I actually cut this out weeks ago and I just haven't gotten around to sewing it up. This is one of those B, C, D cup patterns, so I didn't have to do any adjustments to the pattern at all. I cut out a straight 16, but just before I started to sew, I trimmed it to a 14 through the shoulders. I've already started putting the bodice together. I'll have a progress report later.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Safari Dress is Finished!

Whew! Stick a fork in it 'cause it's done!

This is my version of New Look 6815- the Safari Dress. I kinda made view A, the dress, with the pockets from view D, the shirt. The pattern size runs from 10 to 22. I cut a 14 through the neck and shoulders and a 16 from the underarm down.

I really like the "safari" styling of this pattern, although I have to admit, I kind of ran with it. I also like the princess seams in the front and the multisized (lower) pockets. I didn't like the back of the dress. It's absolutely plain- one piece cut on the fold with two darts. I decided to change that.

I began the project by making a 1 inch princess seam FBA. Then I took the back pattern piece and I drew a yoke seamline four inches down from the collar seam. I also drew a vertical line, parallel to the center back, through the dart. Then I traced new back pieces with seam allowances: one yoke piece, a center back piece and a side back piece. This gave me princess seams in the back as well as the front.

I also decided I needed some extra "safari" details. So I double topstitched the entire dress in heavy duty gold thread. I added a D-ring and loop to the lower left pocket and the upper right pocket. I also added a "locker loop" and button to the center back.

Originally I planned to make the belt to go with this dress, but when I tried it on last night, I decided I don't need it. I like it without the belt. I think it looks smooth and trim just like it is- a belt might make it look too fussy and might draw unwanted attention to my not-so-slim waist. The beltless princess seams work for me, I think.

The only thing I don't like about this dress is the length. I really wish I had added just a little more when I adjusted my pattern. It's completely my fault, and I think I can live with it as is, but if I ever make it again, I'll add enough to bring it down to mid-knee.

It's really a cute and easy shirtdress pattern. I doubt I'll make the dress again, but I might make the shirt. It would be cute with jeans. The pattern instructions were clear and easy to read, and the pieces went together with no problems. I highly recommend this pattern If you have it in your stash, or were thinking about picking it up, go for it! I think you'll like it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Safari Dress Update

Yes, I'm still working on this dang Safari Dress. It feels like it's creeping along at a snail's pace, but honestly, I've been pretty busy with other things like work and family and I haven't had as much time to work on it as I'd like. Don't you just hate it when real life intrudes on your sewing time?

This is the "locker loop" I added to the center back yoke seam. The button is just lying on top right now- I'll sew it down underneath and the loop will button over it. Just a little something to add interest to the back of the dress.

I don't really have a whole lot left to do. I need to hem the sleeves and the bottom of the dress, apply the upper patch pockets and then of course, the buttons and button holes down the front. These are the details that can take a lot of time, though.

I'm already thinking about my next project- something easy and quick. I'm feeling the need for some instant sewing gratification!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

In Case You Thought I Was Kidding...

... I really am making a Safari Dress.

This is the lower left front pocket. I'm using an olive green stretch poplin for this dress and you can see two of my added design details in the photo above: I'm doing double topstitching with a heavy duty gold thread, and I added the D-ring and loop to the bottom of the pocket.

I have both fronts of the dress constructed and topstitched. I haven't put the upper pockets on yet because I want to wait until I'm far enough along to put the dress on to check the placement. The FBA I did threw off the placement markings on the pattern. I started on the back last night. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I split the back pattern piece into a center back, two side backs, and a yoke piece. I have the sides stitched to the center back and I hope to sit down to topstitch it tonight. I want to add a fabric loop to the center back yoke seam, so I will probably spend some time tonight playing with that until I get it just how I want it.

This project is coming along a lot more slowly than I thought it would, but that's okay. I'm hoping the finished result will be worth the time and effort. Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday. Maybe I can make some real headway on this dress over the weekend.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Summer Top

I just finished McCall's MP252 for the Princess.

From the pattern envelope: Children's and girls' tops, shorts, and capri pants: Top has neckline variations, empire waist, front or back openings and a partial, concealed elastic casing... Tops C, D have self fabric or contrast neckband with ties.

Well, it's cute enough and the Princess likes it. She wore it all day yesterday and she looked fresh and cute all day. I just didn't have a lot of fun making this one. I picked up the pattern last weekend because I liked view C. It has the sort of cute rounded neckband/yoke that is so trendy right now, and it looked like a cool, breezy sun top with out being scandalous looking. The finished top lives up to expectations, too. It just seemed so fussy to put together. I kept thinking that I wished it was finished and I could be done with it.

I didn't make any design changes or adjustments. I cut and sewed a size 6 straight out of the envelope. The only change I did make was in construction. The pattern would have you sew the front strap and facing together leaving an opening to sew the bodice into after turning the strap. That was just too tedious for me. I sewed the strap to the bodice, folded the bodice down out of the way and then sewed the strap facing to the strap and turned it right side out. This is what I meant by too fussy for me. I still like the look of the top and the view with the contrast band has possibilities, too. So I may take a step back from this one and consider it again later. But for now I'm moving on.

In other, more positive news, the Safari Dress is cut out. Construction will commence this afternoon!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Summertime Pink

Summertime Pink is done!

And just to recap, the dress pattern is Summertime Blue from AS&E #66, and the smocking plate is One Fine Day (sans bullion daisies) from AS&E #72. I finished hand stitching what seemed like miles of bias binding down last night and I just finished the hem today. I have to say this little dress is a success if for no other reason than that the Princess has been on my case to finish it for days! She's wearing it as I type!

The back of the dress with its little halter ties is just as interesting as the front.

The pattern went together easily and the instructions were pretty clear. AS&E usually is. Other than changing the smocking plate, I really didn't make any design changes. I did interface the front yoke piece up to the shoulder level. My fabric is lightweight and light colored, and the interfacing really helps hide the seam allowance where the smocking is attached to the yoke. I only interfaced to the shoulder, though, because I didn't think the tie ends needed the extra body. I was afraid it would make the knot at the back of the neck bulky and uncomfortable. I also used one strip of 3/4 inch elastic in the casing at the back of the skirt. The pattern called for two 3/8" pieces in a double casing and I did it that way at first, but I ended up redoing it my way because the fabric wasn't sliding freely on the two strips of elastic and I was getting weird bulky areas back there.

It's a very cute dress and I'm pleased with it. I don't know that I'll make it again simply because there are so many other little smocked dresses I want to make. As a matter of fact, I'll be working on Miss Daisy from AS&E #58 now. I pleated it at the same time I pleated Summertime Pink, and it's time to get going on it.

I also started a couple of little McCall's tops for the Princess this week. And the Safari dress is back on- only in olive green stretch poplin instead of the khaki cotton. I hope to have more finished projects to share by this weekend.

Frogs, Toads, and Lizards, Oh My!

The Frog Prince has a new shirt! This is made from McCall's 7194- which I am sure is long OOP, it's copyrighted 1994- in a size 7. I would have made an 8, but the pattern tissue was already cut out and when I held the tissue up to him, it looked like it would fit okay, so off I went. The fit is much better than the last shirt I made for him, so I've sworn off those boys' shirt patterns in S, M, L. Give me numbered sizes! I'm sure I made this before for one of my older boys (why else would the tissue be cut out?) and I'm sure I was pleased with it then just like I am now. This pattern went together like a charm. Unfortunately, when I bought the fabric several weeks ago at Joann's, I didn't have a pattern picked out and I just guessed on yardage. I didn't have quite enough to match the print across the front of the shirt. Of course, the Prince doesn't notice or care, it just bothers me. I also decided at the last minute to leave the pocket off. The print is so busy it wouldn't have been noticeable anyway. I did topstitch all the seams for detail and durability, though. I need to dig through my pattern stash and see if I have another similar shirt pattern in numbered sizes that's a little bit bigger. The Prince could use a little bit more room in the neck, and he's only going to get bigger! If I don't have another pattern, I need to get one soon. I bought the most incredible astronaut print fabric this weekend...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fabric Glitch- Change in Plans

I've run into a glitch with my safari dress- I don't have enough fabric! I started laying the pattern out to cut, and I ran out of room on the fabric. Ugh! I was so frustrated! I worked most of Saturday getting the muslin done and tweaked and I was all fired up to get going... and then I had to stop. I scoured my stash to see if there was anything else that I could use for this project, but there wasn't. I'm going to have to go to the fabric store. Sigh...

Oh, well. It's not like I don't have a dozen other things to work on. So I turned my attention to one of those other projects and got back to work on Summertime Pink.

It's almost done! The dress is all assembled. I still need to hand stitch the binding down around the bodice and halter ties and it needs a hem, but after that, it's done and ready to be worn. The binding in the photo above looks a little wonky because it's held down in back with pins and hasn't been properly steamed yet. The Princess tried the dress on last night before I started applying the binding and the fit looked pretty good. She's so excited and keeps asking me when I'm going to finish her dress! Hopefully the next photo of this dress will be of the Princess wearing it!