Monday, March 30, 2009

In the Bag

Simplicity 3900 is in the bag, that is- again!

I think this is the sixth time I've made this and I'm still learning and tweaking it. For this version, I used the wide gathered sash and double skirt bound with bias strips just like the original Cherry Blossom:

Like the original Cherry Blossom, I also used mini piping to trim the front bands and the armhole binding.

I also, after five other versions, finally decided to interface the front bands. It's really not necessary, but it really helped stabilize the bands, especially at the bottom where the heavy gathered sash tries to pull it out of shape. To do something different, I decided to leave the mandarin collar off of this version. the Princess approves.

Here's the big bow in the back:

And here's a closeup of the double hems:

The Princess and I both love this version. The dot fabric and the coordinating stripe were bought at Joann's several years ago with just this dress in mind. The aqua swirl print came from my local quilt store and it was a happy coincidence that it went with these fabrics so well. All qualify as stash fabric since they've been stored in a plastic tub here at my house for over a year. Over several years, in fact.

Now that this project is wrapped up, I am back to work on the BWOF trench coat. I got past the shoulder tabs- the detail that was stalling me- and I am making active progress again. I've told myself I have to finish it before I start the next project, which will be a spring dress for me, so I should have a trench coat to show you soon!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Another One

I was so excited as I was getting the Hula Girl dress finished up that I went ahead and started another S3900! Once again, the fabric is from stash and was bought a while back to make this very dress. Well, Spring Break ended and I had to return to work this week, so needless to say, my sewing time has decreased, but here is a sneak peek:

The fabrics might look familiar. I used them once before to make T3. There was plenty left, though. Hopefully I can get this dress wrapped up this weekend. The bodice front is done, and I'm thinking about leaving off the mandarin collar just to do something different.

Oh, yeah, I have a trench coat to finish up, too.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Holy Hula Girls, Batman!

So, I'm on a roll busting stash and making up little girl dresses. Here's the latest version of S3900 in a super cute Michael Miller Hula Girl Print:

I bought the hula fabric, the luscious pineapple yellow, and a hot pink Kona at Hancock Fabrics oh, at least three, maybe four years ago. I had planned to make a simple A-line top with capri pants using the hula print and the yellow with hot pink piping. Alas, I never got around to it. Story of my life.

So anyway, it suddenly hit me this past week. Why not just use it to make our go-to dress, S3900? It's a perfect combo! And I had just enough fabric to make it work! I totally planned to go through with the piping idea until I realized I had hot pink ric rack in my stash that matched perfectly. And the ric rack just kind of echoes the shapes of the flowers in the print- it's almost as if it was made to go with this fabric.

This dress is made pretty much like the Eiffel Tower dress, with ric rack inserted in the seams. For this version, I also used it on the armholes and bound the edges for contrast.

Here you can see the ric rack inserted into the seam at the hem, rather than applied onto the top. I was able to turn up the hem band to the inside and stitch it down by machine by topstitching "in the ditch" with pink thread on top of the ric rack. This made hemming a breeze.

I love the gorgeous yellow contrast fabric so much that I decided to go with a wider sash. I love the gathered effect at the front waist and the saucy bow in back. I simply used the existing pattern pieces and cut four instead of two. I sewed two pieces right sides together with a 3/8" seam and turned to make each sash. (On future versions I might add a little length to the sash.)

I appologize for the somewhat wrinkly dress in the photos. My iron died right as this project wrapped up (how's that for timing?) and I just couldn't wait until I got a new iron to share!

And here is a pic of M5615 with the addition of the wide leg capri pants from the same pattern:

I like this one much better now.

And the Season of the Dress- or should I call it the Season of the Stash- continues...

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Season of the Dress Continues...

... with McCalls 5615:
Children's and Girls' top, dresses, shorts and pants: Pullover A-line top or above mid-knee dress has faced upper front section, shoulder straps and back elastic casings.... I made View B, the dress without pockets.

I made a size 8 which is pretty consistent with children's RTW, maybe just a smidge on the small side. My only complaint is that the dress is too short for my taste. We will definately add a couple of inches to the next version. For this one, we will be making the coordinating capris from the same pattern out of the pink dot print fabric. (You might recognize the fabric from the Spring Spirit quilt top.)
McCalls has a lot of really cute girls' patterns available, but I sometimes find the construction to be a bit, well... fussy. Not so with this one. I was worried that the thin straps might be aggravating, but they were a piece of cake.
What drew me to this pattern was the cute gathered bodice and cumberbund type waist detail. The front bodice piece is gathered at the top and bottom edges and then sewn to a stay. The waist piece is gathered at the sides and sewn to a stay also. Both are handled as one piece from this point on. There is a separate piece used as a bodice lining, with the straps sandwiched in between. The back is all one piece with a casing formed at the top by folding the top edge down and then a strip of bias tape applied to the inside to form the lower casing. Basically you put the front of the dress together and then the back, attach at the side seams, and then sew the front bodice lining down along the sides and lower edges by hand. This is a quick and easy pattern.
I used quilting cottons from stash. The main fabric is a gingham printed on the bias (cut on grain) with hearts and flowers scattered across it. Very cute and summery. I think this would even be cute for school with a plain t-shirt underneath. The thin straps and light, airy fabric will make it ideal for the heat of mid-summer.
I'm off to cut the capri pants out. I might even have to whip out another one of these dresses!
Can you tell I'm procrastinating on the trench coat?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Season of the Dress

I've really been digging into the stash lately and this is the latest creation- Simplicity 3588.

I used a pretty pink and lavender Asian inspired cotton print. I originally bought this with an original design in mind, but let's be honest. I can barely find time to sew from patterns, much less find time to design a whole dress myself. Besides, I can always buy more fabric later, right?

I made a straight size 8 and I found it to be pretty consistent with RTW sizing. I made view B with lavender piping and pearl buttons.

The pattern is relatively easy. I found it kind of tricky to get all the piping to come together neatly at the center front. The key is trimming the piping cord out of the seam allowances. The pattern calls for a neck facing to finish off the neckline seam, but I didn't think that was going to look very nice. I wanted to make sure the entire bodice seam (the piped asymmetrical seam) was covered, so I used the front bodice piece to cut a lining piece. I used the left side and put the center front line on a fold to cut it out. I cut two extra back bodice pieces and used these for the full bodice lining. It worked great. Not only did it hide the bodice seams, but it also made it easy to finish off the inside and hide the invisible zipper tape and the waist seam allowances.

That's Duffy peeking out from the edge of the Princess's skirt.

The only other change I made was to use bias tape to finish the hem. It's very curved and the thought of easing and pressing and pinning just didn't appeal to me, so I opted for purchased bias tape. It was quick, easy, and it turned out perfectly smooth. It also gives the hem just a tad of stiffness giving the dress just a touch of extra body. I totally recommend it if you make this pattern.

It's a cute little dress. It's rather plain, though. You could really dress it up and make it into a great party dress by using a fancy brocade like the pattern envelope. This one will do, though, for a light spring dress. I don't know that I will make it again, although I would like to make view D. It has a kind of "Duro" vibe to it.

In other news, I'm still working on the BWOF trench coat. I've kind of stalled out on it. I didn't have the perfect buttons in my stash and I haven't been able to find any during my recent fabric store excursions. I think I'm going to just go with something "acceptable" from my stash and then maybe replace them later. I feel like I really need to get this done or I won't have a chance to wear it until fall. Hopefully I'll have it done and be able to share pics later this week.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

There Has Been Sewing Going On

I've been silent this past week, but there has been sewing going on. After the green moleskin dress I decided I wanted to do something easy and relaxing, preferably something using quilting cotton which is the easieast and most cooperative fabric to sew with, not to mention the bulk of what's in my stash. So I dug out this Eiffel Tower print and got to work.

I bought this fabric two years ago at Hancock Fabrics. I saw it and liked it, but didn't get it the first time. I couldn't stop thinking about it and what a cute dress it would make, so I went back and got it! Then, however, it got laid in the stash and almost forgotten. I'd catch a glimpse of it from time to time in the clear plastic container where it was stored and think: I should get that out and make it up. But, I didn't. Until now.

I knew all along that this would be Simplicity 3900, my TNT little girl's dress. (This is the 4th time I've used this pattern and I'm not tired of it yet.) I made a size 8 and pretty much followed the pattern instructions. I added large white rickrack to the edges of the front bands and to the contrast hem band.

It went together quickly and easily. The princess likes it, too.

This project filled my need to make something easy and fun, but I feel like I might need to make another one of these projects to really get back in my sewing groove. In the meantime, I really have been working on the BWOF trench coat. Here's a peek at the fabric. Stay tuned for a progress report soon.