Sunday, April 25, 2010

Photo Shoot!

I finished Burda 09-2009-138...again!
This is the second version in an all-over print poly I picked up at Hancock Fabrics. At least the bolt end said poly... it looks and feels like cotton poplin. Anyway, I am much more satisfied with the dress this time.

Here's the back with the sweet flounce at the hem. Makes climbing up into an F250 pick-up truck a breeze. Ask me how I know...

Here's the "attitude pose."

The neckline is a tad wide for my taste. You can see some slip/bra strap peeking out on the left there. If I made it again I would probably take the neck in ever so slightly at the raglan seams.

As it is, I did make a couple of adjustments since the first version. I folded out a 3/8" petite adjustment above the bust. Then I added a half inch of additional length at the waist. Finally, I folded out 3/8" right above the flounce to shorten the skirt. I wanted this version to be knee length. (If you're interested, you can read about the original adjustments I made here.)
I planned to use purchased bias tape for the hem again, but when I got ready, I discovered I didn't have anything suitable in my stash! How does that happen? Luckily, I had plenty of fabric left over from the dress, so I spent the afternoon yesterday on my hands and knees on the floor with a rotary cutter, cutting bias strips. Oh well. It was worth it.
I wore the dress to church today and it wore very well. It was comfortable and I felt great in it all morning. I just love that flounce! I'd probably be tempted to make it again (and I would never say never) except that the May issue of Burda will be arriving any day now and there are a couple of dresses in it that I'd like to try.

In other sewing news... I am almost finished with my Kyoto Skirt! Here's a sneak peek at the front yoke:

Here's a peek at the back of the skirt:

I LOVE this skirt! It is so cool! And it was fun to make! I still have to stitch down the bias hem facing. I would be completely done by now except that I ran out of thread last night. There is a lot of top stitching on this skirt (all of which is completely optional, by the way, just in case you were considering making one of these!) Stay tuned for finished pics and a thorough review of the pattern!

I'm off to topstitch a hem down. It's been a pretty productive weekend for me sewing-wise. How was your weekend?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Eye Candy!

Okay, so remember back in December when I said I want to knock off this dress from ModCloth:
It's called the Fugita Garden Dress, and I still want to make it!

Well, the kind folks at ModCloth were nice enough to post this, the Parador Dress:

It's the same dress, only in a different fabric- light enough that I can now see all the details! I can see the underbust gathers and the fact that there doesn't appear to be any seaming except at the sides. The underbust band appears to be stitched into the seam at the top edge, but hanging loose at the bottom. That's interesting, texturally speaking, but I'll have to consider whether I want to do that or just have a contrast band inserted into the seam.

Here's the back:

I love that collar. The collar of NL 6909 would be perfect for this dress! I don't know about that skimpy bow. I might just leave that off entirely.
I don't particulary love this fabric combo. It's kind of light and dull for my taste. But I do have a gorgeous Asian poppy print in my stash that I've been saving for something special. I'm picturing it with red contrast...
Once the Burda sheath is done (my fingers are crossed that I get it done tomorrow!) and the Kyoto skirt is wrapped up, I think I'm going to turn my attention to this dress.

And then, just because I love it, here is the "I Dreamt I Was an Architect Dress" also from ModCloth:

I probably won't be attempting to knock this one off. I just don't have anywhere to wear a shiny, satin, art deco- inspired frock. Too bad for me. This dress is absolutely gorgeous. Check out the diagonal darts radiating from the center back:

What's inspiring you this spring?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Might Actually Finish This Dress

Last night I thought I'd try to get the invisible zipper into the Burda sheath. I figured if I could just get that done, I could sew a little every night this week and maybe finish the dress up this weekend.

Well, one thing led to another and next thing I knew, I had the dress almost done! You can see a close-up of the gathers at the left shoulder in the photo above. The busy fabric kind of hides them, but I think it's okay.

All that's left to do is the hem, the sleeve finish and the neck facings. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! I may even have finished photos to share by the end of the week!

In other news, I crocheted the last row of the sleeve/yoke on my lavender sweater. I closed up the sleeves and began work on the body portion. It's too dark to take a decent photo tonight, but I hope to have something to share soon. I was able to try the sweater on and I think it's actually going to fit! (I have a gorgeous cotton print in my stash that will make a cute skirt to go with it...)

As soon as I get the sheath dress wrapped up, I'll be turning my attention to the Kyoto Skirt. I'm thinking I'll go with the black/blue/green "kiwi" fabric for the contrast. Anybody want to take me up on the sew along?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

This Week...

Wow. It's been a week since my last post. I haven't made much progress on the Kyoto Skirt, or the Burda Sheath. I've been tired in the evenings after work, and by the time dinner is over and cleaned up, and the kids are settled down and ready for bed, I just haven't had much energy for sewing. Instead, I've been crocheting. It's easy and relaxing and I can just do it while I watch TV (Criminal Minds on Wednesdays, Project Runway on Thursdays, etc.) I'm working on this sweater from the Spring 2010 issue of Interweave Crochet:

It's hard to find a pattern for a cute crocheted sweater. So often crocheted garments look... well, tacky. But this one is pretty and it looks like something you might actually see in a department store. I decided to give it a try. I'm using Lion Brand Micro Spun- "an ultra soft microfiber sports yarn."

Yes, it's purple. Lavender to be exact. I decided to substitute this yarn because I already had it in stash and it seemed suitable for the pattern. I needed to use it and get it out of the bin where it was just taking up space. I will never use this particular yarn again, though. It is a pain to work with. The plies are hardly twisted and so it splits terribly and catches on my hook on almost every stitch. It doesn't help that I'm using a hook several sizes smaller than the label recommends- but that's what it took to get the correct gauge.
The sweater is worked from the neckline down with raglan shaping. The instructions are very easy to follow. You can see in the photo above that I have almost the entire yoke/sleeve section done. I just have one more row to crochet and then I can close up the sleeves and begin working down the body portion.
Interestingly, while I was digging around in my yarn stash for another ball of Micro Spun, I found this Kwik Sew pattern (3307):
It was in the bag with the yarn. Funny, I remember buying the yarn, but I have no recollection of purchasing this pattern. It's a nice pattern, though. View C (the light blue drawing or the model photo) is a nice, pretty basic dress. I think with the right fabric and maybe some trim along the neckline or the empire seam, it could be a very nice dress.

And speaking of patterns, I picked this one up on Friday:

I was looking for an alternative to the basic A-line to make some cotton skirts for summer. Although this is very similar to another flared skirt with princess seams that I already have and have made a couple of times, this one has some nice features that set it apart and make me want to try it. I love the yoke and the fact that it comes up to the natural waist. There are slanted pockets, and the waist tabs are a cute feature. I also really like view C, the straight skirt, but I would have to add length to make it work for me.

So how was your week?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Kyoto Skirt Update #1

So. Any takers on the Kyoto Skirt Sew Along?
I have my pattern all traced, and the pieces cut out.

I cut a size 16 and as you can see, I went with the khaki "linen look" cotton just like I planned. The problem is, I don't have enough of the red/purple/orange print for the bias trim and hem facing... unless I want to sew a dozen bias strips together to piece it... which I don't.
So I went stash diving to look for a suitable alternative. Here's the first candidate, a black/blue/green print that reminds me of sliced kiwi. You might recognise it since I used it summer before last to make a groovy version of S3744.

This is what it would look like used as trim on the Kyoto.

The next candidate is a small scale floral left over from a smocked dress I made when the Princess was small.

It works very well, actually. It's just not really the look I'm going for...

And candidate number 3 is this Asian inspired floral left over from S3588.

This is about what it would look like as the trim:
I'm kind of leaning toward this one. What do you think?

In other sewing news, the Burda sheath dress is progressing nicely. I just finished interfacing the back opening edges and I'll be installing the invisible zip this afternoon.
I also pulled out a really cute girl's pattern for the Princess and some colorful cotton fabric. You'll have to wait and see it in a later post, but I will tell you... it involves purple leopard print!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Agony of Defeat

I haven't had the heart to blog lately because I've experienced a sewing defeat of epic proportions. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration- but just a slight one.

I've been working on New Look 6909, which I successfully muslined back in December (I think.)

I was using this awesome rainbow pinstripe fabric which I've been hoarding in my stash for several years, just waiting for the perfect project.

Like I said, the muslin was a success. Close fitting, but very nice. Unfortunately, the dress turned out way too tight. Scuba suit tight. I looked like Catwoman masquerading as a trashy secretary when I put it on. The only thing that made it possible to even get it zipped was the stretch factor of the fabric. Sigh...

I was so disappointed. And confused. After all, the darn muslin fit just fine. I used the same pattern pieces, so what happened?

I have a theory. I cut the fabric single thickness to make sure the pinstripes were symmetrical. Not completely matched, but definitely symmetrical. Anyway, I cut on my kitchen table, and in order to do it with the fabric opened out, I had to let some of it hang off the edge of the table. I think that caused the fabric to stretch. When I laid out my pattern and cut, I was actually cutting stretched out fabric. When I finished cutting and unpinned the pattern, the fabric relaxed and the resulting pieces were much narrower than the corresponding pattern pieces. At least, that's my theory.

The dress turned out way too narrow (tight.) Interestingly, the length was not affected at all- probably because the fabric doesn't have lengthwise stretch. I let out the side seams as much as I could, taking only a 1/4 seam allowance. It's almost wearable now. But not quite. The sleeves (long sleeves, not the cap sleeves) were cut with no fabric hanging off the table, and they turned out just like the muslin- with plenty of ease. So now I have a skin-tight sheath dress with loose sleeves that look almost baggy in comparison to the rest of the dress. Not a good look. It's a shame, too, because it's a super cute dress. The stand up collar is adorable, and the muslin was sleek and flattering.

I haven't thrown it away... yet. I might hang on to it for a while and see if it fits better after I get going on my spring/summer walking plan. I'll probably have to scrap the sleeves altogether and go sleeveless.

Will I make it again? Well... I'd like to. I still love the dress and the muslin still fits. I just can't bring myself to do it right now.

In the meantime, I'm working on Burda Style 09-2009-138, which you may remember as the pink dress.

I'm using this black, white, and royal blue print:

I made a couple of small adjustments since the first version: A petite adjustment above the bust, and a little extra length at the waist. I've got my fingers crossed. I really need a successful project after the NL failure.

And in other sewing news, Angie and I are thinking about having a Kyoto Skirt Sew-along.
I've been dying to try a Hot Pattern and this is the one! I'm thinking of using this "linen look" khaki cotton with the red print for the bias trim. You might recognize the print from way back when I used it for my very first Temily.

I love the look of the Kyoto Skirt. It's got the cool yoke seam and the awesome godet in the back, and topstitching! Y'all know how I love topstitching! And did I mention the cargo pockets?!

So whaddaya say? Anybody want to sew along?
Hopefully both of these projects will be successful and I'll stop moping around feeling like a sewing misfit. Stay tuned for a progress report...