Monday, July 26, 2010

Sewing As I Go

My fall Sew-As-You-Go has commenced. I have my first two pieces underway. Whether or not I'll actually finish them by July 31st is another story, but just so you know I am working on it!

My pencil skirt, in a really yummy charcoal grey pinstripe, is basted together. I need to make a few tweaks to the fit and sew the lining and then I'll be almost home free. The worst part- the invisible zip and back seam- is done. Woohoo!

I just made a quick and dirty muslin of the blouse, Burda Style 09-2009-139 last night.
I love the look of this blouse in the magazine. The raglan sleeves are nice and the gathers are so much easier and more unique than darts. The combination of the V neck with the bow is pretty cool, too. ( I love how they styled it with the long necklace under the bow- so fancy!)

Burda shows this made of silk chiffon. I'll be using a semi-sheer print chiffon (most likely poly) from my stash. For the muslin, however, I just used a light weight cotton. I traced and cut a 44 with a 3/8" petite adjustment above the bust. The fit was pretty good. I need to add a bit of width at the hem (should have graded out to a 48 when I traced, darn it!) and the V-neck needs to come up probably a whole inch. I figured as much. After all it is Burda and a V-neck.

The sleeves are really long. I need to try on the muslin again and figure out how much to shorten them for my little T-rex arms. I'm also toying with the idea of using elastic at the cuffs instead of messing with sleeve vents and cuffs. We'll see though.
So that's what's going on here. What are you working on?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Simplicity 3833 1960's Repro

I've had S3833 done for over a week now. I've worn it to work to road test it, and let me just say- I love this dress.
I used a coral colored linen that I bought on the dollar table at Walmart ages ago when they used to actually get nice stuff from time to time. It was a dream to sew. I'd love to have some of it in a dozen different colors.

The pattern was well drafted and easy to sew. The bust darts are unique and give the dress its shape as well as character. I've had this pattern for some time and I'd put off sewing it because I wasn't sure how to go about doing an FBA on it. I shouldn't have worried- it was easy. I really only needed length, not width, so I just slashed across the pattern from CF to the side seam, right through the tip of the dart. As you can see below, I also slashed through the dart leaving a hinge. I spread the pattern 1/2" and let the dart open. I ended up with an extra 1/16" or so at the CF of the under bust seam, but that tiny bit was easily eased in. The FBA lowered the dart points slightly, so I just extended them about 1/4" or so to compensate.

I pretty much made a straight size 16. After basting the shoulders and side seams, I took it in another 1/4" at the shoulders and from the lower hip to the underarm. I could maybe have made a 14 with a larger FBA, but I'm happy with the fit on this one. I trimmed the armholes about 1/4" from the shoulder tapering to nothing at the notches to mimic a 14 through the shoulders. Although this is a multi-size pattern, the front bodice is printed individually for each size, so I couldn't just jump from size to size. When I make it again I'll trim another 1/8" to 1/4" to narrow the shoulders a tiny bit more.
The dress is very simple and the fabric is too, so I decided to dress it up with a little extra topstitching.

The pattern called for one row on either side of the CF seam at 3/8", and one row under the bust. I did 2 rows on either side of CF spaced at 1/4" and 2 rows under the bust, also at 1/4".

I also topstitched the hem- it was fast, easy, and it echoed the topstitching on the rest of the dress.

I also decided to trim the hem allowance off and use a bias facing on the hem in a coordinating cotton stripe. No one will see it, but I thought it was cute and fun.

Here is the back which is shaped with 2 simple darts. I added 1" of length through the waist to get the darts to end in the right place and to keep the narrowest part of the back shaping in the right place. I used an invisible zipper and finished off the neckline with the facing provided in the pattern. I chose to use self bias binding on the armholes instead of facings. And as you can see in the photo above, everything is serged to keep things neat on the inside.

I just love the shape, the simplicity and the comfort of this dress. I definitely want to make more. I wish I had the original pattern so I could compare the two. It's my understanding that these repro patterns are "updated" with more modern shaping/fitting. This one includes small darts at the back neck which really help with the fit in the back. I understand that darts like that are quite common on vintage patterns.

I got several really nice compliments when I wore this to work. I'm not 100% satisfied with my styling- I'd love to find some jewelry and shoes that are more "mod" looking, but this will do for now. Oh, and my little friend in the photos is Lily, the Princess's kitten.
I'm so happy to have this finished and I'm going to have a ball wearing it. I'm thinking about making another one in a print. Now that I have the fitting worked out, it should go quickly and easily.

In other sewing news, I have my skirt basted together for my Sew-as-You-Go, and my blouse pattern is traced and ready to cut. I don't know if I'll have them done by the end of the month, but I'm sure going to try. The August issue of Burda Style will be arriving any day now and I'm sure I'll get distracted!

Happy sewing!

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Took the Plunge...

The Vintage Plunge, that is! I've been having so much fun with my little 60's retro reproduction pattern, that I finally decided to try some real vintage patterns. I wanted to start small, and just get my feet wet, so I only ordered three. But it was really hard to limit myself! I found these at Momspatterns, and there were so many beautiful patterns to choose from, I could have just gone hog wild!

I found these in the "mod" section. I love my little repro dress, and in fact, I've been having the best luck with dresses which have princess/vertical seams, no waist seams, and an "easy" body skimming fit, so the mod look seemed like a good place to start as far as vintage "eras" go.

I picked patterns which appealed to my eye, but also were listed as very close to my actual measurements. These are all size 16 (bust 38) or size 18 (bust 40). I didn't want to have to do a whole lot of re-sizing, at least until I get the hang of working with these older patterns.

The first one that caught my eye was this one:
Is this not fabulous!?! Check out those pockets! And look at all the topstitching! And gosh, I can't decide if I like it better with or without the collar! When I saw that this was available in a size 18, I knew it was meant for me!

Then I found this one:

It's really hard to see on the illustration, but this one has a princess seamed "insert" thing going on. The side front piece is also seamed underneath the belt. I love how the belt is caught in the seam. The little stand-up collar is very cute, too. I'm totally picturing the long sleeve version made in a tweedy purple fabric, with dark hose and a gold locket to accessorize. ( Just have to find that fabric!)
And finally, there's this one, the most recent of the three, copyright 1972.

I love the triangle yoke, the center front seam, and the darts. I actually like the tunic version with the shorts and the long pants, but I probably will make the dress and cut it off at mid knee. I think I would get more wear out of it that way.
Like I said, all of these came from Momspatterns. The website is wonderful- You can search by decade, by bust size, waist size, or hip size, which is really convenient. The prices seemed good to me, although I'm by no means an expert. I ordered these late Sunday night, and I received an email early Monday morning saying they were on their way. They arrived Thursday. That was pretty quick! I will definitely be visiting there often looking for more little jewels like these!

Now I just need to get that retro dress hemmed so I can wear it and get started on one of these! If I can find the right fabric, that little long sleeve dress might make it into my Sew-as-You-Go.
Happy sewing! I'm off to drool over my new patterns some more...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shannon's Fall Sew-as-You-Go

We're halfway through 2010. The older I get, the faster the year seems to whiz by. It's July and the temperatures here haven't even risen above the 100 degree mark yet. There's still plenty of hot weather left, but the sad fact is that the kids will be going back to school next month and it will be time to turn my attention back to "the routine." It will be time to start thinking about sewing for fall. (Yikes! It seems like I just started sewing for spring!)

I really want to get a head start this year on my fall/office wear sewing. I even played around with making a fall wardrobe plan. But the truth is, I love planning wardrobes, but I'm terrible at sticking with the plan and following through and actually making the garments. (Anybody remember Shannon's Spring Sewing Plan?)

So this time, I'm going to take a different approach. If you are like me and don't want to jinx yourself by committing to a full blown wardrobe plan, I invite you to follow along.

So, here goes...

I'm going to make one outfit for fall during the month of July- one top and one bottom. I already have a (UFO) skirt cut out and ready to go: M5590, View B, out of grey pinstripe.
I already made this skirt once and loved it, so this should be a no-brainer. For my top, I want to make Burda Style 09-2009-139, this fabulous V-neck bow blouse. I even have a stash fabric in mind!

That's it. One outfit. I can do this!
Then next month, I'll make one more piece: either another top to go with the skirt, or another skirt or pair of pants to go with the blouse. Or maybe even a jacket to go with both. The key here is that I only have to make one thing in the month of August! I can do it!
Then in September, that's right- you guessed it! One more piece to go with what I already have. And so on and so forth.
Now you may be thinking that there are only six months until the end of the year (including July) and at this rate I'll only have seven pieces in my wardrobe by then (provided I get the first two completed in July and add one more each month for the next five months.) Well, that's okay. It will be seven more pieces than I have right now, and seven completed garments is better than a wardrobe plan that I got frustrated with and gave up on.
And the beauty of this "plan" is that I don't have to plan the whole thing now. I can just continue with my highly erratic and distracted approach to sewing! If a new pattern comes out and grabs me or a future issue of Burda Style sucks me in, I can just go with it and incorporate it into my grand scheme! And if I get a crazy burst of mojo and manage to make more than one item in a given month, that's just an added bonus!
So how about it? Anybody up for a Sew-as-You-Go?
In other sewing news, the Simplicity retro shift dress is almost done. All that's left to do is hem it. I have it all pinned up, and now I need to try it on one more time and check the length. I will proabably trim the extra off and hem it with a bias facing. The bottom edge is curved, and the bias will lie nice and smooth as opposed to trying to ease the hem in. I hope to have finished pics to share this weekend!

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Other Muslin

Remember I said I made a couple of muslins last weekend? Well, here is the other one- Simplicity 3833, 1960's Retro! (Oh, my!)
I basically made the long, sleeveless version. Can I just say, I LOVE this little dress! It's so cute, so easy, and so comfy! I think I'll be making more than one!

I made a size 16 with a 1" FBA. That turned out to be a little bit too much- if you look closely you might notice a seam running directly over my bust. That's where I took it up 1/2" because the bodice was too saggy. I already adjusted my pattern back down to a 1/2" FBA.
I also added 1" of length through the waist to make sure the back darts ended in the right place. The muslin isn't hemmed, but it turned out quite a bit longer than I expected. I'll be going for a finished length ending right at mid-knee or slightly above. I want to be true to the 60's vibe (code for "short") but my knees are not my best feature, so I have to be careful.
The skirt is also quite a bit fuller than I expected. The pattern photos and illustrations aren't so "A-line." I might try narrowing the skirt slightly. I'll probably just baste it into this muslin and see how it looks before I decide. (Hmmm. Somehow the back doesn't look as full as the front, does it?)
I plan to cut this out this weekend. I'll be using a coral linen for my first go-around. I plan to experiment with some contrasting topstitching to dress it up a little. If all goes well, I'd love to make a second version- can't you just imagine this made of white waffle pique with black and white gingham binding around the neck and armholes, a cute pair of black flats and some mod jewelry? Groovy!

By the way, thanks to all who commented on the last post. Amy, I had to laugh when I read your comment- "granny's nightgown" is being kind! I picked out a fabric to go ahead with the dress- a very thin cotton. It's turquoise with red, yellow, and white cherry blossoms. I think it will be the perfect weight for that dress and the I'll be able to pick up one of the blossom colors for the trim. It will have to wait, though, because right now I'm psyched about this little shift dress!
Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday and the weekend is just one day away! I'm itching to sew!