Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dolce Blue

Today I planned to work on making some new tops. But the fabrics I wanted to use needed to be pre-washed, so off to the washer they went. In the meantime, I didn't want to waste perfectly good sewing time, so I pulled my Dolce FQs out and made a few blocks. I decided to try out the blue colorways.
Sorry about the crazy half natural, half indoor lighting, but you get the picture.

I love these prints. They are so gorgeous.
My fabrics should be dry now and ready to work with, so I'm off to cut out a top. Happy sewing!

Monday, August 23, 2010

McCalls 5590- The Ultimate Pencil Skirt

My first Sew-As-You-Go piece is done (finally): M5590.
I love this pattern, which, sadly, is now OOP. This skirt is exactly the kind of thing I like to wear- the high waist was made for my long torso. I actually made this once before, in a black and white hounds tooth. It turned out very nice, although I need to go back and alter the waist a little bit.

This time I used a charcoal grey pinstripe from Hancock Fabrics. I think this fabric is a wool blend. The skirt is fully lined with an "anti-static" lining fabric also from Hancocks. I expect to get lots of wear out of this once the weather cools off.

This skirt is super easy to put together. There are only four pattern pieces: front, back, front facing, and back facing. The skirt has two darts in front and two in back, a center back zipper (I used an invisible zip) and a slit in the back.

I used one of the decorative stitches on my machine to "bar tack" the top of the slit in back.
I also interfaced the area at the top of the slit to stabilize it and prevent it from ripping under stress.
I did not use any boning in this skirt (the pattern does not call for it.) I used standard, lightweight knit interfacing (it's what I had on hand) on the facing pieces, which in my opinion, gives adequate support for the waist.

I cut a straight size 18 and took the waist in approximately 1/2" on each side seam. I could probably go down to a 16 in the waist and taper out to the 18 at the hip on the next version. You need a good, almost snug fit in the waist for this skirt to look right. (My first version is loose in the waist and gapes a little bit, so I only wear it with an untucked top covering the waist, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of a high-waist skirt!)
I also removed some of the hip curve. I think because my torso is so long, and my waist is so high/hips are so low, many skirt patterns give me a strange "bubble" of fabric at the high hip area.
This is an outstanding skirt pattern. I've made it twice and I can totally see myself making it again. If you have this one, definitely pull it out and give it a try. I can see wearing this with a cute knit top, a dressy blouse, or a pretty sleeveless top and a jacket or a cardigan. I plan to get a lot of mileage out of this piece!
Stay tuned, there are more Sew-As-You-Go pieces coming soon!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Look 6910- A Whole New Look

After my success with NL 6910, View D, I decided to take advantage of such a good experience with a pattern, and make View B, the slim skirted version with scooped neck and sleeves.
I can't say that I'm as pleased as I was with the first version, but it will do. Adding sleeves definitely changed the fit of the bodice a little bit. And although I do like the scooped neck, which is the perfect depth for work and/or church, it is a little bit wide for my taste. I have to push my bra straps all the way out to my shoulder to hide them.

You can see in the side view above, and in the rear view below, that there is something off about the fit in the back. This dress uses the exact same back bodice pattern pieces as the first dress, so I can only conclude that the problem is with the skirt, or at least how the skirt is joined to the bodice. I feel like I need to take out some length at the waist seam.

I used denim for this dress- the same fabric that I used last year to make Burda 01-2009-132. Except this time, I used the wrong side of the fabric. It's a deep magenta with a subtle sheen to it.

You can see the wrong side of the fabric here, as well as the purple leopard print cotton I used to line the bodice.

The bodice and sleeves are fully lined, the skirt seams are serged. I used an invisible zipper to close the back, and I still need to add a hook and eye to the top.

Once again the bodice is a size 14 through the shoulders and neck, and a 16 from the underarm down. I cut the size 16 skirt at the waist and tapered out to an 18 at the hip. I have plenty of room, but if I make this again, I will add a tiny bit to the back of the skirt to make sure the side seams are straight. I find I need a little bit extra to go around my caboose.
I also found this dress to be quite short- much shorter than the full skirt version. I had to add 2.25" to the length of the skirt, and even then I ended up turning up a scanty 5/8" hem. I definitely recommend checking the length before cutting!
I did not have enough denim left to make a belt, so I will be on the lookout for a RTW belt to accessorize this dress. Although, after looking at the pictures, I think I could wear it without a belt.

In other sewing news, I have finally finished the first piece of my Sew-As-You-Go project. Stay tuned for a review of McCalls 5590. In the meantime, happy sewing!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Look 6910- Let's Do Lunch

It's over 100 degrees here in Oklahoma and I decided it was the perfect time to make one more cotton dress for the season. Say hello to New Look 6910! It has a little retro vibe going on, don't you think?
I made view D, the high neck, sleeveless version with the full skirt. I love this pattern!

This dress has a plain, princess seamed bodice (darts in back) with options for a high (boat) neck or a scooped neckline. You can make it sleeveless, or use the cap sleeve provided. There is a straight skirt, and a flared, pleated skirt, as well as a belt with several embellishment options. A cropped jacket is also included.

I used a 100% cotton print from Hancock fabrics. From afar, it may seem rather drab, but up close, I really love this print- cream, purple, agua and sage green dots on a darker olive ground. the color scheme is, in my opinion, rather retro also.
Part of the reason I love this dress so much is that I have never gotten such a great fit on a first muslin! I cut a size 16 and made a 1/2" FBA, added 1.25" of length to the bodice at the waist, and graded out from a 16 at the waist to an 18 at the hem. The fit was pretty darn good.
For the final version, I tweaked it just a tiny bit more: I folded out 1/4" across the bodice above the bust (petite adjustment), I folded out 3/8" across the upper back, I cut the pattern down to a size 14 through the neckline, shoulders, and armholes, and trimmed the skirt to a straight size 16.

The skirt has six pleats in the front and six in the back. I sewed the back pleats down to keep them lying nice and flat. (The muslin wanted to flap around a bit when I moved.) The pattern calls for lining the bodice using the same pattern pieces as the outer bodice. I used a coordinating (100% cotton) tone on tone purple print for my lining.

I used an invisible zipper and a hook and eye to close the back, and I machine stitched the lining down to the the center back seam allowances. It made a nice, clean finish on the inside.

The only major change I made constructionwise, was to make the belt as a seperate piece. The pattern calls for catching it into the CB seam, but I was afraid of extra bulk interfering with the zipper. My only dislike with this pattern is that the belt is cut on the bias. I should have listened to my gut and cut it on grain. As it is, the belt has already stretched from just one night of hanging on a hanger and being worn for 15 minutes to take photos. (You can kind of tell in the photo of the back of the dress.) I don't have enough of this fabric left to cut another one, so I will look around for a RTW belt, or maybe make a new one out of a coordinating fabric or ribbon.

Overall, I am very pleased with this dress. I have already cut another one- this time using View B (straight skirt, cap sleeves, scoop neckline) out of denim. I hope to have it completed and ready to share this weekend.
I can see this dress made in all sorts of fabrics. I can just imagine it made up for the holidays in a pretty satin or maybe silk dupioni with a little jewelled belt buckle instead of a fabric knot. If I sew it, the part invitation will come... How's that for wishful thinking?

I give this pattern an A+. If you have it in your stash, give it a go. This is going on my TNT list ASAP!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Sewing

To bring you a fruit extravaganza!
I discovered this past weekend, that the Princess was sadly lacking in dresses for church. So off to the stash I went. She chose this cute little blueberry print and coordinating blue broadcloth to make another M5358, which we had great success with in the Cherry Dress.

I had just barely enough fabric to cut the size 8 with size 12 length. I bought this fabric at Walmart years ago with the intention of making a smocked dress for my much smaller Princess. I'm just lucky I was able to still use it.

I used a regular zipper in back and added a blue heart shaped button to close the top.

Two rows of blue rick rack trim the skirt bottom. (You can see where I ruled a guideline with a wash-away marker.)

The Princess is very happy with her new Blueberry Dress.

And since I was on a roll, I dug this fruity print out of the stash and decided to make it up, too. Once again this was bought years ago at Hancock's with a smocked project in mind. There was just enough to make this dress.

I used McCalls 5616, an OOP "Sew Crafty" pattern. I made View B.

Once again, I cut a size 8 with the size 12 length. It still turned out a little on the short side. I can only imagine how short it would have been if I'd cut the size 8 length!

Since I usually just have to add a little something extra, I decided to insert rick rack into the seams where the contrast fabric meets the main fabric.

I love the way it turned out. Sorry, I don't have step by step pics to share how I did this. I wanted to do a little tutorial, but my DH had run off with the camera and I was in a hurry to get finished. Maybe next time.

Once again, I used a regular zipper and a decorative button and loop closure.

For the hem band, I decided to go a little wild. I used the rick rack just like I did for the collar, but once everything was done, I topstitched this ribbon on and left the ends loose to tie a little bow.

The Princess loves bows, and the ribbon matched so well, I just couldn't resist.

She likes her fruit dress, but she says the blueberry dress is her favorite of the two. That's my girl- opinionated.

I'm down to three days of vacation left. I'm going to try and finish up my July SAYG pieces and then choose a piece for August. I might cheat, though- I have a pair of grey work slacks completed except for a hem. I might use those as my August piece and then I'll be back on track!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Falling Behind

It's August 2nd and I haven't finished my first two Sew-As-You-Go items for July! Darn it! I figured I wouldn't. My schedule has been hectic and my oldest son is home from college so I'm spending all my extra time with the family. Don't worry, though. I plan to get back to it soon.

In the meantime, to make myself feel better about failing, you guessed it- I bought new patterns!

Today I picked up Simplicity 2337. Love this! I have to make that red dress. I even have some red linen that I've been dying to use! I love the V-neck version with the draped front, too, but I don't think that one is exactly "work appropriate." (That neckline would make Burda proud!) The little stand-up collar version is cute, though. I could totally work that at the office.
And because I have been obsessing about making a military jacket, and this one is TDF, I bought Simplicity 2341. I am drooling over view D (the blue one) and I really like view C (the green one) too.
Now, if only my Burda Style would arrive...