Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Summer Sundress Inspiration

I finished another version of M5038 last night, but it was too cold and rainy today to get a good photo, and my camera takes really lousy indoor pics, so I'll have to wait to share it. In the meantime, I've been doing some inspiration shopping at ModCloth. I'm really feeling the urge to make a romantic summer sundress. I like this one. What could be better than polka dots? The shape is simple, yet very pretty- I love the wide straps, the sweetheart neckline with pleated bust, and of course, the full skirt gathered at the natural waist.

Va va va voom! What a sexy sailor dress! I love the red and white color scheme. Once again, we have wide straps, a sweetheart neckline, and this time, a cute bow. The belt and the white trim at the hem really set this one off. It's a wee bit short, though.

But look! Here it is in navy, and in a much more flattering length. Gorgeous!

And check this one out! Who can resist a dress covered in cherries? It has the wide straps and sweetheart neckline (are you seeing a theme here?) as well as the ruched bodice. I love this! I can just picture it with a little pink cardigan and red peep toe shoes with bows. And a cute purse. A romatic summer sundress needs a cute purse to go with it!

I'm off to dream about warm summer breezes and floaty dresses while it rains and the temperature falls outside. I might go work on the Burda knit dress. Maybe.

Happy sewing!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

McCall's 5038- More

I told you there would be more of these: Here is version number 2, made from a pink dot print left over from a skirt I made for myself a few years ago. Once again, I left off the shorter ruffle due to fabric constraints. I made a regular 5/8" narrow hem this time.
The special feature this time is the dark blue grosgrain ribbon I stitched around the top of the ruffle. I left the ends loose so they can be tied in a bow. The Princess approves.

Stay tuned for version number 3, which I cut out this afternoon...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

McCall's 5038- A Skirt for the Princess

Last weekend I dug this cute little pattern for a simple peasant skirt out of my stash. It's McCall's 5038. I made a size 10 for the Princess out of some left over quilting cotton. I left off the short ruffle since I was using up fabric and didn't have enough to cut both ruffles. I think it turned out pretty cute.

I would wear this outfit myself if I had it in my size.

This little skirt is so simple- side seams, gathered ruffle, elastic casing. You could even make this without a pattern if you wanted to. I used my serger to roll hem the edge of the ruffle. It gave me a little bit of extra length and made a nice contrasting edge.
I've already cut out another one of these. You'll be seeing more of these this spring.
Now if the weather would just warm back up and this misty rain would go away...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Sewing Gets Underway

In addition to the other knit dress project, I have several things lined up to sew for the Princess. We recently received the spring/summer issues of My Image and Young Image. The Princess had a grand time thumbing through Young Image and making her first pick for Mom to make. She chose Y1110, the dungarees:
Weird, I always thought of dungarees as jeans, and I'd call this a romper, but okay. It's a one-piece shorts romper with shoulder ties, a front yoke, an elasticized waistband, front pockets and gathered leg bands. Wouldn't you know the Princess would choose an outfit with 15 pattern pieces to trace- 17 pieces if you count the shoulder straps and leg bands which you're just given measurements for. And she wants it made up in plaid! Just like the model.

Luckily, the tracing isn't so bad:

How is that for an orderly tracing sheet? I can only hope the adult patterns in My Image are as easy.

I pulled out a pretty plaid seersucker from stash and the Princess gave it the thumbs up. I figure the seersucker will be cool and comfortable once the weather heats up. We'll just have to wait and see how I do with the plaid matching. I have the pattern all traced and seam allowances added. Now that I'm working regular hours again, I hope to at least get this cut out one evening this week.
I also hope to get back to work on Nan's Garden, which has been sadly neglected this past month while I've been working nights.
Has anybody else out there tried My Image or Young Image? Any thoughts or tips to share?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Vogue 8685- Getting My Purple On

I finished hemming V8685 late last night, and my teenage photographer was pressed into service this morning.
I first fell in love with this pattern shortly after the September issue of Burda Style came out with the fabulous cover dress featuring all of that unique horizontal seaming. I thought this dress, with its curved hip yoke and pieced midsection had a similar vibe to it, but was different enough to make it worth trying. (And it didn't have to be traced!)

I made the short sleeve, narrow skirted view using this fabulous purple Ponte di Roma knit that I picked up at Joann's. I cut a 16 from shoulder to midriff and an 18 from the midriff down. I assembled the entire front of the dress and the entire back, and then basted the side seams to check fit.

There is a lot of shaping in those side seams. I had to take out some of the high hip curve because I had some bubbling along the sides. I ended up re-basting the sides at least a dozen times before I decided it was good enough and just serged. Here you can see some of my basting stitches:

If I made this again, I would just cut a 16 all the way down to the hip and then ease out to a size 18. Here is the back:

As you can see, I made a major change and left out the back zipper completely. I considered cutting the bodice and skirt back on the fold like I did the back midriff and yoke, but decided not to because there is quite a bit of shaping in the center back seams and I didn't want to mess up the fit. Because I left out the zipper and the dress needs to stretch to be pulled over my head, I also had to omit the topstitching. I was afraid I would break the topstitching thread if I stretched it too much. I think the curved seaming looks fine without it.
I used the neck facing piece provided in the pattern to finish the neck. I just sewed the ends together and sewed it on in the round.
All the seams are neatly serged inside. I stretched the neckline out a bit when I sewed the facing on. The Ponte knit is rather thick once you get several layers under the presser foot, especially when you get to the seam allowances. I did my best to steam it back into place, but I do have some gaposis at the back neckline. I'm hoping a trip through the washer and dryer will help.

The pattern provided a small facing piece to finish the underarms, too. I was concerned about bulk, so I used a scrap of purple broadcloth cut to fit, instead of the Ponte. It worked perfectly:

I almost wish I had tried it on the neckline, but I was concerned that I would need the stretch of the knit. Oh well.

All in all, I'm pleased with this dress and I'll be wearing it to church on Sunday to road test it. I guess I might make it again, after all there are other sleeve and skirt options in the envelope, but right now I'm ready to move on to other patterns. Specifically the Burda Style faux wrap dress.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sometimes I Really Do Sew During the Week

This night shift is kicking my butt. I'm finding it really hard to get things done in the mornings, and of course there's no time when I get home at night. But today I did manage to get V8685 cut out, and I have a three day weekend to work on it, so I hope to have a finished dress to share soon.

In the meantime I thought I'd share a little adjustment info. As I mentioned in my last post, the only real adjustment I needed for this dress was length. Lots of length. You can see here that I did one of my "length only" FBAs. I added 1/2". The I added another 1/2" across the whole pattern piece (back bodice, too) to bring the midriff band down a little. It hit me right below the bust, and the pattern envelope shows a little more length than that on the model.
Here is a closeup of my FBA (just ignore the additional added length.) As you can see, I spread the pattern evenly amongst all three of the pleats:

And just so you know I really did cut it out, here are all my pattern pieces pinned to my fabric, a luscious grape colored ponte knit. I can't wait to wear this!

As you can see I added length to all the pattern pieces except the sleeves. In total, I added 2.5" of length to this pattern. (1/2" to the bodice not counting the FBA, 1/2" to the midriff, 1/2" to the yoke, and 1" to the skirt above the hip)
I will be omitting the back zip on this. I want a simple knit dress I can pull over my head. It worked fine for the muslin, so I don't forsee any problems. I cannot wait to get started assembling this tomorrow!

Spring is in the air here and I am getting excited about sewing some bright, colorful dresses. I really want to make a red dress with white polka dots this year. What is your must-sew project for spring?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

This is Not a Nail Blog...

...but the Princess has been looking at nail blogs with me and she wanted to share her new mani using China Glaze crackle:
We started with a skittles manicure featuring five different neon (or near neon) colors.
Pink- Sally Girl: Way Cool
Orange- Sally Girl: Amped
Yellow- Nina Ultra Pro: Solar Flare
Green- Nina Ultra Pro: Lime Light
Blue- Sally Hanson Extreme Wear: Blue Me Away!

We did two coats of each polish and then used Out the Door top coat. When it was all dry, we applied one quick coat of China Glaze Crackle Glaze in Lightning Bolt, and then topped it off with another coat of top coat when it was all dry.

The Crackle Glaze went on kind of awkwardly, but it really doesn't matter because once it starts to crack- and you can actually watch as it does- any globs or brush strokes just disappear. I think it looks cool, and the Princess can't wait to show it off to her little friends at school tomorrow!

Now I'm off to do my nails!

Knit Dress Extravaganza

It has been a crazy week around here with very little time for sewing, or anything else "fun" for that matter. I'm right in the middle of my night shift stint, so I haven't stitched a thing on Nan's Garden. I hope to remedy that tonight while all the kids are getting ready for bed and I'm winding down for the evening.

The one bright sewing spot of the week is that I was able to slap together a muslin of Vogue 8685.

I'm making the view pictured on the model: Short sleeves and slim, short skirt. The good news is that the fit was pretty good right out of the envelope. (Yeah- I was surprised, too!) The only real fitting adjustments I'll need to make are length. I need more. Lots more. I just have to decide where to put it to keep the nice proportions of the bodice/midriff band/hip yoke/skirt. But once I decide how I'm going to go about it, length adjustments are super easy to make, so I'm pretty excited about this dress. I hope to have a finished version to share soon.

I also managed to trace this beauty from Burda Style August 2010, Dress #140:

This is a plus size dress, and after the success I had with that other Burda plus size dress (BS 01-2011-133) I decided to jump right in. I traced a 44 from shoulder to hip and a 46 at the hip. Then I graded the bodice down to a 42. I figured that was easier than trying to make the 44 smaller like I did on the last dress. I also raised that neckline 1" at CF. Check out the model photo- that neckline is scandalous, even for Burda. I could never wear that to work (especially with a necklace hanging right down in the V, drawing extra attention to it!) Seriously, though, I think the dress is too big on the model through the bodice. Check out where the shoulder seams are on her.

I'm hoping that by grading down a size and rasing that CF, I'll alleviate the worst of the plunge. I also plan to finish the neckline with clear elastic and topstitching rather than the facings the pattern calls for. I'm hoping the elastic will snug that neckline up a bit also. We shall see....

I'm all excited because Daylight Savings Time begins next Sunday, March 13th! We'll have an extra hour of daylight everyday, which is great for taking photos of projects after work and not having to wait until the weekend. By the time my night shift stint ends, we'll have nice long afternoons and well lit evenings! It's finally going to really feel like spring! Happy Sewing!