Wednesday, June 29, 2011

McCall's 5574... in Zebra Stripes

I mentioned previously that I had made another dress for the Princess. Well, here it is, McCalls 5574, View B.

The dress has a self faced bodice with a V-neck. It ties behind the neck. The midriff is also self faced and has a mock belt with purchased buckle. The skirt is A-line.

This pattern is really made for wovens, but I went ahead and used this cotton knit from Hobby Lobby. The Princess loved the pink zebra print and I thought the fabric would work okay. It turned out just that: okay. I might have to make this again with a woven just to give the pattern a fighting chance.

I cut a size 10 with the size 12 length, and then added an additional inch to the bottom of the skirt. It turned out just long enough. What is up with the super-short hems these days? I omitted the waist ties and just added an additonal piece of elastic at the waist seam in back, using the seam allowances to make a casing. I had to really snug that elastic up to get a good fit on my girl. I think the stretchy fabric caused the back to fit more loosely than it should have. (Yep, I should have used a woven.)

I do not like the front "mock belt." The instructions are ridiculous- the belt is folded at the corners and then caught into the side seam. It sags and flops around very unattractively. If I make this again, I'll just cut it the width of the midriff piece and 1.5 to 2 times as tall. Then I'll just gather the entire side edge and baste it to the midriff piece, like a stay. The buckle will hold the fullness in the center.

The Princess loves the dress in spite of my issues with it. The halter style is one of her favorites, and of course, it's pink, and zebra. I still think the pattern is cute and has potential. (It also sews up really quick- I made this in an afternoon and I am a slow sewer!) I'd really like to try it again in a more suitable fabric. The pattern envelope shows it made up in white eyelet, and of course, a pretty print would look good, too. I also might like to try the view with the gathered neckline.

In other sewing news, I only have about half a dozen projects going right now, and one of them is a second version of V1250, this time in a print! I hope to have it done by this weekend.

How is your sewing going?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Butterick 4914- Disco Camouflage

This week's finished project is Butterick 4914:
This is a knit dress with pleated, wrapped bodice, ruched midriff band, and a flared skirt. I used the 3/4 sleeves. Sadly, this pattern is now OOP, but it is still available on the Butterick website if you don't have it in your stash.

It's also very similar to Simplicity 3775 if you happen to have that one instead.

I used an ITY knit recently purchased from The print kind of reminds me of camouflage, and the silhouette of the dress is kind of disco, hence the title of the post. The fabric is very stretchy along the width and a little on the thin side, but the print is wild enough to mask any lumps and bumps. It sewed up easily enough using a stretch needle. My only complaint is that it smells. I prewashed, and I didn't notice anything until I used an iron on it (on a very low setting, this is poly after all.) But the fabric has a definite chemical smell to it- very similar to a strong hair dye or perm solution. I hope another trip through the washer will take care of it, otherwise, I have a problem.

I cut a straight size 16. I could have used a 14, or maybe even a 12 for this, but the 16 was the smallest size in my envelope, and I wouldn't have known I could go smaller until this one was finished anyway. The shoulders are rather wide and the bodice is very, ahem, "open" for my taste. I did use clear elastic on the bodice edge, but I could have cut it shorter to try and snug it up some more.

I basted the side seams after setting in the sleeves. The dress hung on me. I ended up taking the side seams up an inch on both sides from underarm to hem, for a total of four inches. I took the sleeves in probably an inch, which I never have to do. I'm not sure if the pattern ran large, or if the fabric just had so much stretch that I had to overcompensate.

The midriff has to be snug to keep the ruching from sagging. I'm happy with the finished fit- it's form fitting, but not tight at all.

I matched my nail color to the print:

I used Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Rasberry Race, one of the new colors that came out this spring. I love the color, but the insta-dri formula is kind of a pain to work with. By the time I got my second hand half way done, the polish was getting thick and globby and difficult to apply. But it covered in one coat and dried fast, so I guess I shouldn't complain.

But back to the dress.

I love it, but my husband hates it. He thinks it's too form fitting and the bodice is too low. I think it's nothing a safety pin or a cami couldn't take care of.

I love the print, but I think I'm going to tuck it away in the closet and bring it out again in the fall. I noticed while taking photos that the fabric is very hot and doesn't breathe well. It would probably be okay for my office, but getting there and getting home would be a hot, sweaty trip. And maybe by fall, my husband will come around and decide he likes it after all.

In other sewing news, I have a dress I made for the Princess to share, and I cut out two new projects last night- another knit dress and a simple summer shift. Stay tuned for updates!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Vogue 1250- My First LBD

This week I managed to finish V1250. I love this dress.
I used black matte jersey from Hancock's and took pictures at high noon so you can actually see the dress. I love this fabric, too. I'll be going back to get some more colors. In the meantime, this is my first Little Black Dress.

I think the finished dress looks a lot like the pattern photo. My skirt isn't quite as snug, but then I'm not a fashion model, so I think loose works better for me.

I wore the dress to work yesterday. It's actually probably a bit much for the office, but I dressed it down with the low heeled sandals in the photo, and with a simple pair of earrings. I got lots of compliments, and the dress was comfortable and fun to wear, so it all worked out. If I ever have anywhere fancy to go, I can dress it up with high heels and more dramatic jewelry, and still be comfortable. What more could a girl want?

I absolutely love the cowl neckline. Why haven't I made one of these before? You can bet I'll be making another one!

Here's the back. I cut a 16 from shoulder to low hip, where I eased out to an 18. I was worried that the one center back skirt seam would look wonky, but it turned out okay. I added one inch of length at the waist, but I don't know if I really needed to. When I first tried the dress on, it looked way too long through the torso and gave me an odd side sillouette. I ended up taking the waist in about 1/2" on each side to snug it up and give me some waist definition. It turned out okay, but if I make it again, and I'm seriously considering it, I might take some of that extra length out and see how it looks.

This was such an easy dress. All the blog posts and reviews were right about it, and I'm so glad I made it. There are only three pattern pieces, including the back neck binding, and everything goes together easily. The fit is great, and the design is simple, yet elegant. The only thing I'm not completely thrilled with is the finishing on the inside. My side seams are raw inside. No one but me will ever know, but it bothers me. Now that I've made it, though, I know what to do and my next version will be finished a little differently inside.

In other sewing news, I fussed with Butterick 5464 a bit and basted in some tucks to remove length from the back. I took out 1/2" across the shoulder blades, and another 1/2" across the back waist. With the original 1/2" I removed from the lower back, that's a total of 1.5" I have taken out of the back of this blouse! After I adjusted the length, I made the back darts a little longer, tapering them out better toward the hem. I think all these adjustments helped:

Yeah, the lower tuck is crooked (hey, it's just a muslin!) but the bubbling is gone, and so are the diagonal wrinkles. And I still have plenty of ease at the hip. Of course, the back of the blouse is now noticably shorter than the front. I have adjusted the pattern piece, and added a little extra at the hem to even it out. Now I just need to find a suitable fabric in my stash to try it again. Stay tuned to see if the next version actually turns out wearable!

So what are your sewing plans this weekend?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Butterick 5464... Muslin

Last weekend I began working on Butterick 5464, one of the new patterns I picked up recently. Here's what I have so far:
I started with a quick and dirty muslin right out of the envelope using the size 14 cutting lines for the shoulders and size 16 from bust level down. It was HUGE. This is why I really don't like patterns that only provide drawings to give you an idea of what a finished garment is going to look like. The pattern envelope describes this top as "loose fitting" and my idea of loose fitting is pretty much exactly what is shown in the pattern illustration. Too bad the actual garment was huge and boxy with almost no shaping at all. The illustration appears to have some subtle waist shaping, and there is no representation of the back of the blouse at all.

The muslin looked okay, if a little large in front, but the back was an ugly, boxy mess. I basted in some darts and took the side seams in to the next smaller size and tried it again. It was better. I went back to the pattern and added a 1/2" FBA, did a 1/2" sway back adjustment, measured and drew the dart in on the back patern piece, and cut it out again using a size 14 easing out to a 16 at the hip.

I hoped the second version would be wearable, but unfortunately, I don't think it's going to be.

First of all, the fabric I chose, a small scale asian print cotton, is all wrong for this pattern. It would probably work fine if I hadn't added the ruffle, but it just doesn't have enough drape for the ruffle to hang correctly. And I don't know why I didn't think about it before hand, but I did not realize until I got the ruffle attached, that the wrong side of the fabric will show. I could actually have lived with that if the ruffle draped properly, but it doesn't.

But even if the ruffle worked, the back still has problems.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think I still need to remove a little length, and add a little width across the hips. My sway back adjustment actually took away hip width, which I added back to the sides. Maybe I need to add a bit more.

Any suggestions for fixing the back of this? I'll use this version to experiment on some more and then hopefully cut another one in a more suitable fabric. I've already spent enough time on this that I feel like I have to make it work. I can't let this stupid pattern get the better of me!

Monday, June 6, 2011

New Look 6723- Bring on the Flamingos!

Say hello to New Look 6723, made up in 100% cotton covered in pink flamingos:
I made view B, the sleeveless, boat neck view. This was one of the easiest patterns I've ever used. This dress goes together like a dream, and the only adjustment I made to the pattern was a 1/2" princess seam FBA. I didn't even add any length, and that almost never happens.

I didn't even use the instructions. I've made enough dresses to kind of know what I'm doing, and this is a very simple design. I think the pattern called for a regular zipper, but I used an invisible one.

I cut a 14 through the shoulders and a 16 from the bust on down. Because the skirt is full, I didn't have to go up a size at the hip. And speaking of skirts, I love this one. It's an A-line with a curved waist. What this means is that even though it's gathered to the bodice, it's not too full and/or bulky at the waist. It's a full skirt that doesn't make me feel like a parade float.

The bodice is lined edge to edge with coral broadcloth. I love this lining technique, which finishes the neck and shoulders at one time. It looks very nice, too.

I decided to finish the hem with bias tape. It was easy, and I thought it might give the hem just a tiny bit more "oomph." (I just adore those flamingos!)

I love the dress, but it definitely needs a belt. I bought a narrow, pink one, but I didn't like it with the fabric. I think a narrow, black patent belt would be perfect. Any suggestions on where to find one online? I might even try making something out of black ribbon.

I just love this dress. It's so simple to make and it's got great retro flair. I'm already planning my next version using a large scale Asian print I've been hoarding.

One tiny word of caution: the boat neck on this is rather high. I like it and did not make any adjustments, but others might find it too high for their taste. It would be very easy to just scoop a little bit out to lower it. I recommend a muslin to see if you like it or need to adjust it.

In other sewing news, I have Butterick 5464 under construction and getting close to being finished. I'm falling out of love with the fabric and this version may end up being a muslin. We'll have to wait and see.

I'm also expecting my Vogue patterns to arrive any day now, and I just ordered some knit fabric, which should arrive this week. Stay tuned for more knit dresses!

I hope your sewing is going well!