Sunday, July 31, 2011

Simplicity 2369- Bees Like It

Another knit dress on another hot day. At least there are a few clouds today.
This is Simplicity 2369, View B, with the ties from View A/C.

Simplicity doesn't give any description other than "Misses' knit dress in two lengths..." I would describe it as a knit dress with a wrap-over bodice that ties at the side of the waist and raglan sleeves.

This pattern was easy peasy. There are six pattern pieces including the neck facing/binding. I love raglan sleeves, too, because I don't have to worry about getting the shoulder seam in the right place. I think the wrap-over bodice is quite flattering, and you get the look of a "wrap dress" with a one piece skirt- no wardrobe malfuntions to worry about.

I cut a straight size 16 and made no adjustments, other than adding 2" at the hem. However, I did end up taking the sides in about 3/8" all the way down, and even a little more than that at the waist. If I were to make this again, and I might because it was so easy to put together and because I'm quite pleased with it, I would go down to a size 14 and I would add 1" of extra length through the waist. I feel like the wrap and the waist tie sit a little bit too high on me. I'm sure no one but me will ever notice, but that's the great thing about making my own clothes- I can make them exactly the way I want them.

The one change I did make was in the order of construction. Simplicity would have you sew the side seams partially, add the sleeves, finish the neckline and then go back and finish the sides. I realized that would prevent me from having one long, finished side seam on each side. So I sewed the sleeves to the back and the fronts, sewed the shoulders, finished the neck and the sleeve edges, and then sewed and finished (serged) the side seams all in one pass. It worked perfectly.

Once again, I used an ITY knit from This one is black with pink, orange, yellow, and white dots. I love it- pink/orange/yellow is one of my all time favorite color combos, and who doesn't like dots?

Apparently bees like the color combo, too. Either that, or this fabric looks like flowers to them. A poor, confused little bee took quite a liking to this dress in the parking lot at my favorite book store. My kids were quite hysterical, shouting, "Mom! There's a BEE on you!" I shooed it away, but I'm sure between the shrieking kids and finding out that those "flowers" were merely dots on fabric, the poor bee was quite traumatized.

Here's today's manicure. This is Orly Flirty, a bold, creamy "Barbie" pink with subtle shimmer that dries to a satin finish. I love this color! I had a rough morning and I put this on to make myself feel better. Who can't smile when wearing a pink this rich and gorgeous? Unfortunately, the formula on this is awful. I used this once before and was put off by the thickness of it. So today I thinned it. And thinned it. And thinned it some more. I never did get it to just the right consistency. Luckily, it covers well, dries pretty fast, and looks nice, otherwise I'd have tossed it because of the application issue. This is two coats (I couldn't have done another- it was too much of a headache) and one coat of topcoat.

I'm hoping that the clouds and rain we've had over the weekend mean that this oppressive heat is beginning to relent. I've actually been thinking about fall sewing lately and I think it's because subconsciously I'm wanting cooler weather. In any case, stay tuned for a muslin report of Burda Style 07-2011-131, which might be my next project, if I can get the kinks worked out of it, namely the obscene neckline.

Until then, happy sewing, and stay cool!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Butterick 4789- Doing the Twist

The summer knit dress extravaganza continues with Butterick 4789, View B, the "Twist Dress."
I'm a couple of years late to this party, but I like the dress and I thought the fabric was right for it, so I went for it.

Dang, it's hot. Even in the shade.

Okay, so about the dress. It's pretty simple- just two pattern pieces, front and back. The front pieces are interlocked to form the twist:

Yeah, if you look closely you can see some gaps on either side of the twist. Thank goodness for a black slip! I'll probably just add a few hand stitches to close those up...

Here's the back:

I love the V-neck in back. I considered turning it into a plain round neckline, but I'm glad I didn't. It's pretty and it's very comfortable- did I mention it's hot here?

I cut a straight size 16. I probably could have gone smaller- the fit is on the loose side- but 16 was the smallest size in my pattern envelope. And I kinda like it loose and breezy. I was also surprised that it turned out a little more A-line than the pattern photo. It's okay, though- I like it.

I pretty much followed the instructions as written, except that I used clear elastic in the neckline, and I bound the armholes with self fabric. As for adjustments, I added one inch of length just below the waist, and I ended up taking the back darts in about 1/4" on each side. The fit is still roomy.

I used another ITY knit from This one is actually dark brown (looks like black in the photos) with cream and aqua dots. I didn't notice any funky smell with this one like the previous ones.

Yes, that background color really is dark brown. And check how my nails match so perfectly! This is Finger Paints Tiffany Imposter, a pretty aqua creme. It's a perfect color for summer. The formula was excellent, too. Two coats, with topcoat, and I was ready to go!

All in all, I'm pleased with the dress. I already wore it to road test it and it performed beautifully. Will I make it again? I don't know. There are so many other knit dress patterns calling my name. Then again, I do like the top and pants- View A and C.

My dryer is buzzing. That means more knit fabric- ready to cut and sew!

How is your summer sewing going?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vogue 8724- The Real Thing

Thank you so much for all of the kind comments about the V8724 muslin in the previous post. The response was overwhelmingly positive, so I went ahead and wore the dress again today to church. I also went ahead and sewed up the real version, and it turned out pretty much exactly as I'd envisioned it.
I used an ITY jersey border print from, cut on the cross grain, of course, to take advantage of the print.

Once again, I cut a straight size 16, although this time I went ahead and stitched the bust darts. This knit was much better behaved than the last one and I had no problems. I forgot to mention in the last post that this is one of those Custom Fit patterns with separate bodice pieces for different cup sizes. Thank you, Vogue! I used the "C" pattern piece and didn't have to do an FBA.

I love this fabric! I think the border print works perfectly for this pattern.

I did notice while I was sewing this that the fabric had that same "chemical" smell to it that the Disco Camouflage dress had. I'm not worried, though. I washed the other dress and the smell went away, thank goodness, and hasn't returned. I'll send this one through the washer before I wear it out to road test it.

One thing that is different about this dress (from the red dress in the previous post) is the cling factor. This fabric has minimal stretch along the length. Because I cut it on the cross grain, most of the stretch runs lengthwise now. It's not tight by any means, but I don't have near the horizontal stretch in this dress and it "hugs" me a little bit closer.

I'm very happy with the length. I'm glad I took out those two inches, because otherwise this would be too long. I didn't want this to end up a maxi dress. I wanted to keep it somewhat long, though, to maximise the use of the print, and also because it's just kind of different- everything is just so short these days, and this kind of reminds me of some of the long, slim skirts I wore back in the 80's.

Next week, I'll be on vacation and I plan to go shopping for some sparkly, dangly earrings to wear with this.

These are not the shoes I'll be wearing, either. I have some strappy black sandals that I think will work perfectly. I forgot to change before taking the photos.

Once again, my photographer wanted some action shots. This is about as good as it gets.

This is his favorite:

I had just enough of this fabric left to cut out a little t-shirt. I need to go stitch the armhole edges and it will be done and ready to wear, too. I'll share that next time.

And I'm also expecting another batch of knits to arrive from any day now. I'm on a roll with these knit dresses. They're so easy to make and easy to wear. I do have a few woven fabrics that are begging to be made up, too. You'll be seeing those before too long.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vogue 8724- Muslin... Wearable?

Vogue 8724 has been on my to-do list for a while now. I have a pretty border print that I want to make it out of, but I'm still pretty new to sewing with knits and I wanted to check the fit before cutting it. A muslin was definitely in order.
I made View B, the long version, in a straight size 16.

This is a knit dress with an overlapped bodice, pleated skirt, and shoulder princess seams in back.

I decided to sacrifice this red and white knit print that I got from Hancock's a few years ago to make sure this dress was going to work for me. I'm not sure what the fiber content is, but it's very stretchy in both directions. I also wanted to check the length on this since I'll have to be sure about it before I cut into my border print. I can't just hem it higher if I don't like it! I ended up taking two inches off the length of the skirt.

If you look closely, you can see why I decided to just use fabric this for my muslin. No matter how I cut it, I was going to end up with a motif right on my boobs! I didn't worry too much about pattern matching, just kind of eye-balled and pinned, but I did purposely line up the brighter motifs to avoid the bust points. But look closely and you will see there is an "X" on each of "the girls." Overall, I'm pleased with the dress and I decided to road test it by wearing it to work today. Apparently no one noticed, but I know those "X's" are there.

I pretty much made this according to the pattern instructions with just a few small changes. I altered the armholes by not scooping them out quite as much as the pattern calls for. At least two other bloggers mentioned this so I tried it and I like the way it worked out.

I added clear elastic to the neck edges and then turned them under and twin needled them. Worked like a charm.

I also gathered the bottom of the bodice instead of sewing darts. Knitmachinequeen suggested this in her review of this pattern. I think it's a great idea, but it didn't work perfectly for this dress. I tried the dart as drafted, but my fabric stretched and distorted at the dart tip, so I pulled it out and opted for this.

When I sewed the bodice to the skirt, my underbust seam stretched out terribly. It didn't help that I had changed the darts to gathers, throwing things off just a bit. It looked wonky and I got weird pull lines where the neck edges were caught into the seam. At first I thought it was going to be completely unwearable, but then I decided to just try a little experiment. I cut a piece of 1/4" elastic about a half inch shorter than the underbust seam measurement was supposed to be. I then zig-zagged the elastic to the underbust seam allowance, stretching the elastic as I sewed. I caught the ends of the elastic in the side seams. When the elastic relaxed, it drew the front back into shape evenly, and it isn't even noticeable on the outside.

Once the dress was finished enough to try it on, I decided I really like it, and I should just go ahead and finish it. So I finished the armhole edges with a twin needle and hemmed it. Considering my half hearted attempt at pattern matching, I think it turned out surprisingly well. I wore this all day today and it was cool and comfortable. The neckline didn't gape at all, even with the super stretchy fabric. I was armed with safety pins, just in case, but I held off and decided to see what would happen. There were no wardrobe malfunctions!

So the pattern is a go, and I'll be cutting into my precious border print tonight!

But what do you think, Tasteful Readers? Is this version truly wearable? Considering that, as they say, "X marks the spot?"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Forgot to Show You...

Yesterday when I was taking photos of my new skirt, I snapped a couple of my current mani, and then forgot to share them.
This is one coat of Orly Wild Wisteria:

Wild Wisteria is a deep, dark, rich, cool toned purple creme. It almost looks black on the nail. The formula was excellent- not too thick, not too runny, and it covered in one coat! The only drawback, and this is really just a quibble, is that the brush is skinny. I guess I'm getting spoiled by those nice, wide brushes that Sally Hansen and OPI have.

After Wild Wisteria dried, I followed it with one coat of China Glaze metallic crackle in Latticed Lilac. I LOVE this stuff. I have OPI's Black Shatter, several of the original CG crackle colors (Crushed Candy- aqua, Lightning Bolt- white, and Broken Hearted- pink) and one of the recent Sally Hansen crackle polishes. This metallic formula blows them all out of the water. The others dry really fast and tend to get gunked up around the bottle opening as I use them. I end up just slopping them on my nails. Not that it's a big deal, since they "crack" anyway. But this one was so easy and smooth to apply. It didn't get gummed up at all. It seemed to dry and crackle a little more slowly, but it was still completely dry within a few minutes, and as you can see, it "crackled" quite nicely. I've been wearing this for three days and have virtually no chips or tip wear! I did put one coat of Out the Door topcoat on this.

I also have the blue metallic crackle polish- Oxidized Aqua, and I can't wait to try it out!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Look 6030- A Skirt Story

I just put the finishing touches (stitched the belt) on NL6030.
I made a "grown up" version of View D: I used the longer length of View A/B and added an additional 4.25" of length to make it work appropriate.

I cut a size 14 from waist to hip and a 16 from hip to hem. It's a close fit, but not tight. I'm also wearing it a couple of inches higher on my waist than it's intended. That's just my personal preference.

I pretty much followed the instructions as written, except for the zipper. They would have you install a lapped zipper, which seemed kind of odd to me for the center back. I used a regular zipper and centered it. I would have used an invisible zipper if I'd had one on hand, but I didn't, and I didn't want to put off finishing the skirt until I could get one.

I used an olive green "wrinkle ease" twill from Joann's. It sewed up easily with an 80/12 universal needle, and it also presses pretty well. We'll see how it wears, but I have a good feeling about it.

I love this skirt. It's easy to put together- the only real challenge was binding the pocket edges and getting the pockets positioned, but even that wasn't bad.

The pattern instructs you to interface the waistband/yoke, then baste the carriers to the bottom edge, and then attach the waistband to the skirt. I found that even though I marked and basted carefully, my carriers didn't quite line up with my pockets. I ended up basting them to the skirt, right on top of the upper pocket, and then attaching my waistband. I don't know if I made an error while cutting or in my pocket positioning, or if the pattern itself was a little bit off, but I recommend doing it this way for accuracy.

The details on this skirt are the best part. I love the center front seam, which is very casual. I did a double row of top stitching on mine to mimic a flat felled seam. The pockets have tiny darts in the corners which makes them 3 dimensional, which is a nice touch. My only criticism is that I think the pockets may be a tad "short" on me. I think they are proportioned for the micro miniskirt view and if I make this again I think I'll add just a smidge of length to them to match my longer skirt length.

I love the wide carriers which extend the pocket line all the way to the top edge of the skirt. I made the sash, and I like it, but I think this skirt would also look good with a purchased belt. The right belt would definitely reinforce the military/safari vibe I was going for with this.

Probably the best thing about this pattern is that you can get so many different looks from it. And New Look was kind enough to provide separate front pattern pieces for the different views. I think I might like to make View C, the high/low pocket version, and maybe View E, which is essentially the same skirt I just made, but with pocket ruffles. I'd love it in camo, too! (Incidentally, I started to add the ruffles to this skirt, even went as far as basting one on, but the fabric is just a tiny bit too stiff and they didn't look right, so off it came.)

Now that this project is done, I have another knit dress in the pipeline, and I'm itching to make something from Burda Style...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Did Someone Say Pockets?

Last night I was up late working on this:

This is one of the pockets on my current project, an olive green twill skirt, using New Look 6030:

Yes, this pattern is insanely short. And yes, I added lots of length to it, enough to make it knee length! What are you thinking, New Look?

I'm making View D, the same one the model is wearing, only about twice as long. It was the pockets that drew me to this pattern. They have that military/safari vibe to them that I love so much. I experimented with adding the ruffle to the pocket like View E, but my fabric was a little too stiff, so I left them off. I may come back and make View E if I can find the right fabric. I'd love it in camo just like the picture! I also like View C with the high/low pockets. You might eventually see that one, too.

I also picked up a new pattern at my local Walmart yesterday. (I avoid that place like the plague, but every so often I have to go in there, and I like to reward myself by picking up a new pattern... or two.)

This is New Look 6009. Apparently it's been out for a while, but I just noticed it yesterday. It's a top/tunic designed for wovens. I like the keyhole version shown on the model. I doubt I'll bother with elastic at the waist, and I'll have to check the length on it- I'm not sure if the shorter version might be better for me. But, you may be seeing this soon, too.

So how about you? Any big sewing plans this weekend?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Simplicity 3678- In Coral!

My big accomplishment over the three day weekend was finishing up Simplicity 3678. Please forgive the harsh, noon time sunlight. My regular photographer is at summer camp and I had to take the photos when I had a substitute available.

I made view A, the short sleeve, crossover bodice version, and I love it!

I cut a straight size 16 and made a 5/8" FBA. I also overlapped the bodice pieces an extra half inch in front to keep it modest and prevent gaping. I eased the underbust band on and had no problems. Fortunately, it seems to fit pretty well. Maybe because it's drafted for knits, there doesn't seem to be any excess width through the shoulders.

The skirt is very generously sized. I normally bump out to a size 18 at the hip, but it wasn't necessary on this dress. In fact, I ended up taking the side seams in 1/2" on each side from bust to hem. I could probably even get away with taking a little more in, but I kinda like the loose, easy fit as it is.

Everything was looking good until I tried the dress on and realized that the back was a hot mess. As it's drafted, the extra fullness in back is taken up into gathers at the centerback and stitched to the band, almost exactly like the center front. (That underbust band goes all the way around.) It looked awful. The side view made me look like Humpty Dumpty!

I ended up picking out the stitching (which wasn't fun because I had already serged the seam) and removing the gathers. I basted in two darts instead. Once I had the darts adjusted properly, I sewed them down permanently. I like the new, smooth back much better, and the shape is much more flattering now.

The fabric used for this dress is a printed ponte knit from Hancock Fabrics. I was so amazed to find it that I just had to have it.

I love the colors (coral, dark coral, and white) and the print. The fabric is actually just a smidge heavy for summer, but since I work in an office where the temperature hovers just above freezing, it actually feels quite comfortable at work.

And check out the manicure I wore with it:

I did two coats of Sally Hansen Xtreme wear in Posh Plum...

Followed by one coat of China Glaze Fairy Dust, which is a clear polish with very fine holographic glitter in it.

This photo doesn't quite capture the iridescent gorgeousness of it, but one coat adds instant depth and sparkle to any color.

I'm going to give Simplicity 3678 an A+. I'll get lots of wear out of this the rest of the summer and probably into the fall.

Once the weather starts to cool off, I'd like to make View C, with the gathered, square neck bodice and long sleeves. But I'll be making darts in back again. No gathers in back for me!

My next project is a twill skirt. I've already done a muslin and I'm ready to cut into my fabric. I hope to have a nice, quiet weekend to work on it. Do you have any sewing plans this weekend?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Vogue 1250... Again

I decided I liked Vogue 1250 enough to make it again. It's easy, it looks good, and it feels great to wear. What more could I ask for?
I picked up this "brush stroke" knit print last weekend at Joann's. The end of the bolt said it was matte jersey, but it sure behaved differently than the black matte jersey from Hancock's that I used for the first version. For one thing it seemed stretchier all over, and it has quite a bit of lengthwise stretch.

I used the same exact pattern pieces I used the first time (size 16, easing out to an 18 at the hip, with 1" of length added at the waist.) But for some reason, this dress turned out longer than the first. All over. I ended up going back and taking the shoulder seams up about 3/4" so the neckline wasn't too low and the waist seam wasn't slung across my hips. I also took a deeper hem this time. It still is longer than the black dress and it seemed to grow ever so slightly as I wore it today. I can live with it, though.

Over all, I'm pleased with it, but I am going to put V1250 away for awhile. Two of these is enough for me, for now. I need to move on to the other patterns on my "to-do" list. I have one more knit dress cut out, and then I have a couple of pairs of pants in various muslin stages, a skirt, and...

Maybe I should just take them one at a time.