Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Look 6802 A Sleeveless Dress for Hot Summer Days

I just finished hemming NL6802 this afternoon.

This is view C, the sleeveless version with the twist front:

The fabric is a rayon jersey print I ordered from last summer.  I bought it with this pattern in mind.  I wanted something with a vertical stripe effect (but not an actual stripe) and this was the closest thing I could find at the time.

When the fabric arrived, it wasn't exactly what I expected.  The scale was larger and the colors were brighter than I thought they would be.  So I held off making the dress and considered several other patterns.  I convinced myself this fabric wanted to be a maxi dress, and I even went so far as to lay it out this past weekend.  Unfortunately, I didn't have enough fabric.  Sigh...

So I decided to go back to plan A, and I dug this pattern out.  I'd already made it a few years ago, so the pattern pieces were already adjusted.  All I had to do was lay it out and cut.

Cutting was a bit of a hassle.  The motifs line up well vertically, but the fabric was printed crooked across the grain.  I had to choose between trying to square up the print or having a dress that hangs straight.  I decided to go for hanging straight.  I even gave up on trying to match the print at the sides or making the bodice pieces symmetrical.  I centered the print on the CF and CB, and just said the heck with the rest of it.  I think it turned out okay.  I love the way the motifs form a starburst effect at the twist.  I couldn't have planned that better.

And the back's not too shabby either.

I made a size 16.  I really should have gone down to a 14 through the bodice.  My dress is a little big on top.  I also raised the CF neckline 1 inch.  I really should have left it and gone down 1 size or just made a petite adjustment above the bust.  It doesn't help that my neckline turned out a little loose and floppy, even though I used clear elastic to stabilize it.  I think it's a combination of using the wrong size and my inexperience with the super stretchy rayon jersey.  I could take in the CF a tiny bit, but that would also raise the neckline even more and it's already bordering on dowdy.  I think I will wait until after I run the dress through the washer and dryer and see if that makes a difference.  I pre-washed the fabric, but the rayon may still shrink a bit...

I love this pattern.  It has an empire seam, but the back is cut in such a way that it clings and of course the twist overlay holds the front close to the body, eliminating much of the blousy effect that you sometimes get with an empire waist.  I've made this three times now, so I guess this pattern qualifies as a TNT.  I'll make it again, too, if the right fabric comes along.

Today is the first day of my summer vacation.  I hope to get a couple more things made before I have to go back to work.  I just pre-washed a piece of fabric that I was hoping to lay out tonight, but it looks like it didn't hold up well in the wash.  Oh, well.  I'm a wash-n-wear kind of girl and I'd rather find out now rather than after I've sewn up a whole garment and then tried to wash it.  

So back to the sewing room to look for something else to work on...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Burda Style 02-2012-131

Two dresses in one weekend.  Can you believe it?   In addition to the knit dress from the previous post, I also finished up dress #131 from the February issue of Burda Style.

This dress was featured in the plus section of the magazine, which was devoted to wedding dresses.  I liked the simple classic shape and the unique curved seaming.

 It's a variation on a princess seamed sheath:

The back seams are just as interesting as the front.  Here's a close-up of my side seams:

This was a pretty simple dress to make.  It was a 2.5 dot pattern with 6 pattern pieces, including facings.  I ended up not using the facings, so my dress only had 4 pieces to cut.

I traced a 44 and then graded the bodice down to a 42.  I made a 3/8" petite adjustment above the bust and added 1 and 5/8" of length to the waist (which changed the shape of my front seams quite a bit.)  I actually could have used a smidge more.  I think this pattern was designed for a short waisted woman.  Even the photo above looks short. 

I also raised the neckline and moved the shoulder straps in one whole inch.  You can read about my pattern adjustment in this post.  Because of all the changes to the bodice, I would have had to draft new facing pieces and I was just too lazy to do that.  So instead, I finished the neckline and armholes with bias binding.  It was quick, easy, and it looks great inside.

I also moved the side zipper to the center back.  I found an invisible zipper that just about matched my fabric, but hey- it's invisible, right?  I love the seaming in the back.  It's very flattering, although I think if I'd added that extra little bit of length, it would look better on me.  I think the unique seaming on this dress would make it a great candidate for color blocking.

My fabric is a stretch jaquard from Fashion Fabrics Club.  It has a really nice texture to it and a slight sheen as well.  I go back and forth on the color, though.  When I ordered online, I thought it would be more red.  It's really a weird shade of orange- not pink enough to be coral, but not "orange" enough to be true orange either.  I was thinking I didn't like it until I tried it on today with the turquoise shoes and jewelry.  Now it's kind of growing on me again.

In any case, it was easy to cut and sew, but it didn't want to press very well.  The back especially, doesn't look as crisp as I'd like.

Now that I'm liking the dress again, I think I will go ahead and try the matching jacket.  I traced it this weekend and I just need to throw a muslin together to check the fit.  This really needs something over it to make it work appropriate. 

In other sewing news, I made another muslin this weekend.  More on that later...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Butterick 4788 UFO Sighting

Saturday I wrapped up Butterick 4788, this cute little knit dress with mock-wrapped bodice. 

It's a Maggy London pattern- I seem to always love those- that is sadly OOP now.  I've been meaning to make it for a long time and I finally cut it out back in March, before my trip to Manila.  Yes, it's taken me 3 months to get around to finishing it, and the irony is that it only took a few hours to sew up once I got going.
 I made View A, the one on the right, with the ruched side, sleeves, and plain A-line skirt.

I used a really cool ITY knit print that I got from last year.  It's black with red, pink and aqua fan-like designs all over it.  The print has a kind of Asian/Art Nouveau vibe to it, which is really nice.

I made a size 16 with 1" of length added at the waist, and 1.25" of length added to the skirt.  I could have used a 14.  The waist is a bit loose, but the 16 was the smallest size in the envelope.  Honestly, no one will ever notice. 

I pretty much followed the pattern directions, except I left off the little tacked-on bow at the left side.  It seemed unnecessary to me.  I say "pretty much" because I got so caught up in sewing that I didn't pay 100% attention to the directions and instead of basting the right and left bodice pieces together at the right side seam and then stitching the side seam...  I stitched the side seams separately, and then serged the seams before I realised my mistake.

It's okay, though.  I just basted the two bodice halves together at the waist and then attached them to the skirt as one.  No one but me (and now you) will ever know.  I also added clear elastic to the neck edges, serged the edges, and then turned them under and top stitched with a twin needle.

I love the way the dress turned out.  It has a sort of disco vibe to it with the mock wrap bodice in the front and the back, and the full, swingy skirt.  The skirt is perfect, too.  It has just enough swish to it to make it fun to wear without being "too much."  Oh, one other little change I made was to cut the skirt back on the fold, rather than with a CB seam as the pattern called for.  I had plenty of fabric, so why not?

The pattern itself was pretty easy to put together.  I think one of the reasons I waited years to make this was because I thought it would be hard to make it in a knit.  That and I needed the right fabric.  But I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and easily it went together.  I could easily see myself making this again if I needed a new dress in a hurry.

Yes, that's a hay bale.  It was crazy hot this afternoon and after walking all over that field in high heels, I needed to rest. 

I also finished up the Burda sheath dress this weekend.  Unfortunately, I was too hot to go change and do the photo shoot thing all over again.  And besides, the Burda dress wasn't quite as successful as this dress, so I'm saving it for another post.

How is your summer sewing going?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

McCall's 6279: The Trench Dress

I finally finished M6279.  And it's only taken me a month to complete it.

This is view C, the version with the full collar, elbow length puffed sleeves, and the self fabric belt from view A/B.

I used a dark wash denim with a bit of stretch that I was lucky enough to find at my local Walmart.  All the topstitching was done with khaki thread, and the buttons are antique "brass."

I cut a size 14 through the shoulders and eased out to a 16 at the bust. 

Pattern adjustments included: 
     5/8" princess FBA
     1 and 1/8" of length added at waist
     3" of length added to skirt
     1" of length removed from sleeve
     1/2" of length removed from cuff
     3/4" added to cuff circumference

I'm pretty pleased with the final results.  The dress fits well, seems comfortable, and is office appropriate.  I went ahead and made the belt to go with it, but I plan to shop for something else.  I pictured it all along with a leather, or woven belt, I just haven't found what I had in mind yet.

The sleeves on this dress are pretty puffy.  Normally I don't mind a puffed sleeve- I like to draw attention to my shoulders and above, but these are pushing it.  Especially in the denim fabric, which has a lot of body.  I ended up pressing the gathers down, and they are still rather "boisterous" as you can see in the photos.

I also shortened the sleeves a total of 1.5 inches.  I think it would have looked better if I'd removed about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch more.  The bottom of the cuff hits me just below the bend of my elbow and tends to get bent up when I bend my arm.

I added 3/4" to the cuff circumference so they wouldn't bind.  They look like they are plenty wide enough in the photos, in fact they look downright loose.  But my arms are quite heavy and I promise, the cuffs just fit at the top where they are attached to the sleeves.

All in all, I'm happy with this project.  The pattern was drafted well, the instructions were good, and the dress turned out quite nice.  I might even make this again.  I'd love to try view A with the stand-up collar and epaulets.  I think I'd substitute a plain, short sleeve, and maybe even add some pockets in the side seams.  As it is, this dress should work nicely for summer and right on into fall.

Now that this project is done, it's back to work on the Burda sheath dress. 

How is your summer sewing going?