Monday, June 30, 2008

New Look 6788 (dress)

This pattern was acquired during the pattern splurge. I used some linen that I bought at the same store in Baltimore at which I purchased the wool for my graduation gown. I used some linen that I purchased over a year ago for the trim (the same fabric I used to my make shorts).

I cut the dress on the bias to get a little more flow out of it and to avoid looking like a table cloth. This was a bit tricky because the plaid is not even, but I was committed at that point, so I just went with it. I made a size 14 all over because the ease was set at 3.5" at the bust and I knew that with the bias, the bust would be uncomfortably large if I made the size 16 (my usual size).

I also had to shorten the straps for my height (very easy) and bring them slightly more towards the center back (also easy). I also shortened the bottom trim by half so that the dress would end where I wanted it to. I was able to use a button from my grandmother's collect, which always feels good.

I love the way this came out. It is a perfect sundress. Modest, but still light and airy. Perfect for outdoor summer fairs and festivals. The only minor snag was that the straps took some time to turn. I would recommend trimming very closely or perhaps even hand sewing if one planned on using a heavier fabric.




Button detail:

Sunday, June 29, 2008

New Look 6244 (slip)

This is an easy slip I made. I also attempted the over dress, but it was kind of a disaster. I'm not ready to blame that pattern yet though, I used a very loose weave silk and was all over the place.

For the slip I used a lovely silk crepe from the bargain bin at G Street Fabrics. Gotta love the bargain bin.

As you can tell from the photos, I'm still "honing" my skills with delicate fabric and bias cuts. I used the narrow rolled hem foot and it distorted the upper edge and lower hem somewhat, but seeing as this is a slip, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. I also shortened the hem by about 6". If I had it to do again, I would only have shortened about 3".

McCall's 5391 (Shorts)

This was my first attempt at pants of any kind. I needed another pair of shorts for the summer and this pattern was one of the few that included pockets. Honestly, why is it so hard to find women's fashion with useful pockets?!

This pattern went together very smoothly. I used some bottom weight linen that has been in my stash for well over a year. That always feels good.

I haven't taken a class to fit my pants sloper yet, so I just decided to take this one on faith. The only made 2 adjustments: to blend from the size 16 waist to the size 14 hips and to shorten th legs by 3 inches. Having made the shorts, I now realize that they sit so low that the waist measurement was not such an influence on the fit for me as it is for tops and dresses. I could have easily used the size 14 all over (maybe even a size 12, I have very straight hips).

You can see in the back and front that there are some odd psuedo-pleats being formed by my belt. I think I could eliminate much of this by playing around with the depth of the pleats on the back and moving a size down in the waist.

I belt carriers are also oddly wide and long, but I think they work just fine. All in all, I think this will be a very useful addition to my wardrobe. I'm going to keep this pattern around and play with the fit a bit.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

McCall's 5480 Winter swing coat

This was my second attempt at making a swing coat for this winter. It feels odd to be making a winter coat when it is 95 degrees outside, but I know that I will soon have to return to a hectic schedule and I don't want to bank on finishing an unfinished sewing project come November.

This pattern got great reviews on and so I was hopeful.

Due to the shape of the raglan sleeves, I did not attempt to adjust them for my shoulder slope. Due to the fact that this is a tent, I didn't bother raising the waist or making a full bust adjustment.

I am tickled pink with how it turned out. I used a wool/cashmere blend I got last year at JoAnn's on an early spring winter fabrics super blowout, sunback lining, and a 3/4 yard double-sided silk satin from Thai Silks in Los Altos, CA. I picked up the remnant at least 2 years ago, but it might have been even longer.

I pattern does not call for contract cuffs, collar, and buttons, but I thought it would be a nice way to subtly spice up the blackiety-blackness. That pattern went together very smoothly and accommodated the fabric and lining which were slightly heavier than the recommended weight with ease. Even the collar went on right the first time, which might be a sewing first for me.

I also created fabric covered buttons for the first time and I was amazed at how well the little Dritz mold worked. It was $2.19 well spent!

And now... the pictures. I took my dressform outside because black clothes just do not photograph well inside.

trim details:

The lining...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Simplicity 4273 tank top

This came out mostly OK. I wish I had made it about 2" longer and raised the armseye slightly. Other than that, nice and easy.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Scarf Dress Part II -- SUCCESS!

The dress went together eerily easily. No, really. Just buy some scarves and make these.

As you can see from the photos, I need to work out some kind of bra solution. Right now, I'm thinking about the tape bras. I've used them in the past with great success. I want something to make me feel covered and somewhat supported. I don't envision ever having to wear this dress for more than a few hours at a time, so all day support is not that important.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Clearly, the madness has set in...

I'm attempting to draft a scarf dress for myself. I saw dresses like this one on a hot summer's day and, man, did it ever look like good idea!

Also, G Street is having it's super summer sale with additional 25% off one item coupon, which lead me to buy 3 yards of this amazing silk charmeuse. (With discounts, now only $20/yard. A steal, right? Right?)

This is a work in progress, but I do think it should go together quickly.

First I draped with out cutting. I needed to make sure this was not a foolish idea before a cut into a piece of fabric that had many potential uses in other projects (a comfy art reform bathrobe was by back up plan).

I knew I wanted something with a high enough back that I might have some bra options, so I will have to add a fisheye dart or large tuck under the arms in order to keep the waistline flattering.

Satisfied that this could work, I cut the first piece as a perfect square. I knew it would be too long, but I didn't know by how much. I took off about 12" to keep the longest point off the ground. In then end, I bought about 1 yard too much, but it's really beautiful fabric and I'm sure that I'll figure out something I can do with this.

I then redraped the dress to see how things looked with out the extra weight. I pinned the estimated seams too. I'm not sure if I will need to put a zipper in the back or if the ungathered front with give enough ease to get it on over my head.

New Look 6728 remix

I was so into this pattern that I made it again yesterday. It was interesting to note the fitting changes that occurred with the change in fabric, fewer buttons, and sleeves. They all contributed to slightly less ease in the garment. I will have to add a snap at the bust to keep it from gapping slightly. No biggie, though. Overall, I'm still very happy.

Here are pictures of the newest version:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Look 6728

I picked this pattern up during my pattern binge and I have to say that this was a GREAT purchase. I have a newfound respect for New Look patterns. This shirt pattern might serve as the basis for many, many shirt patterns to come. I was really able to adjust the pattern to my needs very easily and I enjoyed going so.

Here is my process:

My back waist length is a ridiculous 14". This is 2.5" shorter than most standard back waist lengths for my size (14-16). However, due to my bust size, this front waist length is usually only about 1" shorter that the pattern. So I've been experimenting with adjusting patterns unevenly. You can see here how the excess is taken out of the pattern.

When I make this kind of adjustment, I have to do more than just blend the waistlines back together. I also have to readjust the grainlines. I did this by drawing a line that matched up the grainline arrows on the traced pattern. This splits the difference between the two lines. My hope was that this would provide a reasonable new grain. This seems to have worked well.

I made a muslin from this pattern that came out looking list this:

I was pretty happy with this as a starting point, but notice the gaping at the armhole and the high hemline around the butt. The back waist was now sitting over my natural waistline, but I wanted the back hem to hang even with the front, so I simply added back 1" and the back and tapered it out through the side front, trying to match the proportional amount of the waist tuck in the pattern:

to compensate for the gaping armhole, I "rotated" a dart that was forming at the armseye into the princess seam line and the extended the shoulder length out 5/8" so that the front shoulder would match the back shoulder. This seemed to solve the problem.

I then went ahead and made th top in a blue handkerchief weight linen that I had left over from making the godet skirt. I used red thread for a design choice because the best buttons I had in my stash were the red ones. The pattern only calls for 5 buttons, but I used all 10. This makes the shirt very secure across the bust. I can reach and move without is gaping open, which is great for teaching. I made button thread button loops because I had trouble making fabric loops with the linen. It was just too thick.

The linen was also much more "wiggly" than the muslin fabric, so my tucks are not exactly symmetrical. This is kind of disappointing, but I don't think it's too distracting. The pattern piece for the front tucks is preparing first and then cut out, so in the future I might try different tuck arrangements when I figure out how to sew pintucks with my machine. All in all, this pattern in a keeper.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

McCall's 5274 Godet skirt

So my latest project was this godet skirt by McCall's. I was intersted in doing a godet skirt because I originally wanted to play with pinning the godets in interesting arrangements to mimic a skirt I had seen on the street. Sadly, I didn't take a picture, so after fiddling with the godets for a day I had to admit defeat and just make the skirt as shown.

I used some blue handkerchief linen from my stash and the skirt went together without any problems. The only slight snag was the the waistband was not well drafted for the curve of my lower back. It either gapped in the back or sat unattractively low, giving me a Homer Simpson look:

My next sewing class is really going to be a skirt and pants sloper class, but until then...

I decided that I could fix the problem by just adding a drawstring in the waistband to pick up the 1.5" of slack and keep the waistband fairly smooth. A stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. :)

I made the drawstring by attaching two pieces of 1/4" ribbon to about 8" of 1/4" elastic and tying cute, small buttons to the ends so I wouldn't lose the drawstring in the casing (hopefully):

I then used a slightly smaller button as the guide for my machine buttonhole guide and added a buttonhole to ease edge of the waistband on the outside only:

I then sewed the waistband closed while making sure that I did not catch the drawstring in th stitching. Yes I know, I should have sewed this by hand, but it was getting late and I wanted to finish the project. Given my shape, it's unlikely that I will ever be highlighting the waistband on this skirt, so it should remain hidden most of the time.

"I love it when a plan come together."
This totally fixed my waistband gaps without distorting or adding much bulk to the waistband:

And here's the final shots with the seams finished and the skirt hemmed: