Friday, November 29, 2013
Do you have fabric stashed that you consider "too special" to use on just any project? Is it sitting in your stash area just waiting for that perfect pattern or idea to come along? Has it been there for years?? Me too!
Last year for my birthday, my Great Aunt Barbra (who just celebrated her 93rd birthday this year!) gave me a couple of large bags of fabrics she would never use. Some were remnants, some whole pieces.
There were 2 lovely Challis', one deep blue with scattered golden flowers (untouched, about 3 yards), and the brightest fall colored piece, also about 3 yards. I loved the colors of the fall piece; flowers in yellows, golds, oranges and reds all on a black background with paisley here and there to accent. I was thinking about a dress, but then my wonderful father gave me boots for my birthday (he called them my wicked witch boots, lol), and now I have something to wear skirts in fall with! I recently found McCall's 6799, and the line drawing as well as the model picture showed such a lovely drape, I just had to try it, even with no previous reviews to guide me. I plowed on, and am glad I did!
Mark my words, this will change my wardrobe. :)
I originally intended to make an entire Thanksgiving outfit, appliqueing the remnants to my own black long sleeved tee, but I just couldn't find time before the holiday arrived. Still, I am thrilled with the skirt alone, and I think I will get a lot of wear out of it, hopefully for may autumns to come.
I've always been a fan of maxi dresses and maxi skirts, and the flow of this one is amazing. This is the first project I've ever cut on the bias, and it really makes a difference in how it fits, hangs, and moves. I love it! It was a little trickier to cut, and much trickier to hem, but not too bad really. And well worth it! I also love the yoke, which hides the tummy pooch....
The back has a slight tacky spot, but I don't think it is noticeable unless you know what to look for.
I hope no one finds it inappropriate, I was just having fun showing off my boots, and got kind of a old time teaser shot on accident. I thought it was kind of cute. Looks like I'm about to do the can-can! lol.
I wore this all day Thanksgiving while cooking the turkey, potatoes, casseroles, etc, and it was comfortable and I felt lovely dressed up, but not too much.
I hope those of you that celebrate it had a wonderful turkey day! And that like me, you find the right pattern for those "special" fabrics in our stash!
Saturday, November 16, 2013
I made these pants for Liz for her Girl Scout uniform (I wanted her uniform complete for the Veterans Day Parade), so I bought a few yards of this soft, faux suede (khaki is the official color...close enough!).
I had enough left over material to make this little jacket, as long as I made the facing from a different material.
I had enough left over material to make this little jacket, as long as I made the facing from a different material.
I let Liz pick a fabric from my stash for the facing. :) Thanks dad, and my dads friend Jay for this lovely found fabric!
Here you can see the facing is not a full lining, just partial.
The back of the jacket has a set of ruffles on it, I made them in the same contrasting fabric as the facing.
The pants are such a great fit! The darts in the front and back, and the partial elastic waistband make for a very nice fitting yet comfy pant for an active kid!
Thursday, September 5, 2013
The top is 2 layers of the sheer, sequin print mesh underlined by purple satin. I don't think any of the pictures do it justice, it is such a pretty, iridescent fabric, perfect for a jellyfish!
Getting the tentacles on the outside was also a challenge. I had to sew them into the center of each dart BEFORE I sewed the darts shut, but leave enough of the end of the dart open that the tentacles didn't get caught when I sewed the whole thing onto the bottom.
BTW, this entire project was inspired by a puppet we checked out at our local library. I didn't coy it exactly, but it was a major source of inspiration for the design. Liz just wanted a stuffed animal though, no puppet, and I'm thankful for that!
Original puppet from library.
Monday, May 27, 2013
She got a lot of presents, but her big present from us she will not get until summer, because she wants to go to the beach and also visit the aquarium, so we will be camping on the coast for one or two nights after school lets out.
It was quite a while ago that she decided she wanted to take that trip, so I decided to make her a beach outfit. She had already picked a dark pink cotton out of my stash, it is covered in tiny butterflies. I found a matching dark pink and burgundy (and lots of other colors, too) cotton sateen with a diamond print on it in my stash, and also the perfect pattern, Simplicity 5540.
It included a button front dress with elastic pockets, shorts, and a hat, all perfect for a walk on the beach!
This pattern is pretty well designed, though I had issues with the hat. not a single notch or marking matched up, not on the crown, top, or brim. I did make it work though.
It is somewhat adjustable, which I love in kids clothing. With the tie in back, she has room to grow.
Overall, very happy with the dress, also happy to make her something more practical that she will (hopefully), get a lot more wear out of than the "dressy" dresses I have made her in the past. Hurray for cotton!
This is a really great pattern (sans hat markings), with a lined bodice, well designed button bands and adjustable shoulder straps, and I will keep it for when she is older. I can see her wearing a larger version of this even up to age 9 or 10. So this pattern is a winner, and a keeper!
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
This is my new summer dress! Mom Pat got this fabric for me last year, and I am really glad to find a good pattern match for it. I entered it into the Accessories Inspiration contest, when I saw the red and gold gladiator sandals, this is the fabric that called to me out of my stash.
The draping class my husband bought me last month really did teach me a lot. I made 3 new darts in the bodice of this dress to get such a great fit around the bust and armholes. In the past, I would have let little fitting issues like that slide, now I know how to fix some of these things, and it really shows!
The only area I did not know how to correct was the back. The pattern has gathers at both the top of the yoke and at the waistband, which makes lots of room for movement, but also makes the back a bit pouchy near the waistband. If I ever make this pattern again, I think I will redraft the entire back to use a box pleat on top, and be more fitted at the waistband.
Since the inspiration for this dress was a pair of shoes, I wanted to show off my new sandals! They are not red, but instead a dark salmon, but they do have gold! I found them on sale for only $5 on clearance, and couldn't pass them up.
I do wonder if I should have raised the hemline about 2"....but I have developed some modesty about my legs as I get older. Still, this length makes me look shorter, I think. But besides that, I am extremely happy with this dress! Something pretty but also practical (did I mention it has pockets?) to wear this summer. Some of my dresses are too dressy for daily wear, but I could see myself grocery shopping in this, which is perfect. :D
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Make a two piece outfit using the Spring Pantone Colors? Challenge accepted!
So, the dress was a giant pain to draft and make for such a simple thing, as I wrote in a previous blog. But the jacket was surprisingly easy and fast to make, considering it is a jacket! I adore the jacket, very 60's retro. I think it will get a lot of use this year.
James was not available to take pictures today, so Liz did it all. I think she did a darn good jab for a not quite 6 year old! Also....does this outfit make me look taller??
Buttoned up, it doesn't help my boxy shaped dress they way I hoped it would. But I do think with a flared dress/skirt or even the right shirt and jeans, this jacket will be very cute, and very versatile!
The back has a cool tab and pleat (which I had to starch pretty good to make it lay down right, since this polyester did not want to take a crease well).
Although I finished the jacket in less than 10 days, there is still some detail work that went into it. Sadly, you don't get to see it well from a distance, but I worked hard to get the top stiching looking nice and fairly evenly spaced, both on the collar and the sleeves. Kind of gives those a quilted look.
Next up will be another dress, but this one with a very flared skirt and button front and collar. After that, I have got to make something for Liz for her birthday, so stay tuned!
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
About a month ago, my husband got me an online sewing class as a gift. It was Fashion Draping: Dress Making Basics with Paul Gallo, and I was eager to start right away!
My very first attempt at draping the muslin went all kinds of wrong. I was very, very frustrated, but my husband convinced me to try and think about what had gone wrong and how I could correct it.
I thought my main problem was my dress form, which didn't have any of the areas marked on it that are used in the class, no stable reference points. Also, some of the measurements were not correct for me, such as from the shoulder to the bust point. Yes.....even with a good underwire bra, my bust is not longer THAT perky. It's about 1.5" lower.
Now don't get my wrong, I love my dress form, but I knew I would need to do some serious work on it to make it functional for draping. I would love to put a picture here, but honestly, the "fix" I came up with isn't pretty and not something I want to show in public! I used an old nursing bra, and stuffed it with folded fabric scraps to get the correct bust size and placement. My waist also no longer curves in like that. Actually, thin as I have been most of my life, I don't think it ever did. :/
So I took some knit fabric and wrapped it around the waist and hips until all the measurements were again correctly matching mine, then held that in place with a spandex band.
I didn't have any style tape, and for whatever reason Joanns didn't have any for sale, so I hit a bit of a wall on marking the seam lines. Then my husband got out a roll of black duct tape, and cut it into neat strips for me. This worked well! I did have to "guestimate" almost every line I marked: Side seam, shoulder seam, princess seam, neckline, center front, and center back. I used my own measurements to mark the waist, the bustpoint, and the shoulder blade.
So now my dress form looked like a cobbled together ugly mess, but it had stable (and hopefully accurate) places from which I could mark and measure.
My next attempt at draping the muslin went very well. Everything seamed to match up down to 1/16", and I was feeling great about it! What I did not realize was that the markings for the seamlines on the class dress form are probably (guessing here), about 1/8" wide, and the tape I had cut was about 3/8" wide. The teacher added ease into the pattern by pinning on the far side of the CF or side seam, etc. So while he was adding 1/8" ease into the seams, without realizing it, I was adding about 3 times as much ease! Doh....
After I finished the drape, I transferred it all onto a paper pattern. I had no drafting paper, but the teacher suggested using the back of gift wrapping paper, and that worked very well.
I felt pretty confident (I still didn't realize I had built in too much ease), so I went ahead and cut my fashion fabric from my own paper pattern. It was not until I had the bodice sewn together that I realized it seemed too large.
It didn't take me too much time to realize my error. I will have to buy style tape and remark my dress form for future drapes, but I was not about to toss this out as a wadder just yet!
I took it in at the side seams about 1" on each side. That helped, but I had built too much ease into the CF, and that was going to be harder to fix. The bust and chest were droopy and full of extra fabric. The solution I ended up with was to widen and then join the top and bottom darts, basically turning my darts into makeshift princess seams. But hey, it worked! The bodice fit was now very good!
I did not alter the back darts, since it was too difficult to see and pin out the excess on my own back, and anyway, I do need room to move! :D
The class has us draft sleeves, and although I did draft my own short sleeve, in the end I decided to make it sleeveless, and just finish the armholes with bias tape. A classic, sleeveless shift dress is something I did not own.
So, many hours of fitting, refitting, hemming and finishing later, here is my self drafted fitted dress.
From the front, I'm not loving it. I have always been pretty straight from my waist to my hips, and this just emphasizes my rectangle shape. From the side it looks good though! Maybe a belt would help define my waist more? I'll have to give that a try.
Also, for such an extremely simple looking dress, you would never know how many hours (and hours...and hours) I spent working on it. My initial reaction after just finishing this project is this: Drafting my own pattern was interesting and I learned a lot! But I did not really enjoy myself nearly as much as I do using commercial patterns. I felt too stressed the entire time. For now, I think I'll stick to commercial patterns, and work on more self drafted things further in the future....maybe.
Next up is a cropped jacket in a matching blue (Monaco blue for the Spring Pantone colors). A nice EASY pattern.
That may also help with some shape defining. Or make it worse! Geeze, I hope not, lol.