Friday, July 24, 2015

Faux Liberty Blouse

I'll be perfectly honest: I love the look of Liberty fabrics, but not the price. When I came across this cotton print in a local shop this spring (as they were going out of business), I grabbed enough of it to make myself a pretty top.

Vogue 8747 (OOP)

This is my second time making up this pattern. I just love the way the center front curves slightly at the neckline and the gathers in the button placket.

There's really not much to tell you, as the pattern is very well drafted and illustrated. It didn't take me long to make, as I'd work on it here and there over the course of a few days. No hiccups, no problems, just a nice, easy, calm, stress-free, quick garment!

The finest details of the fabric is tough to see in the pictures, but there is a soft background wide stripe of seafoam green, and the print is a "contemporary" paisley, with soft pink accents. It's just lovely. The color scheme, the print, the weight... I think it reads very "feminine" and I really think it will be a nice addition to my closet.
You can kind of see the soft wide stripes here...
The neckline is perfect for a pretty necklace charm.
I'm working on cleaning up the UFOs in the sewing room, I've got two more patterns that are completely cut and ready to sew: a Vogue skirt and a dress. Summer is flying by too quickly!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Vogue 1302: Little Black Lace Dress

Vogue 1302
Kay Unger with lots of ruching
My pattern review is here.

With a wedding to attend, and no little black dress in my closet, I thought it would be a good project. I managed to have EVERYTHING on hand in my stash already: lace, charmeuse, lining, zipper, and thread! There was only 1 other review I could find on this pattern, and it warned of the multiple layers of fabrics being heavy to wear... so the lace and charmeuse made a lot of sense to me. In hindsight, I'm afraid that the nature of the lace is not ruching-friendly, and maybe I'd have had more luck getting the gathers to lay correctly if I'd used a chiffon?

As I started construction, I hand gathered the lace over the 4 side panels of the dress (2 front and 2 back) which didn't take nearly as long as I expected. As I approached the draped and gathered lace pieces of the bodice, I was careful to first attach the flat edges of lace to the under layer of charmeuse, which made the gathering and attachment of the remaining edges much less confusing. My new Baby Lock Imagine serger was absolutely amazing going from lace to charmeuse, over gathers and switching between single layers and multiple layers with gathering. It was the absolute best investment in the sewing room, next to my Baby Lock Jane straight stitch machine!

One it was all together, I did NOT like the way the lace was poofing across some of the gathers, but a little time spent distributing the ruching and pinning and hand-tacking made for a much better looking bodice.
 You can see how I placed the pattern so the hem would fall along the scallop edge of the lace. Other than taking it in a pinch in the waist at the side seams, I made no alterations (and from all the corners and angles, I'm not sure it would've been possible to anyway).

I'm very happy with the final product. It's a great addition to my closet for special occasions, and was actually very comfortable in weight considering the heat index yesterday was 100 degreees! I'd definitely recommend this pattern, just be sure to select appropriate fabrics and have the patience to work with lots and lots of gathering!
A little selfie at the table with my honey.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mini Winter Wardrobe

Funny how projects find their beginnings... this set started out back in the fall when I happened to catch "Good Morning America" the day after "Dancing With the Stars" ended, and I really loved the look of this monochromatic sweater skirt set that Whitney was wearing.
I knew the crop top was out of the question, but I loved the overall look. So, when I was at Haberman Fabrics, I looked for a sweater knit and coordinated faux leather. I found a lovely combo in a deep purple/burgundy, along with a coordinating plaid wool. While I didn't know what I would do with the wool, I knew it had to come home with me!  Looking through Pinterest for ideas, I stumbled across this image and thought, "Damn. Gotta have it."

Skirt: Vogue 8750

Talk about easy, this skirt went together very quickly. Well drafted, the style lines are fantastic and perfect for leather. I used a teflon foot and leather needle for construction, and my only complaint is that I'll need to go back and line it, as the faux leather is quite "noisy" when I walk?! Sorry about the shadows in the pics that are hiding the seamlines, It's tough with the contrast of the snow!

Sweater: Burda 6990
This sweater knit had a really neat woven pattern to it, but it also had WAY more stretch than necessary! At the time I was sewing this, Kyle was using the same knit (but in ivory) for a Renfrew sweater (which made the project like a mini sew along). Anyhow, the Burda pattern has this HUGE cowl, which can be worn down around the shoulders, or loose around the neck. Super comfy sweater, I'll definitely make it up again, but do view A next time (no cowl).

Back to the Bomber jacket...
McCalls 7100

I liked the style of the pockets on view A best, so I proceeded, cutting a size Medium (which fits pretty perfectly), but added 2" to the length at the hem. Even though the pattern doesn't call for a lining, I dug around in the stash and pulled out some black poly lining to protect the wool (and my skin).

I cut the pockets out of the lining fabric and skipped the front facing, since I added the lining anyway. I needed a 22" separating zipper (since I added some length), and the rib knit is bamboo, also from Haberman's.

I'll be honest, the pattern illustrations are a little wacky, it took me a few minutes of studying to figure out the pockets and if you don't line it, the facing and bottom ribbing installation looks a little strange.  But, now that I've been through it once, I'll definitely be using this pattern again, it's really pretty perfect! The wool is substantial, thick enough to be really cozy and I wasn't even cold taking these pictures. I'm really glad that I added the 2" to the hem, I think it will rest in a better spot in the back, especially when I sit.

Sorry for the super long post, but there was lots to share! Pretty proud of myself for turning all that fabric over in less than 6 months! I really feel compelled to keep moving on the rotation of fabrics and patterns, as it doesn't do me any good sitting on the shelf! I'd rather have it hanging in my closet!!!

Friday, February 20, 2015


Sewing with a plan. Yup, I definitely need a plan.
Between a stop at Joann's and today's mail delivery, I'd better get my plan in order!

After spotting Taylor Swift in this Oscar de la Renta dress on Pinterest, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Found a link to the original ($2590), which only fanned the flames more! The blue graphic print is a poly charmeuse roll end (1 3/8 yd) and the coordinating navy solid is 1 yd of RPL, both from Emma One Sock.  The pattern is Vogue 8667, view E. Even though it was on sale, it seemed silly to pay for shipping a single pattern, so I also ordered Vogue 9077 & 1440, and McCalls 7091.
9077 (denim), 1440 (white blouse), 7091 (for my girl)

This morning I needed to pick up 2 zippers at Joann Fabrics, but of course, I left with more than that!
Buttericks were 3 for $5 and these 2 knits were too pretty (and on sale) to pass up!

Butterick 6054 is for the McCall's Wrap Dress Sew Along and the blue fabric pictured will be used (I think I have an addiction to blue fabrics lately). The colorful print is a beautiful spandex knit that will either become McCalls 7046 or Butterick 6166.

So, I'm putting myself on a fabric and pattern diet until I finish some of these garments! 3 dresses doesn't seem so impossible, and I'd really love to make Little Miss (not so little anymore, though) a couple of things, too. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Red Hot Valentine!

When I last posted... this dress was sketched out, but need to be muslined.

Turned out that those little pleats on the skirt just weren't right for me. The skirt profile was not as flattering as I'd like, so after some advice from sewing friends, I switched it out for a plain flat front skirt, and was so much happier!  The muslin was also a chance for me to audition the sleeve options, and I definitely preferred the pleated band as opposed to the short sleeve, so my plan of action was ready to be executed!

Butterick 6129: Off the shoulder pleated bands.
Butterick 5814: Surplice wrap bodice (front and back, and skirt back).
Butterick 5947: Straight skirt (front only).
  • I wanted the bodice side pleats to extend into the side seam, so I had to add some space into the bodice front pattern piece, and reshape the curve.
  • I used only the skirt back of 5814 so that the back darts would match the bodice back darts.
  • I eliminated the bottom pleat of the arm band, as I felt it was more visually pleasing with 3 pleats instead of 4. I simply folded the extra fabric up into the inside, which finished the inside of the band quite nicely.
The fabric is silk taffeta from Haberman Fabrics, here in Michigan. Love that store!!! Actually, everything (lining, zipper, thread, rigilene boning, horsehair braid) all came from Haberman's. I caught the silk on sale, and while taffeta wasn't my first choice, it's amazing how the underlining changes the drape! I had some red silk organza in the stash for a different project, so I used that to underline the skirt. I wanted more structure in the top for the rigilene, though, so I used some cotton for the bodice underlining.

Getting the proper order of construction together was my greatest challenge, so I just went slow and thought things out before stitching anything down. I placed the rigilene along both side seams, in a line up to the armhole "peak" of the front and also on the back. 2 yards of rigilene was pretty much what I used. I also bought 2 yards of horsehair braid to stitch along the top bodice lining edge for added stability. I used Gertie's blog post about it, and it worked beautifully. The most important thing to do with the Rigilene is to wrap the ends, or the plastic with rub through the lining and scratch you all night. 

 I knew the lining would hide the underlining (striped cotton), so I didn't worry too much about that. If I had to do over again, I would've used the pattern pieces for the lining (darts) rather that making extra layers with side pleats, but with all the other changes I made, it was easier to just stick with what was working.

At this point, I was over the moon. Overjoyed that my vision had (mostly) become a reality, and I was thrilled.

I forgot to photograph the back, sorry! Just an invisible zipper back there anyway! I was really pleased with the how well the inner structure of the bodice behaved, there was no gaping open, it fit my body closely and kept everything concealed (the way it should)!

My fear was that the arm bands would be restricting, but they really weren't, I had no trouble on the dance floor at all! ;)
We had a wonderful time helping to raise money for the Great Lakes Burn Camp and we look forward to attending again next year!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Valentine's Dress

DH and I are going to a dinner dance fundraiser for Valentine's and I'm so excited to make myself something fancy for once!

The Fashionary sketchbook was a Christmas gift this year, and I'm loving it! I can't draw to save my life, but I can connect the dots... each page has 3 silhouettes, very faint and dotted silhouettes and you just have to draw the style lines on the figure! I found it on the Mood website and am so glad to have this new resource in the tool kit! I took it with me to Haberman's this weekend and it was so nice to have a hard copy of my "vision", along with my shopping list of yardage and notions.

The dress is a composite of 3 different Butterick patterns... the skirt from one, the bodice from another and the sleeve from the last. But, it won't be as easy as it sounds since 1) I need to grade the sizing up and 2) I want the bodice pleats to end at the side seam.

The skirt will be the straight skirt from 6019 (the easy part), with the surplice bodice of 5814, but I'd rather have the complete off the shoulder look of 6129 (just can't talk myself into the easy route). Haberman's was having a silk demo and sale Saturday (my birthday!), so I grabbed some classic red silk taffeta to come home with me. If I was more brave, I'd have bought charmeuse, but it's one of those fabrics that I "love the idea of", but working with it frustrates me (even after paying close attention during the demo class)!

I've already traced off the pattern and re-graded for my size (and added 1" length to the bodice), but all those changes make me nervous, even though I'm going to do a muslin and there's nothing to be afraid of. Out came the pattern drafting reference books and I'm quite tempted to just start from scratch.

Since I already have it all traced off and ready to go, I'm going to attempt to "frankenpattern" the bodice first and if it's awful, I'll make my first ever attempt at pattern drafting! Is it weird that I kind of hope it is awful so that I'm forced to take this first step toward gaining a new skill that I've always wanted? I'll keep you posted (sooner than my last post, sorry)!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Progress in Organization

  Before and After

So much better!!!
I still need to make the ironing board and make the base with casters, but so far... I am in love! DH came up with a possible tank holder fix, too... So stay tuned!

The blue bridesmaid dress in the picture is one of two that are in for altering. The hems are both done and one needed taking in, so that's out of the way. Left to do is stitching on the straps that the bride wanted everyone to add to their gowns. Everyone had to pay the dress shop an extra $15 for these lovelies...
Can you believe it?!?! I was in shock when the customer handed me these. I couldn't hide the look of disbelief on my face, and she admitted that they don't look right. She pulled out the pair for her daughter's dress to compare and they are not only as poorly made, they are even wider?!?! Oh, and the shop only gave her daughter one strap, they shorted her a strap!  I told her that I wouldn't want them looking different from the other girls, so I won't re-do them, but I will adjust her daughters to be the same width and I'll make another to match!  

Have you ever seen anything like this before???