Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Teacher Dress

My family tells me that this is a great "teacher dress". I think it's a great dress...period! I love the fit and the style, and can see myself getting lots of use out of it, both in and out of school.

Inspiration: Stella McCartney "Ridley Stretch Cady" Dress, $885.

I first saw it worn by the Duchess of Cambridge at the Road to 2012 celebration, and admired the shape of the dress and darts on the outside. The pattern has sleeve options, but for this time I left them off.

Pattern: Butterick 5780

The darts on the skirt immediately reminded me of the McCartney dress, and I was really drawn to the unique shaping of the neckline.

Pattern Description: "MISSES'/MISSES' PETITE DRESS: Fitted dress (close-fitting through bust) has side front bodice extending into back collar, front pleated skirt, stitched hems and back zipper."

Pattern Sizing:6-22. There are NO finished garment measurements on the pattern (usually marked at the bust/waist/hips), so according to my measurements, it should've been pretty close. It was a smudge big, not too bad, though.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, exactly!!!

Were the instructions easy to follow?Butterick gives this pattern an EASY rating, but I disagree. The bodice construction isn't easy and the illustrations provided in the instructions aren't adequate. Go slowly and use the matching points (and logic) where you can, and it WILL be worth the effort! Start to finish (including cutting the pattern), it took me 4 hours to make this dress. Well worth it, in my opinion.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
LIKE: A sheath with style. It will be good in warm weather and (with a jacket) in cooler months. It was a welcome challenge, as my recent projects have been pretty easy.
DISLIKE: The instructions on the bodice assembly were quite lacking. It would've been nice if they had warned you when to finish the bottom edge of the facings (first thing right off the bat, in case you make it up yourself).

Fabric Used:2 yards of black RPL from the stash (Ressy's co-op). No lining, no interfacing. (I skipped the zipper, too. Shhh!)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: When I saw that it was a tiny bit big, I took in the side seams about 1/4" on both sides.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes and yes! I have some navy knit in the stash ready to go, and now that I've figured out the "origami" of the bodice construction, I can do it again, no problem! For others out there, please don't be intimidated by these reviews, just take our time, read the instructions and pin in the obvious places... It is worth the effort and time!

Conclusion: I'm looking forward to making this pattern up again, now that I've figured out the construction of the bodice and love the way it looks!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Vogue 1299

Vogue 1299

Inspired by a photo of Jaime King, wearing the "Ashanti" dress by Joie,$268.
I spotted this in "People Magazine" after finding the fabric on the Mood website, and knew it was the look I was after.

Fabric from Mood:

Rose Floral Double-Sided Poly-Cotton, 56"wide. 2 yards.
(Lining: Beige Anti-static from Joann's, 58" wide, 1.5 yards)

Pattern Description: "Pullover dress has tie/loop, flounces (wrong side may show), loose-fitting bodice, side pockets, thread carriers and very narrow hems. Elasticized upper edge/waist and belt."

Pattern Sizing: 4-20. I made the 12 according to the finished garment measurements on the pattern. I wanted it to slide over my hips easily, but without too much extra fabric to gather at the waist.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? For the most part, aside from the change of shoulder straps, RTW belt, and slight change in length.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, but since I needed to line it, I strayed from the instructions quite a bit.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I chose it because it allowed me to use both sides of the fabric and strongly resembled the magazine picture I admired.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
1. Shortened the hem by 6".
2. Used 2 shoulder straps.
3. Inserted a lining.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would recommend it, it's a great sundress and easy enough to make. I don't really want/need another in my closet right now, but I'll tuck it away for the future.

Conclusion: On a scale from 1-10, I'd give it a 7. It's a great sundress, but I'm not crazy about the waist gathers. It's a little short-waisted, but I think it will get lots of wear.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mad for Madras!

McCall's 5574, view C

I bought this pattern last summer, and bought the fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics this spring. Little Miss just turned 9, and I finally found my sewing mojo, so I made her a sundress. The prom dresses used up all my go-go juice, so yes... I've been MIA. But, this little number was a huge hit, so I'll definitely make another.

I used every last inch of the yard that I had, and used some batiste to line the bodice, along with some ribbon for the neck tie.

A thin band of elastic keeps the back up and I eliminated the waist ties. First, long skinny tubes are a PITA to make. Secondly, they just get in the way. Third, Little Miss always either needs help tying them or they just come undone. So, I skipped 'EM!

I've been busy enjoying my summer vacation, doing lots of camping and swimming and reading. James Patterson (Women's Murder Club) and Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum series) are my kind of summer time books. Not exactly life-changing and thought-provoking, but I get enough of that Sept-Jun, you know?