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!