Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ochre Bruyère shirt

Yeah, so I couldn't wait more than an afternoon to begin on my second make of this gorgeous pattern...

It's relatively quick to make, just lots of steps, pressing, little pauses, and panics. The instructions are weird for a beginner, but I'm used to them now. They must be read carefully, no skipping! Important steps like sewing the side seams of the sleeves are 'hidden' by being the last sentence right before an attention-getting illustration. Anyways, it took me two evenings to complete it... with buttons! I cut this out at the largest size, 46, so that I'd have the ease missing from my just barely fitting poppy version. It fits much more loosely, but still nicely defines the waist.

Pattern: Bruyère from Deer & Doe
Fabric: Spirodraft voile in Ocre. Inspired purchase after seeing this lovely shirt on the Christina Haynes blog... it's a lovely soft, silky, buttery voile from Art Gallery Fabrics (Aside: Westminster also makes a lovely soft voile... most others are stiff or crisp. I love the soft ones!) 
Cutting & Size: 46 with FBA.
Constructions note:
Every seam is french seamed! Including the armscyes... not as hard as I thought it would be. The result is "impeccable" (as described in the instructions).
The fabric print is extremely forgiving of crooked top stitching. :)
I kept the box pleats stitched down a few inches from the waistband to avoid premature butt puff as with my other shirt. I think this works well for me. The waistband is a bit loose, I might try taking it in on the side seams, but only after wearing this for a day or two to get a real judgement on the fit.

Next one? I have a beautiful blue paisley print... 

I wore this for a day in the office. The fabric is so soft and wonderful but it is definitely too big. Maybe a 44 will be perfect!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Simplicity 2648 Sheath dress in B&W

I found a perfect pattern, Simplicity 2648; a simple sheath dress with princess seams and different  area sizing options. It's my second "amazing fit" pattern where the FBA is included as different cup size pattern pieces AND this one even has derrière size options (slim, average or curvy)!

I cut out the pieces during a sewing date with a friend on Saturday and did most of the sewing/basting and testing... and then I saw this blog post, about the same dress! It was inspiring, so gorgeous. I am using the pattern for a simple office sheath dress, but I think there are far more fun options for it in the future.

The fabric is my absolute favorite Vlisco wax print. I matched as much as possible, missing the front by a centimeter, but I do plan to wear a belt... so... (please excuse the dog, he is ready for his walk and not all this silly clothing photography)

Pattern: Simplicty 2648
Cut & Size: Size 16 top, with D cup variant, curvy size 16 waist graded to 22/24 by the bottom hem.

Construction notes:
Everything was a little large... probably due to my not reading the seam allowance instructions and assuming 5/8 inch. Whoopsy, but easy to fix. Making this very fitted pattern made me look and think about my actual shape more than I have in the past. My hips are not as large as I thought they were, instead the "issue" is my butt, which is huge, but not necessarily in a wide way.  I should be cutting a smaller size for at least 9 inches below the waist than I have been, grading out to the larger size in that distance. I was doing it in three to four inches which left weird puffs on my hips that I found had acceptable until now. No more!

Anyways, eventually I sewed the dress up per the directions as a basted test... with the side seams on the outside. The armholes gaped until I put in a zipper, pulling an extra inch in on the back pieces. I seem to have a small back? Then I did the full stitch without removing the basting lines until afterwards. I bound the seams with a self-made bias tape and eventually removed the basting threads which were bright red and blue, nice and easy to spot.
For the side seams, I spent a lot of time getting the hips to fit properly with basting stitches on the seams on the outside... Once it fit, I did the lazy thing and trimmed it, pressed it, and turned it inside as a french seam. :)

The inside is cool looking!

The hips are great, but I'm still slightly miffed by the butt... there are slight diagonal crease from the hips to the bottom of the zipper along the bottom of the darts. Is it the darts? Is it the hips? Is it the zipper? Will I make it worse if I try to fix it? I suspect the zipper/center line should be pulled slightly tighter from the waist until the apex of the extra fabric... and may experiment with that in the future. Maybe I'll google "swayback" and freak myself out.

Speaking of the zipper, I failed to read the instructions again... and assumed an invisible zipper... it should be lapped. Part of my future fiddling will be to redo the zipper.

I made facings even though I hate facings. If they survive the wash without flying out everywhere, they can stay. If there is the slightest problem with them, they are going to be replaced with a proper lining!

Poppy Bruyère shirt!

I was saving this gorgeous Liberty of London print for something special. It's called Hannah's poppy, in red... Then the Bruyère shirt from Deer & Doe came along and I knew I was ready!

Despite all the lessons I've learned in the past, and without regard for the preciousness of the fabric, I made the shirt without a muslin. What, why, stupid, stupid, stupid! I am stupid and impatient.

From other Deer & Doe patterns, I know that they are designed for a C cup, so I did add an inch FBA. For the bodice, I measured by my upper bust, cutting a 42 on top, grading out to 44 on the waist, and 46 to the bottom of the shirt. The result is a shirt that fits like a tight glove... without the flexibility... I am missing some ease that would be appreciated. The sleeves and back are very fitted, but I still get full arm rotation and rowing motion without pulling the shirt out of place.

Btw, the construction of the button placket is brilliant! It's a folded accordian with the collar and inner facing sandwiched in the folds... so I was able to get and extra centimeter or two of fabric in the front bodice by pinning the placket near the edge of the bodice front pieces. This final adjustment allowed me to pin the shirt shut without caving in my chest.

Luckily my fiddling paid off and now the shirt fits without popping buttons (not that I've installed buttons yet - I have to find the perfect set) if I wear one particular bra with smooshing magic. I'll have to forgo meals when wearing the shirt, and probably I ought to skip dinner/drinks the day before. :)

But it is so lovely!

Everything below the waist is perfect, no changes required, it fits well. I sewed the box pleats down a few inches, knowing that they'd pop open too much and I don't need to extra emphasis on my bum or stomach.  It looks cute on the on the pattern model, but for me I like less poofiness.

As it is, I love the way the "skirt" cups my lower body. It's so cute! What an awesome design!

I can't wait to make more, one size larger. (couldn't wait, here it is) :)

Updated photos with mother of pearl white buttons:
And my small gaping problem between the waist and bust buttons... The bodice is designed a little short, so the solution might be to elongate it. For now, I'm going to ignore the problem and enjoy my beautiful new shirt.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hide and seek tunic

 Pattern: Oliver + S Hide and Seek Tunic
Size: 4T (child sizes are a mystery)
Fabric: Art Gallery Jeweled Peony and a plain rayon challis

All seams are french seams except for sleeves. Welt pockets! Button hole disaster. Wondering how mixing cotton and rayon will work after a wash... Might have been better to put pretty print on the inset piece. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Moth Clover dress

The pattern is so fun, I had to make it in a favorite print fabric.

I made this last week in two lazy days. It could have been easily completed in one. :)

Pattern: Papercut Clover dress
Fabric: Sinister Swarm in Lurk, and plain black rayon challis
Size & Cut: Medium at the neckline, graded to large center bust to XL at hips, added extra .5 cm to all pieces to allow for 1.5 cm (5/8) seam allowance. Lengthened by 4 inches back and front.

First attempt here.

For this one, I bound the neckline and sleeves with bias tape, fully turned to the outside. All seams are french seamed. Hem is a folded narrow- not as straight as it should be but acceptable with the swingyness of the skirt. A belt is still absolutely necessary to reduce the muumuu look of the zipper-less raglan sleeve design.

Overall, the dress is a pleasure to wear, especially during the stubborn and awful heatwave of 90+ degree weather and beating sun. It's a really nice simple around the house pullover dress.

I love how chaotic this picture is... and I'm a bit disheveled from a cold...  I will figure out how to use the self-timer on my real camera sometime soon.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Floral clover dress

Another new dress!

I was very excited to see this pattern from Papercut Patterns. I've been curious to try a pattern from them but most of their other designs are not to my taste. However, the Clover dress is simple and lovely and I wasn't overly intimidated by the model with a waist smaller than one of my legs.

The dress runs to muumuu dimensions quickly, so a belt is definitely key to making this dress work!

There are instructions for making the tassel belt, but I skipped them. For the dress, I used a very nice light and flowing rayon challis. I suspect the drape is also key but I might try and make this out of a light cotton voile and see what happens...

As is, the skirt is very swingy and fun! I'm trying some twirling below to the confusion of my dog.

Pattern: Clover dress from PaperCut patterns
Fabric: Joann Fabrics rayon challis with navy rayon challis detail.
Cut & Size: Creative grading... Medium at the neckline and shoulders to L mid bust and XL at the hips. 
Notes: Pattern has only 1 cm seam allowance so I added 1 cm more when cutting... as consistently as possible. Flat fells seams at the bust detail, french seams elsewhere. Sleeves are not turned in, bias tape bound at cut edges.

Second version here: