Friday, October 31, 2014

Timeless daywear Hawthorn

I signed up for the Vlisco newsletter so I can see when they offer sales and deals (every few weeks or so) that I cannot resist... During the last deal, I bought the fabric the model is wearing in this photo:

Gorgeous, right? The shirt dress is lovely and they are trying to frame it as "timeless daywear" which is what I could use more of... so I made it into a Hawthorn. I'm no model, so... of course, I did not expect to look just like the woman in the ad, but I did expect the print to look awesome. Well, it does but I feel a bit conspicuous. I'm not sure I can wear this around timelessly, during my everyday activities like walking the dog, or shopping at trader joes. What do you think? Maybe I need a fancy interior as background. :)

Pattern: Hawthorn by Colette Patterns
Fabric: Vlisco wax print
Cut & Size: 12 bodice with added FBA bust dart, 12-18 skirt

I'm not sure if my FBA was messed up or if I just have a peculiarly short torso, but I had to cut two inches off the bottom of the front bodice and 1.5 off the back.  I tried on my first Hawthorn and can now see similar issues that I was previously able to disregard (getting better at sewing means ones standards are constantly being raised along with skill!) Anyways, it fits now, still a little loose at the waist, but that is probably for the best to insure that no buttons pop. I might take in the side seams at some point.

I added a few inches to the length of the skirt all around and sewed down the horrible facings as much as possible. I must remember for next time that the facings on the back neckline are nasty and awful and must be replaced with bias tape.

All seams are flatfelled including armscyes. Extra pressing helps! Oh and pockets!

Dog shot:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Anna in wax print

Success! I made a perfectly fitted Anna dress- it's my fourth try with the bodice and it fits just right!

The only exception to the perfect fit is due to my choice to put a clunky zipper on the outside of the dress.

I thought this would be "fun"

But it turns out to be a little bumpy... maybe the outside zipper should be used on less fitted garments. At least it's easy to replace!

The back looks good on a hanger!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Night trees 1940's tea dress

I love this pattern! This is my second version (first here)... I will be making even more. :) There's just something about the vintage look and simplicity that appeals to me... and it looks good in a modern fabric!

Pattern: Sew Over It 1940's tea dress
Fabric: Night Trees border print from Smugglers Daughter
Cut & Size: 14 Bodice with 1 inch FBA, to 16 waist and 18 hips and lower edge + 5 inches length. 1 inch off bodice length all around.
I shrunk the FBA of the first dress by about half an inch, and distributed the bust gathers more evenly. This is a much better fit for my bust. Also, I shortened the whole bodice by about an inch... I think there is more work to do with my swayback but it's okay for now.

Oh, and I might make the sleeve poofs a little less poofy in the future. 

The pieces are cut with the border print in mind. There's black on the sleeve cuffs, bottom hem and back zipper area. I hand stitched the zipper into place after three(!!) bad machine insertion attempts. The stretchiness of the fabric did not work well with my auto-tension/ zipper foot.

Also, all seams are finished with my new serger!! Super cool and fun to use. :)

Trying to keep my dog's attention below:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Star Sureau

I've had this pattern for months... now that it's supposed to be fall weather, I finally got around to making it.

Below is a photo of the dress without adjustments or buttons (and a critical dog in the background).
There are some neckline gaping problems... After fiddling with the pooled fabric in the neckline, I put it under control by redoing the angle of the shoulder seams while pinching out an extra inch of the bodice front, AND angling in the bodice front in by 1/2 inch on the button placket. Very proud of myself.

Fixed with buttons below!

Pattern: Sureau from Deer & Doe
Fabric: Wax printed Cotton Stars from Vlisco
Size & Cutting: Bodice, 44 + a small FBA based on this tutorial. Waist and skirt cut out at 44, graded to 46 hips. 5 inches added to skirt length. (It ended up a little big, 42 bodice and 44 straight through might work best.)
Most seams are flat felled. The cotton is a little stiff so the gathers look more puffy than I'd like. My main problem was the gapey neckline but as I said,  I fixed the shoulder seams and marked the pattern piece for the future.

The print is rather loud... I have seen a few cute dresses made of similar fabric which inspired me... they didn't seem as loud...  Oh well. Colors are nice!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Quilting? Sure...

My scrap bin is out of control so I made a pillow with a quilted cover.

Fun. It's far more symmetrical than I planned... but just as tedious to do as expected. Yet, it was also oddly satisfying. Pillows.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Floral 1940's Tea dress

In anticipation of a coming autumn/winter, (ha ha, it's going to be over 90 again this weekend), I have been purchasing and making longer sleeve patterns.

The Sew Over It 1940's Tea Dress was next on my list!

This tea dress is so lovely, I might drink tea despite the heat.

I love the vintage style! The sleeves and cuffs are very flattering. The crisp cotton lawn I used is very light and floaty so the skirt hangs just right. The bosom is over-emphasized with the gathers, but whatever, if you've got way too much of it, flaunt it anyways, right? I hope so.

Pattern: 1940's Tea dress, Sew Over It
Fabric: Liberty of London stretch cotton, navy cotton voile cuffs.
Size & Cut: Bodice size 14 with 1.5" FBA, 16 waist and graded out to 18 at the hips.

Five inches added to the skirt length. All seams are french seamed, had to take in an extra inch on both sides zipper seams... the whole back was too big... and the FBA could with be smaller, or pulled tighter. It could be the styling, the gathers do puff out a little on the sides. Maybe the gathers should be pulled more toward the center... But I'm going to wear this dress all the time anyways. I love it! 

I used this wonderful tutorial to do the FBA. The neckline is raised in the center "V" to keep coverage modest even as the gathers draw in attention. I added four buttons instead of three because I had four buttons. It looks good to me!

I plan to make more versions of this dress, hopefully I can find a nice swingy wool blend!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Butterfly Bodice & Flora Skirt

My latest creation is a Butterfly dress with a fitted princess seamed bodice and a full, fluffy skirt- just in time for another SoCal heat wave...

The inspiration was the fabric print... it's a gorgeous Stenzo poplin from L'oiseau (no longer available). It's a nice smooth and strong cotton weave, with a better drape than quilting cotton but more body than voile or lawn. Now I have something to wear to the monarch butterfly groves this fall when they start to migrate for winter. Maybe one will land on me! :)

The bodice fits like a glove!

Pattern(s):The bodice is from the Butterick B5984 (which includes separate cup sizes), without the collar. The skirt is the By Hand London Flora skirt with added in seam pockets.
Cutting & Size: Bodice modified 16 with D-Cup piece. Skirt is modified 16 graded out.
Fabric: Stenzo poplin


For the bodice, I copied it out to swedish tracing paper and made a bodice muslin with a zipper. Then I pinned and sewed in all the changes I needed; narrowing the waist and underbust, larger seam allowances in the back to bring it in, etc. After that, I transferred all the changes to the pattern pieces, redrawing the ones that had the most alterations. Somehow, this tedious exacting process worked. :) Now, I can reuse this pattern for many things! So exciting.

When I bought the pattern with the bodice, I was hoping to make the full skirted dress version... but it requires 5 yards of 60" wide fabric!! The Stenzo poplin is wide but not that wide so I used my favorite Flora pattern skirt instead. The lovely butterfly fabric was just slightly too narrow by only a few inches so I had to hack in triangle wedges at the corner seams. Luckily it fits right in with the pattern. I guess I could have found a nice matching/contrasting fabric and added a border instead, but after my fussing with the bodice, I grew lazy with the skirt. 

Oh, and I made a full lining with a simple white rayon which is very nice against the skin.