Showing posts from 2016

A lovely Butterick 5243

I cut this lovely dress out over a year ago, and I had finally started sewing it in August, but I had to put it on hold because I was missing a couple pieces and then I was chosen to participate in the Fabricista Fashion Challenge 4.  This is as far as I got before I put it on the back burner.

The pattern is (OOP) Butterick 5243 and I picked view A with the lovely flutter sleeves.

The fabric is a Mustard/Brown/Teal/Multi Abstract Floral Jersey Knit that I bought from Fabric Mart in May of 2015.  The back of the fabric is soft and flannel like and I just love the way it feels, as well as how it looks.

We went to the Fremont Troll to take these photos because I thought it would be fun to start adding a little bit more of the Seattle experience to my blog.   Plus, we were headed to Fremont to go to our favorite conveyor belt sushi place for lunch anyway, so it was only a couple blocks out of our way.  Well, I forgot how popular the Troll is, so we took most of our photos in the area next to the troll since it was people free and there was a lovely green background.  We got some with the Troll in the background too, but it was near impossible to not have other people in the photos, so not many of those came out very well.  Oh well, interesting idea, but it didn't pan out like I'd hoped.

The photo above led to my favorite photo.  My daughter was my photographer and I was playing up the pinup girl feeling I have wearing this dress by lifting my skirt to show a little more leg and my daughter said "Oh, those gams!" and that made me laugh, which she captured so well.

I didn't make any alterations to the pattern, but I made one small change to the construction process.  When I went to add the waistband to the bodice, the front cross over was still all open.  So, instead of properly matching the notches to make the crossover, I wanted to make sure the bodice wasn't dangerously low and I could wear it without worry.  So, I tried it on and got the crossover the way I wanted it and basted that together.  Then, as I was attaching the waistband, I just gathered it at the underbust to make it fit.  So, I think I don't have quite as much gathered as the example photos because my front pieces overlap more than they are supposed to, but it fits perfect right now and shows just the right amount of cleavage.

I also hand sewed the neckline facing to the seam allowance of the yoke.  I used to hate hand sewing, but I totally didn't mind doing it the last couple times and I think it made the neckline turn out much nicer than if I'd tried to sew it down by machine.

Overall, I really am very pleased with how this dress turned out.  I do wish I'd gone with the long sleeve version, simply because both times I wore it, I was chilly and ended up wearing a jacket over it, so a lot of the nice details were hidden.

My daughter liked this photo because she said I was making the same face as the Troll.  It was not intentional on my part at all, but I can't help but agree with her!

A Painted Perry

When I made my camouflage Seamwork Perry, I liked it so much that I immediately cut out another one from a cotton Spandex knit from a previous Girl Charlee* knitfix fabric.

I couldn't do pattern matching when cutting the dress out, so I decided to just cut it out however I could then I used some Jacquard Textile Color* to paint colored stripes onto the fabric to try to mask the pattern mismatch.

I started painting the pieces way back in May.  I did some additional painting some time after that, but then I finally just finished it a couple days ago.  After it was all dried, I heat set it with the iron following the directions.

I cut bodice lining pieces from the same black cameo thermal knit fabric I used to line my Fabricista sweater dress.

I liked the elastic loop and button I used for the camo Perry, so I decided to do that again.  Since I planned this before sewing the dress together, I basted a loop of elastic that I'd colored with a blue Sharpie to the back bodice piece before sewing the shell and lining together at the neckline so that the raw ends are enclosed.  Then sewed on a blue button the finish the closure.

Also I couldn't find a couple pieces - the front pocket piece and the sleeve cuffs.  I swear I cut them out, but it's been so long and they aren't with the other pieces, so either I'm remembering wrong or they got lost.  So, I cut the missing pocket piece from that same black cameo knit and instead of replacing the sleeve cuff with a different fabric, I just hemmed the sleeve 1" to create a channel then cut pieces of 1/2" elastic and fed it through the channel.

I also sewed all of the vertical seams with 5/8" seam allowance instead of 3/8" to try to size the dress down a bit.

I'm not super happy with the fit of the waist elastic.  I followed the instructions and cut the elastic to my waist measurement minus 2".  But I must have stretched it out while installing it, because the waist doesn't have as much definition as my camo one.

There are a few spots where I missed fully applying the color.  When I started with the blue, I was trying to go for a hand painted look, so the missed spots were a feature.  But now that it's all put together, those spots are a little distracting to me.  Also, some of the coloring between the pieces don't quite match shades, or the color lines across the seams aren't exact.  So I may end up doing another pass of the painting.  Although, I am pretty happy with how it looks as is.

*affiliate link - I gotta try to help support my sewing habit somehow.

Named Olivia Jersey Wrap Dress

For the last 10 months I have been going to a bariatric clinic and lost 40 lbs with the intention of having weight loss surgery to help get the rest off.  I hit a small speed bump due to some rules of my insurance policy and I had to change clinics, which was a huge disappointment to me, but I did end up having a sleeve gastrectomy performed on Nov. 2.

Leading up to the surgery, I knew I wanted to make something to wear home from the hospital.  I have been wanting to try the Olivia Jersey Wrap Dress from Named Clothing since I acquired it as part of the Monthly Stitch's Chill Out IPM pattern bundle.  And I knew I was going to be sore, so I figured a wrap dress would be easy to put on, would be comfortable and still look stylish.

Looking at the measurements, my waist and hips fall into the size 20, but the bust measurement is 3 1/4" smaller than my bust size.  However, after cutting out the size 20 pieces and comparing the bodice to some of my other knit dresses that I know fit, I decided to not do an FBA.  Well, lo and behold, the dress fits perfect exactly the way it's drafted.

Well, did I say perfect?  It could actually use a sway back adjustment.  But that's about the only change I would consider doing.

It covers quite nicely.  I was assuming since I didn't do an FBA that I would be showing off a ton of cleavage, but nope.  The neckline doesn't gape at all and there is a large enough overlap that there is no chance of flashing. I definitely will be making more of these dresses, but I might not make the next one in this size.

The outside photos were taken today and the indoor photos were taken after I got it to a wearable state, the night before my surgery.  I hadn't sewn the facing down yet, so that's a little sloppy looking, but I did that today.  I wore my new dress home from the hospital yesterday and I got several compliments from the nurses at the hospital.  I was going to just say thanks and let it go, but my husband made a point of telling them that I made it.  Lol.

Oh, and the surgery went well and I'm feeling pretty good, although it hurts a lot to cough or get up from sitting or laying down, but a lot less after I've taken my lovely pain medication.  I took two weeks off work to recover and I have a few things I cut out some time ago that I plan on getting sewn up so I can wear them a bit before they are too large.

Fashionista Fashion Challenge wrap-up and other ramblings.

Wow, this post is more overdue than I realized!  The Fabric Mart Fashionista Fashion Challenge 4 is over and the winner was announced way back on Oct. 11.  Congratulations to the very lovely Tee from Maggie Elaine, who won with this gorgeous ensemble inspired by Dolce and Gabbana's Fall/Winter 2016 collection.

And congratulations to the other two finalists who also got nice prizes,  LaTonya from Sew So Petite and Elizabeth from Elizabeth Made This.

For those of you who weren't following along with the challenge on the Fabric Mart blog, I was eliminated in week 3.  I was bummed, of course, but my black peplum top was not my best work and it just photographed horribly.  I don't have any quibbles with the judges' comments, which I thought I would share:

 Gillian Conahan, the Editor in Chief of Vogue Patterns magazine
The tank and cardigan coordinate well with the skirt, fit and drape beautifully, and look very comfortable and wearable. They’re simple pieces, but well done, and they look great on you. It looks like the hems could have been a bit better stabilized to prevent tunneling, or the machine settings adjusted. 
Brave of you to work with such a tricky fabric for the other top! The fit looks pretty good, perhaps a bit snug across the shoulders in back. I'm not sure the satin fabric is the best choice for those gathers on the shoulders and sleeves - the stiffness makes them look a little messy, though the lighting is also extremely unforgiving. The lapels look like they need a little more pressing to make sure the edge is crisp and the seam rolls nicely to the underside, or maybe edgestitching if the fabric doesn't hold a crease well.
Penny Payne, the Fabric & Notions Editor for the McCall Pattern Company:
It was hard to see the details without some close-up photos…It seems like the colors probably match quite well to the plaid in the skirt.
Cardigan and Tank Top: One of these without the other would not have presented a finished look, so I am glad you made both! The swing jacket looks great on you. You should make this a staple in your wardrobe, in assorted colors. Quite polished. Satin 
Jacket-top: The satin seems soft and can be tough for even the most experience Seventh Avenue seamstress – without adding interlinings, get at least some crispness at the hems.
Julie from Fabric Mart
The cardigan and tank set look great. The fit is nicely done and drapes well too. I could see them worn together or separate and with the skirt or with other things you may have in your closet. Burgundy is so in right now, and you're all set! It's a bummer the lace top didn't work out. I would have loved to see it. The blazer was a good idea, but I don't think it turned out as well as it could have. I think some facings, interfacing, etc would have helped it, but the fabric was a tricky one. I think a different fabric would have worked a little better. It would be nice to see it in natural light since the shine in the photos brings more attention to the wrinkles. 

All in all, it was a really great (and stressful!) experience to be a participant in this challenge.  I definitely have a whole new respect for the designers on Project Runway who do so much more in much less time that I had.  And I was happy to actually get some sleep the weekend after my elimination.

I do plan to go back and revisit my trench coat.  I had to leave off the epaulettes and the cuff straps due to time restraints and I didn't top stitch the lapels at all and had to stop top stitching the belt because I ran out of the thread color I was using, which I have since re-aquired.  I also will add some frog closures and I've decided I would like to add a hem band of the blue sateen at the bottom to add a little length and balance out the blue at the collar/lapels.  I just have a few other projects that have higher priority at the moment.

I have barely been at my sewing machine since my elimination -- the only project I worked on was a Good-To-Go Messenger Bag from Two Pretty Poppets with my 8 year old neice, who was in town last weekend with her family visiting us.  Of course, I didn't even think to take photos, but we made the small version out of these fabrics she picked out at JoAnn.

I love her fabric selection and I love how the bag turned out.  It was a quick make, even spending a lot of extra time showing an 8 year old how to use a sewing machine.

My current project that I've only barely started is my Halloween costume.  I can't share my plans yet.  We have a themed decorating contest between the floors in our building and it's a carefully guarded secret what our theme is and I know at least one person from another floor who very well might read this blog. But I shared this photo on Instagram.

And after my Halloween costume is done, I'll be starting on a Named Olivia Jersey Wrap Dress, which I picked up as part of The Monthly Stitch's IPM Pattern Bundle 01.  I'm very excited to try out the pattern and I have a few slightly flawed knits I've picked up from Girl Charlee's bargain lots* to choose from as my (hopefully wearable) muslin.  I think I'm going to use this one.

Hopefully I'll get my costume completed in time for our contest on Friday and I'll be able to post about it next weekend.

*Disclaimer on Girl Charlee's "slightly flawed" lots -- I've purchased many of them because they are inexpensive fabrics that are often very pretty and only have slight flaws along the selvege or small things that can be cut around, so they are great for wearable muslins.  But I've had terrible luck with the woven bargain fabrics I've purchased and I've gotten a couple things that are completely unusable and all sales are final.

Fabricista Fashion Challenge #3 finished product!

The details of the 3rd challenge can be found here, along with the results of the second challenge (spoiler: I was safe.)  But basically we needed to pick something from our closet, home made or store bought, that doesn't get much wear and create two items to go with the chosen item.

I was very excited about this challenge.  I had a couple options for my garment to use, but I chose a red and black plaid pencil skirt that I bought a couple years ago at a thrift shop and have never worn. 

I knew right away that I wanted to do one red top and one black top to go with it.  My original plan for the red was a red lace top and a matching red tank to wear under it.  And I wanted the black top to be something a bit more structured with a fit and flare shape to it.  With that in mind, I drew up these sketches.  The body proportions in my sketches are still fairly off, but I am choosing to do full sketches instead of using croquis because I am actively trying to improve my skills.

For the red, I was planning on using two fabrics in my stash that were both purchased from Fabric Mart and still had the stickers on them.

I made the red tank top using the Love Notions Luna Loungewear pattern.  I don't typically do a real FBA on knit paterns, so I simply used the XXXL at the bust and blended down to the XL at the waist and hips.  It came together very nicely and pretty quickly and I love the fit.  I wear a lot of tanks around the house and under clothes, so this pattern is definitely a keeper.

For the lace top, I used the Seamwork Aberdeen, with the cut-on sleeves lengthened and then drafted my own bell cuff to the sleeve.  I don't have any photos of it, but I hated the way it looked.  I had such high hopes for the look because of my sketch, but my execution just didn't look good.  I loved the color of that tank top with the plaid skirt so I decided to scrap the lace and use the remaining yardage of the maroon knit for a Swoon Scarf neck cardigan.

I love, love, love this duo!  My daughter and I went down to the corner to the park for a photo shoot and I'm so pleased with how these photos turned out.

Technically, this is two items I made to go with my skirt, however, I will never wear either by itself, so I think of it as one as far as this challenge goes.

For the second item, I had a hard time finding a pattern that met the image I had in my head.  I considered drafting/draping something myself, but I have very little experience doing that and I was concerned that I wouldn't have enough time to work everything out and still get something completed by the deadline.  So I chose to modify the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress to be a peplum blouse.  I chose a black satin that is a little heavier because I thought it would lend a little extra structure to the top.

I had to do a 4" FBA on the largest size, size 20.  Other than that, I used the bodice as is and cut the skirt 6" long and shaped the front to be curved.  The back had two small pleats on the sides, but after we started trying to photograph this top, every little fold, pleat, ripple, etc. showed up magnified by 1000 and the back just looked extra messy in the photos, so I quickly re-did it to have a single pleat in the middle.

The after photo looks like there are folds radiating out from the pleat, but it really doesn't look like that in person.  In fact, here's a photo where I'm in the same pose and just had my hand on my hip and you can see how drastically different the back peplum looks.

  We were all amazed at how different this top looked in the photographs vs. how it looks in person.  If anyone has any tips on what we could have done differently, I'd LOVE to hear them.  Other than taking photos during the daylight, of course, which wasn't an option this time.

We took dozens and dozens of photos in various spots inside my house and even went outside to try by streetlight.  The street light photos turned out fairly interesting, but unfortunately it was still hard to see the top very well.  And I have some nice, glowing eyes that I don't know how to fix.  I guess I should really work on my photo editing skills!

I have some seriously stiff competition this week, so I'd really appreciate any and all votes so I can make it to the final round next week!  Go to this post on the Fabric Mart blog to see all the entries and use the "VOTE NOW!!" link at the bottom of the post, right above the comments, to choose your favorite.