Showing posts from June, 2016

Two pairs of Winslow Culottes!

I've been longing after the Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes ever since I laid eyes on this photo:

Just look how they appear to be a short and sassy skirt!  But no, they are actually shorts!  But, alas, the pattern doesn't go up to my size and the amount of grading I'd have to do to get them to fit gives me a headache just thinking about it.  And none of the other culottes patterns that I found held my interest nearly as much.  Until Helen from Helen's Closet put out a call for testers for the Winslow Culottes.  Just look at this lovely illustration. 

I applied immediately, hoping I would get chosen.  And luckily enough I was!!  In her initial email message to me, Helen mentioned that I was slightly outside of the size range but that she would be interested in seeing how they worked graded up.
For my first pair, I decided to use this triple georgette fabric that has been in my stash for quite a while.  

This is a fabric that I was a little disappointed in once it arrived because I thought the color was going to be a little more toward sage green than the camel color it actually is.  But it'll work perfect for using for a wearable muslin -- no real heartbreak if it doesn't work out, but a very lovely pair of culottes if it does.

Once I sat there looking at the printed and taped pattern trying to decide whether to grade the pattern up or use as is, I decided to just cut a straight size 20, since my body size is reducing and I could squeeze all the "fluff" in my waist to make my measuring tape read 38", which is the only measurement that really matters with these.  I'm glad I did because by the time I finished sewing and took these photos, my measurements were actually right at the size 20.  These are view B and the only pattern alteration I did to this pair was to lengthen them about 2", since the pattern is drafted for someone 5'6" and I'm 5'8" with long legs.

When I first sewed them up, there was some pulling in the tummy/crotch area.  I knew this wasn't because of the pattern, though, because by the time I made mine, several other testers had already posted photos to our group and no one else had that problem.  Turns out, my big tummy needs a special adjustment.   I'm new to making separates, so I wasn't already versed on what kinds of adjustments I need.  To try to fix this pair, since they were already cut, I went back and reduced the crotch seam allowance as much as possible from right below the front waistband to an inch or so below the back zipper.  This ended up adding about 1/2" width right at the seam and made the crotch not pull quite as bad.

I'm fairly satisfied with this pair and my only complaints are about my fabric choice and the fact that I still don't love the fit at the center front/crotch area.

For my second pair, I used an inexpensive (since this pair was still in muslin territory) navy linen/rayon blend from Morex Fabrics to make view A.  I did a full tummy adjustment as shown in this tutorial from Colette.  I also lengthened them a bit, but I free handed how much I lengthened them based on the way they were on my cutting mat, so I'm not sure how much I lengthened them.  I'd guess about an inch and a half or so.

I love how these turned out and I've already worn them a couple of times.  The full tummy adjustment did wonders for how they fall in the front.

They really do look like a cute little skirt and when I've worn them, people have been surprised to find out they are actually shorts.  

I didn't get any good photos of the back of the blue pair.  This one was the best and I had to mess with the color and brightness quite a bit to make it not look just like a dark blue blob.  I definitely need more experience in photo editing!

I love this pattern and I think view A is more my style, so I'll probably make a few more pairs in the next couple months.  And I already have some ideas about some hacks to try.  But I know at some point I'm going to just have to make view D -- the palazzo pants version.

Here's a photo I took myself in the hallway outside of my sewing room right after I finished them.  I like the way they look from the side -- I think they actually make me look thinner here!

And finally, here's a bad work bathroom selfie from the day I wore them to work.  You can see how much this fabric wrinkles from sitting at my desk all day.  

Helen just released the Winslow Culottes today and the pattern is 20% off for the next 7 days!  The released pattern has very few changes from the tester version and the changes are just in the instructions and notch placements in the waistband.  Go rush out and pick up this lovely pattern while it's on sale!!

*Disclaimer: I received this pattern for free in return for testing the pattern and giving fit and construction feedback.  All opinions are completely my own. 

Perry Camo

My current favorite dress is one that I made out of slightly flawed camo fabric that I got in a bargain bundle from Girl Charlee.  I wanted to try out the Seamwork Perry, but I wanted to use my inexpensive fabric that I didn't care about, in case it didn't turn out.  It turns out that this dress is just darling and I love the fabric choice!

I don't think I ever would have paid full price for camouflage fabric, but I just love the way it looks as a dress.  And I've gotten several compliments on it the few times I've worn it so far.

The fabric is fairly on the thin side, so I lined the bodice with the same burnout knit I used to line my velour Skater Anna, just to give it some extra coverage so my bra doesn't show through.

I love the sleeve detail.  At first, I thought I might have made a mistake cutting out the band because the it was way shorter than the end of the sleeve, but I just stretched that band extra hard as I sewed it on and now the sleeve has this lovely little poof at the end that I think is just cute as can be.

The back called for a hook and an eye to close the keyhole opening, but I thought it would be cute to use a button and a loop of elastic.  As it turns out, the neckline is well big enough that I don't ever have to undo the button, but it is functional just the same.  I found a green button that matched perfectly in my stash and I used a bit of white elastic cord and used a black sharpie to make it match.

 I then took the ends of the cut elastic cord and used my 3 step zigzag stitch and stitched them together side, but side, into a loop.  Then I hand stitched that to the back opening, making sure to make the stitches on top of the (crooked) top stitching so they don't show too much.

Here's what it looks like closed up.

And here is how it actually looks on me.

The shoulders are cut a little narrow and the sleeve head comes way up onto my shoulder, so I widened the shoulders on my pattern a bit so that hopefully next time they will look a little better.

And here's a photo of my Perry on my dress form.

This was a quick make, even though I didn't quite take the 2 hours the pattern says it'll take because I lined the bodice and fooled around adding the button and loop detail and also just because I'm a bit of a slow sewist.  But I have already cut out my next one and plan to make a few more.

My new rhythm dress!

This post has been a long time coming.  I mentioned a few times in the past that I wanted to put together a rhythm dress.  Well, I put one together and wore it to my last dance competition.

This project all started with a dress made from a gorgeous purple slinky knit that I found in a thrift shop in Laguna Beach for $5.

Then I cut the bottom of the dress off asymmetrically.

I purchased some 6" lilac chainette fringe.  I sewed a row on upside down about 1/2" from the cut edge along the bottom edge of the dress with a zigzag stitch, right sides together.

I turned the edge under under to create the hem and then sewed a second row of the fringe just above the hemline, but close enough that I caught the turned up edge of the dress hold it in place.

So I ended up with two rows of fringe along the bottom of the dress, so it looks nice and full.

The fringe doesn't stretch, so I was a bit concerned that the stitching might end up popping, but that part of the dress doesn't end up getting stretched out and since it's applied on an angle, there hasn't been a problem yet.

For this to be a "proper" dance dress, it needs to have a built-in leotard.  In comes Jalie Bella fit and flare dress pattern.  The dress in this pattern is basically the same as the one I purchased -- an armhole princess seamed fit and flare dress, but it has an optional leotard underneath.

I made what was basically a muslin of the leotard in a blue nylon/lycra activewear knit that I had in my stash.  According to the pattern measurements, I needed to add 2" to the length and that was the only alteration I did to the pattern.  It fit perfectly, so I made it again in this swimwear knit that I purchased from Pacific Fabrics because it matched both the purple of the dress body and the lilac of the fringe.  I used the blue muslin leotard as a lining to this leotard.

After trying them on together to see how it looked, I decided that I would like to open up the neckline  more and make the purple dress sit off my shoulders and show off a little skin and a little more of the leotard fabric.

I also have discovered that, even though these dresses have a lot of stretch in them, I don't want to pull them up over my head because I'll end up messing up my hair and makeup that I sat and had done so beautifully by the wonderful professionals at these events.  I designed my green Modern Nature smooth dance dress to pull on like a swimsuit, but the neckline ended up getting pretty stretched out after I decorated it with the rhinestones and pull it on that way a dozen or so times.  So I've decided that I need to add zippers to my ballroom dresses from now on.  So, I ripped open the back seam of the dress and added an invisible zipper.  The dress and the leotard are joined at the zipper and I also sewed them together along the front where the purple dress comes straight across the front of the leotard.

Here's a photo of me and my instructor Yaunique at the Portland DanceORama.

And here are a few action shots that the professional photographers at Maude Productions took at the Portland DanceORama

I have purchased some rhinestones and plan on decorating my new rhythm dress soon.  I really like the way it looks now and I'm a little afraid that adding the rhinestones will detract from the simple beauty of the dress.  But I also really want a super sparkly dress to wear too!

Edit 6/21:  I forgot to add a link to one of my dance videos so you could see the dress in action.  I have a few videos in this dress that you can see on my YouTube channel, but the Bolero is the only rhythm dance we actually have choreography for and the other Bolero video is to a cover of the M.I.A song Paper Planes, which just felt strange to dance to, even though Yaunique did actually remember to do the dip in that one.  :)

MMM 16 wrap up

I'm a little late on this post.  This past week+ has been hectic and I haven't had time for nearly all the things I had hoped to do.  But better late than never.

First, I have one more outfit to show.  I didn't leave the house or get dressed either the 29th or the 30th, so I only have the one bad work bathroom selfie for the 31st to close out Me Made May '16.

Tuesday, May 31

This is the Rose Red Lady Skater that I made during MMM.

Lessons Learned 

  • I really do like to make (and wear) dresses, mostly knits.  I work in an industry where I can wear jeans/shorts and tees everyday, and I did for many years.  But last year, at my previous job, I started wearing one or two of the dresses I made to work each week.  When I quit my job last summer, I had a lot of free time to sew and by the time I started my new job in September, I had enough dresses to wear them almost every day.  Knit dresses are comfortable to wear and I feel like they look better on my shape than jeans and tees.
  • I need cardigans and leggings!  When the weather is a little cooler, I find I need to reach for RTW leggings and sweaters, so I need to start making some of those to help fill out my wardrobe.
  • I find it difficult to tell people I made my outfit.  There are some people at work, specifically the ladies in my weight watchers group, who know I make a lot of my own clothes and will usually ask me, "did you make that?"  But when I get a random compliment about what I'm wearing, I usually just say, "Thanks."  I wonder if I should say that I made it and if my husband is with me, he'll brag on me that way.  Do other people have that internal conflict when they get a compliment on a me-made item?

Wrap Up

I'm really glad I participated in Me Made May '16.  And I actually met my goal.  I even had a few more options that I could have worn if I hadn't been so lazy on the weekends.  That actually surprised me.  I'll definitely be planning on participating next year too!