Showing posts from 2019

Burbank Mesa

Back in October 2018, I was asked to go to Burbank for a meeting for work.  This meeting was going to be with some VPs of a big, sexy Hollywood company.  So, I needed a new dress to wear!  I looked through my stash and found a fabric that had some of the colors from the Pantone list of colors for Fall 2018, because in my mind, I wanted to try to be a fashionista as possible.  lol

So, I picked this double knit fabric that had several of the colors in there. (The white line running down the middle is the selvage folded to the middle.)  This all came up fast, so I needed a TNT pattern, so, of course, enter the Seamwork Mesa.

I had been experimenting with higher necklines, so I wanted to go with a boatneck.  I had done a couple free-handed with my rotary cutter, but I decided I should try to actually create a little add-on pattern piece so I could recreate the look easily in the future.  Here's my front bodice piece with my add-on layered on top.  I traced some key markings from the pattern below to make lining it up perfectly easier.

I wanted that neckline to be clean and pretty, so I lined the dress in a cotton knit from my stash that I acquired in a Girl Charlee bargain lot.

I sewed everything together right before I had to leave for the airport.  I ended up hand hemming the sleeves on the plane and the bottom is (still a year later!) unhemmed.

I managed to get one decent photo on my trip while I was being sorted!  I'm a Hufflepuff!  lol

Now for some better photos of the finished dress.

The boat neckline has a little fold/drape thing in the middle, but I kinda like it.  I do want to go re-draft the neckline on that add-on pattern piece to try to get a better boat neckline for a future version.

Since I've been going back and blogging about all my Mesas, and looking closely at the photos, I've noticed that the back of the dress bunches up at my lower back.  I definitely need to fix that.  I never notice it when I'm wearing the dress, so I've now made 10 dresses with this same problem.

Tessuti Lois

When the Tessuti Lois was released back in Sept. 2017, I fell in love and bought it immediately then actually started making it right away.  This is unusual for me.  I often buy patterns shortly after they release if there is a release window discount.  But it typically takes me a while to get around to making a pattern.  So, as you can probably imagine, I own many, many patterns I haven't made yet!

But this dress had such a simple beauty that I was immediately drawn to, so I had to make it immediately.  I made a size 14 with a 4" FBA, meaning I added 2" to the front bodice piece.  It started out looking like this:

And after my alteration, it looked like this:

As you can see there, that new dart is HUGE.  I was concerned about this, so I decided to use gathers instead of a dart and I'm SOOO happy with the result.

The fabric is a rayon challis, but I'm not sure where it came from. although I probably remembered back when I actually made this dress.

This dress is so great to wear.  It skims over my apple middle just perfectly.  My husband loves the low neckline.  I made this as a wearable muslin.  The fabric isn't a special occasion fabric, but the silhouette is more of an evening wear one, so I tend to wear this dress out to the musical theatre.

The dress has a side zipper that I end up not needing to use with this dress.  But I'm not sure I'd risk leaving it out of the next version.

I'm definitely making this dress again.  I honestly don't know why I haven't yet, since I made this dress almost 2 years ago now!

Do you have any patterns that you instantly fell in love with?  Tell us about it in the comments!

Jennifer Lauren Vintage Quincy

I love the look of shirt dresses, but I have always had a problem with button strain across my bust in RTW, thus I've avoided wearing anything button up my entire adult life.  So, my ToSew list has included making a shirt dress that fits properly for some time.  I own a few Jennifer Lauren Vintage patterns, but I hadn't made any of them yet.  I thought the Quincy would fit that bill nicely and it has a lot of potential for hackability for future versions.

My measurements currently are 44, 34, 44, so I decided to go with the size 16 D cup with a 2" FBA.  I find with woven patterns, I tend to have better luck doing an FBA rather than grading up a size at the bust.  It did feel frustrating that even though the pattern has cup sizes, I STILL have to add even more room for the girls.  But I'm well versed in this by now, so it was only a minor frustration -- more of an annoyance, really.

I had 3 yards of this linen/cotton floral from Fabric Mart that I decided to use for a wearable muslin.  I didn't plan out my pattern placement and just cut it out the way everything fit best, which was a mistake because the two front bodice pieces are too similar and it kinda drives me crazy having that close repeat.

The dress has some really nice details.  I like that you cut out two yoke pieces so that the right side of the fabric is also on the inside and you use the burrito method to have a clean finished back neckline.  It also gives me a nice place to sew my tag.

I wanted to try to pick up the blue in the fabric for the buttons, so I made a trip to JoAnn.  My husband always laughs at me when we go to JoAnn because I am usually frustrated with my options and this time wasn't any different.  But I did find some blue buttons that I didn't hate.  But I also don't love them.

I chose to use grommets for the drawstring openings and I clearly need to practice more with installing grommets or maybe I just need better tools.

I decided to use a cute little flower decorative stitch for the topstitching on the pocket edge and the sleeve cuff. It blends in with the fabric, so it's pretty subtle, but I just love that little detail.

I used hem facing for the hem.  I like having that little bit of lace detail on the inside of the skirt.

The dress came together very quickly and I finished it in just one day, after the pieces sat cut on my sewing table for months.

Overall, the dress fits pretty well.  I needed to reduce the seam allowance of the bodice side seams by 1/8" at the bust, and I've already modified the pattern piece to include that in my next version of this dress.

After I saw the photos, I noticed there is quite a bit of gaping at the back neckline, so that's something I need to fix on the next version.  I also seem to need a small swayback adjustment because there is some pooling at my lower back.

I think the little notch on the sleeve cuff is adorable!

I will definitely be making this dress again in the future.

Priscilla, Queen of the Mesa

I've been going back and writing up posts about my previous Seamwork Mesa makes and this is one of my most fabulous ones.

My dance studio does a little event about every 6 months called a Spotlight Ball.  The main feature of this event is the Spotlight Challenge.  The way this works is, you pay for 5 lessons to put together a routine that fits whatever the theme is for the event and then everyone entered performs their routine and then everyone attending votes on the winner.  The winner gets their 5 lesson package free for the next Spotlight ball so they can defend their title.

This particular Spotlight Ball back in April 2018 had the theme of Oscar Winning Movies.  So, I picked Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.  I wanted to use this cool Berry Pink/Black Poly/Nylon Laser Cut Scales Knit with Hologram Dots that I got from Fabric Mart back in April 2016.  And I wanted to feature large, fabulous sleeves.  So I started with the Seamwork Mesa and modified the neckline to be a boat neck.

Then I just laid out the sleeve piece and cut the sleeve head exact, but then made the actual sleeve extra wide and dramatic.  I kinda just eyeballed it and got lucky with my first try

Trying the dress on after one sleeve was done to test it out.
I lined the dress with a black tricot, so the neckline has a nice, clean finish and I also don't have to worry about wearing something underneath.

I didn't hem anything.  So, this was a pretty quick make.  Not that the Mesa takes very long anyway.

Dress rehearsal!
In the excitement of these events, I usually forget to stop and make sure good photos are taken.  So, here are the only ones I got while I still had my wig and makeup on.  I'm sorry for the terrible quality!  That's my instructor, Yaunique, but he already changed out of his drag outfit.

And now, here's the video of my performance.  Spoiler alert: I won this challenge.

After the performance, wig off, wine in hand, waiting for the results.

Three more Mesas

I made a new Seamwork Mesa last week and got inspired to make my first Mesa wearable again and realized that my new dress was the 10th time I'd made that pattern!  This post shows off 3 that I made pretty much exactly as the pattern is drafted.

This is the latest one, made from a cotton lycra that I got as part of a bargain lot from Girl Charlee.

The only change to the pattern is I shortened the neck band piece by a couple inches.  The way it's drafted is just not good.

I decided to use a decorative stitch for the sleeve hems.  

I also started to use it on the dress hem but I ended up being surprised to run out of top thread.  I didn't have another spool, but there was still a good amount in the bobbin, so I moved it to the top thread and used a grey thread for the bobbin to finish the hem with just a zigzag stitch.

This blue striped fabric is a cotton jersey also from Girl Charlee.  I made this dress back around August 2017 and wear it often.

The neck band was shortened a bit, but could be a bit tighter still and I used a band around the sleeves instead of hemming them.

I don't remember where I got this animal print fabric, but it's a cotton lycra.  I made this one way back in May 2017 and I managed to include a couple photos of it in my MMMay post that year.

If I remember correctly, this was the second one I made.  I hadn't smartened up about the neck band yet, but somehow it just worked with this one.  Or at least it isn't bad enough for me to notice.  I also used bands on the sleeves of this one too.  That just feels easier to me than hemming for some reason.