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Showing posts from 2019

Testing Dionne Duster

I got the opportunity to test the new Dionne Duster Cardigan from Sew Altered Style.  The pattern is described as follows:
The Dionne Duster is a perfect combination of comfort and drama. This duster-length cardigan completes any look and is great for fall or spring layering. Or make it sleeveless for a light summer layer. View A features dramatic balloon sleeves, a thick 2-inch band to finish the front, and generous slash pockets. View B has a narrower front band perfect for a button closure. Both views come with 3 lengths and multiple sleeve options. All views come in sizes 00-30, with the choice of either an A/B cup or C/D cup front bodice piece.

The pink version was a muslin of the view B cropped cardigan that I made from a 1½ yard cut of what seems to be double brushed poly that was part of a mystery bundle from Fabric Mart.  I used the C/D front and so the only change I made was to lengthen the sleeves by 3/4" to accommodate my super long, monkey arms, but it turned out that the sleeves for that view were pretty long, so I didn't even need to do that.  I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the C/D cup option actually included my bust size.  Other patterns with multiple cup sizes that I've used still usually need a small FBA on the largest option for me, so it's nice to not have to do that for once.


I'm finding that this sweater clings to whatever I'm wearing underneath, so I need to remember to not try to make a layering piece out of DBP.  This was my first time ever using it, so I hadn't learned that lesson yet.


For my second version, I used a blue ponte that I've had in my stash for a while and have no idea where it came from.


For this one I made view A in the long cardigan length.  It has princess seams in the front and there's a generous pocket that is sewn into the princess and side seams.  I added a little decorative topstitching to my pocket for funsies.  The thread is a pretty close match to the fabric, so it's a subtle little detail that I enjoy.


Some drafting changes were made during the muslin testing round and I was a little slow to start, so I was able to incorporate all of the changes into my pattern before I cut the pink version.  But I wanted to be a good pattern tester and so I completely reprinted the pattern with all its edits for my second version and I didn't realize they had also shortened the sleeves by an inch until after I had already made my blue sweater and found the sleeves to be about 2" shorter than I would like.  You can see how much of my wrist isn't covered when I bend or lift my arm in the below photo.  I grew up never being able to get clothes to cover my wrists or ankles, so it drives me extra crazy that I missed the sleeve shortening edit and didn't know to correct it.  The entire point of sewing my own clothes is to get a better fit than I can get with RTW!


There is some strange thing happening in the back, but I'm not really sure what.  The pink one kinda has it too, but I didn't manage to get any photos that show it, mostly because it just clings to what I'm wearing underneath.  I don't know if I need to take it in or do a swayback adjustment or what.  Any insight here would be helpful!


My in-laws are visiting from Colorado (they were lucky enough to get out of Denver before the big snow storm paralyzed the city!)  They rented a house on Vashon Island for us all to go to for Thanksgiving weekend.  I thought maybe we could get some fun photos on the ferry to the island, but it was too windy and most of them were just terrible!  I did get a couple that I thought were kinda cute, even though they don't really show off the sweaters very well.



The Dionne Duster Cardigan is available now and is included in Sew Altered Style's Black Friday sale.  All patterns are 30% off through Cyber Monday.  After that, Dionne will be 20% off through Sunday Dec. 8.  No coupon codes needed.


The house we are staying on is right on the water.  I brought a few more things to photograph while we're here, so hopefully we'll have some good weather so you can see a few more posts on the beach and from in and around this cool house built in 1918.



Lois Goes to Seattle Frocktails

I recently blogged about my first Tessuti Lois that I'm madly in love with, but I've been needing just the right excuse to make it again in a fabric that was more special occasiony.  So, when I purchased my tickets to Seattle Frocktails this year, I knew that was the perfect occasion!


This iteration of the Tessuti Lois is made out of a deep evergreen and black polyester brocade from Fabric Mart that has ZERO give, so it's a bit tighter than my first one.  This one I have to really suck everything in to get the side zipper closed, where my first one out of rayon challis can be pulled on over my head and I don't even have to use the zipper.  It's not uncomfortable once it's actually zipped, but if I make it again with a completely non-stretch fabric, I'll add a smidge more wiggle room in the waist.


I didn't change anything from my last version.  I frenched all the seams, which was fun with the gathers and the way the front point works, but after my first try that didn't quite work out, I only had to unstitch a little bit to slightly adjust the gathers to get the perfect placement.  I love it when the inside looks (almost) as good as the outside.


While I was sewing this version, I realized that I left out a few details in my previous post about Lois.  The pattern has pieces for "vilene shields", which I'd never heard of before.  When I first looked at the pattern and saw all those vilene shield pieces (front neck, back neck and front skirt waist) I felt a little scared off!  But I read about what they were and chose to just use stay stitching instead.  However, I appreciate the technique and might try it at some point in the future, just to try out something new.


I was so excited leading up to the day of the big sewist party!  I actually even finished this dress almost A WEEK EARLY!!  I don't know if I've mentioned how much of a last minute sewist I am, but I have a bit of a reputation among people I go to dance events with.  I pack my sewing machine for events I drive to and I can often be seen in the ballroom hand sewing between heats, trying to finish the dress I'm planning on wearing at dinner that night!  Although I do always pack a backup option, just in case.  Finishing this dress so early was an unusual experience for me!


But, something just didn't quite feel right about NOT working on an outfit right up until the last minute, so on Wednesday I decided none of my current selection of jackets/sweaters/warmth giving garments was quite right to wear with this dress.  So, I decided that I had PLENTY of time to make myself a new jacket.


I had this lovely black sequined and embroidered mesh in my stash that I wanted to use that went quite well with a crepe back satin I picked up from JoAnn as a backup fabric for a dress I was making to attend an "Emerald Ball" earlier this year.  I didn't end up using it for that, although the dress I did make was a disaster, so I probably should have.  (side note: I have a draft of a post about that disaster that someday I'll finish and publish, because I really would like to talk more about my many failures over the years in addition to the successes.)


Enter Seamwork Quince.  I don't have any good photos of this lovely jacket yet, so I'll leave the details for a future post after I've gotten a chance to actually do a good photoshoot.  I absolutely love the way it turned out.  Here is a preview shot that my husband took after I Ubered my drunk ass home Saturday night.  And as you can see, the two fabrics combined to create the perfect color match to my Lois!  I'm just that good. 😜


I had a great time at Seattle Frocktails!  I ran into someone I knew from ASG almost immediately, which did help this introverted girl not completely go hide out in a corner all night.  Unfortunately, I didn't end up getting any photos at the event!  Which is a bummer because there were so many great excuses to capture photos and even a cute photobooth setup!  I found another lady wearing my same dress pattern, which would have made a fun photo and I met several ladies that I follow on Instagram and/or have designed some of the patterns I own.  Oh well.  Hopefully I'll remember to get photos next time!


Winter Mesas

Back in Feb 2018, I decided I needed a sweater dress so I could be warm and cozy in the winter months.  Did I use one of the many other patterns I own that are specifically designed to be sweater dresses?  Of course not!  I went straight to my TNT Seamwork Mesa!


The fabric is a Royal Blue Heather Gray Ethnic Stripe Hacci Sweater Knit that I bought from Girl Charlee way back in December 2016.  I underlined it with a soft and cozy cotton jersey. 


The only modifications other than adding an underlining was that I lengthened the sleeves and added thumbhole cuffs.


At the time, the only tutorials I could find were for the inseam thumbholes, so I spent a little time reverse engineering the thumbhole cuffs on my favorite hoodie.  I had the foresight to take some photos as I was doing it, so I'll try to explain my process.  Just don't mind them having been taken on my cluttered sewing table!


First I cut out wide cuffs.  In the photo below, you can see the two cuff pieces that are folded in half, with the fold at the bottom.  The smaller strip in the photo is what I used for the thumbhole binding.


I then cut out the holes for my thumbs as shown below on the left.  I then took a binding piece, folded it in half lengthwise and matched the raw edges with the opening of the hole and sewed the binding on through all 4 layers of fabric.  Then I folded the binding piece to the wrong side and stitched it down, as shown on the cuff on the right.


Next comes the tricky part.  One end of the cuff is sewn together and can no longer be unfolded - I'll call that the closed end and the other the open end.  Fold the cuff in half to match the short ends.  Hold the closed end and the one layer of the open end that is touching.  Take the other half of the open end and wrap it around the closed end so the right sides are all touching.  It will look like the photo below.  Sew the two ends together like that, through all layers.  Then you will be able to unfold it into a completed cuff, ready to sew onto the sleeve as normal.  I recently discovered this video about how to sew a waistband that basically explains what I did, in case that didn't make sense.


A closeup of the finished cuff.



I love them so much!


So much, in fact, that I made another Mesa with them immediately after!


This one is made from a quilted double knit from Fabric Mart and underlined with a cotton knit I got from a flawed bargain lot from Girl Charlee.


The only difference was I moved the thumbhole a little closer to the edge.  It was a worthy experiment, but I'll be moving it back when I use that cuff again.


I'm looking forward to making another nice, cozy winter Mesas and maybe I'll finally get around to trying out one of those other sweater dress patterns I own.

A pleated Moneta

The Colette Moneta is one of my favorite patterns.  I've made a couple before, but I apparently only blogged about one so far.


I decided instead of gathering the skirt for this Moneta, I would try using pleats.  I put two pleats in the front and two in the back.


The busy print of this fabric makes it hard to see the pleats.  But I like the subtle difference it makes from the other Monetas I've made.


I also lined the bodice with self fabric.  I like lining the Moneta bodice because it makes for a clean neckline and I don't have to worry as much about what color bra I'm wearing.


I will likely end up doing this variation again, just so I don't end up having too many dresses that are exactly the same.





Seamwork Kenedy

When the Seamwork Kenedy came out, I thought the dress was cute, but I'm not always comfortable with having my upper arms so exposed, so I passed.  Then, a couple weeks later, Seamwork put out the bonus flutter sleeve, so the pattern made it to my ToSew list.  Last year, when I was making a few things to take to Hawaii, it finally made it to my sewing table.


My first version was out of a chevron challis that I got from Fashion Fabrics Club and the only change I made was that I added 4" to the length. 


But it was evident from the pulling I get in the bust, especially seen from the view of the back, that I did actually need a full bust adjustment (FBA.)  I really don't know why I ever think I can get away without one in a woven dress!


So, I did a 2" FBA for the next version.


For this version, I also used a challis, with some floral images that make me think of postcards.  I don't remember where this one came from.


For this version, I added a couple beads I had lying around to the ties.  I like that little detail, but I quickly realized that it means it's not the best choice of dress to dance in.  


The fit is much better now and will likely make this pattern again in the future.  It's a loose silhouette that I don't normally like to wear, but it's great for those hot days, which we've been getting more and more of up here during our Seattle summers.


I wore both dresses on my vacation, but I only seem to have a photo of me wearing the first one.  And with a cute island boy at a luau, no less!



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.