Showing posts from August, 2019

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.

The rocky start of my love affair with Mesa

You may not have picked up on the fact that I'm madly in love with the Seamwork Mesa, since I've only blogged about her twice so far, when talking about my rainbow and 4th of July hacks.  But I've made this dress 8 more times that I haven't blogged about yet.  I'm going to write up some posts to rectify that, starting with the very first one I made.

I have to admit, when I made this first version back in August of 2015, I wasn't very impressed.  I used a rayon spandex jersey that I got as part of Girl Charlee's knitfix from earlier that year and lined it in a swimsuit lining that I got from Hancock a million years ago when that store still existed.

The main thing I didn't like about the dress was the fact that the shape of the dress just didn't work well with my apple shape.  Also, the neck band was way too long and so the neckline would sort of bow out, instead of laying flat like it's supposed to.  I just wasn't comfortable wearing it and so it just sat in my closet.

Fast forward a couple years later, I try on the dress after losing some weight and I actually like the way it fits.  So, I made a couple more and would still occasionally wear this one.  But the neckline drove me crazy, and I was constantly fussing with it when I did wear it.

So, this week, I finally just sat down and unpicked the neck band, shortened the piece, and then reattached it.  I'm SOOOO glad I did!

I wonder if I'd made a larger size back when I first made this dress, if I would have fallen in love sooner...

Do you have any garments that you didn't like when you first made them, but then later decided you loved?  Tell us all about it in the comments!

Reversible Reggie

My husband and I had a Hawaiian vacation the first week of December last year and I had a long list of items to sew for that getaway that included a lot of easy to wear beachy dresses.

I love a good wrap dress and the Seamwork Reggie has been on my ToSew list for a while, so it made its way onto my vacation list. But, because I can’t ever just leave well enough alone, I decided to make it fully reversible.

The solid blue is a cotton gauze that I had long enough to forget where it came from and the floral is a mystery fabric that I got from Seattle ReCreative. It feels mostly cotton, but it could be a blend and it has a lovely texture to it.

I basically just made two copies of the dress, omitting all of the facings and adding the waist tie to the opposite side waist seam from where I basted the front tie on both copies, then put both dresses together, right sides together and sewed with a 5/8″ seam allowance. Except for the hem, which I sewed at 1 ¼”.

Then I trimmed the seam allowance all the way around with my pinking shears then turned it through one of the arm holes. Turn the sleeve hems under and topstitch everything all together and voila! Easy peasy!

As it turns out, the dress is a little big on me. It is still wearable, but the way the ties are attached, I can't get it to be more snug. Because of that, I don't wear it much and I only actually wear the print side.

Even though this one didn't turn out as great as I'd hoped, I would like to make some more reversible dresses. They are nice for traveling, although I don't seem to travel as much for work these days. Have you ever made a reversible garment?

Purple Lady Skater

I wanted to make a new knit dress because it's been a while since I've made a new everyday dress, but I was having decision anxiety over what to make and which fabric to use.  So, I made my husband come into my sewing room and pick a fabric for me to use.  He picked this lovely purple cotton lycra knit that has been in my stash long enough for me to not remember where it came from.

I only had 2 yards, so that limited my pattern selection without needing to color block.  I keep my patterns indexed in Evernote, and one of the tags I use is "2 yards or less" to indicate that I can make the pattern with less than 2 yards.  So, when I filtered my pattern list on "dress, pdf, knit, 2 yards or less" I got 14 hits.  Several of them are ones I haven't even made yet, so I need to fix that someday, but right now, I was looking for something I knew I could make in a day.  So, I decided it was time to make my old favorite TNT Lady Skater pattern.

I have had great love for the Kitschy Coo Lady Skater and have not bothered to hide it!  I hadn't made one since I lost weight and I had originally made some changes to the pattern to get a better fit, so I actually thought this might be a good time to find a different pattern for this simple dress silhouette to try out.  But I actually couldn't find another fit and flare knit dress that could be made with less than 2 yards.

So, I reprinted my beloved Lady Skater, which was the first PDF pattern I ever made, and realized how far along PDF patterns have come since that one!  The pattern doesn't have layers, which is fine because at least half the time I forget to go turn off the sizes I'm not cutting anyway.  The pattern has no line distinction for the sizes and only uses different colored solid lines.  I only have a black and white printer these days, so it was very obvious that the pattern isn't great for printing in black and white.  Luckily, the pattern is simple enough that it wasn't actually a problem.  But I did go over the size I wanted to cut out with a highlighter anyway, just to be sure.

My measurements fit squarely into the size 6.  Previously, I made the size 8, which is the biggest size it comes in.  The changes I made to that size 8 were: I took the shoulders in a bit, I raised the waistline by an inch and I did a small swayback adjustment.  I compared the size 6 to the size 8 and the shoulders were not as wide as my adjusted size 8 shoulders and the waistline was the same as my adjusted waist on the size 8.  So, I decided to just make the size 6 once as is and do all the fitting over again.

I added pockets, using the Colette Moneta pocket piece placed 4" from the top of the skirt pieces.  Because, of course all dresses should have pockets!

The fitting changes I want to make to my next version:

  • take a bit of width out of the shoulders, because I hate having that little bubble on the top of my shoulder when I lift my arms.  
  • sway back adjustment to remove some of those wrinkles on my back
  • maybe I need to add a bit of length to the back of the skirt to allow for my bodacious booty. 

Do you have any patterns that are worth starting over with?