Back in the blogging saddle I go! I took quite a break there.
At least I am ready for fall, even if the weather here in Southern California is not cooperating. It is supposed to be 100 today. I guess no one told Murrieta that it is now autumn.
But it turns out that my newest true love, Japanese double gauze, is fine for warmer temperatures, too. It is light and breezy and I whipped this gorgeous geometric floral into a Papercut Saiph tunic that I can wear now and later.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when Style Maker Fabrics offered to send me some, but I had heard such glowing reviews that I had to try. So I received my package, wrapped nicely in tissue paper, and I was decidedly unimpressed with the fabric. It felt like a textured quilting cotton. I didn’t know what all the fuss was about. But after my pre-wash this fabric came out of the dryer like the wings of an angel! It is so soft, with light loft and total opacity. It cuts, sews and presses so well and was a joy to work with. Thank you, Style Maker Fabrics – I am so glad I tried it! I feel like Sam I Am and I now want to sew double gauze in a box with a fox, on a boat with a goat…
I have been thinking about a nice easy tunic shape and the Saiph did not disappoint. I was a bit flummoxed by the dart placement – they are really high! But I like the shoulders and the sleeves and I just moved that dart. I’ll move it down more next time. I also chopped off the sleeves a little bit -no need for full length sleeves here. I added a total of 3 inches to the bodice and skirt combined to make it a wearable dress on me.
But wait, there’s more!
A vest is such a great trendy fall piece, and perfect for my climate, right? Well, I meant to whip up a nice easy vest to top my outfit off, but instead I ended up making the most detailed moto jacket I’ve ever made, since I am a moto jacket addict. Whew! I had to squeeze it in between rounds of the PR Sewing Bee, but I just couldn’t resist when I pulled this fabric out of the box. The olive green faux suede has such a lovely hand and structure; it was begging to be a moto jacket.
I used the Mimi G for Simplicity pattern 8174. Isn’t it a cool pattern with such fun details? I love the back vent and the little tabs on the shoulders and waistband! The gold buttons and green suede just say fall and really balance out the simple dress.
The suede is not the easiest fabric to work with, since I had to topstitch down my seam allowance on both sides of every seam. But what I realized is that it really responded to steam, so I was able to shape it around the shoulders. I am debating whether to topstitch the fronts, they still look a little fluffy, but I wonder if it will smooth out with wear? I only just finished the jacket and bagged out the lining last night. Despite the extra work of using the suede, the gorgeous texture and color create such a showstopper! I am so pleased with it!
I will provide a thorough review of the pattern and Mimi G’s video tutorial and show off all the details of this gorgeous jacket in an upcoming post. It is an interesting sew and I already have plans for another one. Do I need more jackets? No! But I love them, okay?
So here is my vision of Fall 2016 with Style Maker Fabrics! Beautiful fabrics with texture and rich color. Mixing a simple dress with a military detailed jacket and boots. And, of course, sweating in the sun for these pictures and hoping for temperatures below 80 by October!
Thanks to Style Maker Fabrics for the complimentary fabric! They were lovely to work with and I was so pleased to try out their gorgeous fabrics.
Not little black dress, but little bias dress by Vera Venus. She has some interesting free patterns on her site and wow did this one come together so great – I would recommend it, at least the skirt portion. With such a cool vintage feel to the skirt, I decided to switch up the bodice pattern to use the McCall’s 6760, made previously here. It balanced out the figure-hugging skirt, I thought.
Since the challenge for 2nd round of the 3rd annual Pattern Review Sewing Bee was bias, I did some serious thinking. I assumed everyone would do plaid or stripes, so I came up with the idea to use a border print. I’m obsessed with border prints right now, and the border print could be used on the bias to do some interesting things. It is like a striped fabric, just only along the selvedge edge! I even had a double border print, so I could really flaunt that border. So I cut it out.
Well, it didn’t turn out quite right because I lengthened the skirt (I imagined this dramatic maxi length dress) and forgot to widen the bottom frill! Man! I was bummed. Soon, when I go back and finish that dress, I will have to cut off some of the skirt or scrap the frill, but either way, it won’t be the showstopper that I imagined. So I started over.
I went with stripes, and I am so glad I did. This pairing of fabric and pattern turned out perfect. Not all my projects can say that! It is a rayon challis with a little bit of a texture to it and boy did it drape on the bias! That is why the skirt turned out so form fitting. I am wearing all kinds of shapewear under that thing, in addition to sucking it in.
I was especially sad when I started over because cutting on the bias is such a pain! Ugh. This shifty rayon was really difficult, but at least those stripes were on grain. And since I had traced the full size pattern pieces onto my plastic sheeting, I could see through it and see if my stripes were straight all the way down the piece. That was the key and I may employ that tactic on other tricky to cut fabrics.
Another smart thing I did (at least I think so) is I made my rouleau tubes just big enough to be able to turn with a safety pin. I am no good at using bodkins. I have tried and tried. But I’ve made straps before where the safety pin couldn’t fit through, and I got stuck. So, even though sewing less than an inch of bias fabric is difficult, at least turning them was not a big deal. And they turned out nice and round and springy. Pro tip – use a .5 zig zag when stitching the bias straps so the thread doesn’t snap when the tube stretches.
The lining is also rayon, but it had a bit more body, so I cut it about half an inch bigger since I knew the diamonds of the bias wouldn’t collapse as much and it wouldn’t stretch at the same rate as the rayon challis. I was right for once and headed off disaster, because that lining is much more snug than the outer and it would’ve rode up my hips if it was any tighter. Phew!
I didn’t fully line the back because I wanted it to be light and didn’t need the modesty in the back. But on second thought, I wish I had because i don’t like how you can see the facing through the dress.
And I have to mention my stylish and supportive waistband. Basically, when I thought of a whole drapey, bias dress I got very shy. I didn’t want to be wearing a slip around, even a lined slip. So I went with a straight grain, interfaced waistband that held my tummy in and gave support to the rather heavy skirt. Rayon is sometimes heavy, which adds to the beautiful drape but it could have really pulled that bodice out of shape. I have about 4 yards of this gorgeous denim colored rayon and I have not decided what else it will become yet. I do know it wrinkles like nobody’s business, but that will be a consideration. Because the waistband on the dress is interfaced, the wrinkling is not so evident here.
Anyway, the results are in! This dress helped me make it to the next round of the Bee, and the next challenge will be announced Sunday. Here is my full review with lots of sewing notes. As a little palate cleanser I’m making something for the Style Makers Fabric Blog tour. I got to work with Japanese double gauze for the first time and believe me, it will not be my last! It is the stuff fabric dreams are made of! I’ll be back Sunday with that fun project.
So, in preparation for my article on Bernina’s We All Sew blog, I dove deep into the world of border prints. That was easy to do since I had been unconsciously collecting them for a while, so when I pulled out all the border print fabrics I had amassed, I had a sizable pile. I think I had 7 or so, in addition to the romper I had started last year. I was spoiled for choice!
But, as is my habit, I waffled a bit on how to use my precious pieces. Ugh, I always do that, and I don’t know why, since I obviously have more fabric than any reasonable person should have, so I should just sew it up already! I have this conversation in my head like every time I decide on a project. I exhaust myself sometimes, you know?
This beautiful rayon is special because of the really unique double border than transitions in such an interlocking way. I could not imagine how I could just chop it up! One of my favorite shops is Anthropologie, and they use border prints in so many of their clothes (which is one of the reason I love their designs so much!). I noticed that they will use the border print symmetrically down the center of a garment to really draw your attention to the bodice and create a very custom look. I wanted to try that, so…
I just didn’t cut my fabric! Well, I did cut it into an neckline and armhole shape on the top, but there is no seam separating the front and back of the dress. Tricky, huh? I used a shape similar to this dress, but without the yoke. Then I gathered the top and the back and added bias binding. Easy and fun. Except…I had to handstitch the binding together at the center front. People, that took forever! I hate handsewing AND I’m horrible at it and slow as hell. I seriously had to break up that long long seam into 4 different sessions. I’m still not very happy with it!
The continuous bias binding is made from mustard flannel and was quite a project in itself. I enjoyed that process, actually, and can add that new skill to my repertoire. I have made bias binding before, but this was sewn together into a tube and cut out in a continuous strip. Then I ran it through the Clover bias maker with the iron. I have a bunch left, oh yes! I severely overestimated how much I would need. But nice cotton bias binding is always handy to have around, so I’ll squirrel it away.
One casualty of my slapdash dressmaking approach was that the gathered back edge ended up being too long and it droops. Oops, it droops! I wish it was straight back there. Also, you can see in these pictures that I quickly ran outside and took the pictures before I tacked down the back straps. Silly me! I came home, looked at the pictures and realized my hasty mistake and quickly sewed them down with a little stitch in the ditch, but there is no way that I am retaking the pictures. SORRY! Imagine the cute dress with the strap ends neatly sewn down, please.
This dress is funny since it looks like a totally different dress from the front vs. the back. Gray and yellow vs. black and white. Which dress do I like better?
- Border prints are fun but agonizing to display to their fullest potential.
- Despite my deep aversion, I had to handsew the bias binding down the center front so it would lay flat and butt up nicely
- I may make this made-up dress again, since I like the simple shape with the strap detail, but I’ll make the back edge shorter and perhaps the front triangle smaller
You never know what you are going to get when thrift shopping, especially for patterns. Actually, mostly you do know what you are going to get…80’s big shouldered dresses, or some shapeless “Easy” frocks. But 1 lucky day I unearthed this OOP Simplicity 1939 dress for 69 cents. Yes!
When I paired it with this beautiful border print heavy chiffon, I knew I was making things difficult for myself. I only had 2 yards because I had bought it like 3 or 4 years ago at the Sew Expo in WA at the Vogue fabrics booth. I couldn’t have known at that time that this pattern was going to fall into my lap!
I cut my pattern pieces out and played tetris on the fabric. If I eliminated the armhole bands, took width out of the skirt, and cut the ties down the left overs, I had just enough. And I mean just.
What I did was redrafted the front and back pattern pieces to add the width of the finished armhole bands onto those pieces. It only made those pattern pieces a little wider, but eliminated some big fabric hogs that were those bands. It simplified the sewing process a bit, too. I ended up finishing my armholes with navy vintage bias tape I also found thrifting!
For the ties around the neck, I just used the scrap I had left. I was glad I got a bit of the border at one end to make it more interesting up near my face. I could only cut 1 tie that I doubled over and used to finish the neckline.
I had to line up the hem of the skirt with the border, and I didn’t want to cut any of the lovely moss green color off, so I just made a very narrow hem by folding over my selvedge and stitching it. I also wanted to preserve the length, because I’m kind of a tall girl and nothing is worse than a too short maxi dress!
For the innards, I interfaced the waist yoke and inserted an invisible zipper. I have no idea if that was in the instructions or not, but it seemed necessary, so it probably was. When I tried it on, the yoke seemed a little large, so I added elastic into the top seam to keep it from slipping down.
This is my favorite dress ever. I will wear this dress every week this summer and feel like a million dollars in it. Look at the drape of those shoulders! The cute tie! And in my favorite colors ever! Cynthia Rowley, you design a mean dress.
I entered this dress, and 5 other garments, in to the Endless Combinations contest at Pattern Review. You should go check out all the lovely things the ladies made and go vote for your favorite,
- Interior engineering of interfacing, invisible zipper and elastic in the yoke.
- Had to change the pattern quite a bit to fit on 2 yards of fabric, but I succeeded!
- Surprisingly lovely pattern! I might try the raglan sleeve version. Cynthia Rowley does good work.
This is the kind of project that I usually dismiss from my project list. It was simple, it was fast, I learned no skills, I paired no fabrics. But I have been drowning in a sea of huge goals lately. My wardrobe plan for the Pattern Review Wardrobe contest was very involved. Of course I love to push myself for contests, but the fact that I only finished 3 items (one turned out to be a wadder) and started one more reveals the unrealistic hopes I had. Continue reading
I don’t always enjoy sewing very simple patterns like the Named Inari Dress, but the truth is, I really enjoy wearing them. As far as my goal of crafting a wearable warm weather wardrobe (alliteration!) that I feel great in, I know I should make more of these pieces. Example: my Kate top. I’m almost finished with my 2nd and have 3 more fabrics set aside. Continue reading
Before I make up a pattern that I do not want to muslin (which is most things) I look around the interweb to see if anyone else has made it and how it hangs on them. I couldn’t find a single review or finished version of Vogue 1379. But, since this dress is very loose fitting, there will be no detailed notes on my adjustments to this pattern. It may not be very helpful after all, even if it is the only review! Continue reading
First, announcements…GrayDay Patterns is having a Thanksgiving sale of 30% off through this weekend. Of course, if you were an email subscriber, you’d already know that. This sale is just in time for The Monthly Stitch Sandpoint Top sew-along Kat is hosting. It is a quick, easy sew, and the sew-along will be just 30 minutes a day. Pick up your pattern today, grab just 1 yard of a lovely, drapey knit and subscribe to The Monthly Stitch to follow along! Did I mention there will be a prize?
Also, I was honored to be invited by the talented Seamstress Erin over to her blog for her Guest Series on Sewing and Style. She has had many talented sewists on her site, and I was thrilled to be asked! Check it out.
On to the dress! I was permitted to move on to the third round of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee. *UPDATE* I WON this round! And I get to compete with 10 other amazing sewists in the final, terrifying round! Whoo Hoo!
I find that to be amazing, because the level of sewists on that site is awe inspiring and intimidating. Even though I have been sewing for more than 20 years, I still chose to describe myself as “Intermediate” as opposed to “Advanced”. To me, advanced would be a person who knows every technique, and I feel I am still learning all the time. Maybe I am on the higher end of Intermediate? Continue reading
The April Rhodes Staple Dress is not my most exciting make of all time, but the pattern is a great blank canvas for a fun fabric choice. In this case I used a unique lacy striped fabric I had been saving for ages. It is a sheer weave without much stretch that worked great for this shape, but does require a slip. Continue reading