Friday, April 14, 2017

J. Crew Knock Off Easter Dress


Pattern Review has a great contest running right now called Barganista Fashionista.  Its a knock off contest where you are required to make your own bargain based version of a pricier garment.  Now I realize that there are far more expensive dresses I could have attempted to knock off and that you could probably buy something cheaper than my version at a big mall sale but for me, sewing is that opportunity to craft something with your own two hands using higher quality fabric than can be bought at the mall and most importantly it is the embodiment of creative expression that comes as a result of planning, cutting, stitching, imagining.


The inspiration for this dress came when I saw this J. Crew dress in a magazine last summer I loved the design, it had several elements I love in a dress.  The mock wrap front, pleated skirt, pockets, and waist tie.  I have learned that although I could probably have bought this dress at some point online and on sale, I could guarantee that the store bought version would never fit me like my me-made version.  Sooo when Butterick released pattern 6446 I knew it would be a great Easter dress!!  Yippee!


The printed fabric is from Fabric Mart last spring.  It was deeply discounted if I remember correctly.  Its a cotton/linen gauze and is super sheer.  Its also so well behaved, it pressed beautifully and was not slippery or unruly when handling like a silk or chiffon, so it was a pleasure to work with as far as sheer fabrics go. I underlined the entire garment with cotton poplin from Hobby Lobby.  I don't often, if hardly ever, buy apparel fabrics from Hobby Lobby but this poplin worked beautifully.  It gives the skirt an element of fullness that it needs and the structure necessary to support the gauze.



A few notes on the pattern.  I had to fiddle with the armscye a bit and used the tissue fitting method to get a good idea of the changes necessary for a good fit.  Now normally I don't have to fiddle with the armscye drafting in big four patterns but I don't know, this one needed to be lowered a bit and shaved off a bit more than my normal for narrow shoulders.  Looking at the back picture I think that back arm area could use some more shaving off and shaping too, just looks too wide back there for my taste.  

Other minor pattern changes included a small dart at the back neckline, sway back dart, grading that I always have to do for my sizing, 8 shoulders (smaller in this case), 10 bust, 12 waist, 14 hips.   


I am soooo glad I finished this in time to coordinate with the girlies this Easter!  I finished their dresses earlier and was really hoping to finish mine so we can be all matchy matchy :)  Can't wait to take pictures with them in their dresses too especially since the 4 year old LOVES her dress soooo much and asks to wear it every day :) makes my Momma heart smile.

Ok well that sums it all up for me time to go enjoy some sunshine!
Happy sewing!
And thanks for reading!
Elizabeth 


Monday, March 20, 2017

Flint, Lark and Lisette

For the past couple of years I have tried to sew garments that I can get a lot of versatile wear from.  I love making unique, one of a kind pieces but at the end of the day I must have a basic wardrobe back drop to pair those unique pieces with! 

Here enters patterns like the following three...


I was a pattern tester for Megan this fall and sewed her pants up in a drapey poly/lycra suiting from my stash.  I was unsure about the volume of these pants but after putting them on and taking pictures I loved them.  They are so comfortable and my very favorite feature is the waistband closure.  There's no zipper, the closure in incorporated into the pocket and is so clever.  

I am 5'5" and was a little skeptical about the length of these, they turned out not quite long enough or not quite short enough based on your perspective but in the final draft Megan ended up shortening this length by a couple of inches based on tester feed back.


The pattern includes a shorts version and a version with a cute tie at the waist, I am hopeful that I can complete a pair in rayon for this summer. I think they will be super comfortable and with the high waistband I can wear shorter tops without the dreaded belly flash potential!!





This is a simple tee, and the pictures pretty much do the talking.  Its longer in length, a touch too long for my taste so I will probably shorten in the future but that is such a simple fix it hardly warrants mentioning. 


The fabric is from FabricMart and was one of the wonderful pre-cut rayon/lycra lengths.  If you haven't discovered their pre-cuts, you might want to check them out.  They are so affordable and I am always in need of inexpensive knits for my girls.




Lisette Butterick 6183:

I am a fan of Liesl Gibson's Lisette Butterick patterns and this is another great one.  I made this top up in a left over length of ponte that did not have a lot of stretch.  It is a great fitting top.  I made my usual grading between sizes changes and thats it.  The pieces go together beautifully and the instructions so good.  








Butterick 6260:

One more thing to mention.  I am pretty proud of how my March project for Fabric Mart turned out and wanted to include some of those pictures here.

I did a big write-up over on their blog which included stripe matching tips and you can find that HERE.

This was a project that took a lot of hours but was worth it in the end.  I learned a lot about the guts of a semi tailored jacket in the process and made up some of my own rules as I went.  I highly recommend Palmer Pletsch's "Jackets for Real People" if you are new to tailoring.  They have a super practical, logical approach to the process which I so appreciate.

The pattern is Liesl Gibson's Butterick 6260 and its worth noting that this is a VERY fitted jacket so you may want to muslin it first.  I usually have to do a narrow shoulder adjustment for all major pattern company patterns but for this one it was unnecessary with the very fitted cut.  There are lots of fitting lines in the bodice of the pattern so that helps in fitting your waist.








Well that's a quick round up from me on a few pieces I've made!

Thanks for reading! 
Elizabeth

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Clean Slate

I bet I am not the only one who starts a project, is excited about the potential, cuts out the pattern, cuts out the fabric and then for some reason can't find the umph to complete it?  Yeah, you do it too?  Good now I know I'm not the only one! 

The three projects in this post were all UFO's (UnFinished Objects).  They've been lurking in my sewing closet taking up precious space in said closet as well as in the back of my mind.  So it really was time to either part ways with them or complete them!


There is nothing that gives me a good push like a sewing competition.  I guess the thought that there is a deadline and others are also working toward a similar goal inspires me to complete a project- and it can be so.hard.to.restart.a.project!  Pattern Review held a UFO contest this past month and that was enough to get my sewjo back.


UFO #1:

This dress is out-of-print Butterick 5947.  I used this pattern last winter to make this dress and then frankenpatterned the bodice from this pattern to the skirt of another resulting in this dress.  Its a solid little pattern for a sheath dress.  The princess seaming is so helpful with fitting.  

Fabric and construction where similar to the dress made last winter.  The black wool is from a FabricMart make and the herringbone tweed was a purchase from Hancock fabrics back when.  The lining is a mixture of bemberg and poly in the sleeves because when you cut something out a year ago and forget about it you also forget that you did not cut out all the lining pieces...argh! 

In the picture below I am showing the hong kong seams used to finish the armscye, this is done because I don't like the feeling of wool against my skin, so itchy.  I used an invisible zipper which I had a devil of a time installing for some reason.  I just couldn't get everything to line up so after three attempts I called it good. 


UFO #2:

My second UFO is a pair of Grainline Maritime shorts.  I made them some time back and you can see them here.  The reason this pair stalled is kind of petty, but it turned out I needed a bigger size this summer than my previous pair and that just deeply annoyed me. 

I can fit into the old pair, but just barely, sigh.  So I cut out the pattern again as well as the fabric (all last summer) and just lost steam, probably because I just went out and bought a few new pairs. 



The Grainline Maritime shorts are really cute and functional.  I love the styling on this pattern, the zip fly, the curved pockets, back pockets, curved waistband.  All great features.  For this pair I believe I lengthened them by an inch.  Its a really short, short otherwise.  

The fabric is from Hancock and the last of this fabric in my stash.  I previously made a Grainline mini skirt with this fabric.  Btw, that was very short too!




UFO #3:

Get ready for the cuteness! This outfit was originally intended for my youngest and is a size two, so I have had it for two years waiting to be made up.  I believe the fact that my children were 5 and 2 when I cut it out is probably why it never was completed.  But it is so.cute.

Its Burda style pattern 9645.  If you are unfamiliar with Burda patterns, they always have such cute designs but the instructions are always sub par.  I don't go to Burda for sewing instructions but for cuteness.  



Since this will no longer fit my daughter I will be sending it on to Hanni for her little bit to wear next fall.  This peasant top, squeeeee- I can't wait to see her in it (btw where is my size in this top)!  And the cargo pants will be fun and functional since they are corduroy.


So now I am free of most of my UFO's, I say most because I know there are two little girl dresses that I haven't finished and may not!  But it feels good to have the slate mostly wiped clean for the new year of sewing.  I am glad I pushed through with these projects since each one turned out so pretty.

How about you?  Any UFO's you'd like to move past or donate?  
Any that you will shove into the far reaches of your sewing space?

Thanks for reading and happy creating!
Elizabeth

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A New Year Turtle and Back Seam Dream




Happy New Year!!

Have you been perusing all the sewing blog "best of 2016 makes" or "new year sewing plan" posts like I have?  Its been fun scrolling through them and there is just so.much.inspiration to be gleaned from them.  Also there is a "make nine sewing items this year" or something like that on instagram that keeps popping up in my Pinterest board- that's pretty fun too!  All the sewey plans, so exciting!

So raise your glass, here's to a New Year Turtleneck and Knit Dress!  These two projects may not be the most exciting things I make in the new year but they are extremely functional!  And for me lately functional has been a good thing.  


First up, the Turtleneck...

The Pattern:

The turtleneck pattern is McCalls 6796 which is out of print. 

 Last year I made Kwik Sew 4069 and you can see that on this link.  It turned out much looser than I hoped it would (I still wear it all the time) but with the McCalls pattern I came so much closer to what I was hoping for in a turtle neck.  The one thing I will say about McCalls 6796 is that I feel the turtleneck part is a little short or falls somewhere in between where I wish it would.  I actually added about an inch to the neckline above but I can't decide if it was enough.  

The Fabric
This is a very stretchy Rayon Lycra rib knit from Fabric Mart.  Its really, really soft and fluid.  Will go great under sweaters and jackets and dresses etc.  The fabric drapes so well that the turtleneck won't stand up at all, something I didn't consider before making it, anywhoo I will still wear it all the time.    

I think at this point my 8 year old was singing "baby you're a super star!"

A New Year a New Dress!!

The Pattern:
This is McCalls 7122 a pretty popular pattern as evidenced by all the good reviews on Pattern Review.  I have several simple knit dress patterns and its always fun to try out another one with small design differences.  

This pattern has raglan sleeves (which are SO EASY to sew) and my very favorite knit dress feature of all time, a center.back.seam.  

Center back seam, you are a person with a sway back alteration's best friend!  I was able to pinch out some of the excess in that seam for a simple fix but by looking at the back view I can see that a small wedge should be removed horizontally next time.  

I meant to take a picture of the alterations for my sway back but forgot.  But looking at the changes when I transferred them to the pattern I was quite surprised by how pronounced my sway back appeared.  Just an interesting observation!


The Fabric:
This fabric was a Hancock's purchase and I loovvveee this print. 

I have had it in my stash for a while and it started to move into that crazy fabric hoarding category where you pull it out look at it and think "fabric, you are so pretty that I am just too scared to cut you so I will just let you take up precious space in my sewing closet."  

Recently I realized how ridiculous I was being about it and just how much enjoyment I would get out of wearing it so I got to work and of course I do indeed love wearing it. 



I probably should've spent some time pattern matching back there but, meh, I don't look at my back, so there, problem solved!!



This year I am telling myself that I will stop the fabric petting/hoarding of beautiful cuts because "what if I mess it up and hate the result" and just go ahead and make it up into something fun and get it done!

One piece in my fabric stash in particular reminds me the most to carpe diem the fabric.  It is a gorgeous cut of narrow silk charmeuse with a very vintage design.  I thrifted it for a few dollars a few years ago and it is an awesome reminder to me that some lady, somewhere held on to that charmeuse and never made it up and then by some turn of events it ended up in a thrift store.

That lady never made the gorgeous silk blouse she was going to wear to a special anniversary dinner, or she never realized the bias cut dress of her dreams and now it speaks to me telling me in a whispering voice, "CARPEEE..... CARPEEEE DIEEEMMM the fabric Elizabeth, make your outfit extraordinary!!!" The fabric sounds eerily similar to Robin Williams.  

So that's my sewing plan and goal this year- use.the.fabric!!  What about you, have any sewing goals for this next year?

Happy Needles in the New Year!
Elizabeth