Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Dogwood Blossoms


I wanted to make myself some lovely linen separates in a solid color.  That didn’t happen - mostly because a skirt like this takes so much darn fabric and I didn’t want to purchase anything new.  Hello, sewing room crammed to the rafters with fabric.


But I did have this lovely dogwood quilting cotton print.


I would not be averse to making this up again in a solid, should the right fabric come along . . .


But for now, I am quite pleased to run around in the heat in this cool cotton combo.


I have already worn the skirt paired with a vintage eyelet blouse, and I suspect the Smooth Sailing Blouse will also come in handy paired with any number of separates (a denim skirt, for example).


So I am going to call this project a success!


I am currently feeling somewhat disappointed over all of the summer sewing projects I did not manage to get done, and the weather is definitely beginning to turn.  Then again, it will be nice to pull some wool out of the stash.  So do I try to finish one or two more warm weather wearables, or do I head into Fall a bit early?  Only time will tell . . .  And those knitting needles are calling my name, so how is that for a distraction!


Monday, August 27, 2018

Testing out a new pattern (company)


The Rita Blouse was a design that I was curious about from the beginning; but I have so many other projects to work on.  But then I kept seeing so many cute versions pop up, so I decided to jump in and try a new pattern company.


And I am glad that I tested this one out!  I am so comfortable working with Simplicity, Vogue, McCalls, and Butterick, that nine times out of ten, one or two standard modifications means their garments fit just about perfect.  That's not to say I don't make a muslin when special fabric is involved, or I want to play around with pairing different sleeves to different bodices or swapping out skirts and needing to match darts, but for the most part, things work out pretty well on the first go around.


I pulled out a vintage shirt that had seen better days to use as a wearable muslin.  The collars and cuffs were discolored, but the rest of the fabric was definitely useable.


My only real fitting issues was that underbust seam was very snug, which is not a measurement that I generally worry about.  I also couldn't get away with using a B-cup like I do with multi cup patterns from the Big4 and needed to use a C-cup.  But at least I figured that out before cutting into a fabric that I really loved!


It was a squeeze fitting all of the pieces on my lilac fabric remnants, and I ended up needing to piece the back bodice.  I also really wanted to have a little ruffle along the neck and armhole edges.  Normally, I would just extend those areas by and inch or two to accomplish this, however, I was down to scraps, and that wasn't going to work.


So I pieced together bias strips using the remaining scraps, and when all was said and done, I had about six inches of bias leftover.  I just love when things work out perfectly!


Of course, one of the reasons I had so little fabric to play with was the fact that I really, really wanted a matching skirt to pair with the top.  I stole the skirt pieces from View C of Butterick 6558 and added a simple waistband which worked out perfectly.


I have made a lot of quilting cotton skirts in my time, and they sometimes feel rather lightweight - especially with a full skirt that has a tendency to move with the slightest breeze.


As an experiment, I cut a six inch wide piece of fabric using the bottom edge of the skirt pattern to create a facing.  Actually, I cut two for even more added weight.  You can see that the hemline has a nice flare on the dress form.


Having worn the skirt a couple of times, I can say that this technique works quite nicely, and I am sure that I will use it again in the future.  And I am thrilled that I managed to add two more separates to my wardrobe that pair so nicely together!!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Figuring out a Fix


Sometimes an issue comes up with a project and the fix is not immediately apparent, or, in this case, I just didn't want to deal with it . . . for an entire year.



I had plans for my rick rack cotton.  I decided that a simple dirndl skirt paired with a McCalls 7563 peasant style blouse was going to be splendid.



But the curse of the invisible zipper strikes again.  Because just as I was about to finish my new outfit, the zipper broke.  Aarrrggghhhhhhh!!



I have had issues with invisible zippers in the past, but never like this.  The entire pull and the metal pieces attached broke off.  Sure, I could have picked the entire zipper out and replaced it, but I had trimmed all my seam allowances down at that point, and the idea did not seem very appealing.



In the end, an eye pin, a pair of wire cutters, and some glue fixed the problem.  It's not perfect, but it works.  And I didn't have to take the entire skirt apart to make it work.  Hooray!


I stitched a pair of oversized pockets on for added interest, and cut both those, and the waistband on the cross grain.


I used my favorite trick to keep the wide waistband from collapsing - a few pieces of plastic boning.



And to spice things up, I added a bit of extra fabric at the neck opening so I could use two channels of elastic.



Alls well that ends well!  This was definitely a reminder that sometimes it's a good idea to let things sit for a while before moving forward.



Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Matched Set


A couple of years ago, I decided that pairing my favorite skirt (Butterick 4792) with a Smooth Sailing Blouse was a fabulous idea.


I wanted to use a red linen that I had stashed, unfortunately, that skirt uses a massive amount of yardage. 


I managed to get a fabulous skirt out of the linen, but I couldn't squeeze in a blouse with the leftover scraps.  (It always amazes me how much fabric a blouse requires.)


Well, I decided that I loved this cotton print so much, I wanted the opportunity to wear it as much as possible, and separates seemed like the best way to accomplish that.


It was still a squeeze, but I managed to cut both the skirt and blouse out of my cotton.


And then I found some vintage buttons in my button drawer that matched the dogwood stamens. 


The match was too perfect to ignore, so I ditched my initial idea of using cream colored buttons.


And while I was willing to live on the edge and use machine buttonholes on my first version of this blouse, I just couldn't do that to this fabric.  So I went with a classic bound buttonhole.


It may take a little more time and effort, but the result is so worth it!


Add a bit of rayon seam binding to the mix, and you get a beautifully finished coordinate set.



Thursday, August 2, 2018

A New Batch of Simplicity Patterns for Fall

More new Simplicity patterns means more new vintage reproductions!  We are lucky to get one or perhaps two from Vogue, Butterick, and McCalls, but Simplicity keeps giving us plenty of options.  So, thank you, Simplicity!


I think this suit is quite wonderful.  I adore the back of the skirt, which looks especially flattering.  I haven't made a suit in quite some time, so perhaps this is the year.  The trick is finding the right fabric for the job!


And here we have The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  I am not sure what that clutch (or is it a brown paper bag?) is doing, but the coat is MARVELOUS!!


I love the dropped waist bodice with the hip gathers on that dress!!  And the back view of the coat is spectacular.


And then there were hats!!!  The Vintage Vogue line has not released a hat pattern in eons.  I rather like this jaunty pillbox hat.  Perhaps there will be some 1940s tilt hats in our future?  Because THAT would be exciting.


And here we have another kimono sleeved 1950s frock.  There are quite a few of these under-the-bust seam with princess seamed skirt patterns out there in vintage reproduction land, and while this is certainly cute, it really doesn't grab my attention.  The three-quarter sleeved version with contrasting cuff and collar is nice, though. 


There is also another apron pattern.  In the history of Simplicity vintage reproductions, a third of them must be apron patterns!  I suppose they must be popular.  Personally, I would rather have another dress or suit thrown into the mix, but I have to admit that this is a very cute little number.  And at least one of the options gives some nice coverage from possible stain threats.  I think I am going to have to pull out my apron patterns and have some fun!


The final vintage design is a 1940s blouse.  That striped number could definitely come hang out in my closet.  I am still looking for my ultimate blouse design, and while I do not think this will fit the bill, it is a lovely classic look with a lot of potential.


Not many of the contemporary designs grabbed me this time around.  I am intrigued by the line drawing of this Cynthia Rowley, but the poor man's version of the Dolce & Gabbana appliqu├ęd look is rather unfortunate.  Then again, there is really nothing extraordinary about the silhouette.  I blame the bishop sleeves - I have an extremely hard time resisting them!



There are also a fair amount of costume patterns; it is that time of year, after all.  The ubiquitous poodle skirt has been re-released along with some clowns and a lot of capes.  But I think I am going to stick with the vintage reproductions for this release.  Do you have any new favorites?

[Click on image for source]

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

1930s Knitwear


I just love it when a plan comes together!



After thinking about this pattern/fabric combo for quite some time, I finally went for it.


The current Pattern Review contest gave me the motivation I needed to jump right into another knit project.



(Not that I need an excuse to play with polka dots!)



And while I had to fight with my serger to get through this project, I am beginning to get over my fear of knit fabrics.



The way the skirt is drafted does not allow for pattern matching, so the cut off polka dots are driving me slightly crazy, but it is also rather freeing not to worry about those sort of things every once in a while.  And besides, the dots are so random, I don't think most people would even notice.



I do think this design works quite well in a knit.  



One of the reasons I attempted it was because the skirt is fairly slim fitting for a contemporary Butterick pattern.  I knew this because of the rayon version I previously made, and I thought it would be an interesting experiment to use a knit without making many fit changes.  The most exciting part was not having to add a zipper!



I have a fair amount of the ivory with black dots version of this fabric leftover - definitely enough to make myself a top.



I have a couple of ideas, and I could absolutely use more polka dots in my life!  So there may be more knit projects in my future . . .