Saturday, December 3, 2022

Floral Medallion

Back in June, I had the opportunity to attend a pattern swap, and was lucky enough to snag a copy of McCalls 7677.  And I was so excited about it, I actually grabbed some fabric (I was definitely inspired by the pattern illustration) and got right to it.

This is a great silhouette, and I didn't want a full length gown, but I thought it would be fun to have a Summer appropriate maxi.  I squeezed as much length as I could out of my limited yardage, and while I was somewhat disappointed that I didn't have an extra inch or so of length, I think it turned out for the best.

And once again, there were some interesting bits of information to be found within.  For one, there are three lines of gathering stitches noted right on the pattern tissue.  I know that many people use three rows of gathering, but I have never seen it noted in pattern instruction, vintage or otherwise.

And although it was not included, I added a separate shortened skirt piece to help the hipline of the skirt stand out.  This was a technique that I saw in another vintage pattern years ago and have used it on a few occasion since.  It really does make a difference.

And those three rows of gathering also make the process much neater - I think that I have been converted to this method thanks to this project!

Another thing to note is that the instructions suggest using a thicker thread in the bobbin.  This pattern calls for a fully lined skirt.  I did not line the skirt, but did add my mini petticoat, and the additional layer can make gathering up a long length of fabric difficult with standard thread.  There is the zig-zag over a really thick cord technique, but I am going to have to remember to try this method as well.  As for my dress and the two layers of cotton, the standard Mara 100 thread I almost always use in my sewing machine worked just fine.

This pattern has two diagonal darts at bodice front instead of the standard two vertical from waistline to bust, and two from side seam to bust.  I love the way the diagonal darts look, and it was one of the main reasons I wanted to try this pattern out.  That, and the super wide neckline paired with the dropped back is gorgeous.

Just for fun, I decided to add some piping to the waistline seam.

This detail is quite common on vintage dresses.  It doesn't take a whole lot of extra effort, and looks very polished on a dress that will not be worn with a belt.

This pattern had another surprise for me.  I actually noticed this technique on a vintage reproduction, Simplicity 9536, which I made this year.  The bodice is lined, and the zipper opening is finished with the seam right sides together before inserting the zipper.  

Most pattern have you apply a zipper to the bodice front only, and then fold under the seam allowance of the lining to finish the raw edges and hide the zipper tape.  I thought finishing the seam prior to installing the zipper was an interesting way to go about it.  Well, it turns out it is a vintage finish, and I recently came across another vintage pattern instruction sheet with the same instructions, although I can't remember which one it was at the moment!  Proving once again that vintage pattern instructions are always worth a read.

The only raw edges left on the bodice at this point are at the waist.  And that obviously gets attached to the skirt.

Just look how neat those gathers turned out!

And yes, I couldn't forget my seam binding for any remaining raw edges.  

The other change that I made to the pattern was the addition of a facing along the hemline.

This was for two reasons.  Number one, I wanted to get as much length as I could out of the skirt, and two, the facing also helps the hemline to stand out.  It also looks pretty!

The lining was stitched in place by hand along the waistline.

I also added a few boning channels to the bodice, which you can see here if you look closely.  

Because the neckline is extra wide, this seemed like a good idea, since the straps are sitting precariously on the edge of the shoulder.

And here is the zipper being applied to that finished edge.  The upper edge of the zipper tape will be folded under and stitched into place.

It doesn't look quite as finished from the inside as when the lining is applied over the top of the zipper, but it works great for a lapped zipper application.  And it would also make swapping out a broken zipper a whole lot easier . . . maybe that is more of the point before self healing zippers made from nylon were easy to come by?

And once again, I learned something new from working with a vintage pattern, and have a great dress on top of it.

I just love the back!

And yes, I suspect that this dress pattern will be used again.  I think it would look amazing as a more formal gown, but there will definitely be at least one more cotton sundress version of this in my future.


Thursday, December 1, 2022

Red Velveteen

The Marin Symphony had a concert back in October, which I attended with Mom.  I was planning on wearing a particular dress, but it was likely that the evening performance would be too chilly for a sleeveless cotton dress.  So the obvious thing to do was make a coverup!

I will also say that a red jacket is a welcome addition to my wardrobe since I have a lot of red in my closet.  Right around this time, Charm Patterns released The Brooklyn Jacket.  I have never made one of their Patreon patterns, but it looked like something that would be fun to try.  These are print only patterns, which is not my favorite thing to deal with, but I folded and taped my 8.5X11 paper, and transferred the pattern to interfacing.  With that chore complete, it was time for the fun stuff.

When it came to fabric choice, I kept returning to velveteen.  I haven't worked with velvet or velveteen in some time, and I figured that velveteen shouldn't be too painful to work with after a hiatus from the rather finicky textile.

And lucky for me, I also happened to have a suitable red lining on hand.

The fabric didn't give me that much grief, thankfully, but I did encounter a problem with the drafting of the pattern.  The front piece and the front facing pieces do not match for this particular view, as you can see in the photo below.  

At least I hadn't made my buttonholes before figuring this out!

I think the proportions of the front opening are slightly off because I had to trim down the front to match the facing, but it could have been worse.

And honestly, I was more concerned about how bound buttonholes in velveteen were going to turn out.

But thanks to my handy Singer Professional Buttonholer and it's bound buttonhole template, it was smooth sailing.

I have a needle board, so I decided that a fusible interfacing would work for stabilizing the buttonholes/facing.

It all worked out, although I am never convinced that fusible will stay put in the long run.

And look, we have the beginnings of a jacket!

The lining went together easily.

The most aggravating part of the project was attaching the lining to the velveteen . . . which makes sense, the cotton velvet grips itself, but the slick rayon lining wants to fight the velvet.  But in the end, I got it done.

And covered buttons were an obvious choice, so I pulled out two of those.

A bit of hand sewing later . . .

And I have a new cozy coverup.

Now the only question is, how did I make it this long without a cropped red velveteen jacket in my wardrobe?!


Sunday, November 27, 2022

All Hallows' Eve

Well, I missed the deadline on this post.  Whoops!  I did manage to finish my dress in time for Halloween, but getting through the photos proved to be too much for me.  This time change business kills me; I lose all of my motivation around this time of year.  Blergh.

But I am happy to report that I love how this year's Halloween outfit turned out.  Michelle from OldPatterns.com sent me the dress pattern, and I just couldn't wait to try it out.  The holiday themed print was an excellent way to test out the pattern as a wearable muslin.

If you have been around these parts for any length of time, you are probably well aware of my obsession with novelty prints.

There are a whole lot of  orange and grey based Halloween prints, but neither of those colors work especially well for me.  But add purple into the mix, and I am on board!

Mr. Blue came along for the photo shoot.  He looks great in any color!  Valentino prefers to stay at home these days, snuggled in one of his many doggie beds (especially early in the morning when the temperature is a bit chilly).

The shoes were another motivating factor when picking a print for this year's themed outfit.

Of course, the sloths made my choice easy.  I actually had another sloth novelty print planned for my Summer sewing, but never got around to that project, so that will have to wait until next year.

As I mentioned, this dress was more of a wearable muslin and a test of the cage neckline technique that I made up.  And I am pleased to report that it worked!

There is an excellent chance that I will be making this pattern again, perhaps with a full skirt, or perhaps the straight skirt paired with more of the originally intended sheer yoke.

But that is for another day, and requires a bit of research for fabric choices and such.

I really haven't been sewing at all for a few weeks.  Most of my free time is spent with a chihuahua on my lap, and a pair of knitting needles and some squishy wool.  Tino has become an absolute lap dog in his later years, and I am trying to give him as much attention as I can manage.  So for now, it's couch appropriate crafting.  But I do have quite a few sewing projects that I would like to put together during the colder months, so I am hoping to get back into the sewing room soon.

Dress & Belt:  Made by me, McCalls 4587
Shoes:  American Duchess, "Endora"
Earrings:  Shadows