Sunday, July 15, 2018

Early Fall Patterns from McCalls

I was beginning to think that The Archive Collection was fading away, but we have a new pattern.  I find myself slightly confused by the styling (specifically that hat selection), but I am definitely intrigued by the design.

I do wish they included the original pattern illustrations as they do with the other vintage reproductions.  Does anyone recognize this one?  The choice is interesting, and I certainly cannot think of another currently issued pattern that replicates this look, so I am all for it!  I love the slightly Watteau-esque back treatment.  It's a similar look to the one I ended up when I modified this vintage pattern.  And I will be curious to see exactly how this is constructed!  Hooray for non-basic patterns!

My other favorite design is McCall 7805.  There have been a slew of cold shoulder designs recently, mostly blouses from all of the major pattern companies.  Of them all, this dress is the most likely to be added to my closet in the near future.

I ripped an image of this Donna Karan design from 2008 out of a fashion magazine back then and saved the picture for all these years.  And I have wanted my own version ever since - including that fabulous belt!  Vogue released a pattern from the same collection in 2009 that I have stashed away.  In many ways, I wish they had chosen this design, but I am thinking I may take a stab at recreating something similar with the help of this new McCall pattern.  We shall see what happens . . . and if there is time before the weather turns cold.  (So many warm weather patterns and fabric waiting to be stitched together!)

The other ever popular design this season is the ruffled wrap dress.  Here is another one.  I do like the additional option of the more business-like neckline with the notched collar.  But I think I prefer this one from Butterick, so I am going to pass on this particular pattern.
Only two new pattern to add to the stash is good news around here - those boxes are getting really, really full.  Do you have any favorites that will be following you home?

[Click on image for source]

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Home Grown Orchids

It has taken far too long to make my orchid dress.  

Almost two years ago, I designed this orchid print.  My Fabric Designs reproduced the print on fabric thanks to the crazy world of digital printing that we have available to us today.  

As you can see, the color is not quite as bright on the fabric as the original design was on my computer screen.  That may have something to do with my fabric choice, which was the basic combed cotton yardage.  There can be a significant difference in color depending on the fabric content and weave.  It also probably has a bit to do with my computer screen as well.  The fabric itself is a little papery feeling which I do not get with the unprinted fabric swatch from the company - I suspect it has something to do with the dye itself.  It is not something that would dissuade me from using the fabric, just a little unexpected.  Actually, the crispness of the textile lends itself well to the structured silhouette I had planned for the textile.  Their cotton sateen, on the other hand, has a lot of drape, even when printed.

With so many pieces of fabric, I hem and haw over what to make with them.  For this one, I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I ordered the yardage from My Fabric Designs.  

The bodice of Vogue 8701 was something I wanted to use again as soon as I had completed this dress.

But this time around, I thought it would be fun to use the skirt pieces from Vogue 4203 to give the finished dress a slightly different silhouette than the original.

Part of the skirt poof comes from an added piece of cotton that acts as interfacing along the hipline and is treated as a single layer when it comes to darts, pleats, and gathers.  I borrowed the idea from a vintage 1950s pattern I made up many years ago.  I previously used a Pellon interfacing which worked quite well, but a single layer of mid-weight cotton is almost as good.

I went with a hand applied lapped zipper, and also added lingerie guards to each shoulder.  The bodice sits rather far out on the shoulder (which I love because it helps to balance a full hip!) so this keeps bra straps from peeking out.

I debated about adding a belt or not.  In the end, I applied a length of petersham ribbon over self fabric to have the option.

All the better to match a birdcage veil I made to wear with the dress!

[Disclosure:  My Fabric Designs provided me with a coupon code which was used to purchase this fabric, but the opinions posted here are my own.]

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Field Full of Daisies

Going through these photos has reminded me how much I love my Butterick 6453 dresses - all three of them!

I just love how easy it is to throw them on and look put together.

I wore my first version all the time last summer, and it is high time I pulled it out again.  

Funny how favorite items change from season to season. 

I have so many lovely summery cotton prints and am tempted to make more of this very silhouette.

Then again, I also have piles of other patterns that I want to get to.  Which do I start with?

For the moment, I am making myself another blouse/skirt combo because I am finding separates to be very convenient wardrobe builders.

We shall see how long that lasts.

And until I decide, I have plenty of Butterick 6453 options to choose from.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Early Fall Simplicity Patterns means more lovely sleeves!!

Another pattern catalog, and another 1930s multi sleeve pattern from Simplicity!!  Hooray!  I have yet to cut into my copy of the previous reproduction sleeve pattern, but I may have to push a 1930s frock to the front of the queue in order to play with these fabulous design features.  Love it!!

The styling of Simplicity 8686 is less than ideal, but look past the scraggly hair, the poor fit, and the boring fabric, there is a wonderful dress with great style lines.  For real inspiration, just take a look at the original illustration - this is a really cute garment.  I am curious why Simplicity chose an invisible zipper in the side seam which would not be original to the design.  Seems like an odd choice to me.  But it does look like they have improved the length of these vintage reproductions.  [One of my main complaints with Simplicity vintage reproductions was that they were drafted at or above the knee with tiny seam allowances when the originals would never have been that short.  I may have chalked it up to one bad pattern, but it happened with Simplicity 1777 and Simplicity 1587.  Happy to say this dress does not appear to have that issue.]

This dress is probably familiar to vintage pattern enthusiasts.  The short sleeved version is the Sew Chic "Tia Dress" pattern.  If I remember correctly, the red and yellow print version is the original sample; the three-quarter sleeve is an addition to the pattern which I really like.  I have been tempted by this one for years, and now that it should be available at my local JoAnn Fabrics sometime soon, you better believe I will be picking this one up for my collection.

Here we have another basic blouse.  The v-neck with the dickey is sweet, but I am not loving the sample in the shiny fabric that is too big on the model.  You wouldn't know it from looking at the sample, but this is a somewhat fitted top that has a zipper - and again, Simplicity uses the invisible option.  I have metal invisible zippers on cotton twill tape from the 1960s if the color choices are anything to go by, so they probably existed when this pattern was first released in the 1950s, but I would guess that a home sewing pattern would not use a fairly new invention that might not be available to a home sewer.  I would definitely be interested in hearing from Simplicity about why they are substituting something like zipper type on reproduction patterns.  Anyone know why?

I do love that Simplicity is releasing original patterns, but I am not sure why they keep choosing overly simplistic designs for these "authentic" reproductions.  At first I thought this was a poncho.  I guess it is actually a caftan, but how many of those does the catalog need?  They must be big sellers, I guess.

The other original pattern is this lovely 1970s tie/tux accessories offering.  Anyone need a super wide paisley tie?  I would love to try my hand at making a tie one day - I believe they are rather tricky to get right and make that point nice and sharp.  But that's a challenge for another day . . . too many dress pattern to tempt me.   

The only other design that grabbed me was the Mimi G Style dress.  It looks very 9 to 5 chic to me; it's not exactly the right silhouette for the movie, but that was my first impression of the style.  In the right fabric, I think this could be fabulous.  I would lengthen the hem by an inch or so, and definitely choose a fabric with a significant amount of drape.  The floral jacquard does not work all that well, in my opinion.  But I see possibilities . . .

Do you have any new favorites?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Crocheted Edges

Along with my hexi quilt, my rag rugs, and a couple of knitted rugs, I have been busy making this crocheted throw.  I am definitely one of those people who prefer knitting to crochet, but I thought a change of pace would be a good thing. 

After searching the Ravelry database for something suitable, I settled on this pattern.

I liked the idea that this particular design requires that the squares be connected as you work through the pattern.  That meant that there would be less joining to do at the end, and that appealed to me.

One of my favorite things is that, along with instructions written in prose, there is also this lovely diagram.  Without one of these, I tend to get lost in all the sc and dc in 3rd ch of turning ch, and ch-space, etc.  Whoever came up with this diagraming is a genius - it even looks like the finished product!

With such a clear set of instructions, it was a fairly quick project to make up.

The most tedious part was weaving all those ends in (which I anticipated, and was dreading).  In the end it wasn't all that bad.

And all that work was definitely worth it in the end.

I even find myself wanting to start hooking a new crochet project in the near future!  But for now, I am concentrating on that quilt.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Guest at a Wedding

Okay, so technically, I was not a guest at a wedding.  This was, in fact, my entry in The McCall Pattern Company's "Royal Wedding Sew Along."

The contest was exactly the motivation I needed to dive right into Butterick 6556 using a lovely upholstery fabric.

I ended up adding the belt + buckle, and I used the other rhinestone buckle to make myself a hair accessory.

Note to self:  hand sewing multiple layers of upholstery fabric is not a good idea, especially when a person has an aversion to using a thimble.

I am beginning to think that I am an old dog who cannot learn a new trick when it comes to thimbles. Perhaps one of these days I will spend a few hours trying to figure out just how to use one, but there are just so many more interesting things to do in the sewing room . . . and so many more interesting things to learn when it comes to sewing, right?!

It is also incredibly frustrating to have something that is second nature to me (like hand sewing) become awkward and clunky.  I do expect to do some hand quilting in the near future, so that may be the final push I need.

But back to this dress.  Yes, I love the pattern as much as I expected I would.

There is nothing earth shattering about the design, but it is classic, and very flattering.  I just adore a square neckline.

And no, I didn't win the contest.

But that's okay - because I have a new dress that I love!  And I suspect that I will be using this pattern again.  I have been meaning to make myself a pleated skirt, and this is high on the list of possibilities . . .