Saturday, April 22, 2017

Summer Simplicity

The Simplicity Summer catalog has been released, and they even managed to get their website updated in time!  That has not happened since the website revamp, so perhaps things are going to improve as far as that goes . . .  

With no new vintage to gush over, my favorite design by far is the American Duchess version of that famous red Outlander gown (Simplicity has recolored the dress to be a greenish teal for the website, so not sure what that is about?).  With the panniers, this dress is very unsuitable for my daily life, but it is really gorgeous.  Swanning about in over 8 yards of fabric sounds pretty darn fabulous, actually.  Just not sure that I would be able to squeeze into my car - otherwise it would certainly be fun to show up wearing something like this to work!  I haven't dressed up for Halloween for a few years now . . . maybe that will have to change . . .

The Cynthia Rowley top/dress is cute, but I already have a ton of her patterns, and rarely make them up.  And I am not so sure that skinny off-the-shoulder elasticized piece looks especially comfortable, so I am going to have to think about this one.

While I have not seen the new Beauty and the Beast movie, I was very disappointed by stills of the yellow gown, especially the bodice treatment.  But looking at the line drawing for Simplicity’s version, I actually like the flounces on the skirt back very much.

They also have the cartoon version of the yellow gown, made up in a particularly horrible polyester satin.  My skin is getting itchy just looking at that thing.  The model does not look terribly pleased, either.  Someone please destroy all of the Casa Collection satin and embellished organza - the world would be a much better place for it!

Simplicity is also jumping on the pattern hacking bandwagon.  Is this not what everyone already does with a pattern?  I suppose it could be helpful to a beginner who might not otherwise understand just how easy it is to add a ruffle or shorten a hem or scoop out a neckline.  Do you think they include instructions on how to properly draft those changes?  I may take a peek at the insert on this pattern next time I stop by the big box fabric store.  (I have to admit that when I first started using dress patterns, I thought that the instructions should be followed verbatim, so they may be onto something!)

I guess that means there is only one pattern that will definitely be coming home with me this season, but it's a good one!  Now if only 8 yards of glorious silk would suddenly appear in my apartment I could get started . . .

Monday, April 17, 2017

Out of Season

Today's unseasonable and very soggy weather reminded me of this outfit.  I was almost tempted to throw on a wool sweater in the middle of April.  What is going on?!?

And what the heck happened to our beautiful Spring weather?  I am really getting tired of the gray skies and the rain.

This garment will be getting a whole lot of wear towards the end of the year, but for now, I am much more interested in light colors and fabrics (even if the weather is not playing fair).

I sure do love a circle skirt, though!  If I can find a suitable mid-weight wool in a beautiful color, I may just have to make myself another for next Winter.

The most irritating part was, you guessed it, evening out that darn hem.  Even thick wool coating is not immune to the dreaded bias droop.

The sweater was a quick knit when I was in need of a portable project that would not require a lot of fuss, and one that I would be comfortable stopping and starting at a moment's notice.

It served its purpose quite well, and I may want to make another in a warm weather appropriate fiber.  If the rainfall keeps up, I may finish my current knitting project soon and do just that!

Sweater:  Made by me, “Jumper with a Boat Neckline” 
Skirt:  Made by me, Vogue 2902
Shoes:  Royal Vintage “Marilyn

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Finishing Touches to Shades of Blue

I have not been spending as much time in the sewing room as I would like to, as of late.  And I am still unable to motivate myself to deal with the dreaded dropped hem on the full skirt, but I am very, very close to finished with this dress!

I decided to use an invisible zipper this time around.  The design has a definite vintage vibe, but I thought a streamlined approach would work well with this print instead of a lapped zipper.  I also had a very good color match in an invisible zip stashed away, so I went for it.

Just like the straight skirted version of this design, I did not use the given instructions.  This involved a lot more hand sewing than the pattern intends, but I prefer the control I get working by hand.

A bemberg rayon was not a suitable choice for this stable mid-weight cotton, and since I had enough leftover scraps of the printed fabric (but not enough to make another garment) I decided that I might as well use it for the lining.

When I posted some of these images to Instagram, I received a lot of questions/comments about the bra situation for this design.  It is possible that a bra with a very deep plunge could work.  It would also be quite easy to alter the depth of the v that is cut out of the midriff piece if the plunge almost works, but not quite.  But as drafted, this will definitely not work with a standard bra.

My solution was to add the foundation garment to the dress itself.  I have found that I prefer the "soft molded bra cups" to the "molded" ones, which feel a bit like armor.  The soft version is quite pliable, and while not as supportive as an actual bra, it definitely makes a difference to the garment's structure, in my opinion. 

If the bra cups you find do not reach to the seam allowance, you can stitch a scrap of fabric directly to the cup so that you have an anchor point.

I use a very loose basting stitch or catch stitch to anchor the cups to the seam allowance, and then cover the whole thing with the lining.  Just make sure you try the dress on to ensure everything is in the proper place before stitching the lining down permanently! 

I also added two ribbon hangers to each side seam since the neckline is very wide.  A length of narrow ribbon gets folded in half and stitched to the seam allowance before the lining is stitched down.  And this is the step I am most likely to forget on any given project!  I cannot tell you how many time I have had to re-open a seam because of this . . . it must have something to do with the fact that the end is almost in sight.

And now I really need to get over myself and fix that darn hem!

[Disclosure:  Contrado provided me with this fabric, but the opinions posted here are my own.]