Friday, November 29, 2019

The Further Adventures of Knit Fabric in the Sewing Room

It feels good to finally make this pattern!  I must have pulled Vogue 8685 out a dozen times or more because I just love those style lines, but I never felt like I had the proper fabric to do it justice.  When I recently discovered Joann's "refined ponte" fabric, I thought it would be a good match.  The rayon/nylon/spandex fabric is very heavy weight but has a lovely feel to it, unlike so many of the other polyester knits they carry.  You have to dig a little, and I was disappointed to find that some of the refined ponte has less rayon and more nylon content which doesn't look or feel nearly as nice.  But this cranberry color is beautiful.  I am very curious to see how it holds up over time.  The thinner rayon knits that I have purchased at Joanns pill terribly, and I hope that is not the case with this particular textile.

As far as knits go, I know that ponte is extremely stable, but it still pushes me out of my comfort zone.  Top-stitching is a little stressful, especially over the bulky seams.  But I made it work!

And my serger got a tiny workout.

I still can't believe how quickly knits sew up.  Even with having to take in the sleeves (they are massively oversized), and messing with the side hip/yoke join to make it smooth, this project only took me a few days to complete.  Which feels crazy to me.

I guess all that seam binding really does take time to apply; not that I am going to give it up, or my woven fabrics any time soon.

But I do have to say I enjoyed stitching this dress together, and I rather like the result!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Rayon Confetti

As soon as I saw the Simplicity multi sleeve patterns that were released as vintage reproductions, I knew that I would have to come up with a project to utilize them.  It took me some time, but I finally decided to pair one lovely sleeve option with another recent vintage reproduction, Simplicity 8248.

I should have taken more pictures of the process of grafting in the alternate sleeve, but I was distracted and forgot to document that portion of the project.  Basically, the multi sleeve pattern includes a generic bodice front and back which fit with the sleeve draft.  And while the armscye of the dress pattern (taking into account the yoke and bodice seam allowances) did not match the sleeve pattern bodice piece, it was close.  I was not going to be bothered with redrafting the small differences on my dress pattern, and I figured that the drapey rayon would be forgiving.

And luckily, I was correct.  The pieces went together quite smoothly.  If they do not match up, you would have to alter your bodice armscye to match the generic bodice pieces that go with the sleeve pattern.  It's not difficult, but it does add an extra step of tracing pattern pieces and melding them together.

The rayon was a purchase from Craftsy a few years back.  It was more lightweight than expected once I got it in my hands, but it works nicely for this dress.  And I just love the color palette!

I decided that I wanted to use the pattern envelope styling and have a contrasting fabric for the collar edge, pocket edges, and belt to break up that crazy color explosion.

Thankfully, I found a pink rayon satin stashed away that worked.  It is not an exact match to the pink in the print, but the two different fabrics compliment each other very well (and not having to purchase anything new for a project is always nice).  And I just may have re-discovered my love of a 1930s silhouette!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A Summer Set

This outfit was completed and worn last Summer, so I am back to playing catch up on the blog.  But somehow my projects never seem quite finished until they are posted, so it feels good to finally share them here.

This particular outfit has been on my mind recently because I knit up a sweater that is a perfect match for the skirt.  

Hooray for separates that play well with others!

I have paired this particular combination of bustier and skirt with a cardigan to make it work appropriate, which also creates a slightly different look.

And I definitely love pieces that have range!

Overall, I am very pleased with this outfit.

The skirt certainly gets more wear than the top, but like my other bustier/skirt set, I really love how the finished look turned out.

Do I need a third combo in my closet?  Perhaps not.

But I suspect that this skirt pattern is going to come in handy in the future.  The silhouette is lovely, and it certainly isn't the fabric hog that a circle skirt is, which is always appreciated!

Bustier:  Made by me, Simplicity 1426
Skirt:  Made by me, Simplicity 8458
Shoes:  Remix "Babydoll"
Earrings:  Banana Republic

Saturday, November 16, 2019

A Bold Rose Print

There are some projects that come together with minimal effort.  This was one of them.  And I have even managed to post the finished dress on my blog within two months of my initial wearing of the outfit.  Miracles do happen!  

I knew immediately that I would pair the bold floral estate sale fabric find with this Claire McCardell design.

During the process of cutting the fabric, I was reminded just how much extra fabric a large scale print requires to attempt matching of any kind!

I wasn't even planning on print matching . . . just making sure that none of the obvious seamlines at center front and back did not look terrible with duplicate roses directly across from one another.  I achieved my goal, but I did have to piece one of the sashes.

Which is not a huge problem, especially since that join gets lost in the bow that gets tied at center back.

I ended up lining that sash because the wrong side of this cotton print is not especially pretty.  Also, since I pieced one of them, the extra seam needed to be covered up.

The directions call for a single layer that gets narrow hemmed along the edges, and even though I was slightly concerned that the double thickness of the cotton might prove too much for a tied bow, I moved ahead with my plan.

It's a bit trickier than a single layer would have been, but the bow ties up nicely.

And I will definitely be making use of this pattern in the future.  

It's definitely a keeper!  My love of oversized florals is not likely to go away any time soon.  If I look like I'm wearing an old sofa cover, I don't mind.  I just love those flowers!

I suspected that I would like this design from the start, but you never know until you put on the finished garment.  And this one is a winner!

Dress:  Made by me, Eva Dress Claire McCardell reproduction
Hair Rose: Made by me
Bag:  Made by me, Vogue 625
Necklace:  Vintage, from Mom
Earrings & Bracelet:  Vintage, gift
Shoes:  Kristin Cavallari "Copertina"

Monday, November 11, 2019

A Pastoral Scene

And here I am, still playing catch-up.

This is yet another 2018 project that is finally making it to the blog.

And I am sad to say that I have only worn this garment once.  Mostly because I somehow forgot to make my standard erect upper back adjustment when I was cutting out the project, and the fabric bunching at the center back zipper drives me crazy.

I suspect that very few people would be able to tell that anything is wrong with the fit of this dress, but it is all that I see.

Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about the fitting issue, so I have to live with it.

I am hoping that a little distance from the dress will help me like it a little more, so it is currently buried in the back of the closet.

My original intention was to make another version out of a much more drapey fabric, but I haven't had the heart to do it since I am not a huge fan of my first version.

There is also something funny about the shoulder drafting.  The shaping is done with a dart, and taking up more fabric at the neckline would probably help things, but for now, I am going to focus on other projects.  

I do love a drop-waist, though, so I may be back to this pattern sooner than I think.  It just bothers me that I made such a basic mistake on an otherwise lovely dress.  I suppose it's a reminder to slow down and think before cutting into fabric, and that no matter how many times I have done something before it is possible to forget the most obvious of alterations.

Dress:  Made by me, Butterick 6484
Fascinator:  Made by me
Shoes:  Remix "Babydoll"

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

A few weeks ago I noticed Halloween themed novelty cottons were on sale at JoAnn Fabrics.  The one that caught my eye in the sales flyer was not at my local store, but a couple of the more whimsical prints they had on hand grabbed my attention.

In the end, I took home some of the Peanuts "Spooky Night" print.  The cotton is certainly not the best quality in the world, but the stiff weight is perfect for a fit and flare silhouette.

And since I made myself a lovely Christmas themed frock last year using Simplicity 1459, I decided I should also have a Halloween version in my closet.

This is one of the only Simplicity patterns that I have sized up and I was also curious to see how my normal size would actually fit.  The finished garment measurements had me slightly worried that a large Christmas meal would make wearing the fitted waist uncomfortable.  It turns out, I should have stuck with my go-to sizing since the dress is slightly big through the bodice and shoulders.  I could probably have used a bit of an FBA on this version, but in a long line bra with pointy cups, it works.

And then, the pattern does present some problems with a direction print.  For the Christmas version, I didn't mind if some of the cardinals looked a little catawampus, but this print was going to look odd.

And the most obvious problem is the collar, right up front and center.

Luckily, there was some coordinating green cotton available.  I was slightly concerned about that much yellow toned green next to my face, but this dress is not going to be worn constantly, and a "costume" doesn't have to suit my palette, it just has to make me happy.

I also thought that a solid would be a nice break from the super busy print.

But would a lone contrasting collar look out of place? I decided it would be nice to tie in the solid green with contrasting cuffs and belt, which I think turned out quite well.

The other major change I made was to forego the side zipper for a center front skirt opening.  I only decided to make that change, however, after I started on the construction.  Whoops.

So it's not perfect with the added placket, but it works.  

And it definitely is much easier to get in and out of without the side zipper and I am going to have to figure out how to finesse that placket/snap closure construction for future button front/side zipper drafted patterns where you don't want buttons all the way down the skirt!  But that's for another day.

Dress & Belt:  Made by me, Simplicity 1459
Petticoat:  Made by me, Vogue 4203
Shoes: Vince Camuto
Necklace:  Banana Republic