3/24/14

Vogue 8379 in Black & White

This is my third make of Vogue 8379 this year, and I've got a fourth and fifth already in the works (one for a client, one for me). This is heading towards a record, although it hasn't got there yet!

This dress was for my client Diane. I couldn't get a shot of her in the finished dress as we did a quick exchange while I was teaching a lesson, but I have some nice dress form photos.



This fabric is an ITY from GorgeousFabrics.com, called Wibby-Wobbly-Webby Jersey, and there's still some in stock. My first two versions of this dress were made from ponte knit, so it was different to sew with something thinner and much stretchier. I don't think I really changed anything in the making of it, except to be be very carefully that I wasn't stretching the fabric up to my machine (I have a table for my serger and I elevated the fabric to reach my Pfaff workhorse).

I did change some aspects of the construction, mainly in adding a lining to make the fabric less sheer and less likely to give away every bump. I used a knit tricot lining that I also purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics sometime in the last 18 months.



I debated with myself as to how best to attach the lining since it wasn't quite as stretchy as the ITY. For the bodice, I attached the lining at the neckline, waist, and sleeve hem. I attached the facing after all of this was in place. I was worried about the sleeve bagging, so I tacked the lining and the main fabric at the shoulder and underarm - we'll see how this works and I may need to re-work it if Diane has trouble. I added clear elastic to the shoulder and waist in order to stop the dress from drooping.

For the skirt, I attached the lining to the main fabric at the waist and at center front, after hemming the lining separately. I folded the skirt facing over the lining and topstitched it in place.




I was worried that the white lining might peek out at the side seam tie slot, so I attached the lining to the main fabric here with a fell stitch.


I like Diane's version so much that I plan to make a black and white version for myself!

One of the nice things about having made this dress for a couple of people is that I now have a little library of bodice muslins in different sizes. When another client contacted me last week about making her a version of this dress, it was easy to figure out what adjustments she would need. I've found that the biggest issue with this dress is the waist placement so that the bodice hugs the body in the correct way. I think the pattern runs a bit short in the bodice, although for Diane's dress the original waist placement was spot on (she is high-waisted).

If anyone is considering this pattern, I'd encourage you to make it up. I've now made it for both straight and curvy figures and it looks good on everyone!


3/20/14

Style Arc Darla Peplum Top

Yep, more pattern hacking going on in my sewing studio! In my last hack, I took a top pattern and made a dress, and for this one I'm doing the reverse. I took Style Arc's Darla dress and turned it into a peplum top!




This was partly done out of necessity. I really loved this fabric combo but I didn't have enough of the polka dot to make a dress without more piecing than I wanted to take on.

Rayon double knit from GorgeousFabrics.com and magenta polka dot from GirlCharlee.com

And I also love peplum tops - perfect for those of use who need a little waist definition. To make the peplum, I traced off the top 10 inches of the skirt pieces from the Darla pattern as I wanted to continue the color block through the peplum. I divided each piece into two or three sections, and did a slash and spread, adding 2 inches to each spread.

Center Front and Side Front pieces - I did a slash and spread and
then traced off the new pieces.

I'm going to write a review on PatternReview.com with changes to the facing instructions based on my experience and the help that I received from Anne at The Clothing Engineer. I also want to give a shout out to Chloe at Style Arc. She listened to my feedback and is going to change the instructions - how's that for good customer service!

I also wanted to go through my thinking on color blocking this pattern. The other versions I've seen all have the contrast color at the shoulder yoke as well as center back & front. I opted to not have the contrast fabric at the shoulder yoke as I was pretty sure this would emphasize my shoulders, and I try to downplay them as they are the widest part of my body. I think using the contrast fabric at the shoulder would be a great option for ladies with a narrow upper body who want to balance wider hips.




Next up in personal sewing is the Style Arc Marni Ponti Jacket. The fabric I have picked out will look perfect with this top and I'll have a nice combo for Spring.

Speaking of Spring, this is what I saw when I looked out the window this morning:


Luckily all this snow melted off by late morning and we might actually get a little taste of spring today!

3/19/14

Quickie!!

I've got a couple of projects that I am excited to show you, but they are awaiting final finishing touches and photographs. In the meantime, here are a couple of curvy knit pencil skirts I've made up for clients recently. One was finished a couple of months ago and the other finished today. Please feel free to refer to my free tutorial on this design if you want one for yourself!

Brown double knit from Mood and printed ponte knit from GirlCharlee (out of stock)

Rayon double knit and Croco Embossed Black Novelty woven fabric -
both from GorgeousFabrics.com


3/12/14

Style Arc Darla Dress

Some of you will remember that I had a bounty of options for making the Darla Dress, as discussed in this post. I decided to go with the ponte/double knit options for my first dress AND my first ever Style Arc make.

When you order a Style Arc pattern you only get one size, which initially made me nervous about buying their patterns. The styles won me over in the end - so much to like! My measurements were pretty close to the Size 10, so that's what I started with and I made no changes to the pattern before sewing up a muslin of the bodice. I found I had almost no changes to make after the muslin - a simple sloped shoulder adjustment to fix gaping at the front/back armhole. This was a bit tricky to do because the yoke has no shoulder seam line. After some thinking, I pinched out 1/2" at the armhole side of the yoke, midway between front and back, and tapered the fold to 0 at the neckline. I then re-drew the grainline using the "direction of greatest stretch" as a reference point. Since it worked, I'm happy with the adjustment!





I thought I would have to lengthen the bodice to have it hit my waist in the right spot, but it was perfect as is. I wanted a closer fit, so I sewed the side seams with a 5/8" seam allowance instead of the 3/8" the pattern included. I could go even slimmer if I wanted more of a date night dress (I'd probably do this by taking out a pinch at CF & CB so as not to shift the bust darts too much to the side), but this is good for now.





I really love this dress! I've worn it twice already, to a school dance at Belly's school on Friday night and again to church on Sunday, and i got tons of compliments. Even Dame Lucille, one of the fashionable older ladies at my church, sought me out to tell me how much she liked the dress. "You are a symphony of black and gray," she said.

The only part of the dress that gave me trouble was the facings. The neck and armhole facings are attached by the yoke facing, and I just couldn't figure out how to make this work. I tried one way, then another, checked online for reviews or tutorials (it seems like NO ONE has made this dress) and even wrote to Style Arc. I finally figured out a way that worked, but I'm checking with Style Arc to see if I was correct. I took a bunch of pictures and I'll post a tutorial later this week in case anyone else needs some help with this.





I made this dress with some black double knit fabric from GorgeousFabrics.com and a ponte knit print I had left over from a client project last year (I purchased it originally from StoneFabrics.co.uk). This pattern lends itself to using up large scraps, as the CB and CF pieces are not that big.

For my next variation, I plan to make a peplum top, using the dress as a base so that I can get that colorblock in the peplum as well as the bodice. I plan to use the black and black/magenta polka dot fabric I talked about in the original post. There wasn't enough of the polka dot fabric for a dress unless I did some serious piecing, so a peplum top seemed like a good back up plan.

And BTW, I changed my hairstyle, chopping off about six inches in length and adding a bunch of layers. I kept wondering why NO ONE noticed this, until I saw these pictures. It looks almost the same, especially when I wear a black top so that you can't see where my hair ends!

3/6/14

Student Work: Simplicity 2290

I'm a teensy bit embarrassed to tell you that I just made my first pair of PJs for myself (I've made a couple PJ sets for kids, but not for myself up 'till now). Such an easy thing to make but it seems I hadn't got 'round to it!

My motivation to sew up this pattern came from the fact that I needed a sample for two different classes. This was an Intro to Sewing class for teens/adults that I taught at my regular sewing gig (The Little Bits Workshop) and out on my own for a class I set up, advertised, and registered students all by my little loneself.

But I had the plan for these PJs for at least 18 months, maybe longer. My husband gave me a pair of Garnet Hill bamboo jersey cropped PJs a couple years ago, and they fairly quickly got all hole-y in back. But I loved them so much I just wore them with longer and longer t-shirts to cover up the growing hole. I've been meaning to replace them for, oh, some time, but I needed a kick in the PJs to do it.

So Simplicity 2290 is a super easy pattern (one pattern piece, 3 seams and then hemming) and while it's not cropped, cropping them was easy-peasy to do. The only problem I found was that the crotch depth was ridiculously long on me. I cut off 1.5" and I should have cut off 1.5" more. This was not a problem for any of my students, so maybe it's just me.

Here's how they turned out, next to the original.

New with fabric from EmmaOneSock.com - purchased years ago.

Old Garnet Hill Pjs

And see this hole??? Why am I still wearing these???



I didn't get shots of all of my student's work, but here are a few:

Anne made these for her son - the tail at the back side was a lucky accident!

Hope made these for her daughter.

More dinos!

Paty got this mustache fabric from a man who was clearing out his (deceased) wife's fabric stash.
He is giving the fabric away, per the wife's instructions.

This particular class was one of the most satisfying I've taught, mainly because it was all mine - lesson plans, finding location, advertising, convincing people to take the class, taking payments, setting up the space each week. I was also more nervous at the start - and this is after teaching in various jobs for over 15 years! Four out of the five students are going to take my next class, and the one who isn't taking it wishes that she could. It's moments like this that make all the hustle and late nights and frustrations of running one's own business worthwhile.

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