Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Maxi Dress!

McCalls 6559
Size 10 bodice, graded out to 12 at waist
Alterations:  Shortened 4.5 inches, 1/2" swayback adjustment & forward shoulder adjustment
Added neck and shoulder bindings
Fabric:  ITY Knit

I can't remember when I bought this pattern, but it was a while ago.  I pulled it out, cut out the pattern pieces and then stuck them right back into the envelope.  I even pulled them out a couple times afterwards and would just put it away and sew something else up instead.  I'm so glad I finally made this dress!  I think what was holding me back is I'm 5'1 and never wear long dresses.  This summer I decided to take that step and give it a try--I'm so glad I did!  I LOVE this dress!

Two pattern pieces, yes, only two!  The pattern instructions state to turn the neck and shoulder seam allowance under 5/8" and stitch.  I prefer binding my neck and armholes, so I cut a strip of fabric 1.5".  I folded the strips wrong sides together and then stitched them to the WRONG side of my dress fabric (on the inside).  Then I folded my binding over to the front side, encasing my seam allowance.  I tacked the binding down using a narrow zig zag stitch.

There really isn't much more to say about this dress other than it is very easy and quick to make.  To ensure getting my seams matched, I basted first and then serged them.

One thing to note about the neckline, it might be borderline too low if you turn it down 5/8".  When I attached my binding, I sewed 1/4" seam allowance.  I did this as well with the armholes, but now wish I had made that seam a little deeper.  I think they are just a tad bit too wide.  I will adjust my pattern before making this again.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Maxi Skirt and a Dress-to-Shirt Refashion

 Maxi Skirt
Simplicity 1616, Size 12
Fabric:  Cotton Lawn
Alterations:  Shortened length by 2", used only 2 side panels instead of 4

Dress to Sleeveless Shirt Refashion

I've made this skirt before, but this time I tried the maxi length!  I've never worn a maxi skirt before and thought maybe I wasn't tall enough to.  However, I really like it!

I lined up the bottom edge of my skirt with the frayed selvage for fun.  My fabric is a cotton lawn, so it doesn't stretch.  Since I wanted the pattern to run horizontal on my skirt, I had to lay my pattern out selvage to selvage.  Then I thought the frayed edge would add a nice detail, as well as not having to hem it!

You can just barely see the skirt band when the wind blew my shirt.  The band is cut on the bias, giving it some stretch.  If you make the skirt according to the pattern instructions, you will cut the side panel out 4 times.  However, I wanted to reduce some of the gathers, slimming my skirt down a little.  I knew between the width of the front and back pieces, 1  panel on each side would still give me a enough wiggle room.

Here you can see how I started out with a RTW dress.  I liked it, but I never wore it much.  It just seemed a little too plain and I wasn't sure how to dress it up.  I removed the sleeves and made a narrow, curved hem at the bottom. (I didn't change the color of my top, it just looks different in the photos)

I made the bias binding from my skirt fabric.

Instead of  making just the split on the left, I made one on the right as well.  This is another reason I was able to make due with just using 2 panels instead of 4 since I had more leg room.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

McCalls 7115--Dress

McCalls 7115, View B Dress
Size small top, graded to a medium at the waist
Alterations:  1/2" swayback & forward shoulder adjustments, Removed 3" from bottom ruffle
Fabric:  Challis

One of my favorite details about this dress is the ruffled skirt!  It feels so comfortable and carefree to wear.  

Although not a bad fit for my first try, I see that I need to size down to an XS bodice, grading out to a size small at the waist.  However, it is still wearable.  There is a lot of ease in this dress.

I covered my buttons to match the fabric.

Another cute, but simple-to-make detail that I like is the split seam on the shoulder.

The dress is easy to make, but the challis didn't  want to behave when I was making narrow hems at the arm.  I disliked it so much that I just cut them off, finished the edges again, and turned them up 1/2".  The sleeves seemed a bit long on me anyway, so it was a quick and easy solution.  I don't have a lot of patience when it comes to picking my seams, and with this being challis fabric, that would have been easy for me to rip a hole into.  Cutting off my narrow hems was a safer solution.

I also made two tops for one of my girls with McCalls 6951, view A.  I love using light weight cotton fabrics for these.  Fashion Fabrics is my go-to place for inexpensive cotton lawn.

Even with a sheer fabric, it still makes a cute top to wear over camisoles.

Be aware that if you decide to make view B, check the length of the blouse.  I cut this view out only to discover that it was going to look to short.  You may need to add a couple of inches to the length.  However, view A seemed perfect as is.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Men's Historical Vest--Butterick 6339

I did it!  I finally made something for my husband!  Sewing for my husband was a long time coming and well overdue.  I don't know why, but sewing for myself and my children just seems so much easier.  Tackling men's wear wasn't something I thought I was ready for or quite honest, something I would do well at.

Here he is sporting his new vest made with Butterick 6339, one of the historical patterns.

My husband picked out his own fabric and I am so happy he did--it looks amazing on him!

If you think you may ever want or need a men's vest, don't wait picking this gem of a pattern up!    The vest is fully lined and has welt pockets.  I have made a couple of welt pockets in my sewing adventures, but didn't feel confident in sewing them with this brocade.  It is not a fabric you want to make mistakes with and have to pick out your stitches.  

I referred to some Youtube video tutorials.  Thank goodness for the people who take time out of their day to make them for people like me who need a little extra hand holding.  My welt pockets went in flawlessly!

There is a discrepancy in the pattern instructions.  The pattern envelope states sew-in interfacing.  However, the pattern sheets say "fuse."  If you saw my last post here, you know that I have been working on vests for my children as well.  This gave me an opportunity to work with different interfacing to determine what worked best for me.  I definitely prefer sew-in interfacing for this project.  I had never made vests before and was surprised at how much interfacing goes into one.  The entire front of the vest, as well as collars and welt pocket pieces.

For my son's, I used fusible interfacing, and following pattern instructions, I fused it to both upper and under collar pieces.  This caused the collar to be quite stiff and not lie flat as you can see below.  This could be a result of using too heavy of an interfacing, but I did trim my seams to reduce bulk and clipped curves. 

 However, for my husbands, I used a single layer of sew-in interfacing for the collars, medium weight, which provided enough structure to the vest and collar pieces but not making it stiff.  Also, I sewed the darts into the vest front before basting the interfacing to pieces.  The pattern instructions are to place the interfacing first, but I wasn't sure how to sufficiently do that with the darts.  I thought that would be really bulky in that area.  This is probably just my inexperience, but what I did worked, so I am pleased with the results.

I loved matching my daughter's skirt to my husband's vest!  How often can you have a Daddy/Daughter outfit?  To see more about my daughter's skirt, check out my "Sewing with Brocade post" here.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sewing with Brocade Fabric

McCalls 7223
Size 12 

I did a girl's vest search online and it appeared that the right overlapped the left instead of left over right as depicted for boys.  The size 12 fit perfectly for my daughter.  The pockets are faux welt, which are definitely easier than the real thing and so much quicker to do!

  Originally I purchased this pattern for my son, but the largest size (14) was too small for him.  Then my daughter asked if I could make one for her.  I'm thankful that I got to use this pattern after all!

I used a vest buckle.  If you follow the pattern instructions, they will have you just tie the belt pieces.  It is very simple to attach the buckle and well worth the extra time so you have a more professional RTW look.  The vest is fully lined.

I did not follow the pattern instructions for the bow tie either since theirs was made with elastic.  I did a You Tube video search and found a tutorial that utilized bow tie hardware so the neck strap could be adjusted. 

Next, I made my other daughter a brocade skirt using Ottobre's 4/2013 #34 pattern.
This is the Tangent mini skirt, but not so mini.  I made it in a size 152 with the length of 158.

One of the things I like about this skirt is it takes very little fabric and sometimes can be squeezed out of a remnant.  There are only 3 pieces, front/back and waistband.  The front piece is pleated, using buttons for decoration purposes only.

I wanted gold buttons but could not find any that were flat without a shank.  So, I wrapped my thread around the shank many times trying to stabilize the button.  It worked fairly well I think.

I didn't find working with brocade difficult other than it frays quickly.  I would not cut your pattern until you are ready to sew it up.  I zig zagged each fabric piece before beginning sewing.  I tried my serger initially, but I have a hard time trying to adjust the tension just right when working with a single layer of fabric.  I didn't get any distortion with using my sewing machine.  This fabric irons really well too.  I found that a Microtex needle works well sewing brocade.

The skirt is fully lined--the instructions are very well written for this in Ottobre.  I used a hem tape to control the fray issues.  I made this skirt once before here, but I didn't line it.  I use to be intimidated by patterns that required lining.  I should have given it a go because it wasn't that hard.

For the past 2 weeks I have been exploring vest making.  I made my husband and son a vest from Butterick 6339, which is a historical pattern--my next blog post to come when I get pictures.  

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley