Thursday, July 2, 2015

Vogue 9472, Circa 1996: Pique Floral A-Line Sheath

Over the weekend I was up on Long Island for a very dear friend's wedding.  I *rarely* have an occasion to do special occasion sewing for myself, so I was super excited!!  The wedding was on a Sunday at noon near the waterfront-- so I felt like I needed something not too fancy schmnacy, something a little fun but not super wild and detailed.  I originally had very different plans with a different pattern and different fabric, but once that fabric arrived after ordering, it was on the verge of being too curtain-like (not to say I won't use it for another dress, I like it still!)  I whipped out this 2 yard bit of floral cotton pique I had in my stash. I had to dig for a pattern with simple lines that wouldn't compete with the print AND take under 2 yards of material. In walks this "vintage" Vogue pattern I dug up in a bag of patterns another friend gave me.  With a fuller bottom half, I feel a-line sheaths are more flattering for me.  And it's not quite vintage at 19 years old, right?!

I made up a muslin with a 16 bust, 14 neckline/shoulder and 20 hip, adding 1" (2.5 cm) to the length of the bodice-- a normal alteration for me at 5'8" (1.73 m).  I reduced the size later.  Thank goodness I muslined this thing, it was a hot mess that needed work to fit my figure.  I forgot to take pics of the awful initial muslin prior to my alterations.  But the muslin was kinda cute with the yellow polka dot cotton/poly quilting fabric I used for it!
I circled my main alterations, but those were made prior to taking these muslin pics, I forgot to take the ugly pics!

My main alterations are circled in red.  The muslin was initially huge on me.  The most obvious deviation from the pattern is the scooped out neckline.  I did a swayback adjustment on the back waist removing about 1.5" (3.8 cm), added the length tho the bodice like I already mentioned plus took in the side seams reducing the dress down by almost one size.  And the HUGE alteration that made all the difference in the world-- removing a boatload of material in the upper back shoulder area.  There was so much extra fabric up there it felt like I was supposed to store a few hams in there or something.  I also moved the zipper from the back center seam to the side seam... seriously, I could not reach a back zipper.  But I kept that back center seam, those things are perfect for people like me who need to always make back adjustments.

I am so freakin please with the back's fit.  It actually lays perfectly unwrinkled and just right, but I am not a professional photographer slash model, so you see slight wrinkles.  I am slightly annoyed with how the print isn't exactly lined up on back... I had two yards, I did a splendid job with what I had!

I lined the bodice with this odd bit of red bemberg rayon I had.  I intended to line the skirt, but I didn't have enough and nothing else in the stash was similar.  Coincidentally the pattern didn't even line the skirt.  I added a facing by altering the pattern on the upper part of lining, I was afraid the red would peak out.

I added these cute little bands on the front shoulder for a nice detail.  I pinked all of my seams, I didn't want to add bulk with the Hong Kong finish I first planned... or let alone a bulky serged seam.  Plus I was was running out of time, pinking takes what, 2 minutes and is an ideal finish for many garments.

I sewed in a good ole, regular zipper using my zipper foot on the main fabric there in the side seam.  There was a decent amount of hand sewing on this dress between the bodice lining, the inside of the zipper and the invisible hem.  I love me a successful invisible hem.  It's so easy and I feel like a classy lady with them.

Ye Olde Invisible Hem

Overall, a classic design.  I'd use this pattern again, it's such a blank palette.  Plus those pockets are a nice touch.  I was careful of the print placement there, I didn't want to draw loads of attention to that area being I have a wider lower half.

I tried to take photos after the wedding in my dress since I had my hair and makeup done.. but I was a wrinkled mess, my hair looked flat as usual and the makeup wasn't perfect anymore.  The ceremony was outside... in the rain.  I ran an iron over the dress today to get rid of most of those wrinkles.  I hate ironing. It's a rare day I whip out an iron to use on a normal day if I'm not using it to sew.  I bet most of us seamstress types don't iron unless is in the name of the sewing process!

In my fancy hotel room after the wedding, rained on and wrinkly!

I actually got a bunch of compliments before the wedding while we were waiting for the bride to come down the aisle.  She is such an amazing, thoughtful and kind person that she told everyone afterwards that I made the dress, then I got so many more compliments!  I had such a great time driving up to Long Island for the weekend.  What's funny, driving home I took the wrong turn in after getting out of the Manhattan/Queens tunnel, got lost (I was fine, I had my GPS) and found myself in the middle of the Garment District.  I may have screamed a little when I realized where I was and that I could not pull over and run screaming with joy through the streets and buying  a carload of fabric and sewing related paraphernalia.  Next time.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fehr Trade Duatholons & XYT Top: My Maryland Flag Half Marathon Running Gear

Last month I completed my very first half marathon!  And who is surprised that I made my own very special Maryland flag themed running gear?!  I've been dying to get my hands on some Maryland flag printed activewear material for maybe two years now.  Nobody sells it.  So I had it custom made.  I ordered one yard from Spoonflower and printed it on their Performance Pique.  I've had swatches for sometime and wasn't thrilled with this material because it is NOT a 4-way stretch.  It has a 50% stretch widthwise only.  I'm puzzled why they don't offer a multi-directional stretch in their activewear fabrics, it's just not suitable for most of what I sew for running.  BUT I did find a way to use and and really like it.  It's not critical that running tops like this have a vertical stretch, however it does change the overall length of the top, making it a tad shorter when worn.  I used my my TNT pattern from Fehr Trade, it's her XYT Top.  I've made a pile of them and wear them all the time, you can see them here, a dress version here, another top here, and a couple more here.  There may be more, I forget at this point!  The previous entries explain my sizing and alterations.

I really, really, really wanted to incorporate the flags on a pair of full length tights. Since it was likely going to be a cooler morning in Buffalo the morning of my half marathon, I wanted length on those.  So I whipped out another Fehr Trade pattern, her Duatholons.  I've only made two pairs before somehow, blogged here.  Sizing and alterations for me are listed there. But I did alter them a bit further here.  They are drawn up to be capris or shorts so I simply added the length. I also reduced the width of the thigh from my previous pairs I made-- I wanted these to be a tighter fit on top creating more of a compression pair of leggings.  Having the printed Spoonflower fabric only on the side panels did not compromise free movement of my legs as I ran-- the black 4-way stretch stuff let me move easily.

My white mesh is a nylon/spandex from my stash.  The black for the tights and top's binding is a nylon/spandex from Spandex House... and holy cow I cannot recall which one it is at the moment (I will update this when I figure it out).  It's a heavier weight and quite nice.

As for those solid color bits on the side panels, one side is red and the other yellow.  That stuff is a super soft 4-way poly/spandex New Balance material-- I've used it a bunch including on these tops here.  Dang, I got the Maryland colors down!!! Oh, if you didn't get it by now, I live in Maryland.

The red is slightly more pink-ish in the printed fabric and the black is a bit dull.  If I stood next to a Maryland flag with the true shades of red, yellow and black, you'd really see the difference.  And I do have one on a flag pole but I don't think it necessary to get that knit picky here.

Will I run a half marathon again? Likely!  Will I sew more running clothes? Duhhhhh, yes.  But I've reduced my distance and frequency at this point.  It's been dirty hot and humid way too much, that's just how it is here in summer.  It's back to the woods for shorter distance trail running for me this summer.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

McCall's 6713: A Dress for Travelling... And Some Catching Up

Hey, guysssss!!!!  So I've been pretty busy travelling and running and what not in the past weeks.  But I made time to sew up this totally awesome dress specifically for travel.  I've worn it more times then I want to confess since I made it a couple weeks ago.  I used McCall's 6713.  It is a really simple little dress that had a lined bodice.  Even though I blogged about this dress for Fabric Mart this month, I actually bought this fabric on my own (I was travelling so much that I had no time to make an extra thing for them to blog about, so I just went ahead and shared a project I was already sewing on my own.)   Anyhow... I made this super cute dress then went to the zoo to take pics.

I didn't have enough material so I excluded the flappity bit on the front side there.  On the pattern there is  a seam on the back center of the skirt and where that flounce is... I removed those seams.  And, yeah, I did not add shoulder pads... that would have been just weird looking.

I used an ITY, a fabric I generally shy away from because it's just a poly fabric and has the reputation of being uncomfortable in warmer weather.  I had no problems with it all the times I've worn it so far.  Like I said, I made it for travelling.  If you look online to search for "travel clothes" it's really common to find these sort of dresses made of a poly/spandex just like this.  If you want more details on my sizing, alterations and all that jazz , just got to the post I wrote for Fabric Mart... I'm not going to re-type it all, I'm lazy and tired because I've been gardening all day planting pumpkins and sunflowers and what not.

I ran a 1/2 marathon people!

So this is what's been keeping me busy.  Traveling from Niagara Falls, NY to the mountains of North Georgia, visiting family & friends, running a half marathon in Buffalo and doing some awesome vacation stuff like going underground into a cave and driving the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Let me tell you, I've been on a few bits of the Blue Ridge Parkway before, the section that takes you to Mt. Mitchell is mind blowingly amazing, people!  North Carolina... freakin awesome.  My camera battery died I reached the summit so I didn't get any of the money shots past the the obligatory standing next to the sign photo.  P.S.  I made my whole half marathon running outfit with some custom printed fabric... I gotta blog about that already!!  P.P.S.  What?!  I totally completed a half marathon and was smiling as I ran across the finish line!!

Greeting from Niagara Falls, NY!

Greetings from the place with the freshest air I ever breathed in my life!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Simplicity 1158: It's a Jumpsuit in Chambray

So, yeah... jumpsuits.  Everyone is/will be sewing one this season.  I really like them, more then I expected and wanted to give one a try.  To tone down the mega-trendiness of it I used a lovely lightweight blue with white chambray.  I (again) flat out stole borrowed an idea from Nakisha here to use chambray.  After I saw hers I about fell out of my seat because I knew this was exactly what I was looking for.

Admiring my hot mess of a raised bed.  That'll change this weekend.

This garment was sewn up for my May Fabric Mart blog post here.  I go into more detail about how this pattern is magnificently huge even though I went down one size for everything when I was prepping the tissue.  Long story short, I would go down 2 whole sizes in the bodice next go round if I were to sew this again.  You can plainly see it's plenty roomy after sizing down.  FYI: The pattern envelope recommended I make am 16 bust and 20 hip... I cut a 14 bust and 18 hip... I estimate the bust is now between a 12 and 14.

To be very honest, this is an extremely easy pattern to sew up.  There are no sleeves to set in, the waist is elastic and there are no zippers or closures.  It's very easy to get this thing on.  The overlapping bodice front and back allow for that.  I don't feel like those parts are going to slide open or fly open with the wind either.

That's that.  I've been super busy in life these days, hence the minimal blogging.  I started working again some weeks back, no more stay at home momma!  I'm about 3 weeks from my half marathon, so running takes up most of my free time in the evenings.  And for folks who've expressed concerns about things here in Baltimore city for me... all's well and I am safe along with my family.  There aren't constant helicopters over my house his week and the National Guard moved out from the parking lot on one of my running trails.  But I've got a long list of sewing ideas in my head and I hope to get it all done before winter comes back (Ughhhhhhhh. Disgusting thought!)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kicking Off Bikini Season: Simplicity 1374 Top & Closet Case Files High Waisted Bottoms

I'm actually on that beach, for reals, look I have a shadow and everything.

So I made me another bathing suit!  It's been a couple years and I've learned to not mind wearing bathing suits at real, live beaches and pools... so now I wanted to go for the two-piece, modest bikini.   I'm sure this covers up more then most one piece bathing suits.  I feel like the pin-up version of a swimsuit is a the ticket to looking super cool but covering up all most of your bits and bobs you want covered.  Last year I saw Sally of the Quirky Peach sew this combo of patterns and I knew I had to borrow her idea.  I used Simplicity 1374 and the ever awesome Closet Case Files Bombshell Bathing Suit's High Waisted Bikini.  I sewed this up for my monthly Fabric Mart Fabricista blog post.

I picked the fabric from a couple cell phone snapshots of some random swimwear fabric bolts that Fabric Mart hadn't officially photographed in their fancy studio under their fancy lights.  When it showed up at my door, I was surprised that the flowers all have this iridescent shimmer and are outlined in a metallic gold.  The material is really nice quality and has such rich tones.  But it felt kinda like I could have seen Blanche on the Golden Girls wearing a swimsuit with this print under her flowing caftan while lounging on her lanai.  I love it!  And I need a sassy caftan now, right?!!

How did I get home so fast from my beach vacation?!
If you are in the mood to read more about how I sewed my bathing suit up, you can head over to check out my blog post at Fabric Mart.  Anyone sewing up a swimsuit this year??  What patterns and fabrics do you have lined up?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

McCall's 6654 & 7121, Burda 6990, Vogue 1411: A Pile of Stuff I Sewed

I've had it in my mind that I'd hold off taking pics and blogging about stuff until it was warm enough to stand outside in Spring-y clothes for photos... that hasn't really been happening on my schedule... it's way too chilly.  So here is a list of things I've sewn up, then tried my best taking pics inside with my very un-fancy camera.

Line Art
McCall's 6654
Here's a fun little polka dot skirt I made from McCall's 6654.  I used View B but gave it a slightly more a-line style to fit my figure better.  I cut a 16 waist and graded to a 20-ish hip for that.  I've held onto this itty bitty bit of fabric since I sewed up a cute summer dress with it last year (I've worn that thing so much, it's faded a lot). This is a no-brainer, basic skirt to sew up, I'd use it again because it's blank palette of a design.  Oh, I love all this color!

Now this is a shirt I cut and sewed up last night and wore today.  I used my TNT Burda 6990 raglan top pattern (check out other versions here, here, here and here.)  This is a medium weight white cotton/spandex jersey.  I was browsing the sewing internets yesterday and got inspired, I then proceeded to straight up steat Nakisha's idea to use a mesh overlay on the front.  The mesh is a nylon/spandex.

I made a 42 then graded to a 46 hip.  I made bindings for my sleeves and neckline with the mesh, it has a good widthwise stretch, so it was no problem.  I need like 47 more versions of this everyday t-shirt, it's so functional and wearable.

Line ArtAnd now for a look at a sort-of-wearable-muslin for Vogue 1411-- a Sandra Betzina pattern.  I am not terribly happy with the results and need to tweak the fit more, plus I need to wear a longer, fuller shirt over them for a look I feel will be better for my figure.  I made View B, the narrow leg and cut a size D waist and and F hip/leg.  I added 2" (5 cm) to the length after hearing the pattern is really super short.  There's a lot of wrinkling in the knee area, both front and back... I took back photos but they were so dark that it's pointless to post them.

Line Art

And finally I made a dark turquoise ponte dress with McCall's 7121.  I made View C but re-drew that back from a raceback to cover my whole back.  I made a 16 bust/waist then graded the a-line skirt out to an 18.  I also added 1" (2.5 c) to the bodice length.  I made bindings for the sleeve openings, but for some reason just folded over the neckline and sewed it-- I'll do a binding there next time. I feel like this may now be a TNT basic knit dress.

It fits freakishly well-- it can be a real pain in the butt to take photos with directional lighting from my window and a un-fancy camera-- so many wrinkles show up with every twist and turn! Grrr!!!  I had to add darts to the upper back, next time I will cut a smaller size there to get rid of those.  The waist is meant to be a fuller, blouse-y sort of thing, but I removed the extra material (basically by doing a swayback adjustment on the upper bodice pattern pieces before cutting).  I also had to go in on the waist some after serging it all, this was to give it a closer fit.  I did not use any elastic in the waist.

So that's a few things I've had sitting about waiting to blog about.  I wanted to do it all in one post since none of them are complicated or highly complicated.  Loads of functional, everyday stuff.