Friday, April 30, 2010

Simplicity 2447

I did it! I sewed five tops for Spring Top Week! I'm so proud of myself for reaching my goal and I learned SO MUCH this month.

Without further ado, here is Top #5

This is from Simplicity 2447. I combined view F and View D and added a few little twists of my own.

This pattern has princess seaming, which was a first for me. I love it! When I sew this pattern again, I'm going to lengthen it into a shirt dress. The princess seams make for a flattering cut for my body type.

Unlike the pattern, my pockets are "mock". I saw this recently on a top and thought it was a cute and easy embellishment without added bulk (and work). I never use breast pockets anyway.

I cut most of the top from an inexpensive lightweight cotton from Joann. I used a vintage cotton floral print for trim detail that I bought on eBay last year and have been jealously hoarding for the right project. I thought about making a belt (one side blue fabric, the other side the floral), but I thought that might be a little matchy matchy overkill.

I think it's also fairly cute without a belt.

Too shapeless? What do you think?

Better with the belt?

Here is a closer view of the trim:

So this month, I sewed seven (!) tops, a spring jacket, two skirts, and two dresses. Two of those items are wearable muslins, so not sure they completely count.

When I get interested in a new skill, I tend to get a little.. ahem.. compulsive.

Insert Sheepish Grin.

Thanks, Rae, for the inspiration and motivation to learn to sew for myself!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thank Heaven for Little Boys

Simplicity 4076

By the time Made by Rae's Spring Top Week is over, I'm going to need a second closet.

And more fabric.

And a housekeeper.

Because I've been sewing. And not cleaning.

And it is evident.


As the post title may suggest, this is from Simplicity 4076, view B. I usually fit a 14 in Simplicity, but I started with a 12 since my fabric was very lightweight and stretchy. I made a muslin with a similar weight knit and found the 12 to be a tad short and tight in the tummy for my liking.

However, the 12 was just right in the chest, arms, and shoulder. So I redrew the pattern with about an inch width and length.

Just right!

Monday, April 19, 2010

I will have it. I must have it.

Or I will explode.


The Journalism Dress

Found at ModCloth, for a reasonable $49.99. I love.

But I'm not going to buy it, because I think I can make it. Also because, according to the reviews, it would probably be a little short for my mama thighs. And a little saggy in my bosom. And I think, if I sew it, I can fix these things.

I've already found and purchased the fabric and a pattern (still waiting for pattern to arrive via the trusty USPS).

New Look 6799

I can't wait to give this a try, although I'll be heartbroken if I can't pull it off.

I suppose if I can't sew it, I'll just have to lose 20 pounds, get breast implants, and buy the ModCloth version.

Seems reasonable.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Surprise! Another top.

I'm on a roll. This is my third entry for Spring Top Week.

This one is adapted from McCall's 5425. The pattern is for a dress and I lopped off the bottom to make it a top.

I fell in love with this lovely satin charmeuse at JoAnn. It's heavenly to wear yet it sucketh to sew. It will likely be awhile before I purchase it again.

If you are stupid .. ahem.. BRAVE enough to try charmeuse, here are a few tips I picked up along the way:

1) Make a tissue paper sandwich before cutting your pattern. Place a piece of tissue paper on your cutting table, then place your fabric on top of the tissue paper, then place another piece of tissue paper on top. Pin your pattern to the entire sandwich, through all layers. Then cut. This will keep the charmeuse from slipping around and distorting your pieces.

2) Start with a new needle.

3) When IF you have to rip seams, be vvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrryyy careful, because if you pull too hard, you'll get runs in your fabric. It's not so fun.

4) Maybe it was just this particular charmeuse, but it didn't agree much with my serger. I found that french seams looked and worked better.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing

Woot! Entry #2 for Made By Rae's Spring Top Week. I'm so very productive these days.

This is my second project from Heather Ross's "Weekend Sewing". After reading many reviews, I was prepared to alter the pattern to make it work (enter Tim Gunn). I was actually excited to try, since I rarely wander far from printed lines when sewing.

First, I started with the size Small pattern. In most ready to wear, I usually buy medium and when sewing Big 3 patterns, I'm usually a 14. I have no bust to speak of (cry) but have a long torso and "football player" shoulders (as dubbed by the doctor as I emerged from my mother's womb). Hah.

I made my very first REAL muslin.. with actual muslin! I didn't sew the entire pattern in muslin, just the front (without the placket), back, and one arm. In doing so, I was able to make the pattern adjustments before cutting into my fabric.

Speaking of fabric, I used cotton lawn for this top. I think the key to success for this shirt is fabric selection. This lawn is very lightweight, almost sheer. Anything stiffer would have resulted in an utterly shapeless top, which is so NOT a good look for me.

Here is breakdown of the alterations I made:

  • I lowered the front neckline by nearly 2 inches. I probably will never wear this buttoned, but I didn't want the chokey feeling of the fabric near my neck. Looking at these pictures, the neckline is exactly where I'd want it. I cannot imagine it 2 inches higher!
  • Since I shortened the neckline, I cut the placket down by 1.5" as well. I have read other reviewers cut the placket even more, but I don't mind it long. I think it's a nice design element.
  • I added 3.5 inches in bodice length.
  • I cut 4 (yes F.O.U.R) inches off the sleeve. The size SMALL sleeve. I don't think I have particularly short arms. Maybe I am wrong about this. Even with cutting 4" off, I left the sleeve long (mid thumb with my arm outstretched).
  • I added about 1/2" of width to the sleeves throughout and graded out to probably 3/4" at the hem (I wanted it to flare just a bit). Disclaimer: I do have rather meaty arms (sad sigh). You may not need to make this adjustment.
  • When the top was completely finished, I took in each side by at least 1.5". To figure out the correct amount to take it in, I sewed basting stitches from below the bust dart to the hem and then tried on the shirt. If it needed a little more taken out (it did), I sewed another basting line and tried on again. I fiddled with it until I liked the cut and then sewed the final seams and cut away the excess.
I'm very pleased with the end result!

The placket construction and bias neckline were fun. I've read this step is confusing to some, but I'm a lover of all things bias tape, so after reading through a few times I understood the directions.

I changed the button 3 times before I liked it. (Note to self: Pin on buttons and step back for a long look before committing with needle and thread). I settled on a vintage green button. Again, I read several reviewers who decided the button and accompanying loop is unnecessary, but I think it's a nice detail, especially on a home sewn garment.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress

I'm a little obsessed with this dress.

There is a large part of me that wants to hide it from her and frame it in a shadow box.

It was a pleasure to sew. I'm now even more in love with Oliver + S patterns. I want more. More. MORE.


I am now going to post far too many pictures of this dress.

I am tempted to label this "the most favorite best thing I've ever sewn"

It could have been her Easter dress, but it didn't get finished until today (day after Easter).

And I was sick-ish on Easter, so we didn't even go to church.

So it's her day-after-Easter dress.

Have I mentioned that I really really really really love this dress?

One last picture.

Le Sigh.

Je T'aime.