Monday, May 13, 2013
It was high time that I made a maxi dress. Most folks say "Oh, I'm not a maxi dress wearing type" much as I did just two weeks ago. I've been spying them all around sewing blogs in the past few weeks, here on Goodbye Valentino (love this print!), Very Purple Person (another lovely print), The Green Violet (she made a perfect point of how comfy these dresses are and I LOVE a comfy outfit) and today I spied this ridiculously gorgeous one by Mokosha (droooool!) I saw this gorgeous flowing maxi dress in Burda 5/2013 a few weeks back but realized that I'd need a strapless bra for it (which I will be making a strapless bra for such pretty summer dress soon enough.) Then low and behold, I saw Simplicity 2219 (View D) during a $1 pattern sale and it was almost a duplicate of the Burda dress but regular bra friendly. I knew I had to use this patterned fabric that came in a FabricMart bundle. It's acts like a rayon spandex (very springy and stretchy) but has a dry hand like there is some cotton in there (what like a plain cotton t-shirt feels like.)
This dress is so comfortable it's ridiculous. I made it specifically for a little beach vacation my family went on this past week in Ocean City, Maryland while my husband attended a conference for work (locals may be familiar with this oh-so-classy beach town, it's actually a gorgeous beach and a great place to be a couple weeks before the summer season kicks in.) I new I'd be on the chilly side so I paired it most of the time with my My Image cropped denim jacket.
I made a straight size 14. Normally I would have to grade the hips and butt to a 16/18 but the pattern is very full and the fabric is very stretchy. You can see my bra poking out some on the edges in front... I could have even done with a 12 on top because it's a little droopy on the sides and a touch too loose overall from the weight of the material and to help cover my bra up.
I did my best to line the pattern up with all the printed bands. This fabric is so slinky and stretchy that it was a little off, but no worries at all.
I ended up wearing a bathing suit underneath the whole time so I had no bra issues anyhow. I never really ended up swimming in the ocean... it's early May and that Atlantic Ocean isn't the warmest place to be (and I am a little freaked out by swimming in natural waters anyhow!)
Now just go and make yourself a maxi dress. This one was so easy to make and the comfort level is off the chart.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
I absolutely ADORE Ohhh Lulu patterns! This Canadian independent lingerie pattern designer just released a bunch more patterns and I almost passed out upon seeing how adorable they all are. She does such a wonderful job with her visual marketing & imagery and her use of pretty feminine fabrics is eye candy for me. I had to try at least one pattern immediately. I just whipped up Grace Hipster Panties #1302 this afternoon from a PDF file pattern. I chose this pattern because it uses a combination of woven and knits. Plus the leg openings don't use any elastic. So minimal materials used! Serger and regular sewing machine instructions are included.
I consider this pair a wearable muslin. I used a polka dot quilting cotton (gold polka dots on white), simple white organic cotton jersey and some neon yellow ruffle elastic. I had to tweak them a little to fit my large bum. The XL fits a 40-42" (101-106cm) hip, which is about an American size 12. I graded it up a smidge to accommodate my full rear. This was not a difficult task at all as there are only four pattern pieces (only three to grade.) If you are a plus sized figure you will easily be able to grade up (it's too bad she doesn't go up past 10/12 in her sizing already.) The waist is a little larger then I need but I can alter that quickly next go round. I chopped off about an 1 1/2" (3.8cm) on the front leg opening making them a higher cut... I generally prefer a higher cut on my front leg. The bum coverage is quite good, too.
The front of the crotch lining isn't concealed, rather just serged. I may fold it under next time to conceal the raw edge. At first I wasn't sure about the lack of leg elastic, but it works out since the seam is serged giving it a flexible, stretchy seam. The instructions do suggest to a twin needle finish on top of the leg seams but I was too lazy to thread my machine for that... so I just made a narrow zig zag stitch that matches the stitch on the elastic waist. One thing I'd like to see is better fabric suggestions. There is no specific recommendation on what sort of stretch fabric to use. There is a big difference in stretchability with this t-shirt weight 100% cotton jersey with maybe 15% stretch and a bamboo rayon with 80% 4-way stretch. You will have to make a muslin for each or just estimate and alter your size for each fabric.
I will be making more of these! They are comfy and there are so many ways to embellish these with sweet bows, ruffles and sassy prints. I REALLY want every single one of Ohh Lulu's patterns. Has anyone else made her new stuff yet?
Monday, April 29, 2013
I've been sewing pretty much everyday this past week but the two projects before this lingerie didn't pan out as I had hoped. I was extremely frustrated since I had to scrap a simple top I where I used a Patrones pattern, it wasn't even worth a photo shoot. I also made a Burda hat which I may eventually photograph, but it's just not my favorite. So with two failures in a row I wanted easy and reliable results to cheer me up! So I pulled out my favorite bra pattern and this easy undies pattern. And VOILA! Pretty lingerie that I can wear any ole time.
I've made the Kwik Sew 3300 bra several times already, I wear a black lace one constantly because it fits like a glove. The cups have a nice, natural, rounded shape, not pointy or matronly like some bra patterns can be. I made View A for this set.
I've made the Merckwaerdigh MIX30 undies to match that black lacey bra (but failed to photograph them when I did... I like to take pics BEFORE ever wearing lingerie... otherwise I feel like I'm just taking photos of used underwear then posting it on the internet.)
I had this fabric and notions kit from Merckwaerdigh in my stash for some time. This was the first time I ever used one of her kits, they are really nice and they include everything I needed. There was plenty of lace, fabric and various elastics for the set... plus I have extra of the colorful printed material and the lace for another a little project in the future. I love all the colors, the green lining, the navy blue picot elastic, the purple lace (it's really very purple but the dreary, gray light from the rainy day cast a bit of a blue hue to it.)
I did stretch the fabric out a smidge as I sewed up the undies. The fabric is very stretchy, I think I should have paid closer attention to the tension. But no matter... the slightly wavy edges completely disappear when I put them on. These are some nicer quality undies, well finished, pretty and great for everyday wear.
I always have used powernet on my bands thinking I want firm support. I've got minimal stuff to support here (I made a 36B) so I just doubled up on the colorful printed fabric on the bra bands. This seems to be just fine for everyday wear. Still I think I'll use powernet for future bras, I just like the support is gives.
I wish I could buy a new fabric and notions kit whenever I feel like but the shipping from Europe adds up. I do have a notions kit in red waiting for me in my stash. I have to pace myself! I have so many other lovely patterns to work with from my sewing magazines I've collected in the past year.
Now that I've done my photography I can wear these! And then start up a new project tonight.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Last week I posted a contest to give away the latest edition of My Image Magazine. The random winner is Kelly of bennomusik. Congratulations! I will get an email out to you ASAP letting you know.
*From 17 comments (excluding one who requested not to be entered) Random.org chose comment #10. I counted from the first comment up.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
I had some trials and tribulations with this Tracy Reese pattern from Vogue (V1343) but it ended up fairly decent. Just don't look toooo close! Some of the small errored details are blurred nicely with this floral fabric. I used a rayon challis from a Fabric Mart fabric bundle. This fabric can be a bit hairy to use since it frays easily and is can be delicate, but this was a perfect pattern choice since only french seams are used enclosing and strengthening the seams.
There are lots of pretty details, the draping neckline, the buttons on the upper back, the faux wrap tulip skirt, and the pleating on the waist and bodice pieces. It's an easy dress to wear with an elastic waist and very loose fit. I cut a size 14 and graded the hip and bum area between a 16/18. I also added an inch to the bodice length as I'm 5'8" and these patterns are designed for gals who are under 5'6".
I sewed up the bodice and slipped it on to check the fit. I had to trim some length on the back waist a smidge for my usual sway back alteration. But holy cow... the draping on the front neck line was ridiculously low... so low I didn't take a photo to demonstrate how low because it would have been too embarrassing to post online. The drape fell below my entire bra front and dipped past it! I double checked to see if I cut the correct size (I did). The addition of an inch to the bodice length was well below the line of the drape, so this should have not effected this freakishly low dipping bodice. The fabric is cut on a bias but I was careful not to stretch it out, still even if I pulled it as tight as possible on the bias I couldn't have forced the neckline that low. Also the sleeve openings were massive. All of this evidence points to poor pattern drafting, which I am a bit surprised with. I'd love to see what others have experienced while making this dress.
All of my lovely seams and bias tape were sewn up ever so perfectly already and the lining was perfectly in place. I reviewed my alteration options to bring the neckline to a respectable location and decided to slash it apart. I took my scissors and cut right above the seam lines below the front shoulders. I removed about a FOUR inch length of fabric, then re-sewed it as a french seam and top-stitched. The results are above. Not bad!
The bodice is super full and I really like the buttons and pleating details in back. All of the hems and edges are finished with bias tape made from the fabric. I highly recommend breaking out your 1" (2.5cm) wide bias tape maker to help you! I have a bias tape maker but it's the wrong size! So I folded and ironed the yards of bias by hand. I hand sewed the blind hem on the skirt while watching Episode 3 of The Great British Sewing Bee.
In the end, I like this dress. It's REALLY comfortable and the print is so lovely on the fabric. I just need to relax and forget about the tiny imperfections.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Fabric Mart invited me to write a guest post on on their blog FabricMart Fabricistas about my current obsession for sewing with activewear knits . I sewed up several running things for the post: a top, a running skirt and bra. I've worn all of them a number of times in the past couple weeks and they are pretty terrific. I love the pockets on this skirt. In the post, I touch on some of the basics of sewing up activewear and knits. Go on over to FabricMart's blog and read!
Sunday, April 14, 2013
I've been going on and on about how much I love My Image and ImageWear patterns... it's about time I share a copy of their latest magazine. My Image is a women's pattern magazine from the Netherlands- this copy is translated from Dutch to English. This issue traveled across the Atlantic to me as a gift from the lovely Melissa of Fehr Trade when she was in town last week (along with a few other European pattern magazines... how thoughtful was she?!) I happen to have a copy of this already so I want to pass it on to another seamstress. I want to give it away to any one in the world.
This is the Spring/Summer 2013 issue. What's extra special about it is the inclusion of some plus size patterns. Something else that's particularly special about this copy... I spilled a small amount of coffee on the front cover so it's a little wrinkly, but no worries, there's no stains or problems with any of the pages. Here are all the patterns in this edition---->
There are some really solid patterns here! I want to make all the dresses on this page. I need more time!
I really like the zip jacket. I just don't have the right fabric yet to make it. Here is one of the plus sized dresses... so much potential!
Pants are not my favorite things to sew at the moment, but I'd make these if I'd already figured out my fit issues (I'm in the process of working on that now.) This top is such a nice basic that'd be great for casual or work.
I've been a little quiet on my blog lately. Spring has FINALLY showed up here meaning time to do yardwork, re-caulk the tub, spend hours in the park, plus I'm watching The Great British Sewing Bee and finally catching up on Season 3 of Downton Abbey and just finished reading Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion--- spending much less time in my dark basement sewing! I just cut out a pretty floral rayon to make up the new Vogue Tracy Reese dress V1343. I am not a big fan of the model for this pattern- I find her expressions are so harsh, not really matching the general mood of the garments and designs she models for Vogue- this is a bit distracting. There are a bunch of weird poses for McCall's and Vogue lately so I am guessing it's the art director asking for these poses. Look at how grumpy... and such as soft, pretty dress. What's cool is I actually won this pattern from Virginie of Jazz Couture. I love a good giveaway!
To enter to win the My Image magazine, just comment on this blog entry. Make sure to leave an email address if it's not easily accessible otherwise. This giveaway is open to any one in the world and ends on Saturday, April 20, midnight Eastern Time. The lucky winner will be announced and contacted on Sunday, April 21.
-----------THE DRAWING IS NOW CLOSED-----------
THE WINNER IS KELLY OF BENNOMUSIK! Congratulations!
Thursday, April 11, 2013
1) Take one outdated, giant, well-worn freebie t-shirt from an Baltimore Orioles baseball game and cut it up
2) Sew it back together to make a tiny, adorable toddler sized shirt
3) After waking up from a nap, show him his new shirt and let him flip out with excitement that "mamma made a new shirt from daddy's old man shirt".
He really was incredibly ecstatic about this shirt, he had to wear it immediately, quickly asked for his Orioles hat and then to go somewhere to show it off. My son is usually excited to see what I make and likes to see me wear it all, too, which is the sweetest thing ever. But later tonight when he saw an old store-bought shirt he'd outgrown, he demanded to wear that one instead.
I used a raglan t-shirt pattern from Sewing For Boys and appliqued the logo on the front. The directions calls for this to all be raw-edged but I did it the old fashioned way with my serger and some twin needle top stitching. This was a freebie shirt from a baseball game so the fabric isn't the highest quality, making me nervous that it would fray or fall apart!