A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Green Laure

I think I've mentioned that I am not usually quick to jump on a new pattern.  When I saw the Laure dress, though, I was instantly smitten with both the qipao and the pussy bow views.  I haven't historically loved a dropped waist dress, but I think it looks so nice with the bow.

I showed the pattern to N, and she also loved the bow view.  We agreed that I'd sew it out of some shot cotton shirting I had in the stash (previously used here and here; I'm down to my last half-yard, which I am saving for pocket linings on future jeans).

N is seven years old, super-skinny and tallish for her age.  I sewed a size 5 with the length of an 8.  Even going down to a 5 width, the bodice was much too wide.  I ended up taking in the bodice side seams under the arm a full inch on each side (4" total removed in circumference!), tapering to nothing at the skirt seam.  The size 8 was just a bit short for my taste, so I ended up cutting out a hem facing to preserve length.  I'm quite pleased with the fit now.

I sewed the cap sleeve, which I found a little fiddly to set in as there is no easing at all.  A tiny bit of easing would have made it go in more easily, I think, and I'd like just a little poof at the sleeve cap.  This is a really minor detail, though, and I still love the dress.

I ended up adding some velvet/crochet lace trim from the stash to the front of the bodice.  I bought this trim in three colors, ages ago, probably from Fabric.com, and it was perfect.  I recently gave away more than half my stash in a decluttering frenzy, but finding this trim post-purge reminds me that it's not a terrible thing to stash a really unusual bit of trim or fabric when I see it.  I just need to be a bit more selective in what I choose.

My invisible zipper went in pretty well ... because, as it turns out, my regular zipper foot ... is actually an invisible zipper foot.  It came with my machine (an eBay purchase) six years ago.  I didn't really know what invisible zips were at the time, nor that they had their own special foot, so all this time I've been using that foot as a regular zipper foot (i.e. not stitching through the hole down the middle), and then killing myself when I do try to set in an invisible zip ... because I'm not using the foot the right way.

The construction of the dress was straightforward yet elegant.  The bodice is fully lined for a clean finish and the lining is attached at the zip by machine, not by hand.  I could have French seamed the skirt for a clean finish there, but the seam allowances are only 3/8" and I didn't think ahead at the cutting stage. The sewing did take some time, and so it was one of only two makes I eked out for Kids Clothes Week this year.  I think it was well worth the time, and N loves it.  And really, that's the most important thing.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Mismatched stripe Appleton top

So right after I sewed my second Appleton dress, I decided to try making a top.  After the increased wrinkles that resulted from my original pattern mods, I decided to go back to the size 14 E/F bodice, but I kept the sliver that I added to the back pattern piece, and the size 16 sleeve.  I have similar wrinkly issues with this top so I think I really need to do a proper full-bicep modification on the size 14 sleeve.

To make the top, I cut the bodice 6.5" inches below the hip notch and hemmed it up 3/4".  The Cashmerette tutorial has you cut it at the hip notch, but I knew I'd prefer it much longer. I also cut both front pieces the same width, and used the tie pattern from the dress pattern rather than from the top tutorial.

The fabric I used was an unknown knit (rayon/lycra, I think) purchased several years ago from the $2.96 table at the now-defunct G Street Fabrics.  It is lovely to wear and has fabulous recovery. I only had two yards of it and it has these crazy wide stripes, though, so I had to think hard about where to put them.  I had made a t-shirt last summer out of a similarly wide-striped fabric, and I never wore it because the stripes were placed very unflatteringly relative to my bust.  I decided to eliminate the potential for that problem by using the widest dark teal stripe at the top.

What I didn't count on was that, by doing so, I would end up with a top that looks like I am wearing an apron!  It's especially noticeable when I am wearing my Soviet-cafeteria-lady face (they were the originators of the RBF, you know).

Though you can't tell by looking at it, I actually worked hard to match the stripes for this top.  I laid out my pieces on a single layer, checked and rechecked them.  But what I didn't take into account was that the Appleton has a built-in forward shoulder adjustment.  So my strategy of aligning the stripes starting at the shoulder was a big fail.  I should have aligned them at the bottom of the armscye and again at the hem.  Womp womp.

The result is hugely irritating, but not irritating enough to keep me from wearing the top.  I'm more concerned with the tightness of the top at the back, which illuminates the flab in that area.  It's better with the extra room I added to the back pattern piece after my first Appleton, but it still feels really noticeable.  I wonder if going up to a size 16 in the back bodice would help.  I'm not sure I will test it out any time soon, though - I'm itching to get to a couple other projects for myself.

Anyway, I wear this regularly, and get lots of compliments when I do.  I do have to pin the bodice to keep it modest, as you can see above, but as I mentioned in a previous Appleton post, I don't think that can be helped given the topography of the area.  I really love the wide neckband on this pattern, and might sew it in a contrasting color the next time I make one of these dresses.

Until next time!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Ginger Jeans

I FINALLY MADE JEANS! To be precise, I sewed the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns.  And I hacked them to have a pull-on waistband.

Review of the Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans sewing pattern with pull-on waistband hack.