Monthly Archives: May 2016

Designer Inspired

Fabric: White scuba techno-knit from Fabric Mart, blue and white striped jersey scraps from the stash

Pattern: Basic 3 piece tunic; front, back, long sleeves

Inspiration dress from Milly

Inspiration dress from Milly

I liked the fresh, almost nautical look of this Milly dress. I see a lot of chat about the new techno-knit and scuba knit fabrics and wanted to try some. Fabric Mart had a sale on scuba knits, I had the blue and white jersey knit in my stash leftover from another project.

My Tunic Version

My Tunic Version

The scuba knit has a firm, almost rubbery texture, and a bit of weight to it. The jersey is light, thin cotton. I decided the jersey by itself did not have enough body to mix well with the scuba knit. So I made the entire garment out of the white scuba knit and laid wide bands of the jersey over the scuba knit.

I used my basic tunic pattern with a jewel neck and long sleeves. I didn’t have a lot of the blue stripe, so my center band is narrower, starting below the bustline instead of just above it. The bands on the sleeves are narrower to match the body.

I cut the tunic out of white scuba knit. I sliced the pieces (front, back, sleeve) horizontally where I wanted the blue bands to start and end. I cut the bands from the blue stripe and pressed along one stripe. I layered the bands over the cut band sections  of scuba knit and based them in place. Then  I reassembled each piece and finally sewed all the pieces together.

Then I left it sit unfinished for several weeks, because I could not decide how to finish the neckline.  I finally decided the day I wanted to wear i, and settled on a slim, rolled edge because I didn’t think I had time to make a band.

The scuba knit is a little on the warm side. It was surprisingly slippery, and very stretchy. I’m not sure I like it and not sure I’ll use a scuba knit again.  I do like my finished top,.

Just for comparison, the Milly dress is available 5/15 at Neiman Marcus for $355. My top cost less than $15. I think of the jersey as “free”, because I bought and used it for another project, but if you insist on including it in the cost, my copy still cost less than $20.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fun Top And Shorts

Made with athletic wear knit from Fabric Mart

Fun top Kwik Sew 4404Top is Kwik Sew 4404

Fun shortsShorts are based on the Linda pant from Style Arc

 

Summer is almost here!

I’m not an athletic person, but I like to have fun. I crew on a sailboat in the yacht races twice a week. I enjoy riding my bike and hiking in the nearby Cuyahoga National Park.

And every now and then I like to do something a little bit crazy. In June I’m going zip lining in West Virginia.

Naturally, I needed a new coordinating set of ath-leisure clothing for this exciting adventure.

I love the bright paisley print. I didn’t have a blue that matched or resembled the darker blues in the print. I had matching aqua, but that seemed a little washed out, so I chose royal purple for my contrast color.

I’ll use the aqua for a pair of pants with the print as an accent and maybe some purple piping. I might try squeezing a hoodie out of the leftovers from all three fabrics.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Designer Inspired Dress

My inspiration dress

My inspiration dress

I like to browse designer fashions on the net, then sew my own versions. One evening a blue and white Oscar de La Renta dress from the Neiman Marcus site inspired me. It has pleats down the front from yoke to hip, which  release into a full skirt (but a bit too short for me). Essentially, it’s a tube that expands and contracts and expands again from top to bottom.

A stretch sateen blue and white floral from my stash. This print includes green and the piece was too small anyway

A stretch sateen blue and white floral from my stash. This print includes green and the piece was too small anyway

 

I had a lovely blue and white floral print in my stash, but the piece was too small, just a little over 2 yards, and included green. The blue and white floral cotton sateen I found at Mood Fabrics has a lot more blue and a lot less white than the inspiration dress, but it’s in the same colors with the same spirit.

 

I posted my inspiration on  forum at Pattern Review, and was advised to start with pre-pleated fabric. It was great advice, and I took it.

 

I’ve made my fair share of pleated skirts, but never used pleats to make a fit and flare dress. I searched for a pattern to guide me. The closest I came was Vogue  1461. I disliked the boaty neck and short hem, but bought the pattern anyway for insight on how this dress is made. Hems are easy to move up and down, and boaty necklines aren’t hard to redraft. My inspiration dress had a yoke, the Vogue pattern did not, also an easy adjustment. I’ll replace the sleeves completely.

Final fabric choice, a cotton stretch stateen

Final fabric choice, a cotton stretch stateen

 

The Vogue instructions left me feeling a little dismayed. They drafted shape into each pleat. In other words, the pleats did not maintain a steady shape. They got narrower at the bust, deeper at the waist, then narrower again before releasing into the full skirt. Now, if I were making the dress for a body that fit Vogues measurements, that would be great! But, I am not. I am making it to fit my measurements, which are not what Vogue had in mind when they drafted this  ( or any) pattern.

This is the modified lining cut out of an old sheet, and fitted to me. I'll disassemble it and use it for my pattern

The mock up I’ll use as a pattern

 

I didn’t want to mess with putting shaping in pleats. I wanted to use a single panel each for the front and back of the dress, using the same number of pleats as the original dress. My idea was to push the shaping into the side and center back seams.

 

I decided to use the lining pattern pieces from the Vogue pattern as my base, and do my own thing with the outer layer. I traced the lining pieces onto an old sheet, cutting a yoke into the front section. I assembled the pieces and tweaked them to fit. Then I ripped it apart.

The pleats marked on the wrong side of the fabric

The pleats marked on the wrong side of the fabric

 

I measured the length from shoulder to hem and added a few extra “Just In Case” inches. Note: My just below the knee hem is considerably longer than either the Vogue pattern or the original inspiration dress. I cut two pieces of fashion fabric that same length and pleated them, leaving one large piece unpleated.

 

After tinkering a bit, I discovered the width of my yardstick was exactly half the width for each pleat. Using the yardstick and blue tailors chalk, I marked the pleats on the back of the two cut fabric pieces. Solid lines indicate fold lines, horizontal slashes indicated the gap between pleats.

 

The pleated fabric, showing both wrong and right sides

The pleated fabric, showing both wrong and right sides

I stitched the pleats down the entire length of the fabric sections, because I thought it would be easier to handle the fabric. First, I layed and cut the lower front out of one piece. Next, I laid both back pieces out on the second piece of pleated fabric, and cut them. I searched through my stash  of commercial and homemade patterns for a relatively narrow peasant sleeve, and checked to make sure the cap would fit the armhole. Then I cut the sleeves and bodice from the last unpleated piece of fabric. Finally, I cut a lining from the thin silk habotai I keep in my stash for dying scarves and veils.

 

Shoulder seams are often the first construction step, but I chose to sew the center back seam first. I attached the yoke to the lower front, and finally got to the shoulder seams. I used my serger to finish all the seam allowances before sewing the side seams. After I had the main sections together, I realized I forgot to add a zip! But, the fabric has a bit of stretch so I can still get it on and off.

 

Using dental floss and a wide zig zag stitch to gather the hem of the sleeve

Using dental floss and a wide zig zag stitch to gather the hem of the sleeve

I assembled the lining, and sewed it to the dress at the neckline. I turned my attention to the sleeves, finishing the raw edges before sewing them together, leaving about and inch unsewn at the bottom. I didn’t know if I would finish the sleeve with a narrow cuff, like the inspiration dress, or cheat and use a simple elastic casing. Finally, I inserted the sleeves into the dress.

 

I anxiously tried the dress on. And discovered that it was just too loose and baggy around the waist. As hard as I tried, I could not avoid it – I would have to add shaping to the pleats. At this point, the pleats still extended the full length of the dress.

 

Finished Sleeve Band

Finished Sleeve Band

I finished the sleeves with a narrow band and a small snap.

 

I put the dress on inside out, and carefully used safety pins to deepen the front pleats at the waist.  After restitching the pleats I tried the dress on again. Although I took in only a tiny bit on each pleat, it made a huge difference in fit. Bonus – I can still pull it on and off without a zip.

 

Finished Dress

Finished Dress

The neckline stubbornly refused to lie flat until I topstitched it into submission. The final step was marking the point where I wanted the pleats to release, and opening the seam from hem to release point.

 

I wore this dress to the theater to see Matilda the Musical. The play was great! The dress was wonderful – except I think the jewel neck is just too high for comfort. I think I will cut the neck lower, and use some scraps to make a thin bias binding.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Embroidery on a Straw Hat

My sister in law gave me an amazing gift – her old embroidery machine! So, with her birthday just around the corner I needed an inexpensive gift for her (our family has firm $10 or less gift rules). I wanted to give her something useful and something embroidered, to show her I really do appreciate the wonderful embroidery machine.

Work In Progress, The first letter is finished. Next I'll trim the excess organza and glue it in place on the hat

Work In Progress, The first letter is finished. Next I’ll trim the excess organza and glue it in place on the hat

I chose a white faux straw summer hat, personalized with her name. I found some interesting tutorials about embroidering directly onto a straw hat. But, that just looked like too many things to go wrong, and I only had one hat.  I decided to embroider the letters individually onto white polyester organza, cut them out, arrange them on the brim, and glue them into place. I picked a black font with a sweet little ladybug sitting on each letter.

I only took one photo of the wip. The glue took awhile to dry, and I had no time to photo the finished hat. It came out fantastic and I think I’ll make one for myself

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized