Simplicity 1716 Again – Light Summer Dress

I really like this pattern, this is my fourth make for view  A/B/C. I have a short sleeved tunic length in pink floral, a long sleeved tunic length version in purple floral, a 3/4 sleeve long T/short tunic length in bold stripes. This time, I made a knee length dress in soft, tropical print ITY knit.

I needed a dress that would be cool and comfortable to wear outdoors on warm summer nights. I wanted a full style that did NOT cling to the body, so I picked this top/dress pattern, and made it knee length.

To keep it light and airy, I used a three thread rolled hem on the sleeves and hem. I knew from previous makes that the two side bust panels fit better when the end is extended a couple of inches. Basically, those couple of inches function as the FBA on this shirt.

The first time I made this pattern I found the collar section a little confusing, but after making several versions of this top I know how it works and it went together quickly. I cut and assembled the dress in one afternoon, except for the rolled hems.

I really love this dress. The ITY knit doesn’t wrinkle, making it a great dress to pack for traveling

Pattern Description: Misses top or short dress

Three thread rolled hem keeps it light and airy

Pattern Sizing: Regular misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it does

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions are clear and all the notches line up

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the gathered feature at the bust, and the collar

Fabric Used: ITY knit

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Lengthened the dress to knee length

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is my fourth time making this pattern, so I’m not sure I’ll make it again. But I do recommend it!

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June 29, 2017 · 3:38 pm

New Look 6472 Puffy Boho Blouse

Fluffy Peasant Blouse

When an unfortunately placed cup of coffee met my envelope of basic pattern pieces that were tweaked to fit me, I was discouraged. I had to start over again! Well, any excuse to buy more patterns, right? So one of the first patterns I saw was New Look 6472, a puffy peasant blouse. I loved the top in the photo on the front of the pattern! But, elastic at my waist is not a good look for me, so I won’t be making that view, even though it is the reason I chose this pattern. I made View A with the rivet and lace front opening from View B.

I like New Look styles, but I’m at the very top of the size range and still need to make FBA/FWA. On this puffy pattern, FWA is not an issue, and a FBA is easy.

I used a wonderfully light silk/cotton voile in an old fashioned floral print from Fabric  Mart. I’m planning a vacation to a warmer place this summer, and I need some light, airy blouses. The long sleeves will keep the sun off my arms, the puffy style and light fabric will keep things cool.

Reapplying the front facing

I added a navy blue lace ruffle at the neck and at the seam line in the sleeve, just for fun. But, I found myself trying to figure out what to do with the raw edges of lace at the front. Finally, I removed the facing from the slit, tacked the raw lace edges down to the raw edge of the slit, then reapplied the front facing over the lace. Well, truthfully, the previous facing didn’t come off nicely, so I just replaced with a brand new pieces. I f I had thought it all the way through in the first place, I would not have had to remove and reapply the facing.

Gathering with dental floss

Gathering long sections of fabric and distributing the fullness evenly can be tricky with the “Two rows of basting stitches, pull up the bobbin thread” method. So I used the “Zig zag stitch over dental floss” method of gathering the sleeves and neck. The only tricky part is making certain the zig zag stitches don’t catch the dental floss. The floss slides smoothly under the zig zags, so it’s easy to get the fullness even, and the dental floss won’t accidentally break under the strain of gathering

My original plan was to make tiny round buttonholes for the lacing at the front. The test hole worked beautifully. But the first attempt on the top came out in a weird shape. So I resorted to rivets as the pattern suggests.

Pattern Description: Misses Boho Peasant blouses with raglan sleeves and sleeve variations

All the pieces, pattern, lace and fabric

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except I added lace trim and used the sleeves from one view and the bodice from another

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. This top was very easy to make, and the instructions were clear, correct and concise.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I both like and dislike the narrow neck and wristbands. This is the only part I found “fussy” on this pattern. They required some hand sewing, and I’m not really fond of hand sewing. OTOH, the result is much sleeker and more professional than a drawstring (or elastic) casing, which is how I used to make the necklines for Renn Faire shirts and chemises. So while I dislike hand sewing, I do like the final result

Fabric Used: Silk/cotton voile from Fabric Mart. I chose cotton voile from the drop down list of fabrics, because silk/cotton voile (and just plain silk voile) were not options.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Added lace trim and did a FBA. Normally I’d need to do a FWA on a New Look pattern, but this puffy style easily fits my thick waist

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes. With a little bit more tweaking, this might become the basis for my next basic raglan sleeve peasant top block.

 

 

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Comfy Knit Dress Lekala 4386

Me at the Theater

I love this dress! It’s chic and comfortable. It was also an easy make.

I used a piece of digital print poly-spandex activewear knit from Ebay. The fabric is gorgeous, but I felt it was just a little bit thin and a little limp. I decided to beef it up with an underlining. But, what to use for the underlining? I dove into my stash. Only one of the swimsuit linings in my fabric resource facility (aka stash), a dark deep green, would work at all. Unfortunately, the deep green swimsuit lining was also thin and limp. Another option  was a black t-shirt knit, but I really wanted to use that fabric for something else. Option 3 was a rayon jersey in a soft apricot/flesh tone, but, it cost more than the floral fabric! Then I stumbled across the most unlikely choice of all, a vivid neon pink poly-lycra activewear knit from Fabric Mart. I bought the fabric thinking “Neon pink is cool”! When the fabric arrived, it was, well, REALLY neon pink!! Just a little bit too neon pink, except perhaps as an accent fabric, and I had plenty. So, the inside of my knit dress is neon pink!

On Dolly the Dummy

The pattern was easy, and I made no design changes or major fitting alterations (except I think the pattern may include a back zipper, which I did not use). Like all Lekala patterns, it’s sized to fit. Because it’s made with activewear fabric, it’s super soft and super comfortable. Almost like wearing pjs!!

Laying out the pattern

Usually I try to use as little fabric as necessary. I love leftovers! But, I didn’t plan to get more than one item out of this particular piece of floral print, and the print is kind of large and dynamic, so instead of trying to conserve every scrap, I focused on placing the pattern pieces on the fabric so that key elements of the floral design landed in appropriate places on the dress. Both sleeves have a larger floral motif at the top of the arm, a large motif falls on the right chest/shoulder, and another falls directly under the little faux belt that covers the gathers in front.

Because I was using two layers of fabric, I basted (technically pre-stitched, because i did not remove the stitches) both layers together, then sewed the seams with my serger.

Pattern Description: Knit dress with bodice gathers and a straight, slit skirt

Pattern Sizing: Like all Lekala patterns, it’s printed to your size

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Neon Pink Interior, as seen through the slit in the skirt

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Lekala instructions are really just a set of assembly steps, but the steps were easy to understand and in a clear, logical order

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the design, and that it was easy to make.

Fabric Used: Digital print poly/spandex interlined with poly/lycra activewear

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None (except omitting the back zipper because the fabric is so stretchy it isn’t necessary)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes I DO recommend it to others! If you are curious about Lekala patterns, this is an easy one to start with. Would I make it again? Maybe, in a solid color. The design is unique.

 

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Vogue 8804 Jacket Hacked

I’ve made this jacket before. It was a LOT of work and took a LONG time! I remember as I was making it, I kept feeling like I was doing everything the hard way.

Dress and Jacket Front

I actually wanted a quick jacket to go with my pink boucle dress. When I looked into my pattern stash, this one was on top. I decided to play with the pattern pieces, making the jacket my own way, just for fun

I used pink boucle from Fabric Mart and ivory polyester satin from Fabric Wholesale Direct. I buy this poly satin in bulk for costumes and such. The ivory braid came from my stash, as did the fun buttons. In fact, if I didn’t have those fun buttons, I probably would not have made a jacket!

Dress and Jacket Back

I serged the pieces as I cut them. I started with the back, serging the back seam, then finishing the edges all around. Then I cut one half of the front, sewed the princess seam, and serge finished all the raw edges. I repeated this for the other half of the front. I cut the two side pieces and serge finished them all the way around. I sewed the side pieces to the fronts and back with the sewing machine. I repeated these assembly steps for the lining but I didn’t bother finishing those raw edges.

I faked the vent on the sleeves. I first cut off that little flap piece. I extended the length a bit, and cut two flaps of boucle and two flaps of lining. I put one boucle flap and one lining flap right sides together, and sewed along three edges, leaving open the edge that was previously attached to the sleeve. I repeated this for the other flap, turned them right side out, and ironed them flat. Then, I applied braid along the top edge, vertical edge and bottom edge but stopped halfway along the bottom. I didn’t do the other flap just yet, because I didn’t want to cut the braid.

flap

I cut the boucle sleeve pieces for one sleeve, and serged the raw edges. I positioned the flap with the braid at the spot where it belonged, where it lived before I cut it off the pattern. I basted it in place, making sure the braid stayed free of the seam. I sewed the sleeve together, on the regular machine. I turned the sleeve right side out, and laid the braid along the rest of the bottom edge of the flap, out onto the sleeve, and all the way around the hem of the sleeve. I sewed it in place, and, finally, cut the excess braid away. Now, I went back to the other flap, and repeated this whole procedure. After both sleeves were complete, I sewed the flap to the sleeve, with a decorative button on the flap.

I put the lining over the boucle right sides together, and sewed them together from one bottom front corner up, around the neck, and down to the other. I turned the jacket right side out and topstitched the braid in place.

Last step was buttons and buttonholes.

It was a fun experiment, and I like the jacket.

 

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Lekala Tunic Dress 2 Ways

When I saw Lekala 4590 I promptly fell in love! Lekala calls it a dress, I wear mine as tunics. Butterick has a similar pattern that I have not tried. I don’t know which one was issued first, but I saw Lekala first.

Material for Take One

My first take on this pattern was intended for the Activewear contest on Pattern Review. I barely finished it in time, but didn’t get a chance to get photos. My second take was also intended for a Pattern Review contest, the Serger contest. Because I was using scraps and leftovers, I ran into complications and didn’t finish it in time at all.

I used a sweatshirt knit for Take One, grey for the body and navy blue for the contrasting collar, sleeve and triangular insets.  I plan to wear it for hiking in cool weather, so I extended the sleeves to cover my hands, and added a thumbhole. Take two is made from a polyester sweater knit and black velvet.

Take One went together smoothly. Nothing major went wrong (I’m always ripping out a seam or two) but I had little time to work on it so progress was slow. I used a heavier fabric for the pockets, in case I want to carry anything heavy or sharp. One pocket zips shut, the other has a plastic ring sewn in, where I can clip anything like keys, etc. I used blue thread and a big, bold zig-zag stitch for the decorative top stitching.

Take Two started off problematic. I used the sweater knit fabric leftover from McCalls   Hacked Again for the body, and black velvet for the sleeves, collar, and contrasting triangle panels. I had two fairly big pieces, I knew the back could fit on one. And it did. The other piece was shorter – and there is where I made my first mistake.

Pocket ring to clip things to

Zipper pocket

I knew the front piece would be shorter than the back, but I thought the hi-low hemline thing would work, so I made the top with a shorter front (including the triangles) It looked weird, the proportions were all wrong. Frustrated, I pushed it to one side and ignored it for awhile.

A couple of weeks later I found another piece of the sweater knit as I was sorting scraps. It looked like it just might be barely big enough to extend the front. I hoped the seam would not be obvious in the knit, but knew any seam in the velvet would be inescapable. They had to be replaced.

Alas, they were sewn with a serger. In frustration I simply cut away the whole seam allowance, when I cut the panels out, knowing the sides would never fall as smoothly again.

I matched the fill in piece on the front as carefully as I could, but the seam was still pretty visible. Again, I tossed it to the side in frustration.

Finished Hiking sweatshirt

Take two,

Then I stumbled across a piece of laced velvet trim. Just barely enough to put across the front over the seam, and across the back at the same height. I pinned it in place, but didn’t like it. So on a whim, I moved the trim down close to the hem, leaving the patch seam uncovered. I thought – and still think – the black trim at the bottom distracted the eye from the seam, and looked better than it did higher up over the seam. I pinned it in place, cut it, and laid the second piece along the back. I had exactly enough. I mean exactly. Less than 1 inch of scrap trim!

Starting at the center of the top and working toward the sides, I stitched the top of the ribbon to the top on the front and back. Then, I sewed the new black velvet triangles in place, catching the raw edges of the trim. Finally, I turned the hem up and stitched the bottom of the ribbon trim, catching the raw edge of the hem as I sewed.

Take Two, Complete at Last

Finally, the only step left was hemming the sleeves. Ironically, my new-to-me serger/coverstitch machine had just arrived. On one hand I was anxious to bust it out and play! On the other, I just wanted these sleeves done as quickly and painlessly as possible, because the whole thing had already sucked up so much time and energy! So, I used an ordinary narrow zig zag stitch hem on the sleeves.

So Take One is great! Take Two is not a wadder, but it’s not my best work, either.

Pattern Description: Tunic/mini dress with darts, triangle insets in front, dropped shoulders, long sleeves, shaped neck band

Pattern Sizing: To your measurements

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, both makes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, they were more detailed than usual for Lekala.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The insets, the dropped shoulder & contrasting sleeve, the length, the pockets, the neckband. Ok, I just like this pattern!

Fabric Used: Sweatshirt knit, sweater knit, stretch velvet

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: On Take One, I added a zipper to one pocket and a plastic ring to the other. I extended the sleeves so they cover my palms and added a thumbhole. On Take Two, I added black trim near the hem

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and Yes.

 

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Vogue 9206 Tropical Asymetric

Blouse Front

I fell in love with Vogue 9206 instantly. I love the soft gathers, raglan sl

Pinning the neckband in place. It’s difficult to work with slippery fabric

The almost part is that chiffon is super sheer, too sheer for me tor a blouse. So it needed a black lining. The only question was which lining should I use? An inexpensive satin polyester, to match the polyester chiffon? Or should I indulge in black silk habotai from my dancewear stash? I thought two layers of polyester might be a little bit too warm to be comfortable. And, the chiffon was really nice chiffon. So I splurged and lined it with silk. It feels awesome! I also used silk to make the neck band, cuffs, and front facings.

I hate sewing polyester chiffon. It’s slippery, uncooperative stuff. In an effort to tame the unruly fabric, I machine basted the chiffon pieces to their silk companions before trying to use them. It helped a lot, but the chiffon was still grumpy.

I sewed the silk and chiffon layers together at the sleeve seams. I sewed the silk and chiffon layer separately at the side seams. The hem is a simple serger rolled hem with black metallic thread.

I love my finished top! I will make this pattern again, when the right fabric comes along. Next time I will make the armholes a little higher, to give a little bit more mobility.

Pattern Description: Button front blouse with long raglan sleeves, neck band, gentle gathers, and asymmetrical front opening.

Pattern Sizing: Misses – exactly like usual Vogue sizing

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes,

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the interesting asymmetrical front and soft gathers

Fabric Used: Polyester chiffon from Fabric Mart lined with black silk habotai from Dharma Trading Co and glass buttons from Ebay

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Only the lining because the chiffon is so sheer

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes I  recommend it. Yes, I think I will make it again, perhaps in a solid color.

 

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Vogue 8995 Dress (goes with jacket Hacked Vogue 8804 )

This year one of our season tickets to the musical theater includes a performance on Valentines Day. We didn’t even think about trying to eat out on such a busy date night. Instead, we had carry out Chinese before the show.

pink boucle

PINK is the color of Valentines Day, along with red of course. I want a pink dress for Valentines Day!

I fell in love with this awesome pink boucle the instant I saw it. Originally I planned to make a jacket/skirt suit. But, I don’t wear that sort of thing much anymore. I decided to go for a dress. I wanted to color block with something in a solid contrasting color to emphasize the rich woven texture and rainbow of colors on the boucle. I think I pulled every piece of fabric from my stash to find one that would work! It was a tough decision. I finally settled on a blue cotton/spandex knit, leftovers from a tie front pullover. I was a little worried that the knit might be too thin and soft for the boucle.but the high spandex content gives the knit great recovery.

I played around with different color blocking schemes. I wanted the sleeves to be knit for comfort, and to use the blue knit as a neckband. From that point, it was a matter of choosing which pieces looked best in which colors.

One of the things I love about boucle is the softness. But, that can also be a problem, if the boucle decides to sag or bag in an unfortunate place like the behind. To help the boucle keep it’s shape I interlined the boucle sections with plain polyester lining from the stash.

Because boucle is horribly ravelly, I first laid all the pieces out, and traced them with pins and chalk onto the fabric. When I was sure I had more than enough fabric, I laid the pieces out on a single layer (called a flat lay) to make sure the grain stayed straight on each piece. Immediately after cutting each piece of boucle, I finished the raw edges on my serger. I ended up re-serging several of these edges, but my fabric didn’t ravel.

I thought I had taken more construction photos of the dress, but I can’t find them in my phone.

The front section went together quickly without incident. I screwed up the back. I mismeasured, and finished the edges of the back slit so high up it was almost at my butt! NO WAY could I leave the skirt open that high up!! I didn’t know what to do. Picking apart the rolled finished edges would be time consuming and messy. I thought about zigzag stitching the upper portion of the slit together, but I was afraid that would look exactly like the band-aid solution that it was. The boucle was a little thick and bulky to make a nice kick pleat. The lining fabric would make a nice pleat, but, it might look like underwear or something that wasn’t supposed to show – and whatever I used to fill up that crazy high slit was going to show

Pink Dress Front

Then, my eyes fell on the very last scraps of the blue knit fabric. These scraps were almost perfect triangles. I realized if they were tall enough, and I sewed them together, I could make a circular sort of kick pleat. Because it matched the sleeves, neckband and yoke, it would look like it was supposed to be seen. I took a deep breath and grabbed the measure tape. Luck was with me! The triangles were plenty big. I simply cleaned up the shapes a bit, sewed them together to make a wedge shape, and sewed the wedge shape into the giant back slit.

Pink Dress Back

The boucle sections of the skirt have a fairly deep double folded hem. I knew this would be too bulky for the soft, flowy knit in the kick pleat. So I hemmed the boucle sections first. Then, I folded the knit up to the proper hem depth, and topstitched with a slightly stretchy stitch. Finally, I finished the edge off with the serger fairly close to the stitching

 

Pattern Description: Sheath dress with princess seams, interesting shoulder yokes and side and skirt insets.

Pattern Sizing: Misses – exactly like usual Vogue sizing

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, Except – I used a different color block pattern. And an error resulted in a skirt that’s much less pegged.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the interesting seaming. Lots of potential here for color/texture blocking, decorative seam treatments, etc.

Fabric Used: Polyester boucle from Fabric Mart, with a cotton/spandex knit for color blocking

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Because my accent fabric is a stretchy knit, I omitted the zipper. The knit portions stretch enough to go over my head and shoulders.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and Yes. The seam lines offer all kinds of opportunities for fun embellishment, and contrasting colors/textures, etc.

It takes a little time to put all the pieces together, but the process itself is easy. This pattern is labeled Very Easy, and I think it is.

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Quick Stripe top with Leather Tabs

Finished Top

This is a simple top. The stripe and leather tabs make it exciting.

I started with a basic long sleeved, tunic length, T-shirt pattern with no darts. I cut it with a slightly scooped neck and elongated sleeves. Instead of a neckband, I cut a simple rectangular cowl collar. I used the serger for everything except piecing the leather wrist straps, hemming the bottom and sleeves, and the buttonhole that the neck tab buttons through. I ruched the sleeves by hand, more on that later.  For the top hem and sleeve hems, I used a decorative stitch on my Babylock Symphony.

The fabric is a polyester knit of some sort, similar to a scuba or thin double knit. It came from my Fabric Resource Storage Area, and lacked a tag.

The leather scrap that became the tabs

I cut the leather tabs from a small piece of leather leftover from costuming. The scrap had some top stitching, and the holes from the top stitching are still visible. I cut the scrap into four strips. I used the nicest strip for the neck tab. I cut the worst strip in half, and sewed each half onto the last two strips, so they are long enough to go around my wrists.

Leather tab on cowl neck

One big potential problem – laundry!! Leather and polyester double knit have very different care requirements. I solved the problem by making the leather tabs removable. The neck tab buttons onto itself through a buttonhole in the top near the neck. The straps button onto glass buttons sewed to the sleeves. Leather doesn’t ravel, and these buttons are purely decorative, so the buttonholes are simple slits in the leather strap.

 

Finally, I ruched the elongated sleeves between the leather strap and the hem. This is where following a pattern can be helpful! I had no pattern, just an idea in my head. In retrospect, I should have run gathering stitches up the sleeve before sewing the sleeve seam. But, I didn’t. Instead, I sewed the sleeve seam and hem, then did the ruching by hand.

ruched sleeves with leather strap

When I wore this top outside on a bright sunny day, I was shocked to realize the stripes are not black but a super dark almost-black navy blue. The blue is noticeable only in super bright light, where the leather tabs are. Or maybe the dark leather simply makes the stripes near it appear blue in bright light? Either way, I still like this top and will continue to think of the stripes as black.

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McCall’s 6992 – Hacked Again!

I love to take a basic, well-fitted pattern and play with it. Changing just a few simple details can make a big difference.

This time, I made a cross front bubble hem version of McCall’s 6992. The pattern is a simple raglan sleeve pullover, with long cuffed sleeves. I started with the basic pattern, back, front and sleeve. I chose a black and white sweater knit from Fabric Mart, and scraps of black jersey from the stash for the binding and cuffs.

I used the serger for most of the construction steps, including sewing the cuffs, sewing the construction seams, and attaching the cuffs.

I cut the neckline ridiculously high and small, because I planned to cut it down to the correct size later. I cut two front pieces. I placed them so that one piece was right side up, then I placed the other piece on top of it, also right side up, lining up all the cut edges. Then, I sewed across the bottom hem. I flipped the lower piece around, so it became the top piece. Both pieces were right side up. The seam allowance of the hem seam was hidden inside the bubbly- poof at the bottom of the front.

I sewed the raglan sleeves to the back piece. Then on the right side of the top, I sewed both front pieces to the raglan sleeve. I sewed both front pieces to the back at the side seam, and sewed the under arm seam. On the left side, I sewed only the lower front piece to the raglan sleeve, and the under arm seam. I pinned both front pieces to the back piece along the seam, but did not sew it.

I popped the top on, marked where I wanted the neckline to be, took the top off, and cut the neckline. I put the top back on, and using straight pins, marked along the line I wanted to follow when cutting the upper layer of the top away.

I took off the top and laid it flat on my cutting mat. I unpinned the left side, and smoothed out the layers. I took a deep breath, picked up my scissors, and cut away the top layer, more or less following the line of straight pins.

I cut strips from the black jersey and used it to band the neck and cutaway front, and to make cuffs.

End result – the cutaway front adds interest to this simple pullover sweater. It was an easy pattern hack.

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Matching dress and boots

The Look

Finished Dress & Matching Boots

Finished Dress & Matching Boots

I really liked two looks from the recent Chanel RTW and Resort collections. I loved the look of riding boots covered to match boucle suits and dresses. I also loved the look of boucle shirtwaist dresses with big shawl collars. The suits and dresses with matching boots had mostly straight skirts, mostly above the knee (or deeply slit at the sides). The shirtwaist dresses with shawl collars had below the knee, fuller skirts, and were layered over raglan sleeve pullovers and pussy bow blouses.

I decided to combine the matching boots with a boucle shirt waist dress, with a shawl collar. I went back and forth between single and double breasted, finally choosing double breasted. The dress would be above the knee to show the matching boots, and I’d layer it with a black, silk pussy bow blouse.

The Fabric and Pattern

I chose a gorgeous evergreen/black polyester boucle, accented with touches of gold, purple, and black and silver eyelash. I chose black polyester charmeuse from fabricwholesaledirect.com for lining. It’s inexpensive, easy to work with, and comes in a rainbow of colors.

Pattern and new shawl collar

Pattern and new shawl collar

McCalls 7087 is a retro inspired double breasted shirt waist dress with two skirt options. It’s a nice, basic style, and one view included a large, shaped collar that I could use as a jumping off point to create my own collar shape. The only thing I needed to add was sleeves. Lekala 4225 was a close second choice. I went with the McCalls pattern, because I didn’t want to take the time to print and tape a pdf pattern, and the McCalls option included a second view with a beautiful full skirt that I might use in the future.

The Matching Boots

The matching boots were a little trickier than making the dress. Obviously, I’d need to find boots that could be covered. Then I had to consider cost. How much did I want to spend on a pair of boots that could potentially be worn with only one dress? Not that much!

My solution was to purchase enough extra boucle to make a jacket, so I can wear the boots with either the dress or the jacket. The jacket is still in the planning stage.

I have wide feet. There, I said it! I can squeeze into some styles of medium width shoes, but wide width footwear is always more comfortable. I started searching at my favorite footwear store, Zappos.com. I looked for a riding boot with a fabric shart and ideally, a fairly short heel or none at all.

But it was at DSW where I found the right boots. Wide width, my size, fabric shaft with a strap at the top. Low heel, kinda chunky soles. I wasn’t wild about the chunky soles, but the rest of the boot was perfect for covering. Plus, they were on sale for $60.

Collecting the Supplies

My search for fabric began. I have a white-red-black boucle, that sort of resembles some of the Chanel outfits. But that color combination screams “Wintertime” to me, I wanted something less seasonal.

I found the ideal boucle on Ebay. The description matched my vision exactly, Sunlight in a Forrest Glen! I didn’t have a pattern yet, so I guesstimated yardage for the dress and to cover the boots and for a jacket. I decided to save a little bit by color blocking the jacket with black denim (or maybe black corduroy).

I made a mock up of the dress out of the black lining fabric, that became the lining for the final dress. I made my usual size adjustments, full bust, thick waist, and it fit nicely with very little tweaking.

Making the Dress

laying out the patternBoucles can be soft, wobbly fabrics. They shift and bag and sag making it hard to cut more than one layer. So I used a single layer layout to make sure each piece was cut  straight on the grain. For pieces cut on a fold, I used the tissue pattern to cut a full size pattern piece. I also cut the pattern on the cross grain because I wanted the black stripes to go up and down my body. I laid all the pattern pieces out on the boucle, experimenting with layouts, trying to conserve as much fabric as possible.

Now, if I had thought this through ALL THE WAY I could have saved a little bit of fabric by cutting the sleeve facing off the neck facing. The sleeve and neck facing from the pattern were all one piece, which is great for a sleeveless bodice. But, I was adding sleeves, and ended up cutting the sleeve facings off the neck facings anyway. Oh well, lesson learned for next time. I think I have plenty of fabric left for my jacket plans.

I borrowed the sleeve pattern from a different pattern. Unfortunately, I goofed and cut the sleeve too small! I salvaged the sleeves by inserting a wide strip in the underarm seam.

I knew I needed to minimize bulk at the neckline, so the underside of the collar is lining. I used fringed strips of fabric, cut on the lengthwise grain, like piping, along the edge of the collar.

I cut the pieces only when I was ready to use them. I immediately finished all the raw edges on the serger. It was a time consuming step, but it prevented raveling and, as a bonus, the seams were all neatly finished as they were sewn.

I assembled the bodice first, then the skirt. I attached the skirt to the bodice, and slipped the lining into it. At that point, I assembled and applied the collar, then the facings. As I predicted, the seam holding the dress, lining, collar and facing was thick and bulky. I graded the seam allowances a bit, using the serger to prevent fraying. I flipped the facing to the inside, then sewed through the facing and all the seam allowances just below the seam.

The pattern makes a skirt that ends well below the knee. I wanted something above the knee to show off the matching boots, but I cut the full length of the pattern anyway. I think I might let the skirt down in the future for a different look. For now, it’s got a very deep hem.

Stitching, including topstitching, tends to disappear into boucle. The front facings wanted to sag away from the dress, the buttons and buttonholes weren’t enough to keep the facings neatly in place. So, about 3″ in from the edge, I sewed the facing to the dress from collar to hem. I used black thread and sewed along a black stripe, the stitching is almost completely invisible.

Choosing the buttons was difficult. I tried several styles and thought I knew which ones I wanted. But, when the dress was completed, I switched to plain black plastic buttons instead. If I make the dress longer, I might switch out these buttons, too.

Covering the Boots

Covering the boots

Covering the boots

The boots were a surprisingly easy project. I choose riding boots with a fabric shaft, so I could hot glue the boucle fabric to the boot. The shafts are not straight columns, they’re cones, narrower at the ankle and wider at the top. Luckily, my boots have a vertical strap from ankle to top on the outside of the leg, opposite the zipper opening on the inside of the leg. The vertical strap let me line up the fabric on a nice, straight vertical edge on the outside of the shaft. As the fabric wraps around to the inside, the pattern begins to skew because the bottom of the cone shaped shaft is smaller than the top. The pattern is quite off kilter where it meets the zipper edge.

I used a piece of interfacing to cut a pattern piece for the boot cover. Then I cut four of the pieces out of fusible interfacing. I applied the interfacing to the boucle before cutting the pieces out. so the edges didn’t ravel.  The boot had two small leather tabs that stretched up onto the fabric shaft, one at the top and one at the bottom. Instead of struggling to fit the fabric around the tabs, I simply covered them up.

Starting at the outside vertical strap, I hot glued the fabric to the boot shaft at the edges, slowly working my way around to the inside zipper edge The only boucle edge that didn’t turn out neat and precise was the edge that met the zipper. I found a short piece of narrow, black velvet ribbon in my ribbon scraps. It was just long enough to cover all four edges at the zipper. I applied the ribbon over the not so neat fabric edges with hot glue.

The End Result

I’m happy with my dress and boots! I wore them once already.  I’ll probably wear the boots a lot more when I make a matching jacket It was chilly the day I wore this outfit, so I added a black  long sleeved silk bow blouse to keep me warm

 

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