Friday, January 22, 2016

I Earned My Stripes in 2015!

Stripes, stripes, and more stripes!!!

I wrote a post in Feb of 2015 about how I have always wanted to wear striped shirts but couldn't afford the quality ones available in retail or find the right fabric in Hancocks or Jo-Ann Fabrics. However, 2015 was the year I made it happen. As you can see from the stack in the upper left corner below, the addition of more striped garments will continue into 2016.

Thank you Girl Charlee for your affordable knits and incredible sales (these were all $1.50 a yard!!!!)

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fit For The Holiday - Burdastyle Anda #7969

Pattern: Burdastyle Anda #7969 (2009)*

Pattern Description: Pullover dress with bias neck/sleeve binding and optional encased elastic waist treatment.

Pattern Sizing: (38-50) When I made the dress before I had reduced the pattern down to approximately a size 36. This time, I enlarged the pattern closer to a 40-42.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? Yes, though I did not include the elastic waist.

Were the instructions easy to follow? It was extremely easy, even with  binding both the neckline and sleeves. I made it more difficult for myself by then hand sewing the entire skirt hem.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? After gaining some unwanted weight and sizing out of some of my casual outfits, this forgiving shape was very desirable. Years ago, I made a wearable muslin version so I knew I liked the shape.

Fabric Used: Brown and Grey Etch Floral Peached 100% polyester from Hancock Fabrics ($6.99) and Gutermann 100% polyester thread in Smoke, #116.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Because I didn't do my due diligence I started this dress off all wrong. Despite choosing this dress because of my stressful clothing size issue I didn't think to perhaps reprint the pattern that I last used in what...2009? or even read what I wrote about it at the time. So yes, of course the pattern piece (I couldn't find the back so used the front piece twice) looked small and I decided to add some width to the pattern. See my additions above.

I decided to increase the width a tiny bit at the shoulder and tapered out more for a fuller skirt to enhance the swing of the slight a-line skirt. Of course, this also increased the hem length that I had to hand sew!

However, for some reason, the neckline was too small (see below) and I had to increase it in order for it to go over my head. Now this is the same paper pattern I used before so is it possible for your head to get bigger when you gain weight?! 

Note: I could have saved myself the trouble if I had read this 2009 mention of this dress and realized what size I had cut this pattern down to then...a 36! I should have just printed it out again and cut a size 40 or 42. You'd think I didn't know why one keeps a sewing blog!

Well, after that was all revealed and the dress still fit, I moved onto the finishing. Burdastyle suggests binding both the neck and sleeve edges. I personally love how this looks, both on my first Anda and then on all of my Grainline Studio Scout variations. It is such a clean finish and allows me to hand sew and relax in front of the TV. The addition of a little steam and press allows the stitches to blend and lay flat.

Working the neckline.

The result.

I always hand stitch my hems if I have the time. This takes a much longer session but feels like such an accomplishment when done. I first run a basting stitch along the first fold. This allows me to fold up an even hem all around and to cinch in the circular hem when needed. Finally I use steam to shrink and coax the hem flat.

A successful hem.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I will probably make a lot more of these, including some in knits and maybe even some with the original elasticized waist.

Conclusion: The first time I made this dress, it was a wearable muslin out of mystery fabric. In that review I said I would make it again in rayon challis. I did, but had no idea it would take me six years! No wonder the pattern didn't fit as cut!  Luckily, this dress was a success, it fit and it looked wonderful. Even though it was the simplest of dresses, I received many compliments both on Instagram and in person at the Christmas Eve party. Therefore, a great make with which to end this year!

*At that time, the pattern was free, Burdastyle now charges $2.99 (reduced from $3.50) for the pattern.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Amazing Gifts From Allie J.

What's the best thing you could imagine getting in the mail when you are at home sick? How about a surprise package of patterns, notions, and fabric? Perfect, right?

Well, that's what I received last week!

Last month, I was selected for a mystery giveaway from Allie J. who was celebrating her blog reaching 250 followers. I wasn't expecting it and definitely wasn't expecting how much or how great the contents would be. Thank you, Allie!

Allie's sewing blog highlights her love of vintage influenced clothing which she constructs from her own collection of vintage patterns. If you want a treat, definitely go and check out her lovely handmade wedding dress, especially if you like or love the color pink!

Simplicity 7087 & Butterick 4799

After a morning of doctor appointments and more errands than you would ever want to do on a cold rainy day when you can hardly breathe without a hot mug of tea under your nose, this package was the perfect thing! Opening up the package, I was shocked to pull out five patterns (two vintage and the rest modern) with one so current it's from the spring Lisette release and was the exact same one I was contemplating buying myself. Not because I didn't want it but because I was feeling guilty about my pattern stash and...well, now I can own it guilt-free!

Simplicity 1168, Butterick 6182, Butterick 5249

Included with those were also a pack of Microtex machine needles, a needle threader, and a pack of general use sewing needles (I love hand sewing!).

However, the pièce de résistance is the large remnant of black scuba fabric that she packed in the box. I have been hearing about the stuff but without a planned project I probably would not have bought myself. It is hopefully enough to make a cool pieced black pencil skirt (Simplicity 1283, a pattern I had just bought for another fabric already in my stash) which will be so warm and cozy with my over-the-knee leather boots from last winter.

Thank you again, Allie J.!

Monday, November 30, 2015

SEWING FAIL - New Look 6145

This post was written months ago. I was waiting for a pic of the offending dress, but decided against that and am posting without said picture. See related post here.

Pattern: New Look 6145 (2012)

Pattern Description: View B. Loose dress with sleeve and neckline options, and back-zippered closure.

Pattern Sizing: A (8-10-12-14-16-18) I cut a 12 from the shoulders down to a 14 at the hips and 16 at the hem.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? No! Human error resulted in a dress that did not fit.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, extremely easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I have been seeking a shift dress pattern for a long time and the finished garments I've seen from this pattern seemed to fit my vision. However, I was in denial about my measurements and this dress did not have a chance.

Fabric Used: 2 yards multi-color 100% polyester print free from the VA/DC/MD blogger meet-up.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Having made an earlier muslin of this pattern I knew I needed to make some alterations. I combined elements from this pattern and one of my tried-n-true patterns, the Grainline Scout tee to alter the problems I felt I was having in the neckline and upper back area. You can see the details here.

As the fabric was extremely slippery, I thought about  using starch to tame it but ended up just adjusting the machine tension. I tried different needles (I started with the recommended 9 but ended up using a size 11), doubled the amount of pins I used, and held my fabric steady in front and back of the needle while stitching seams. A good press afterwards curbed any of the rippling seams that were originally there.

Worst fabric to sew!!
After stitching the seams, I had to pink them as this fabric would not stop raveling.

Well, the dress did not fit at all. I completely got my measurements wrong. I was aware that I gained weight but did not think to take my measurements again. Therefore, the one-inch increase in my actual bust resulted in tightness under the arms and the two-inch increase in both my waist and hips created a tight and strained hip area.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I will attempt this dress again in the future using my correct measurements.

Conclusion: What more can I say, it didn't fit and it was an extreme disappointment.

Part 1: Seeking the Sublime Shift
Part 2: In Progress: To Frankenpattern a Shift Dress