Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chasing Summer Dress - Simplicity 2591

Pattern: Simplicity 2591 (2009) OOP

Pattern Description: Dress with princess seaming, front pockets hidden in a gathered skirt panel, back zipper, and neckline and sleeve variations.

Pattern Sizing: Size K5 (8-10-12-14-16) View B I cut a size 12.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Amazingly so. I thought the side seams combined with hidden pockets bit would be tricky but it worked out perfectly.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? When I think of casual wear I think of smock-like dresses with lots of useful pockets. This dress gives me large pockets for practicality and a defined waist for feminine prettiness, which is considered a complete win in my book.

Fabric Used: A 44/45" juvenile cotton print from Joann Fabrics, 22" Robin zipper in Bone, thread, Pellon Easy-Knit (AK130) fusible knit interfacing, and a hook and eye closure.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made?: I started by marking the darts first with tracing paper and then thread basting. I like the precision of this step and thought some of the instructions for the pocket and bodice construction would be confusing so having accurate match points was important for success. I found the construction to be very straight forward and I zipped through it, putting together the front and back quickly before reaching the zipper insertion.

Thread tracing at pocket opening.
I chose to use a centered zipper instead of doing a lapped one as instructed. I'm quite proud of my centered invisible ones for me either, thank you very much.

Basting the shoulder and side seams, I eagerly tried on the dress and found that it fit...perfectly in the part I was most worried about, the waist portion. I may not be able to "pig out" in this dress but it definitely has the hour-glass thing going for it. The only problem was the neckline was gaping in front and in back so that had to be addressed. I not only had to alter the shoulder seams by stitching a larger seam allowance towards the neck but also by creating some back shoulder darts (which
I should incorporate in all my woven makes from now on). I was NOT going to take out that gorgeous centered zipper just to alter the back bodice seam.

Made alterations to the paper pattern for the future.
So in order to fix the front neckline, I consulted my vintage sewing books (all of them!) and ended up
trying two small darts towards both shoulders which did not work. I ended up making two pleats on the front shoulders and gathering the back shoulder to fit. This took out about a one inch width from the shoulders, just emphasizing how I  really need to use Patternmaking to create a bodice sloper sooner than later.
Dress front with gathers and pockets.
The dress is cleverly constructed with the side seam panel combining with the pocket construction.  When made in a less obvious print or in a solid fabric, the pockets could be completely hidden and just thought to be part of the princess seams.

Side seam and pocket pivot point.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I would and will make it again. The pattern has a few different variations and I definitely can see it made with sleeves and in thicker fabrics for the colder months. I highly recommend it for its playfulness factor too.

Similar novelty print dress from Mod Cloth.
Conclusion: I first saw this dress in seersucker on All Buttoned Up's blog and loved the simple utilitarian feel of her version. Eventually, I found out that many sewists had also discovered this pattern. Unfortunately, it is now out of print; which is strange for such a popular pattern but I'm sure you could still find it online.

Now, this may be the only item in my closet that I might be "too old" for, but that's only because of the fabric print. I found it in the children's section of Jo-Anns and could not resist the bright colors and the floral cuteness or "kawaii" spirit. I mean, come on...colorful flowers, ladybugs, butterflies, and bumble bees! This will be my off-hours outfit for the weekend, not a work dress, I assure you. Well, maybe on Fridays...

*The working title of this dress was originally Toujour jeune d'esprit = still young at heart because of the print. However, my procrastination made the new title more appropriate.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Electric Denim Mini Skirt - Grainline Moss #32001

Some background: I start writing my reviews even before I cut the fabric, recording the description, sizing, notion info, and such. This particular one was started over a year ago and I added to it as I worked on the skirt. Great stuff was collected. However, a few days ago, I accidentally deleted the entire post!!!!! I cannot tell you how frustrated this makes me. So loads of details are now gone forever *. So, below, is everything that I remembered. Also, forgive the horrible finished skirt photos (taken on my cell phone).

Pattern: Grainline Studio Moss skirt #32001 (2012)

Pattern Description: Semi-fitted skirt in two lengths sits slightly below the natural waist and features a fly front, button closure, and back yoke. View B offers an optional hem band for length.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 0-18 and I cut a size 10.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, however when it came to the fly zipper I chose to follow alternative instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the modern styling and the contoured yoke and waistband.

Fabric Used: Sew Classic 10 oz. Bull Denim (100% cotton) in Moroccan Blue from Joann Fabrics at $12.99 a yd.; a remnant of this cotton floral; Coats & Clark 9" zipper in Dark Teal #279; Gutermann 100% Polyester thread in Deep Turquoise #630; 100% cotton thread in Dark Turquoise #7540; Pellon Easy-Knit (AK130) fusible knit interfacing; hook and eye closure; and a gifted 3/4" wood button from Tibet.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made?:  My waist and hip measurements are inches apart and I have an impressive booty, so my first muslin made it clear that some alterations would be needed for the skirt to fit me correctly. Luckily, I was able to contact Jen Beeman, the pattern’s designer and ask for her help. She was able to help me (using hand drawn illustrations!) draft a change to the yoke and back skirt that accommodated my figure without having to add darts to the pattern. See here for that solution.

To eliminate bulkiness in certain areas of the skirt, I cut the pocket and waistband facings from a coordinating cotton print.

I topstitched the skirt using regular stitching thread; however, with future skirts I will use either a complementary or contrasting color in a thicker thread meant for topstitching.

Having solved the fitting problem, I moved onto installing the zipper. I found the Grainline instructions clear but also realized that in my fabric the area could end up bulky.

Instead I used the instructions from my Vogue 9745 pants pattern. In this easy Vogue Elements method, the fly extensions are cut in one with the pant front pattern piece.


Therefore, I used the separate Grainline pattern piece to add the appropriate fabric to the fronts. Please note the wide size as I ended up cutting quite a bit of the width off later.

Because I do not own a serger I stitched my fly facing right sides together and turned it out. That 5/8 seam allowance resulted in a tiny, wee shield. Please note this if you construct yours without a serger to claim a much smaller seam allowance.

To finish the waistband, I again turned to Lisa G’s awesome Perfect Corners on Waistbands tutorial.

At the last minute, I decided that the skirt was too long, at my knee and decided to cut it. I ended up cutting off about three inches in 1/2”-1” inch increments which resulted in a   long skirt.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, now that I have a great fitting pattern, I can see making many more of these, in corduroy and in wild cotton prints. This skirt is a gem for prints especially if you are willing to match the print at center front.



Conclusion: I now have a cool and versatile skirt that can transition throughout the season by just adding tights. It also adds some vibrant color to my wardrobe.

Great thanks to Jen Beeman for the great customer service and help! Without her help, I would not have this awesome fit.

Update: Months later, I have finally added my fabulous button from Nepal, isn't it perfect? (and I have five more!) Thanks, Angie!

Messing With My Moss Muslin Part 1
More On My Moss Muslin, Part 2
Making New Muslin For My Moss, Part 3
Quick Grainline Moss Update, Part 3.5

*However, strange as it is, I did hang on to the zipper package, still have the thread, and I keep all of my fabric purchase receipts from JoAnn and Hancocks. Why? I have no idea but it definitely worked out this time so no reason to stop anytime soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Jade Skirt From Paprika Patterns Is Ready!

I just heard from Lisa at Paprika Patterns and their fabulous Jade skirt pattern is ready for download! Not only is the pattern cool and funky, Paprika is offering you a great deal on pricing which I'll let them explain to you.

From the Paprika Patterns blog:

At the beginning when I promised to make a pattern out of the folded mini, I said it would be available for free. Because I like to keep my word, it is indeed possible to get it for free! But, since we have become a company and there have gone so so many hours in creating this pattern, we didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to put a price on it, either. Paprika Patterns is my sole employment, and all proceedings will go directly into creating new patterns! So if you’d like to see more of what we can do, then feel free to set your own price. If you can’t afford any price, then consider maybe a tweet, blog review or other mention in any place. Spreading the word would also help us to build our company. 

As I was a tester for the pattern, I received my copy for free. However, because I love my finished skirt so much, I want others to know about it too. Here is my original post of the Jade in the tested version. Please note that I have not checked to see what all has been changed in the final version yet.

However, one thing that has changed is that when I made mine it was in the largest size they had available, a 6, which is equivalent to a RTW size 10. Since then, Paprika has been working on expanding their pattern sizes. While the Jade is available now on the site in sizes 1-6, soon sizes 7 through 10 will be added, and eventually Paprika's future pattern offerings will all be available in the full range of 1 through 10. Isn't that great?

To help you make up the skirt, the site has separate posts on how to choose the right size, fabric recommendations, how to install the exposed zipper, and most importantly, how to fold the origami-like skirt.

So, go and check out the new Jade skirt and get started folding!

Monday, October 06, 2014

What Is Next...

I have finished my first Grainline Moss and it was a success. There will most definitely be more of these. Look forward to my pattern review on the skirt soon.

The dress code at work has changed and now we must wear collared shirts. I have bought two t-shirts and a pair of khakis for this job. I would rather not buy any more clothing purely for the job. Today, I bought an extremely gently-worn mans shirt at a thrift store for $6. I am going to take the side and shoulders seams apart and use the Sew U book's shirt pattern to bring it down to my size. This shirt bought for a practical purpose will also serve as a muslin for future button-down shirts.

Searching thrift stores for patterns is usually hit or miss, a lot of old patterns that aren't old enough (early-late 80s) to be cute vintage and lots of children, costume, or seasonal home decoration patterns. However, I got lucky, a pattern I was actually going to buy the same day from JoAnn or Hancocks (McCall's 6885) was found for 58 cents! I was just thinking of how it was time to start work on View D of this pattern in a plaid flannel fabric. I'm hoping that JoAnn or Hancocks brings back these two fabrics that I missed out on two years ago:

But here are two new possiblities from this year:

I am currently finishing up my first and last dress of the summer. Oops, I know, it's a little late since the first day of fall just happened. I should have put that first on the list to make in early spring.
Oh, well.. a new dress for summer 2015! It was going very quickly and then the upper bodice and neckline needed adjustment. Even though my shoulders look pretty broad to me, they always turn out to be too narrow for most patterns. I am using a combination of darts, tucks, and gathers to tighten it up. If I'm lucky I will probably have about two weeks to wear this.

At a thrift store yesterday, I found a really clean copy of the Coats & Clark's Sewing Book: Newest Methods from A to Z (1967) So, yes there's another vintage sewing book for my collection.