Friday, January 28, 2011

A New Dress for Me - Simplicity 2338

This is my latest project for myself.  The dress took a little while to sew up because I decided to line the whole thing (except arms) and I made a muslin to check the fit.  I was very pleased with the results of my effort.  After my muslin fit well, I made no changes to the pattern except for the lining.  This pattern had been sitting in my sewing room for awhile and I just had to do something with it.  I thought it was gorgeous.  It does run a little on the small side through the shoulders compared to other patterns, so think about going up in size ( I did).  I used a plum colored brushed twill that had a great drape.  It would normally be too stiff for this dress, but it must have a little synthetic something in it to drape.  The heavier fabric did cause me a little trouble in pressing the seams open well.

I didn't want this dress to cling, so I lined it.  It already had facings around the neckline which I chose to use in the fashion fabric.  As you can see in the picture above, I stitched the facing to the lining and continued on to sew up both the dress and lining separately until I put in the zipper.  My only warning is to interface the facing around the center neckline.  No fabric has enough stiffness to stand up straight without it.

For those of you wondering what my muslin looked like, here it is.  I made the dress without any facings or zipper.  I didn't finish any seams, but tested the fit.  I had to make two sizes to find a fit that would allow the dress to flow freely from the shoulders. I used a cheap fabric that I found for $1/yard. 

I hope you are inspired to start a new project!  
I have almost completed another quick dress for myself this week!
Happy Sewing!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Country-style Playdate Dress from Oliver+S

I had purchased this fabric at Quilt Festival a few years ago and then let it sit for some time.  I had the cute floral and the matching stripe.  My taste seem to have changed and I wasn't thrilled with the choices, but I knew I should use it.  I settled on using the Playdate pattern from Oliver+S.  

The dress construction starts with attaching the yoke, which is the hardest part of the dress.  The trim I chose was a decorative muslin piping.  It had little give in easing around the yoke. (So the wise would think about trimming it with something that gives, like bias trim.)  My piping also shrunk a little with repeat washings and gives my yoke problems in lying flat now.  The yoke was not difficult and the rest of the dress went together in a snap.

The pattern calls for a decorative element around this yoke.  The pattern shows rows of gathered fabric put on like ribbon.  My dress was country enough and I felt doing that would not add anything, but make it look more homemade.  So, I grabbed some trim that I had that looked like crocheted flowers connected together.  I cut them apart and doused them in seam sealer.  The flowers looked like the daisies in my print.  After they dried, I attached them to the dress with a yellow button to perfectly match my dress.

My daughter loves this dress.  It is comfortable and has POCKETS.  The sleeves have inverted pleats to add a little variety to the dress.  I made the dress last year and my daughter has now grown into the width, so if you are sewing for a tall, slim girl don't go too much higher in pattern size, but add to the overall length.   I hope you enjoy my country-style Playdate dress.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Winter "Virginia" Dress with Ribbon

I made a simple Children's Corner Virginia to wear during the winter months in the South.  I have the terrible disorder of buying beautiful ribbon and then trying to figure out how to use it.  This was a way to use the ribbon around the middle of the dress.  It makes it quit dressy and my daughter wore it as an additional Christmas dress.  The fabric is a simple black and white check in cotton.

I made Virginia according to the pattern except for adding a lining to the bodice, the ribbon detail and exchanging the scalloped collar for "Lee's" Peter Pan collar.  Maybe that is more than a little change.  The front bodice lining kept me from hand sewing a bias strip at the neck line.  It needed a little detail on the collar so I whipped up the little roses to pull it together.  The collar is black pique.

The back is simple with four buttons.  I really like the puff sleeves on this pattern.  The narrow cuff is also a favorite.  It has a great "retro" look.  

Leave me a comment if you have another pattern that I can use some ribbon as a trim.  I have an overflowing bin of gorgeous ribbon.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Summer on my mind (it's 75 today) January

This adorable summer outfit is from Michael Miller fabric, Kwik Sew 3698 (top) and Favorite Things Little Smartie Pants (L008).  Both of these sweet items were made for shop samples at Buttons'n Bows in Houston, Texas.  If you want to see them, stop by in the shop in the next 6 months and check them out!

Let me review the top first.  I haven't sewn many Kwik Sew patterns, but the ones I have used have all been of a great quality.  The front of this top could have been sewn with hardly a glance at the directions, because the pieces are so well marked (all 14 of them).  The picture above shows how I laid it out and put it together.  The ONE item to keep in mind is your seam allowance in sewing on the ruffles.  If it is not 100% accurate, the back will not fit on properly.  I thought I was using the right seam allowance, but either the pattern or I (most likely I) was a little off.  It was easy to fix by taking in a little on each ruffle.  The straps are a little tricky because you sew one side to the garment and then sew up the tie and then turn it right side out and then sew the rest of the binding down.  I might have used a different way, but their way worked.

My general impression of these bermuda shorts is good.  The shorts review should start with the item of fit.  I feel these run very true to size.  That being said they also run very straight.  SO, if your child wears a regular size in pants, you most likely will not need to alter them.  If you have a skinny child (like mine), you will need to cut a little of the width off.  I don't feel that you could make a smaller size because of the fact they still have a normal back end and will need that room.  If your child is in a plus size, then you need to modify it to make it wider.  YOU MUST DO THIS BEFORE YOU CUT IT OUT!  The pockets on this pattern are very cute and a great addition.  Step 5 in the pattern tells you to sew the bottom pocket seam closed with the wrong sides together and then flip it.  I would have serged that bottom seam BEFORE it is sewn in the pant to make it easier.  (IMHO)  I might also substitute the flat rectangle that makes the front waistband for a curved one to be more flattering to a skinny girl.  Overall this is a great pattern for making shorts or capri pants.  I will use it again for another project.

So, it is 75 degrees out today, but next week it will be cold and I will review a winter item.  See ya then!