Saturday, May 28, 2016

Made By a Fabricista: Trend Attempt


I've wanted one of these side-split tees/tops for a good long while. As the releases were rolled out from the various pattern companies, I was consistently on the fence.

I'm short. I'm fairly rectangular from the front on. Would I really like this style on me??

I saw cute versions on other sewing bloggers and decided, okay, I'm going for it! I was in my local Hancock store and saw new Simplicity patterns (before they were released!) and scooped up Simplicity 8138. I loved the seaming in back and the cut on sleeve.

I managed to miss that there would be a LOT of extra volume in the top -- which the line drawing does indicate! I just didn't pay close enough of attention. 

I chose a size 14 and since I didn't want to add a dart, just graded out a bit through the bust and waist.  I was so excited to get it together, that I didn't think about fabric handling. I'd already assembled the back before I decided French seams may have been a good idea. Oops :)

I used this olive green Poly Crepe Georgette. While I've worked with poly crepe before, I'd never worked with georgette. I was afraid it would be shifty/slippery but it was pretty well behaved. It has a pebbled texture which I think helped.

Because I was on the fence about the style, I didn't want to rip out any seams and decided to just go with pinking. I sewed each seam, pinked it, pressed it open and then pressed it to one side. It's not nearly as time consuming as it sounds.


The crepe is very springy/spongey and handled seam pressing pretty well. For the hems, I had to press and then use a wood block (or clapper if you have one), to get the seams flat. But it DID press nice and flat.


I was impressed with how easy this fabric was to sew. Not too slippery and it didn't get sucked into my machine - yay! 



However, this fabric REFUSED to become bias tape! I decided it was too thick for that anyway and ended up cutting bias strips of fabric (it does not fray on the bias), attached the bias to the neckline, folded it inside, topstitched, and trimmed away the excess. I did okay on my trimming. But the neckline lies flat so that's what counts! 

Now, I was very unhappy with it when I first sewed it up. I did NOT like it. But I realized it was the volume. It looked like I was wearing a giant dress. Not trendy and cute at all! I decided I would remove 5" from each side, tapering to nothing at the waist (yes, 10" total), narrowing the front piece. 

Also, I lowered the side openings 2 inches! EEK!  I'm okay with the amount of skin showing now. I can't even imagine if I hadn't! 


So...trimming the front...I went to my cutting table, laid everything out real nice and neat...trimmed off the fabric and

uh-oh

I'd trimmed the BACK! I had no intention of trimming the back!!! But it turned out okay anyhow. WHEW. 

 

The back is slightly longer than the front. I chopped an extra 2" from the front length to make that a bit more noticeable. Otherwise, I was afraid that it would appear that it was an accident. 

I think I could possibly make this one again in a knit. As it is, this one is easy to get on but requires acrobatics for me to get it off. Part of that is the armholes. While I considered my own placement for the side slit, I just used the pattern markings for where to start sewing the side seams. I could have lowered that about 5/8" for a more comfortable fit.


I wore it to the Beyonce concert this past Monday with jeans and Chucks 

The back was like my own personal cape 
so I tied the front to ensure I didn't flash my mama-belly :-p

I initially planned to wear white skinny jeans and heels. In my infinite wisdom, I changed my mind. The concert was delayed 2 hours due to severe storms and a lightning strike. But once Bey got going...she was as amazing as usual! 

Next month I have a FUN project planned - my birthday dress!

Nakisha



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Made by a Fabricista: Boucle BBQ Dressy Casual.

There is a ton of boucle at the Fabric Mart site right now!  Every color combo and texture you could imagine.  :-)  I have always loved the look and feel of boucle, but I rarely make things from it, so when faced with my May post, I figured why not take this beautiful and slightly formal fabric and make it into something a little more fun and casual?  When I do outfit of the day posts at my blog, one of my favorite tags to use is "dressy casual," and I was excited to find a way to take this fabric and make a dressy casual kind of look with it!

This fabric appeared briefly at the site before it sold out.  :-)  It is a poly boucle, and though it's hard to tell, it is made from navy blue and burgundy yarns woven together.  It is lined in a stretch nylon (woven) lining (that I WISH Fabric Mart would get more of, this is the best lining material I have ever worked with).  The top is made using Burda 7175, a vintage pattern from the 1960s.  The cover art definitely showcases a lady who wears boucle in a non-casual dressy way.  The shorts are from the April 2016 Burda Magazine, style 106 A.  I love both pieces, but because the shorts fit me perfectly and are super comfortable, I am most enamored with them.  More on both of these individually below.

Together, they give off a vibe of being a set and "just so," but because of the very modern shorts shape and seaming, the two seem that they would not normally go together on their own.  They do, though, work quite nicely together, despite their sartorial differences.  And in my mind, these two together need to be worn to an afternoon summer BBQ party.  So I can at once play a round of croquet and sip a beer.  That's just the kind of outfit this is...

So here's the deal with boucle.  Look at that photo above.  :-)  I barely spent four seconds touching and handling it and it became a ravely mess.  I decided to serge the heck out of the cut edges and that seemed to help.  In fact, I found the serging so easy and beneficial to the process that I decided to serge the entire shorts project, barring the hemming and topstitching portions.  It was so easy I am kind of kicking myself for not fully serging more of my projects from start to finish.  (Once that has been accomplished, I am sure I will desire a coverstitch machine.)

If I do work with boucle in the future (duh, of course!), I will contemplate block fusing the whole thing, especially if it is a more structured item.  These two items were fine to be treated as I did them, but I could see the benefit of a bit more structure than a lining, especially in the blouse.

Of course if I do take on the challenge of the little French jacket, I will just do my best to be a full on couture sewer and engage in the ancient, tried and true methods of tailors of years past, no serger allowed.  ;-)

The serged edges do look quite lovely, and helped maintain the pretty weave as is.  The fabric marked splendidly, btw, I used the Saral brand of transfer papers along with a conventional marking wheel to accomplish this.

Okay back to the garments.  The shorts fit me in the size 42.  I did have to take the waistband in, but that is typical for me with my pear shape.  The shorts were the "pink" pattern of the month for Burda, so it was tremendously easy to trace.  I wish all the ones I liked were the pink patterns, but alas, usually it is the rectangle dress with a weird hem that gets that honor.  I have other shorts of a similar style from Burda that I have traced before, but this one was just enough different, I traced the whole thing rather than using an older one.  I added three inches to the hem since anything shorter would be too short on my 5'8" frame.

Also of note is that I was in Spain when I bought the April issue.  I know just enough Spanish to muddle through the instructions, but because this was so similar to the others I have made, I just winged it, no instructions needed, and it was fine.  My stepmother is from Colombia, so when I handed her the issue I had bought for her, she was thrilled.  She doesn't mind working from the English version, but far prefers the Spanish.  (I actually buy the German version now more than the English...we live very close to a German store and they stock the German Burda, and since I speak enough German, I figure grabbing it locally makes most sense for me.)
 
The top is made from fabric from Fabric Mart and Kwik Sew 2965.
From far away the shorts appear purple, but they are that mix of blue and burgundy.

One thing to note about the pattern is that the pleats are deep and I needed to press them a bit more.  I figured it out after seeing these photos, and by the time I matched up the shorts with the Burda 7175 top, I had pressed them to their proper placement.

I used my sloper pattern from this project to help me find my proper crotch curve in this pattern.  The front matched exactly, which is always nice, but the back needed to be deepened a bit and straightened out through the upper portion.  I am so thrilled that it worked.  I definitely will keep pulling that sloper out every time I need to sew up a pants or shorts pattern.  It is so worth the time and effort to create one.

Not normally a fan of showing off my behind, but you can see why I am thrilled with the results.  Minus a tiny bit of frown lines emanating from my upper hip downwards (maybe I need to take some length out somewhere?), I think the fit is about as post on as you can get.  Woo!  Shorts don't normally fit me so well (dang it!).

I am attempting my best "ladies who lunch" here.  Hee.  With a matching skirt, like the one in the 7175 pattern, this would actually seem like my reality.

The top is a good fit, but the length was too long.  I needed to take up the hem a full inch to get it fit properly.  I could have graded out the seams at the waist to hip from a 12 to a 16, but I didn't know I would have to.  Sigh.  I normally wear a size 10, but this pattern runs a touch small, so if you are a Burda fan, I say size up.  I noticed that even the armscye is a bit small, and even with my normal 1/2" square shoulder adjustment, it was still very snug.  I don't know if I have the desire to buy a new pattern to get the proper adjustments, so I think I will try this again in a stretch fabric or a ponte and shorten it properly at the actual shorten/lengthen lines instead.  This version does fit, but it doesn't feel as comfy as I would like it to.  And that's a shame since it is super cute on.  ;-)

The buttons are from my stash.  Every so often Fabric Mart will get button bundles.  They are amazing, and for $5-15 you get a boatload of buttons.  I have enough buttons that I may never need to buy buttons again.

Anyhow, I hope that some of you will give the dressy casual boucle look a try.  I wore the outfit with the kwik sew top and shorts today to do a whole variety of errands, and I felt great.  I plan to wear the actual full on boucle ensemble to one of my future summer parties soon.

Have a great month, and see you in June!

Dina, My Superfluities.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Julie's Flamingo Shirtdress

It's been quite awhile since I have posted one of my projects on the FM blog! It's not that I haven't been sewing, but frankly I don't get the opportunity to photograph most of my makes. Kudos to all of you that have that chance. 




I couldn't pass up the chance to share with you my most recent make. Shirtdresses are popular this spring (they have been for awhile now, but an even larger presence now.) I wanted to make a very unique shirtdress. A few months ago, we had a super cute flamingo print cotton that I couldn't resist. I am a sucker for prints and while I really liked the flamingos, I wondered if the print limited what I could do with it. But after some careful thought I decided on a shirtdress. I wanted to wear it on my vacation to Florida recently, but only got half of it sewn before leaving. I'm not one to stay up all night to get it done, so it sat at my sewing machine while I was away. :O(



When McCall's released their Early Summer Collection, I found the perfect unique shirtdress pattern. There were actually two different shirtdresses in particular and they looked similar. But I decided on Melissa Watson's version - McCall's 7380. I especially liked that the skirt was separate from the bodice which helped me get a better fit. Of course I also liked it because it already had the lines on it for adjusting to get a better fit. 

I used the Palmer/Pletsch tissue fitting method to fit the entire dress on me and came up with the following adjustments: 
- 1" full bust adjustment
- 1/2" forward shoulder
- a slight broad back (just a 3/8") 
- a small dart at the shoulder (I learned that I should do this in the Fit Along!)
- Add 1" to the skirt side seams and graded down to nothing halfway down the skirt pattern.




When doing the full bust adjustment, you will want to remember to add the length to the front band and the right fly. You get the length because of the full bust adjustment. Measure the space of Line 3 to get how much you should add to the bands. (There are also lines denoting Line 3 on those pattern pieces.)




I had never made a fly button closure before. And to be honest-- the directions were pretty confusing. I got the general idea of what the end result should have been, but I had such a hard time. I had to read the directions twenty times and seam rip at least 3 times before I got it right. I feel like if I did it again I wouldn't look at the directions, I would just visualize how it is suppose to turn out and do it. The directions actually made it more confusing to me. 




The back has an elastic waist so that it cinches closer to your body in the back rather than ballooning out like some dresses can do. 






The day these photos were taken, it was the first sunny day we had in a long time. Of course though, there was not a decent place to take a photo except in the sun. But the morning was cool, so I had a denim jacket paired with it. Then I wore a brown belt and some Tom's sandals I got with a recent order on Stitch Fix, which made this ensemble casual and cute with the shirtdress. 

Although I had good intentions of getting this done for my early May vacation in Florida, it never happened. But since wearing it, I have gotten lots of complements! I definitely would recommend this pattern to anyone looking to make a shirtdress. I like all the details from the fly button closure, the shaped hem and the elastic at the back. Is a shirtdress on your sewing list this spring? What pattern and fabric will you be using?


~ Julie