Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Made by a Fabricista: Summer Sunburst Tova



Hello!  I'm glad to be back on the Fabric Mart blog and joining the other Fabricistas with a new summer project for May. Well, I may have been one of the few people on the sewing planet that hadn't made Wiksten's Tova Tunic, but folks things have finally changed. I'm bringing summer in with a sunny sunburst Tova.


There are plenty of reviews of the Tova tunic out there so there's no need for me to review it here. But I will say although the blouse has simple lines and lends itself to all types of fabrics and embellishments, I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner. It's a seasonless pattern and would be a great project for an intermediate sewer.


Some time ago I pinned a Steven Alan shirt onto my I Wanna Make This Pinterest board because I loved the fabric. Eureka! I found it! Fabric Mart's abstract bursts 100% lightweight handkerchief linen in white, blue and pale coral is just that fabric! This linen is lighter than any other I've ever worked with but still is crisp like other linens. I machine washed and dried it before I cut it out and it came out lovely.


The colors are beautiful in this fabric and I decided to highlight the coral on the bib of the tunic using embroidery thread and my sewing machine. Reverse bobbin work is popular among art quilters but I don't often see it anywhere else. Quilters take decorative threads that don't fit through sewing machine needles and wind them on the bobbin instead.  When you sew from the wrong side, the decorative thread from the bobbin shows through on the right side.


For the reverse bobbin work, I used DMC embroidery floss and wound it by hand on a bobbin and loaded it into my machine without changing any settings. Don't be afraid...just do it...it'll be okay.



Working from the back of the blouse, I stitched along the seam line of the bib of the tunic so the bobbin thread would show on the front.  It's as easy as that.


It's subtle but isn't it pretty?  I also added some to the band of the sleeve.  Once you get going it's hard to stop. And yes, reverse bobbin work washes well.



I ended up shortening the blouse 4" (I found it longer than the drawing suggests) but otherwise made no other changes. I will probably make it again this fall in a cozy flannel. Wouldn't it be great? But right now I'll enjoy my new sunny blouse.


  Have you made a Tova?


Happy almost summer everyone!
Diane - Gatorbunnysews

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Made by a Fabricista: Lilly Inspired Mommy and Me Dresses!


A little while back, Fabric Mart had the most adorable elephant printed cotton fabric available, and even though I wasn't 100% sure of what I wanted to make with it, I figured it would go fast, so I took a chance and purchased three yards of it, knowing I could likely make three yards work for something!

After receiving it, and seeing all the ridiculous craziness that came with the Target/Lilly Pulitzer collaboration, I decided I *had* to make a Lilly inspired dress from this fabric AND because it is pink and green, I knew that if I didn't make a dress for my daughter from the same fabric, I would never hear the end of it.  ;-)



Well it turns out, upon doing research with Mr. Google and Miss Pinterest, that I happened to have bought actual Lilly Pulitzer fabric from Fabric Mart, or if it isn't actual fabric from them, it is a darn good duplicate.  Above you see some items from Lilly Pulitzer's 2014 summer line!  And, yep, those look an awful lot like the dresses I sewed up!

My biggest proof, though?  This pin from Pinterest which shows the fabric close up.  It was pinned by none other than the folks at Lilly Pulitzer.  The fabric was named "Forgot My Trunks," lol.

So yahoo! I ended up with fabric from my favorite fabric store that made my dream of making mommy and me Lilly Pulitzer dresses a reality, literally!

(And, psst, it looks like something *like* "Roar of the Jungle" is available at Fabric Mart right now, too, but only a few yards remain.) Sorry, sold out now!

So what to do with the fabric and how could I make it look super "Lilly?"  Well, I knew I would have to do a shift dress of some sort, and definitely had to use a crochet lace trim, since so many of her dresses feature that kind of detail.

I had some of this trim in my stash, and it was the exact right shade of white to perfectly work with this fabric. 

I knew that I wanted the dress's trim to be placed on the center of the dress, in a vertical fashion, and though I could have eyeballed placing the trim down the center had there not been a center front vertical seam, I was glad I decided to go with a vintage pattern that had the seam there as it made placing the lace trim much easier (which I will show you more of down below).  I also liked this pattern (McCall's 2148--circa 1969) since it featured a front button placket.  Though I slightly lowered the neckline and did away with the buttons, having that feature already integrated in the pattern made adjusting for the split neckline design detail much easier, too. 

I own only one "Lilly" dress and I have to say, my sewn version looks really close in style to what I have seen out there from her over the years, especially from her beginnings, when her hemline choices were a bit longer (they are super short today, especially for the women's line), and she featured more of a classic shift shape as opposed to some of her current pieces, which hug the body's curves more.

In fact, they only way I ended up getting my Lilly dress was from a consignment store, since most of the time Lilly dresses are too loose at the bust and too tight at the hips.  The consignment store owner and I speculated that the size 10 dress I purchased had been altered at the shoulders and bust since all of the women who came in the shop and tried the dress on couldn't wear it because it was too tight at the bodice, when the size 10 normally fits them well.  More than likely, someone with my pear shape purchased the right size for her hips, but paid someone to fix the bodice to better fit her smaller upper body.  :-)  Well, turns out I can do that too with sewing my own garments!

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I wasn't set fully with the vintage pattern I chose, though.  As per usual, I had to do a square shoulder adjustment (adding a full half-inch to the end of the shoulder line), and I had to grade out from the size 12 at the bust and upper waist to a 14 at the high hip and a size 16 at the low hip.  This is a one sized pattern, but I have done enough grading for shapes like this in the past that I pretty much knew where and how I needed to grade out.  I am so glad I did both since I am 100% certain this pattern, as it was originally, would have been far too tight from the high hip down if I hadn't altered it.  :-)

I love how this dress fits, just enough give to be comfortable, but fitted enough to show off a bit of my shape.  I do like the dresses that came in this fabric, but ooh, boy, they seem very fitted and very short, and I am just not comfortable doing that, and I never have been. 

The one place I did let loose a bit was at this split neckline.  It is a bit lower than I usually wear, and because of that, I need to wear a camisole for modesty, but it is just a peekaboo, so really, no big deal.

I love how the lace looks with the split neckline.  I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, I was really concerned it would look to "becky home-ecky," but in the end, I think it looks close enough to the "real thing" that the trim is more successful.  It also helps that the trim is a bit thicker (1.5 inches width) and made from cotton crochet lace, which is less transparent than other lacy trims out there. 

The trim was a bit time consuming though.  I placed it, by hand, and with pins, up and down the center seam, with one edge of the trim abutting the center seam.  I then sewed the edge closest to the seam as close to the threading of the trim as possible.  I then sewed the middle floral decoration bit, and I finished up by sewing the other edge of the trim on the other side.  So that makes for three full sewn vertical lines PER lace trim.  There are two lace trims here, each on one side of the center seam.  This makes for a total width of three inches across, which gives the front of the dress some  presence and makes the dress look more interesting.

Though my ultimate goal was to get a photo of my daughter and I wearing the dresses, I couldn't resist my youngest son's desire to be in a photo, so here he is, posing with me for a photo. 

So here is my daughter on her own posing in her new dress.  For her dress, I chose to use one of the patterns in my stash that she is on the edge of outgrowing, Butterick 5876, which goes from size 1-6.  My daughter can wear a size 6 very easily, but often the length is too short, so I will have to size up to a 7.  This time that happened, but because of the shape of the dress and the season, it's okay that it is a touch shorter than her other dresses.  We will probably let her wear it with leggings to church, too.

I chose this dress because it had a built in place for the crochet trim embellishment, at the junction between the border hem and the main part of the dress.  Though I didn't end up doing the border hem detail, I was able to use that seam line to mark where the trim should be placed, and it ended up being perfect!  I may love her dress more than mine!

I hadn't realized that this pattern called for an integrated facing which spans the neckline and the armholes (I have done these before in baby overalls).  I thought the back would have a zip, so I bought an extra pink zip only to find out that there is a slash at the neck along with a button closure.  I didn't have a perfect button, so I used one from my stash that was okay enough.  Turns out that my daughter loves that feature the most, so yay, I guess?  :-)

Here is the front and back views of the dress on its own.  This dress took far less time to sew up than mine since I chose to sew up the side seams with the serger, and there were no back or front center seams to sew, either.  The trim still took time, though, since I had to sew three times per trim (and like mine there were two trim treatments, one for the front, one for the back).

Okay that's it for me for May!  I hope you enjoyed this special "Lilly Mommy and Me" post.  :-)

And just in case this inspired you to try it for yourself, above are some vintage Lilly Pulitzer dresses that I found while doing my research.  I already feel inspired to try another set of dresses soon!

Happy Sewing!
~Dina of My Superfluities.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Made by a Fabricista: Mommy and Me Time Rompers!

Mothers Day -- There is nothing better than being able to share your craft with the ones you love.  


My daughter, Jordan (10 years old) has had very minimal interest in sewing these past years. While I have made her several garments in the past, her desire to learn was minimal at best. Attempts in the past yielded a good hour of attention.  

I have been planning on re-introducing her to sewing with some fun summer projects. My daughter loves summer dresses, shorts, colors!  

I used a hot pink/coral red/beige/white abstract print poly/lycra Charmeuse found (HERE). While I typically don't lean towards pink garments, I fell absolutely in love with this print!

My daughters pattern is New Look S0814. We opted for a mix between view D and view C.  I created view A of this pattern just last week and she wore it to her summer concert at school. I believe her love for the dress sparked her wanting to sew this time around.



My daughter constructed 95% of her garment.  I assisted only with the attachment of the flounce and the final hemming. I am so proud and could not stop smiling! She could not wait to wear her romper to school the next day!




My romper was created using a mix of McCall 6848 (bottom) which is my go to for my romper bottoms and Vogue 9085. I made several adjustments to the pattern to accomplish the look I received. First, I cut the pattern 2 inches below the waistband (should I create this pattern again, I will likely double this measurement). Second, I cut lengthened the center front facing to run the length of the shirt. I then attached the facing right sides together, then encased the facing for my next step which was the adding of button holes. The first button hole was placed 6 inches from the next line and every 2 inches after. I then created a 48 inch spaghetti strap for the enclosure.





The sleeves were constructed as per the pattern, but the sleeve casing was omitted and replaced with a hem and 1/4 inch elastic of which I used at the waist as well. My daughter assisted me though this construction by serging and inserting the elastic.

I must say, it was a great Mother's Day!
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My silly bean :).  Happy Sewing All!
Jenese