Saturday, April 22, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: Red Hot Summer Halter Dress


It has happened to all of us a least once right? You see a pattern and you KNOW you have to make it, like ASAP! Well that is the feeling I had about this new Summer pattern from Vogue.
As soon as I saw Vogue 1546 I knew I had to have this pattern as well as a few others (see my blog for my thoughts on the whole collection). The unique design of this dress really grabbed my attention. I love the halter neckline, the back cut out and the full pleated skirt... all of it! So while I originally had something else in mind for this months post I quickly ditched those plans to make this dress.

from fabricmartfabrics.com

The pattern calls for medium weight twill, poplin or linen, so I immediately thought to use Fabric Mart's amazing designer linen. I have used this linen before (see here) and I knew it would be the perfect texture and weight. For that reason selecting the fabric was the easy part, the tricky part was deciding on a color! I mean, come on, there are 23 colors to choose from! At first I was going to go with bright orange just like the envelope model is wearing (we're about the same complexion so I thought why not?), then cycled through the avocado (because I've wanted to use it for a while), purple (because it is one of my favorite colors) and sunflower (because it looked so summery!) Obviously I decided on this bright red because it is one of my favorite colors and my husband loves it on me.



On to the sewing...at first glance the pattern looked a tad advanced and I was surprised Vogue categorizes it as average. However after constructing the dress I realized Vogue was right, there was nothing in the construction of  this dress that I had not done before. I read over the instructions more closely than usual and followed them for particular steps however as typical for me, I constructed the dress all out of order.


I wasn't sure what size to cut as my actual measurement are 38", 35", 42" give or take and I fell between a 16 and a 18. I decided to start with the lining to test the fitting. I often do this as to not waste my main fabric if I'm wrong and if all goes well my lining is done! I graded from a size 16 at the shoulder and bust to a size 18 at the waist and hip. When I test fit the front bodice and skirt I decided the 18 was about 1/2" too large and decided to cut the 16. At that point I took in the skirt and discarded the front bodice (as it is to be self lined).

1. Attach one side of zipper to right side of back band
2. Grab the back band lining
3. Place lining piece over outer piece lining up edges and pin
4. Sew around the back band leaving side open for turning

The bodice is simple and I think you could use lining fabric if you prefer as long as it is close in color and you press your garment well and understitch to ensure the lining doesn't peek out. The back band was simple as well though I veered away from the pattern instructions to eliminate any hand sewing. After attaching the zipper to the right side of the band band the instructions have you fold over and press the seam allowances on the zipper side of both the band and band lining before sewing the top and bottom edges finishing with hand sewing the inner band at the zipper. Instead I simply placed the band lining RSF over the band main fabric, sewed along the perimeter being careful to to hit the zipper teeth and leaving the band side open for turning. That way you can eliminate the hand sewing.

Where I re-positioned the back band on the side bodice.

Thankfully I remembered to do another test fit of the bodice before joining the self lining. I had way too much give in the back band. I suppose I should have cut a size 14 bodice instead of a 16. The fix was easy, I simply ripped out the stitches and moved the band over as well as changed the angle pinned and tried it back on. Thankfully my first attempt was pretty much dead on.



EDIT: ...or so I thought, I didn't notice how tight the back band was until I took these pictures. Sigh the disadvantage of looking over your shoulder at a mirror and going by feel. The tightness made me feel supported in the front but it unfortunately caused my back fat to spill out. Next time I will cut a 16 bodice front but a 14 back band and keep the 16 skirt. Carry on....




Next up was the skirt which I was dreading simply because I hate transferring all the marking necessary for pleats and there are quite a few on this skirt. Honestly though once I started I was done in no time. I originally wondered why there was a top and bottom skirt piece, it looked to me like that it could have just one front and back piece. I believe I understand why now. The top front and back top skirt piece is interfaced and that makes the skirt really stand out. If you cut one piece the fullness of the pleats would be lost. The skirt sewed up in less time than it took me to transfer all the skirt markings.


Since my lining was already finished it was all a breezed from here. I just sandwiched the bodice between the skirt and the skirt lining, understitched the skirt and hemmed. ALL DONE!


Despite my issue with the back band, I love this dress. This linen is absolutely amazing! I love the bright color, the texture, the hand, the weight...everything. Make sure you grab some, it's perfect for summer dresses, tunics, wide legged pants and more!


~ Tiffany

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Made By A Fabricista: Mommy & Me Maxi Dress and Hi-Lo Dress

HI Fashionistas:

This month I made another mommy and me dress.

I did a franken-pattern with the bodice of McCalls M7121 and the skirt of McCalls M7386.

At first I wanted to make a maxi dress for myself, but as I got into the construction of the garment, I wanted to be able to wear just the maxi skirt, so I ended up making 2 pieces, that can give the illusion of a dress when worn together belted.

This first look is quite summery. I plan on wearing it to our upcoming family trip. The fabric is a 4 way stretch knit that is 92% tactel Nylon Microfiber and 8 % lycra. This fabric comes in a couple different colors and can be found HERE. Look for the items from designer, JudyP Apparel. Or search JudyP Apparel in the search box on our website.


Side view if I wore these as a 2 piece. I ended up putting in a facing on the skirt since I decided to keep it as a skirt instead of sewing it to the bodice:



If I wear this as a one piece, I use the facing of the skirt as a waist band, so instead of being tucked into the skirt, it is flipped up above the skirt and tucked in under the bodice. Then I am able to belt it and Voila! It looks and feels like a one piece dress!


The best part about this fabric is how breathable it is. I did not feel hot in it, even with a self lined bodice. The fabric moves so beautiful. Isn't that the true pleasure of wearing a maxi?


Here is the back view



Side view:


I also made a  high-low dress for my daughter. I ordered 3 yards of the fabric and it was just enough! Here is a simple A-line dress with a high-low hem and some ruffles on the neck!


So much love from this munchkin! 



I truly enjoyed making these dresses and I do hope that you enjoyed reading about them!

I am making some more mommy and me dresses for our vacation. I hope you are having a lovely spring! See you next month.

XOXO

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: The Cold Shoulder Top


Hey, guys!  I'm baaaaack!  And look at me, I am totally on trend with my sassy new cold shoulder top.  I have never put one of these sort of tops on my body ever in my life until I finished sewing this one, I had no clue if I'd even like it.  Surprise, I think I do?!  


I used a pattern from BurdaStyle magazine-- it's 3/2017 #116.  I cut my usual size 42 to fit my shoulders, and of course no grading for a fuller hip on this flowy and roomy top.  I added 1" to the hem of the bodice to account for my slightly taller height at about 5'8".  The sleeves and bodice are very, very, very full and loose, perfect for stupid hot summer days to come.   




I chose this double border rayon challis print.  I was so nervous I'd ruin everything with my pattern matching, so I ordered 3 yards.  Likely I only needed 2 1/4 at most considering I was able to take advantage of the fact it was a double border... each side was a mirror image of each other.  See the pic on the right, you can see how the pattern is actually printed on the material.  Lots of leeway for those who may be anxious when matching prints up like this.


I looove sewing with rayon challis.  Initially, I need to wrangle it since it's so slippery--I need to be careful to cut it perfectly straight as I prepare the pattern pieces with my rotary cutter.  But it goes through my serger and sewing machine so nicely.  It presses up beautifully-- which makes hemming super easy.  Pre-washing IS CRITICAL since it will shrink up some. And I severely dislike ironing if it's not associated with sewing.  Usually I can toss it in the wash, then remove it from the dryer immediately and hang it for a wrinkly free garment. It'll be a hot wrinkly mess if I leave it in the dryer for any length of time after it's done tumbling. 


I was (sort of) surprised that the Burda directions fail to include understitching for neck or shoulder pieces.  But then again, it's Burda, infamous for half-@ssed directions.  This top is pretty easy to sew up, but it would seem to be frustrating for a newer seamstress to have only partial directions.

Overall, I'm pleased with this trendy look.  I was mostly worried it would look like a weird pregnant top that adds mega pounds to a figure.  I think it's not particularly slimming for sure, but it's super cute none-the-less.

Happy Sewing!!
~Kathy
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