Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Made by a Fabricista: Spring Linen Fringe Sundress


Hey guys! It's Elizabeth from Elizabeth Made This, and I'm so pleased to be popping in here on the Fabric Mart blog every once in a while.  Today I'm sharing my first project.  Spring is in full swing here in Colorado, which means that linen season is upon us!

Linen garments are the gifts that you sew for yourself to make summer enjoyable

Linen is one of those fabrics that is as much a treat to work with as it is to wear, especially when the weather starts to warm up.  I took full advantage to glory in linen love with this dress, choosing the lavender Designer Quality Linen.  While I think that this soft purple is perfect for Spring, there are tons of other colors of this fabric.  It has a lovely drape and a good heft to it like all really beautiful linens, so I know you're in for a treat no matter what color you choose.

Design inspiration


From the outset of this project, I was bent on recreating Milly's denim linen apron dress.
Image result for milly denim linen apron dress
I love the mermaid shape and the raw hem details.  There's a lot of cool contrast in this dress between the sleek, fitted upper part to the flouncy jagged edges of the swishy skirt.  To say that I had all the emoji heart eyes for this dress was an understatement.

Pattern work

117a_large
For the bodice of the dress, I chose Burdastyle 11-2010-117.  It's a great bodice for any kind of summer sundress style, though the full, gathered skirt was not going to work for this particular knock off.
Instead, I self-drafted a rather short pencil skirt for the middle portion of the dress and an equally short circle skirt for the bottom section.  No doubt my version is proportionally shorter in all 3 sections that the Milly dress, clearly worn by a model who is not 5'2.5" as I am.  For reference, each of my skirt portions are 12" in length.  Typically, I prefer shorter skirts, but this was a good compromise to get the feel of the wide hem drapes.

Hem drapes


To create the drapes for the lower skirt, I cut 4 full circles the same size as the circle skirt, but only 4" in length.  There's a 5th drape that is just a half circle that is on top.
In studying the original dress, It sure looks like the drapes make up the entirety of the lower skirt which might explain the extreme angles.  I opted for something a little softer and simpler to construct.  The drapes were hand-basted to the lower skirt while it was flat.  They overlap each other in a rather freeform manner.  To anchor them to the skirt, I zigzagged the top of each drape to the skirt.

Shoulder ties


The original dress has a crossover design to the back on the shoulder straps.

Image result for milly denim linen apron dress
I opted for ties instead.  Because linen relaxes in the wearing, I didn't want straps that would be at the right level one right after washing, and drifting down past the point of comfort another day.  I've tied them in the crossover shape here, but you can also tie them straight in the back or even in a halter configuration. 

Fringed hem

One of my favorite properties of linen is how it frays.  There are some fabrics that fray in a rather wild, uncontrolled, messy manner.  Linen's fraying nature on the other hand can be a beautiful thing that you can manipulate to your advantage.  Incorporating a little bit of fringe into my linen projects is something I do frequently, so here's the low down.
1/2" from the raw edge of both the lower skirt hem and the drapes, I sewed a 2.2mm straight staystitch.  Next I sewed a 6.0mm width, 1.0mm length zigzag 5/8" from the raw edge.  It's not 100% necessary to add a zigzag stitch.  A straight stitch is totally sufficient for any fringing work you want to do, but I rather like the added decorative nature of the zigzag.  Next comes the fringing, and on this dress, there's no less than 12 yards worth of it!

Making the best fringe

Fringing comes down to pulling out the horizontal threads so that the vertical threads create the fringe.  Making the best fringe comes down to controlling how you pull out threads.  It's the work of a little patience, but a nice thing to do while watching a movie.  Here are some tips for creating some fabulous fringe.
  1. Use a sharp needle or a straight pin to begin the fraying process.  Insert the needle about 3/8" from the raw hem edge and pull gently towards the raw edge.  Some threads will loosen.  Continue this motion, inserting the needle into the fabric ever 1/4" or so, teasing out the loose threads.  Don't worry at this point if some are longer than others. 
  2. It will be tempting to start pulling all of the threads that come undone, but if you do, the fraying could become uneven or worse yet, you might make the hem look positively bald in places.  Restrain yourself and just keep pulling out the threads with the needle.  The nice thing about using a needle is that it tends to keep the threads from fraying past where you insert it.
  3. Fraying on edges cut on the straight grain are easy, but what about the bias?  Because the warp and weft threads of linen come together like most woven fabrics at a 90 degree angle to each other, there's no bias threads to speak of.  In theory, you could end up with a hem with holes in it right where the bias comes into play.  To fake it, just keep teasing out the threads with your needle.  When you get to a bias section, gently move the straight grain and the cross grain threads so that they fill in the space evenly.  Be careful not to pull out the threads too much in bias areas.
  4. Keep fringing as much as you'd like.  1/4" to 3/8" is a nice length for most applications, and longer fringe is great for more drama.  Apply a fray blocking liquid like Fray Block or Fray Check right where you want the fringing to stop.  These liquids dry clear and they'll make it so you can launder your fringed project without the fringe suffering too much.  To be careful, I always wash my fringed projects on cold on a gentle cycle and let them air dry.

Do you love linen?  Have you ever incorporated fringe into any of your projects?

Happy sewing!
~Elizabeth from Elizabeth Made This

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Made by a Fabricista: Easy Ponte Knit Pencil Skirt or Dress!

"Don't make things too complicated. Try to relax, enjoy every moment, get used to everything."  Angelique Ferber

 One hour or less, Ponte Knit pencil skirt or dress!

Have you ever created the perfect plans mentally, sketched it on paper and ready to start and then something happened and you lost the desire to create it? Lately, I have been uninspired to sew projects that will take more than an hour. The last 2 weeks I honestly lost my sewjo and I truly need it back to get ready for Spring/Summer.  


Teaching these last few weeks have been hectic as I have been preparing the students that I teach and my children for the Mathematics end of year state exams.  I have been so exhausted and the past few weekends I have only completed easy sewing projects that would take an hour or less. I am counting down the days to this year's summer break (perks of being a teacher) where I can truly travel, relax with my children and sew more.  I am excited and looking forward to my first Sewcation event planned at the end of July with other sew sisters (Check out my blog here for more details or follow the page on Instagram here). Sewing in my own world has NOT been fun lately and I wish I had a sewing group to connect and meet up with at least once per month.  
I really wanted to hack a few patterns and make a mommy and me look but all the plans were sidelined after having a failed peplum top using this bodice. I love this pattern especially the bodice and maxi dress views with the color blocking option. With the great fit of the bodice, I had to save it and create a bodycon dress.  The bodice that I use was McCall 7121 which is so versatile and fun for color blocking. 







 I am thankful that I had extra fabric to work with as I do not create muslin and I tend to make adjustments directly on the pattern.  This bodycon dress came out better than I imagined and with the perfect shoes in my closet, it was icing on the cake. I actually draft all my pencil skirts directly on the fabric using my tape measure, curve, and my quilter's ruler.




I love dresses that are perfect and versatile for different occassion such as an outdoor wedding, a business happy hour event or even a date, so I opted for a sleeveless look that I could rock with a jacket, kimono or totally by itself. 


Fabric Mart has a variety of spring and summer colors in Ponte knit fabric here which are perfect for maxi or body con dresses, pencil skirts or a more structured or fitted look.   I always grabbed a few yards when they have the great deals in a variety of colors as I truly love working with Ponte knit versus jersey knit. This summer, I plan to create more everyday garments such as jackets, pants, skirts, and dresses using more structure knit that I know I will wear more than once or twice. 







Pencil skirts, tees, and tanks are my favorite to wear during Spring/Summer months and it has been a few months since I created one.  Saturdays are my days for errands and a pencil skirt with converse goes a long way.


What are your sewing plans for the Spring/Summer season?  Do you sew more or less during these months? Thanks for reading and don't forget to stop by the BLOG and check out the details for the Sewcation 2018 event!!

One Love!






Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Statement Sleeves for Spring!


Hi Fashionistas!

Long time no sew! I took a break from sewing for the month of March to adjust to a second child. It has been quite a transition, and I and my family are still getting used to the new routine, or lack of routine :)

Anyways, I am trying to get back into the swing of things. I am sewing, and here is my latest make!






I used this fabric.  It is currently sold out but I am hoping they will offer it again! It is a quilted double knit. Very soft, yet has good body and is thicker, about the thickness of a lightweight scuba knit. 

For the pattern, I ended up using this pattern, view C, but made the following alterations.
  1. Changed the neckline to a boat neck.
  2. Chopped off the pattern at the high hip (to include hem allowance)
  3. Shortened the sleeve
  4. Freehanded the lantern/ bell sleeve with pleats using some scrap fabric


The fabric is quilted and has some really gorgeous texture as you can see in this close up below. For the neck, I used a twin needle to do the hemming as I did not have enough matching spools of thread for my coverstitch machine.  I hemmed the sleeves by serging first, then turning under and using a straight stitch. 


I so love the sleeves!  They are so poofy!



This is how I wore this top this morning, with skinny jeans ... and a sock bun. Yes, there is a sock in my bun.. it belongs to my husband :) I cut off the foot part and rolled all that hair up, the stuck in a ballpoint pen to hold it in place. It's called mommy chic :)



For a more dressy look, I paired this with a skirt (which I will never wear anywhere since I have no where to go :), but it is so cute!




Here is the back view of the top. Typically I put a CB seam in this pattern, but I decided not to in this one, as the fabric has a moderate amount of stretch, as opposed to more stretchy fabrics I usually use. 


Ok- before I made this top, I actually made a scoop neck peplum with a cap sleeve, but I was totally cutting corners and I made a bad garment. So that one is getting cut and I will use the fabric into a top for my daughter. I also have some fabric left over so I will definitely be using that to make another top for myself!

Well, that is it! I am working on a red circle skirt for May, for my birthday!!

I hope that you are doing well. I would love to hear about what you are working on these days and I hope you are enjoying the spring!

XOXO- Vatsla from Fashion Behind The Seams