Saturday, February 6, 2016

Made By A Fabricista: A Perfect Sheath


My original plan for this month's post was to make a coat from this beautiful gray heavy weight wool suiting, but when the fabric arrived in my hot little hands it started singing to me sweetly of all the sheath dresses I've always dreamed about and well, it was all over with then and there.  It had to be a sheath.  I have always wanted a fitted sheath TNT pattern for such a long time and this really was the perfect opportunity to finally make one. 

The wool itself is so gorgeous, it does indeed feel like wool, meaning a bit scratchy, but the texture of this wool is sooooooooo nice, I mean I feel fortunate to have worked with it.  It doesn't unravel with handling like some wools or tweeds.  And it almost has a bit of sponginess to it and when pressed with the iron it is soooooo well behaved.  This dress came on the heals of finishing two velveteen dresses for my daughters- velveteen can be a real pill- so I was so glad when I started working with this wool and it did exactly what I told it to do!  

Balancing on a rock in heels is tricky!

When I began thinking toward making a sheath dress design I looked to J.Crew for inspiration since I love their "Wear to Work" outfits, they are usually pretty timeless.  Right away I noticed this image and loved the leopard print belt paired with the simple gray sheath. I studied the lines of different gray sheath dresses and found such great inspiration from this, this, and this image just to name a few! 

Once I started searching for wool sheath dress images I couldn't stop and I found a great round up of ways to style a sheath at this blog.  But I really wanted a leopard print belt and couldn't seem to find one anywhere, I decided I would have to make my own when I ran into a discount bargain basement type store and low and behold, a leopard print belt for $1.00.  Gotta love bargain basement stores!

I think in the future- when it's really cold- I will try styling it with a button down underneath and a blazer. I read somewhere that a good sheath is a great base garment to build upon with accessories and jackets. I agree!  I am already thinking up the necklaces and jackets this dress needs. And I might just need another pair of cute heels, especially if I can find leopard print heels!






I used Butterick 5947 and I think this is a great starting place for a sheath. The princess seams make the fitting so much less painful than darts.  And the fit for me was pretty great out of the envelope, I was amazed that I didn't have to make any adjustments to the back of the bodice.  One small regret is that I did not take the time to adjust the slit at the back and turn it into a proper vent- next time!  I do highly recommend this pattern and now have a TNT sheath in my possession- yippee! 

I really wanted to get a great fit from this sheath since I think I will be able to wear it for many years to come, so I made a few small alterations after a muslin of the bodice:
 
1.  After reading a couple of reviews of this pattern on Pattern Review and trying on the muslin, I decided to lower the center front neckline by 5/8 inch at the center front narrowing out to nothing before the shoulder. 
2.  I also made a small narrow shoulder adjustment shaving 1/4 inch from each shoulder, I think next time I will shave off 3/8 inch. 
3.  I took up about an extra 1/4 inch under the bust point for a little more definition there. 
4.  I made my usual size 10 at the bust, 12 at the waist and 14 for the roundest part of my hips. I ended up pinching more out around the waistline and eliminating the front skirt darts. I eased in the fullness of the darts and it worked beautifully with this fabric- it was a very well behaved fabric!
5.  And finally I raised the waistline on the bodice only by an extra 1/4 inch so stitching line on the bodice was at 7/8 in. 


I used a couple of "new to me" techniques during construction of my sheath. For the first time ever I used tailor's tacks to properly mark my fabric and they worked beautifully. If this is a "new to you" technique for you I recommend this article at Craftsy. They are great to use for a fabric you either can't mark up or don't want to risk marking up. 


I also used Hong Kong Seams to finish the armscye on both the arms and as far as references for instructions on this method I search old forums on Pattern Review and found a helpful tip that suggested you stitch the bias tape down one side of the edge you are finishing and hand stitch the other side of the tape enclosing the seam.Here is a Craftsy article on the subject of Hong Kong seams. I made mine using soft me-made bias tape from my stash. For my first time using this finish, I didn't find it all that tedious, and it is well worth it not to have scratchy armscyes.  


The pattern did not call for an invisible zipper but I used one since I think they give the nicest finish. I hand stitched the lining to the zipper after installation and I hand stitched the hem, the stitches sank into the wool and are undetectable. The pattern did not give instructions for lining the sleeves or the skirt but I wanted a full lining so I just went my own way and used a bemberg rayon lining from my stash. 

If you are fairly new to sewing I would suggest buying a dress pattern that includes instructions for a full lining and use that to guide your lining process or this book is a great reference for all things lining.  




Sans belt. 
I love that this dress will be a perfect base for all jackets and new shoes that I (must) might happen to purchase in the near future!   And now I am envisioning this dress in a great floral sateen with piping at the waistline or color blocked like this one!  One of my favorite parts of the sewing process is dreaming up the possibilities of a pattern and knowing that a particular pattern will give me good results.    



I am so happy with this sheath and the wool feels so luxurious. It is a bit thicker than other wool suitings I've used but it is not so thick that you have to worry about super bulky seams and as I've stated earlier the fabric is soooo well behaved that when you hit it with the iron it lays right down and no worry of marking it up with the iron either.  Happy wool sewing to you and may all your wools behave as kindly as this one!   

One more quick note, maybe you are curious like me and have always wondered just what comes to you in one of those great Fabric Mart fabric bundles.  I finally ordered one (I know what was I waiting for?) and received it and wanted to share with you a picture of all that was included.


I ordered two 10 yard bundles and these are the fabrics that came to me.  I had such a great time going through them and planning what I will make with them and my daughters instantly claimed the sparkly green knit for mermaid tails!  Clockwise from top, there are two silks, a sparkly brown sweater knit, a heavy satin (will be a great coat lining), a nice satin with stretch, a striped ITY, a colorful ITY, a royal blue knit that is thin and I think will work as a great knit lining, an off white knit, and green mermaid tail knit with sufficient sparkle for a 3 and 7 year old!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!
~Elizabeth

Friday, February 5, 2016

Fit-Along Announcement!




I'm so excited to announce a special collaboration between three amazing companies in the sewing industry! Fabric Mart, Palmer/Pletsch and McCall Pattern Company are coming together to bring you the Fabric Mart Fit-Along! This project has been in the works for a couple months and I think it's a great opportunity for beginning sewers, sewers that have never used the Palmer/Pletsch tissue fitting method or someone that wants to brush up on their pattern fitting skills. 



Melissa Watson, designer for McCall Pattern Company and a certified sewing instructor for Palmer/ Pletsch, & Julie Brown (me) Fabric Buyer and Wholesale Manager at Fabric Mart teamed up to take you through the steps of fitting a pattern on your body using the Palmer/Pletsch Tissue Fitting Method. In particular, we are focusing on how to fit patterns suitable for knits. (This is slightly different than tissue fitting patterns suitable for wovens.) This method is the fastest and easiest way to get a great fit with your sewing patterns. Things you learn through these videos can be used in your other sewing projects, too. Learn all the details about the Fit-Along HERE

And, every Friday in February 2016, we will introduce a new video until at the end we will have a finished garment. 



Melissa will be fitting McCall's 7246 on me (Julie) and then fabric fitting the garment on me. You will get to see the entire process from start to finish through this Fit-Along. I will also be talking about fabric options for this pattern. 




We will also be selling fabric kits to go along with the video. The kits will include fabric used in the video so you can make your very own wrap dress. Plus, the first 50 sold will get a FREE sample of PerfectFuse interfacing. (Enough to use for your project.) Fabric kits are almost finished and will be available soon. 


We've released a trailer to get you inspired, check it out! And, every Friday in February 2016, we will introduce a new video until at the end we will have a finished garment. We hope you will join in the fun!


~ Julie 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Made By A Fabricista: Flower Power In The Winter Time!


My first post as a Fabric Mart Fabricista! Let me take a second to tell you a little about myself. My name is Michelle and I blog over at That Black Chic. My blog is a sewing and DIY blog but I'm pretty sure you already guessed that much. I've been blogging a little over two years now and I have to tell ya, I'm having a blast! I was super excited to be added to the Fabric Mart blogging family.  I also contribute to several other blogs, so if you see me out there in the bloggerverse, make sure you stop by to say "What's UP!" ...........Oh yeah let me put my disclaimer out there now. Most of the items that are posted on my blog are made for and modeled by my daughter Mori, she is the face of my blog, you'll see my beautiful face every now and then.



You guys get a double bonus today because not only is this my first post but it is also my first made garment for 2016! WhooooHoooo! I'm starting with this Spring outerwear piece or should I say pieces. I used Mimi G's Simplicity 1016 pattern Views A&B. This is a coat you can have fun with. Is it a coat or a cape? Is it a coat with a cape? Yes, yes and yes.

I purchased this fabric before I knew what I wanted to make, that's a normal course of action on my part. If you know me or have seen my work, you know that I'm all about bold prints, the bolder the better and don't even get me started talking about mixing prints. So when I saw this Maggy London print I was in love. (They had about 20 yards on hand when I made this post.) HERE  and HERE are other fabric options as well.) I originally thought maybe a blazer and a wide leg pant but then I decided that I needed to use some of my NEW patterns, because I only have like a zillion unopened patterns. So that is why I picked this coat as my first project. I did also purchase this lime green J. Crew voile cotton fabric for my lining, which was on clearance a few months ago. 


This pattern was fairly easy to sew and if you need visual sewing help, MimiG has tutorials for all her patterns which is super cool. I did peep this one so that I would be able to say it is helpful. If you're a beginning sewist, then this would be a bonus for you, click HERE. I made this coat in all of 4 sewing hours, which does not include prep time. 

I fell in love with the sleeve installation for this coat. It was the highlight of this pattern for me. The finish gives the coat a professional look


I opted not to add buttons on this coat and keep it open since this is a spring coat and it has a belt that would help to keep the coat closed if need be.  I also found two gold rings in my stash of things and used them to make this cool belt buckle.



Pocket detail:

Shoulder detail:

I love the coat,
I love the cape and I love the look.
I hope you do too. 
Until the next time! 
Deuces!
 photo 35845374-bce1-426b-9e7a-633f43c85d42_zps12c60185.jpg
Michelle from ThatBlackChic