Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Made by a Fabricista: Working with Panels

If you browse through our website often, you may periodically come across fabric that comes in panels or borders. While some may feel like it's too much of a challenge, they offer wonderful possibilities for something out of the ordinary! You can be really creative with panels! Maggy London is known for using paneled fabric in her garments, and we just so happen to get some of those. 

I recently offered this fabric in Julie's Picks and was pleasantly surprised by the number of people that purchased it! It was a stretch cotton sateen with a large stripe-effect floral design. You are seeing the entire panel in the dress.


Here are examples of other panels prints in garments: 


So I put myself to the challenge of making something with a panel. I chose the Purple Floral Lace Half Medallion ITY Knit. 

I really enjoyed trying to figure out how to use it. I used my mannequin as a model. I tried the panel at my shoulders, at my waist and even along one side of my body. (I didn't get a photo of that one though...)



I really liked the panel at the top of the dress. Comparing it to the second photo, I felt like the panel on my hips would just accentuate more than is necessary. Plus the panel sort of looked like an apron. I love aprons, but I just wasn't going for that look. The panel at the top really frames my face and ascetically looked better. As I mentioned before, I tried the panel at the side, but didn't care for that as much either. Here is an example of how you can use a panel like this on the side of your body:


Here is the completed dress! I used McCall 6112, which looks to be discontinued from McCall's website. I made this a few times before, so I knew the pattern pretty well. It's not a very hard pattern, which makes it much easier to work with panels. Hint: Don't select a pattern with too many pattern pieces in the place you're using the panel. This was a simple 4-piece pattern with no sleeve pieces since it was a dolman sleeve! 




So I guess you're wondering how I did this??


I looked at my bodice pieces and made sure they were going to fit on the fabric. Once I determined that they would, I placed the pattern in the middle of the medallion. I also placed the shoulder seam at the straight edge of the medallion. I traced around this, then turned the pattern piece to cut the other half of the bodice front. Cut out the entire bodice front, then repeat for the back. 



When flipping your pattern to create the mirror-image, I used pins to show me the middle of the bodice. I didn't want to have a chalk mark going down the middle of the fabric. I know it washes out, but I fear markings not coming out!


You're probably wondering how much fabric I need for this dress? You will need two panels. One for the front and one for the back. But keep in mind that depending on your size, you may have to buy a different black knit for the skirt. I was able to get the skirt out of the left side of the fabric (where the small stripe design is.) If you would see the dress in person, you would see that I have a small 1-inch medallion print on my side. 


That's all there is to it! Have you worked with panels before? What did you make? Share you experiences with us!

Check out our selection of Maggy London Fabrics Here. Also check out our Pinterest Board featuring our Maggy London fabrics and ideas! 

~Julie

Monday, May 19, 2014

Me-Made-May: I'm Giving it a Try!

I bet you've been wondering where I've been?! Between work and home, I've been keeping myself REALLY busy! I've had a few fabric buying/selling trips in the past two weeks and at home, I hosted a Mother's Day dinner, worked in my yard, set up my vegetable garden and trying to keep up with the daily grind. My husband and I have also been planning small getaways for various weekends throughout the summer, so we had our first this weekend to Gettysburg, PA! 

Before May began, I really wanted to participate in Me-Made-May. I wanted to make a real effort to wear my handmade clothes and learn to love them (if I didn't care for them all that much.) But with everything that was going on, I just didn't want to add more to my schedule or put pressure on myself. It was just more to think about on a daily basis! But after reading some of the pledges, I came to the conclusion that I can set myself really small goals! So here is my goal:




I, Julie from Fabric Mart Fabricistas, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I will wear at least one handmade garment, three days a week, for the duration of May 2014. I also pledge to sew using only indie patterns for the entire month of May.

So I have two pledges--remember how I said I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself? Well I didn't give myself a number of items I planned to sew, so if I only make one, it's ok! Three garments seemed to be attainable, so I wanted to give it a try. 

I'm three weeks into the challenge. How am I doing?
I've been able to keep up with wearing at least three handmade garments every week. Actually it was a little harder than I thought. I don't have enough casual garments appropriate for the weather to get through the month! So I'll definitely be re-wearing some of my creations. I was really surprised by this because I felt like I would have more than enough to get me through the month. Here are my downfalls: I have a lot of dresses and skirts that are not suitable for everyday wear. To fulfill the pledge, I was able to get away with some of the dresses for an event or two and going to church. This definitely brought to my attention the fact that I need more casual things in my wardrobe! I need basics! (And rid of the not so great RTW basics in my closet.) 


This is only a few of the items I have worn in the past three weeks. A few of the other items I never blogged about and forgot to take photos when I wore them! I wear my Minoru Jacket a lot, almost everyday! It is so comfortable and perfect for the cool mornings and breezy days. 

The other part of my pledge was to sew only with Indie Sewing Patterns. This has been really easy because I stock piled a few in the previous months. And what patterns do I want to make in the near future? Casual is key! 

Currently on the sewing machine: 

Abby Cardi by StyleArc
I am a huge fan of StyleArc Patterns. Since they are coming from Australia, I buy a number of patterns at one time. I want to get the most out of my shipping costs! I've made the Abby Cardi before. This time I'm making it out of a lightweight Missoni-look Sweater Knit.



Up and coming: 
I still want to tackle pants. I started some pants in early spring, but have yet to finish them. I'd like to try the Clover by Colette Patterns. Reviews on this? What do you think about it?


I also would like to make some casual tops for spring/ summer but do not have any in mind at the moment. 

Who else is participating in Me-Made-May? How are you fulfilling your pledge? 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Reader's Pick Sew-Along: The BIG Reveal!!

I am so impressed by the number of people that have participated in the sew-along for New Look 6097. For our first sew-along together-- I'm so happy! Everyone seemed to really enjoy this and hopefully we can continue doing other sew-alongs. If you're just coming into this, you can learn more about the sew-along HERE.


All of these ladies are so talented! We hashed out some ideas on our Flickr Discussion Board and in comments on the blog. I think we all had fun trying to hash out our problems and suggestions. 

Plus, all participants were entered in a random drawing to win a $50 gift certificate to Fabric Mart. And the winner is...

Dara M. is the winner of a $50 gift certificate to Fabric Mart! Congratuations, Dara! Check your email for confirmation. 

All of our other fabulous participants...

Susan T. (Left), Patricia L. (Right)


Dina G. 


Annie L. from Sewing on Saturday


Santell M.


Kathryn D. 


Michelle F. 


Teresa


Angela M.


 

Missy W. 

Would you like to do another sew-along in the future? What would you like to sew? 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Made by a Fabricista: A Rigel Bomber Jacket

Hello lovely peeps!  I’m so happy because it’s the time of year I get to say adios to all my winter coats. As I was putting them away for the season I realized that I don’t have any light weight jackets to wear when the weather is not all that. My usual go to when the days and nights are still a little cool is my ratty zip-up hoodie. I’m gladly trading it in for a more stylish bomber jacket.


The pattern is the Rigel Bomber by Papercut Collections. This pattern was released in their Constellation collection last November.  FYI: Rigel is the brightest star in the constellation Orion and the seventh brightest star in the night sky.  The jacket is unlined has welt pockets and raglan sleeves with two different options, plain sleeves or geometric details. 

For my fabric I chose a hot pink polka dot cotton sateen that was featured in Julie’s Picks for the month of March.  If you don’t have a Julie’s Picks membership and have been contemplating getting one let me be your enabler.  I look forward to my flyer every month (and the box of fabric that will follow shortly after of the picks I’ve ordered).  I’ve never been disappointed and will never be without my membership. 


I first traced the XXS and made a quick muslin.  Not thinking or even reading for that matter, I basted with a 5/8 seam allowance.  The jacket was a little snug.  I finally picked up the instructions and seen that a 3/8 seam allowance was included in the pattern.  So I did some unpicking and basted again with the correct SA.  Perfect fit! What a difference 1/4 of an inch can make! It always helps to read your instructions first too. ;)  I was super happy no fit adjustments were needed.   One thing I should mention to those considering making this jacket is that I’ve seen others comment on the sleeve length and how they are rather short.  I have short arms and the sleeves fit perfect.  Usually that’s just the opposite for me.  I recommend measuring your sleeve length to be sure.
I wish I could say construction was smooth sailing for me but I kind of hit a road block when it came to the welt pockets.  I had one of those moments where I read the instructions twenty times and it just was not clicking in my little ol' brain.  I stepped away for awhile, got myself a little snack (ice cream it was!) and was ready to roll again. Then it kinndda clicked for me.  Well not really but I muddled through it.  I think next time I'll approach it a little differently than the instructions by following this video tutorial.


I wanted the inside of my jacket to look just as pretty as the outside so I lined mine in a floral rayon challis.  I attached my lining so that all the seams were hidden except for the sleeve hem.  No one will see my sleeve hem anyway and I used my serger so the seam looks neat.  My facing is hand sewn to the lining with a slip stitch.  The more I hand sew the more I find I rather like it.  It relaxes me and I was able to knock it out while watching a movie.


Knit ribbing was used for the cuffs, hem and neckline.  My ribbing was lightweight and though it works well for the cuffs and bottom hem I think a more stable knit would be nicer for the neckline.  This knit tends to get a little floppy by day’s end.  The only thing left to talk about is the zipper.  A 14-inch separating zipper is needed.  Boy oh boy are separating zippers easy peasy to install!! 


This jacket was super fun and quick to make up.  I’ve got plans for a couple more versions like this fun, bold floral print and a warmer wool version for fall in plaid.

Yes, yes Vito we can go in now for those treats….


~Shannon

Follow Shannon's blog at ShanniLoves.