Saturday, April 30, 2016

Made By A Fabricista: Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Dress



Hello again, Fabricistas!! It's been a while since I blogged last, but I've been lurking about and occasionally sewing.  While doing my daily (yes, daily, I am not shy to admit it!) rundown of Fabric Mart's new arrivals, I fell in love with this cotton pique lighthouse print fabric instantly.  I did some research for inspiration and quickly figured out this material was for a Lilly Pulizter shift dress in 2014-- I love the Designer Fabric section... I've picked up some sweet designer surprises before in that category.  It was not labeled with the designer's name, but I plugged into my search engine a few descriptive words about the print and up came a list of fashion bloggers wearing the original dress and then again on the designer's website.  


Misses' Jiffy 1960's Vintage Dress

I made a version of the Lilly Pulitzer Delia Shift dress to fit my figure with a reprinted vintage 1960's pattern, Simplicity 1609.  I used View C and cut a 16 bodice and made the skirt much more of an a-line, somewhere about a 20 or so.  I also tweaked the overall fit on the side and back center seams, adding here and removing there slightly to fit my shape better.


I originally added my usual 1" on to the length of the bodice, but had to remove it after making my muslin up.  I did add an inch to the hemline afterwards. 



I have sewn up limited numbers of vintage patterns, and every time I've found that the upper back is monstrously humongous!!  I had to remove about 3" total from the front and back upper bodice in total.  You can see the before and after on my red and white polka dot muslin below.  I also removed the front center seam to keep the print one continuous piece. With that, I added a couple darts at the upper neckline.  I extended the back sleeve opening by about 5/8" for my wider back shoulder.




With such simple clean lines, I wanted to get the finishes super nice!  I added a lining, it's a lightweight 100% cotton.  I used an invisible zipper and of course hand sewed a blind hem.





Overall I'm really pleased with this sweet little dress. I know a die-hard Lilly Pulizter aficionado will be able quickly see it's not an original without the special imprinted hem tape that bares the designer's name... and the fact that my name is sewn in it!  Now I'm totally ready for my weekend at the beach, which is exactly where I will be when this blog post goes live!



Happy Sewing!!
~Kathy
Kathy Sews

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fit-Along Contest Extended and Update!

This is just a friendly reminder about the two contests we're sponsoring right now. We have two changes to the contest -- extended end date and additional prize until Contest #2. See below for details. 

Both contest deadlines have been extended to May 14 with winners being selected on May 16. Some needed a little bit more time to finish their wrap dresses, so that's why we're extending the deadline. 

Here's a copy of the contest info. 


We're having two contests!
Contest #1: Purchase one of the fit-along kits between April 11 and April 30th, and be entered into a drawing for sewing prizes! Winner will be picked at random. Contest ends April 30th, 2016. One entry per person. If you order more than one kit, you will NOT have that number of entries. You will have one entry only. Two winners will be selected on May 2nd. Winner will receive one of two prize packs.

Prizes Available:
1) A Julie's Picks Swatch Club Membership ($50 value)
2) Fit for Real People Book by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto ($30 value) & $20 Gift Certificate to Fabric Mart


Contest #2: Finish those wrap dresses! Submit a photo of your finished McCall 7246, wrap dress to fabricmartblog@gmail.com and you will be entered to win a $50 gift certificate for Fabric Mart and a Palmer/Pletsch Interfacing Pack including PerfectFuse Interfacing (Sheer & Light weights)

No need to have purchased the fabric from us. Just submit your photo, that's it! Of course we would love to see fabric from the fit-along kits or any other FM fabric, but not required. Share with us what alterations you made too. Entries must be emailed by May 14th, 2016.A winner will be selected on May 16th.

Here are two of my wrap dresses. Melissa sewed the red one for the videos. I sewed the splatter print one afterwards. 

One kit left HERE.

Kit available HERE

Nakisha sewed up THIS kit. She looks amazing! Read her review of this pattern on the blog
___________________________________________________________________________



Although, the Fabric Mart Fit-Along is over, I can't help but keep thinking about it! I have personally referred back to the videos as reminders of what was done to my body so that I can use them when fitting other sewing patterns. How about you? Did you follow along as you fit the pattern on yourself? Did you use them as reference on how to look for particular fit issues on your body?

If you are only learning about the Fit-Along, or didn't have time to be part of it in February, we still have fabric kits available in both ponte/double knits and challis prints. The fabric kits come with fabric, thread to match, McCall 7246 pattern and fitting order sheets to record all your alterations. These exclusive fabrics were hand-picked by Melissa and myself just for the fit-along. They are perfect for the wrap dress. 




 


 ___________________________________________________________________________

I can't wait to see all of your finished wrap dresses. Let's get a conversation started! Comment below about any alteration questions you have, what you thought of the fit-along and anything else in regards to the fit-along and pattern fitting. 

~Julie

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Made by a Fabricista: Ocean Blue Linen Dress. (Also, I Match the Lisette Pattern, Again.)



Remember last year when I made the light mint green top/brown linen pants combo?  Remember how I matched the cover art for the Butterick 6183?  Well, I did it again.  I guess I really must aspire to be the cover art for Lisette, as this is the second (accidental) time I have made a garment that pretty much exactly looks like the cover of a Lisette for Butterick pattern.  LOL.

Clearly there is a difference or two from the original and my version, but they do look darn close.  All in all this was a satisfying make, and since making it over a month ago, I have worn it three times, so it is a satisfying wear, as well.


When faced with my make for the month of April, I knew two things, I wanted to make it in a bright solid color and I wanted a project that I could get done before leaving for Spain in late March so I could wear it on my trip.  The colors I had chosen for my travel wardrobe were teal/aqua blue, black, and grey (you can see many of my outfits here), so when I heard that the Designer Linen had come in, I thought this would be a perfect fabric to make something with, and when I spied the ocean blue color, I knew I had found the perfect solid shade to match my wardrobe.

I know it is a risk to bring linen on travel because it rumples, but I also know that most hotels have irons, and that in a bind, a few spritzes of water from a travel spray bottle on wrinkles, left to hang overnight, will work their way out.  I actually didn't use the iron at all, but the spray bottle I did (and it worked great).  Plus, I think there is something very charming about softened linen with a bit of crinkling on a trip.  It shows a spirit of adventure and a willingness to be less buttoned up.  (Ha, at least that is how I read it.)  ;-)



A couple of notes on this fabric.

1. It is a thicker linen, but still a bit sheer.  I almost lined it, but in the end decided to keep it unlined.  You can see the outline of my legs under the skirt when I stand in front of a window, but it isn't scandalous or anything.  If it really will bother you, definitely at least underline in a cotton batiste.  (I would line a shade that is ivory/white, though.)

2. I washed this garment twice before I was happy with its hand.  I love a very stiff, polished linen, but it wasn't working with this dress shape.  It made the sleeve stick up a bit (especially when paired with my square shaped shoulders), so I wanted to soften the dress as much as possible.  Linen is very amenable to softening, but if you want a polished look, definitely make the garment before laundering, and then only dry clean from there on out.  Every time it's been washed, by the way, it looks better to me.  I hope to wear it so much this summer that it is exactly the softness and worn in look that I look for in my favorite summer linen garments.

3. It frays terribly.  Definitely finish the seams, be it with the serger (as I have done), binding, or turning and stitching.  I don't think pinked seams would be enough, though, so if that's your favorite, it will likely not be enough to counteract how much fraying happens with this linen.

4. The color is luscious.  So so beautiful.  It really does have the look of the Caribbean Sea in Cancun, Mexico.  All the colors seems really pretty from this designer linen grouping, but this ocean blue seems the brightest and most eye-catching.


I own a lot of accessories, clothing, and shoes that work well with this color, so it's no wonder I have worn it as much as I have.  :-)  It is an exact match for one of my favorite J. Crew necklaces!


In this photo you can see that my legs can be "seen" beneath the fabric.  This only happened in front of this window at our hotel in Spain.  Clearly, the bright light coming in is causing the effect.

The dress is being worn with tights here.  I didn't find the linen stuck to the tights, so I was really pleased when I discovered that, as one of the reasons I planned to line it was so I could wear it with tights.



The Butterick 6182 pattern is wonderful, and I have many great things to say, but I do want to point out three items of note for those of you planning to make this pattern up.

1. This dress/top runs very large.  I cut a size 8, and it fit great out of the package in an 8.  Butterick tops seem to fit big on me, as I wear a 10 in almost all the other patterns.  The dress should not fit me on the bottom half, though, in an 8, and I didn't cut an 8, but I did grade out to the 10.  I *should* wear a 14 (on a good day!), and maybe even a 16.  This dress is cut to be wide and loose, but had I cut a 10/12/14 (bust/waist/hips), it would have been way way too loose, and ended up looking too sack-like.

2. I need to make a square shoulder adjustment or at least figure out how to get rid of the tips of the shoulders where they go up.  It just looks funky.  It is lessening as the garment gets softer, but I don't love it.  I am not a huge fan of how the sleeves look as drafted, so I left them off in favor of this more "cut-on/sleeveless" version instead.  Still don't love it, though.

3. I really love the way the darts look, but they were an inch too high on me.  This may be because the best fit for my body is the larger version, but because my bust is small, I needed to cut the smaller size.  Next time I will move the dart down.  No biggie.  (I don't really need a dart, lol.  I am so flat-chested.)


I tried to make the length longer, but could stand to have an additional two inches.  It is the perfect length for casual days in summer, but I am unlikely to wear this, as is, to teach in.  I might wear it with tights in the winter, but that is all.  The school's dress code is very conservative.


This view really shows the rumpled character.  This was after it had been washed one time.  The view right below this is after two washes.  I far prefer how the fabric falls and rumples in the view below.  This looks like a more formal look that got caught on the subway too long.  :-)  (The subway, in DC, in August, at one of the outdoor stations, in one of the old trains from the 70s.  Eww.)


The dress has no pockets, as drafted, but as per usual for me, I added side seam pockets from another BMV pattern (all of their pockets seem to work well with other patterns!).  Clearly this view shows a more fair weather styling, with sandals and no topper/tights.  I wore this to hang out with a friend in Old Town Alexandria on a recent Sunday, very warm, sunny, and perfect for a linen dress. 
Here I am in the "transitional season" styling, with a coat, tights, ballet flats, and a scarf.  I did end up taking off the coat at one point that day, but because we were thousands of feet up on the side of a cliff (ugh, my fear of heights was challenged that day!*), the winds would kick up and cool me off again. 

* The second photo in the collage shows me with my arms in the air.  Those are jubilant arms, exclaiming that we didn't plummet to our death in the very scary cable car they use to get us up to the monastery there at Montserrat.  The lady behind me is smiling because she knows how freaked out I was as she sat there staring at my baby-ish self unable to look at anything but the floor in the cable car.  The first photo, there with the beer, was my attempt to get some liquid courage before taking the *bright yellow death by cable car* back down the side of the cliff.  

Okay, that's it for now.  I really hope that you all give this dress pattern and some designer linen a go.  They really are a very lovely match.  And a very easy piece of clothing to wear and wear and wear again!


~Dina, My Superfluities

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Made By A Fabricista: McCall's 7246 Fit-Along Kit



I was very interested in this pattern when it was released but didn't buy it because I have a ton of wrap dress patterns (yeah, yeah, that's not a good reason!). It still amazes me, as someone not versed in pattern drafting, how patterns can be so similar yet so different.

This is a true wrap dress --which I love-- and has release pleats at the waist instead of darts. This definitely intrigued me. I also liked the fact that overall it's quite simple, yet it has enough detail to make it stand out.

I chose this kit because of the fabric! The dress itself is a great transition piece and I think the fabric lends to that too. The weight, color/print and the fact that it's a knit really allows it to be worn year-round.


Can I just say that I really love this dress?! If you follow me, you know how much I praise the wrap/surplice silhouette. It's my favorite. I also love the tulip-y wrap and slight hi-low hem. 

While I was constructing the dress, I worried the midi-length would look a bit matronly on me. But I think the wrap front helps keep it from going that way. Along with wearing heels!

I cut a size 14 which has a finished bust, waist and hip that results in 1/2 to 1" of negative ease for me. If I were making it in a non-stretch woven, I would use a 14 bodice, do a 1" FBA, and cut a 16 for the skirt. 

Other adjustments made were typical for me with BMV patterns. I did a 1/2" narrow shoulder adjustment and 3/4" swayback adjustment. (If it were a woven, I would have also done a 1" full bicep adjustment). I love how the Palmer Pletsch patterns have all the adjustment lines on the pattern. Makes life so much easier!!

The only other adjustment I would make if I were to sew this one again, is to take a 3/8" tuck out of the front. I have a short torso and I have just a little extra fabric between shoulder and bust.


I actually LOVE it tied in back much more than bringing the ties around front! But they are long enough to wrap all the way around, which is a refreshing change from many wrap/mock wraps.

Now, the pattern is intended for a woven so it comes with facings and such. In many ways when sewing with ponte, I generally use it as if it were a woven -- With the exception of facings. I will eliminate them whenever possible.

Instead, I did the longest hem in history; choosing not to serge or do a double turned hem. I wanted the hem to stay very light.



Because I didn't use facings, I had to handle the tie attachment differently. I basted it in place and caught it when hemming the front. I then topstiched the front to the belt. It's a tiny bit messy on the inside! I should have serged the end of the belt. Ah well. It's hidden! :)


Can we just talk about that intersection!!?!?! #winning

I constructed the dress on the serger, but serged the right side of the bodice individually, and stitched the seam by machine, leaving it open as indicated. I then stitched around the opening. It's very neat and secure. 

The sleeve is cuffed. For some reason these types of sleeve details never make sense to me when reading the directions. I never 'get it' until I'm actually constructing the sleeve. 

Let me tell you, this fabric was amazing to work with! I love that it's double sided. It's like a fun secret that only you are in on! It washed, sewed and pressed well. And it's a really lovely navy and evergreen -- making it so versatile -- and it's soft.

I can definitely see myself making another version of this in a knit and would love to make the long sleeved view with the lovely sleeve facings in a woven this fall. I think you'll see this pattern grace my blog again in the near future, for sure.


Nakisha

Monday, April 25, 2016

Made by a Fabricista: Neutral Linen Separates


I've always been attracted to the linen separates in neutral shades that Eileen Fisher sells. They seem timeless, elegant, but with an edge. They are also beyond my budget at well over $100 a piece. So, when Fabric Mart came out with their new line of designer quality linen I knew exactly what I wanted to make- neutral separates that I could mix and match with my current wardrobe.


I'm really more of a print person- it's rare that I choose a solid color fabric because there are just so many beautiful prints to choose from! But, I've realized for a while that I need some more solids, especially neutral solids in my wardrobe. For these pieces, I chose the brown-olive shade for the pants, natural for the top, and black for the jacket- all from the Designer Linen line.


The brown-olive is really a fantastic color- just perfectly in between brown and olive, so it will go with just about everything.  The natural is what I would describe as cool toned- which is good for me, as I was a little worried it might lean towards the yellow.


I did wash and dry all of my fabrics, expecting them to shrink quite a bit. To my surprise, they barely shrunk at all! After pressing them, they only shrank about one inch per yard. I even washed them three times!  These linens are a pretty versatile weight- the natural seemed to be a little heavier than the others- and you can see little flecks in it, so I'm thinking it might have not gone through as much processing as the other colors.

For the pattern, I chose a new Khaliah Ali design with four pieces. McCalls 7368.

The jacket can also be worn as a top without the separate top underneath. I did make some changes to the design, as I wanted a more open front, so I redrew the neck edge of the underlap side and made inside ties at the waist.  The original design has it attach to the opposite shoulder with snaps.



I eliminated the facings and narrow hemmed the entire outer edge.  I used twill tape for the ties, instead of a self fabric. So with those changes, this went together really quickly.


To make sure that the back neckline didn't stretch out, I ironed a strip of interfacing just inside the fold.  The narrow hem covers it up, and it really keeps the back neckline stable. It's almost more of a cardigan this way, and I think I prefer wearing it open.


I also made a change to the top design- adding a side slit on each side so that it would be easier to put my hands into the pockets in the pants.  The neck and armhole edges are finished with single fold bias tape- shown here. 


Most linen pants that you see in ready to wear are pretty loose fitting, unless they are lined. I think this is because linen will bag out as you sit, so if you wanted to keep it tight fitting, you would need to rely on a lining to do so. If you don't want a lining, then it's probably better to choose a loose-fitting style. I found many interesting pant styles in linen on these websites: Oska and  Vivid Linen.


I had made a muslin for the jacket from another Fabric Mart fabric that you might recognize from last year! I got it in a mystery bundle and really didn't have a clue what to make with it until now. It is a linen cotton blend with a rosy patchwork print.  I wore this outfit today and had someone tell me that I should start my own clothing line- always a nice compliment!


These pants are made in a white linen that I had made years ago, and I think I like the wide leg style in linen better than the straight leg that I made in the brown-olive shade. The straight legs of the brown olive are probably a little more practical though, so each has its own pros and cons.  As you can see, the linen will wrinkle, so you have to be able to live with that. I find that the comfort of linen far outweighs any issues that I have with wrinkling. 

I like how the natural colored top works as a backdrop for just about any necklace or scarf I would want to wear. I am looking forward to wearing these all summer and into fall.  Do you like to wear neutral shades? Or are you more of a print person? 

Happy Sewing!
Ann