Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Made By A Fabricista: Fall & Winter Wool Jersey Dresses


I love sewing with and wearing knits of any kind, but it's always a treat to sew up & wear a wool knit in the cold weather months.  I picked up an embarrassing amount of wool knits in the past few months on Fabric Mart's website and then on a very special drive to their brick and mortar store in Pennsylvania.  I whipped up these two classic dresses with soft and juicy wool jerseys blended with the perfect amount of spandex for resiliency.  I'm mildly sensitive to wool against my skin, but none of these make me feel itchy at all.


Image result for ottobre 5/2016
Ottobre 5/2016 #4



First off, most gals can't go wrong with the an a-line wrap dress. I pulled this pattern from Ottobre's latest issue- Autumn/Winter 5/2016, it's pattern #4, "Wrap & Tie".  I cut my standard size 42 bodice, graded out to about a 46 at the hip and added 3/4" to the bodice length.  It's a fairly standard pattern and truly a wrap dress that's held closed with the built in belt.  Compared to other wrap dresses, I realllly like the extended front skirt-- each piece overlaps pretty far over making sure I'm not going to flash the world if the wind blows.  I finished the neck/collar edge & sleeve hems with a binding I serged on & finished with my coverstitch. I also doubled the width of the belt. I lined the bodice with the same army green wool jersey as the main.





My main concern with the fabric is that it's a tad clingly when it's draped on the body, but not a dealbreaker. I've worn this dress a couple times and didn't even once worry after I left the house.  But clearly it attracted leafy bits to my rear end in these photos!  Ehhh, I'm much too lazy to photoshop!! .  Oh, and if you notice the pink scarf with hearts, that was a little wool gauze scarf made from some yummy Fabric Mart stuff as well.


Image result for new look 6469And for dress numero dos, a black wool jersey.  I picked up a couple of these "trapeze" style, or "tent" dress patterns, whatever they are called.  I was verrry nervous that I'd look like I'm actually wearing a tent.  This pattern is from New Look, it's 6489, it has a raglan sleeve with a shoulder dart plus a little mock turtle neck.  I cut a straight size 16, a normal choice for me.  Before I altered the pattern down DRAMATICALLY, I indeed looked like I was wearing a huge, awful, terrible tent, I'm not gonna lie.  I took a picture but I'm ashamed to show the internet. Sooo I hacked off about probably more then a foot of the width of this thing.


But in the end, it's not a bad little dress.  I had to find the right scale for my figure.  Ahh.. you can see how the back of the dress is a bit clingy to my black tights.  Oh, well.

But I bet you are wondering... how did she PRE-TREAT this delightful wool jersey/spandex fabric?!?!?!?! I washed it in my washer.  I dried in in my dryer.  I do not dry clean everyday clothes.  I used the gentle setting, cold water and a shorter cycle for the wash.  I tumble dried on the lowest heat setting.  This is exactly what I will do with the final garment when I need to wash them after wear. I will not tumble dry them normally, but allow then to air dry mostly because it contains spandex-- heat breaks spandex down quickly over time.  It may have smelled like a wet sheep farm in my house the day I pre-washed my wool knits.  There are certain, very special, very expensive wools I would never wash at home, but these I have no problem with since they are meant for regular life.

Happy Cold Weather Sewing!!
~Kathy

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Made by a Fabricista: Perfect Weekend Dress

I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving! I know I was ready for a break. For those of you who love Black Friday I hope you grabbed all the doorbusters on your list! 


FINALLY! Fall is creeping in here in the south. It was warm through Halloween here, but a chill is definitely in the air now (well at least in the mornings). Summer is probably my favorite season to sew for, simply because I love sundresses and they are such a breeze to make. However, I do enjoy creating certain cold weather looks like sweaters, jackets and capes. One day I'm going to make a true coat, but that's not today.

Paired with argyle tights and wedge booties.
Today I bring you this perfect weekend dress. Whether you are headed out to run errands, to meet your girlfriends for brunch or to meet up with the crew to watch a football game you'll be dressed for it. This dress can be worn with tights and booties, fishnets and heeled boots or legging and chucks. Just change out a scarf for gold jewelry and you've instantly gone from day to night.



New Look 6298 is a raglan sleeve knit dress with several options; a scoop or V neck, a narrow hem or a band hem, three-quarter or full sleeves, knee length or below the knee and lastly pockets are no pockets. I've had this pattern in my stash for at LEAST a year, maybe two. Though very simple, I remember instantly picking it up. For once I think it was the pattern model that got me! She looks comfortable and put together and that's what I want.

Paired with knee high boots, bright tights and a DIY infinity scarf..

I chose this wool blend knit because I wanted this to be cold weather dress. I love this wool knit, though I wished I picked another color for the sake of better photos, it has a great feel I can't quite explain other than to call it luxe. It feels just like a ponte or double knit but with the coziness of wool. My biggest fear was that it would itch, but in the time I worked with it and wore the dress for photos I had no issues. I'm not the most sensitive to wool though. Sadly this fabric is sold out and unfortunately I didn't grab a screenshot of the description. I believe it is a double knit as it is similar in weight to most of the ponte knit I own. Fabric Mart currently has several wool blend jersey and interlock knits to choose from that I believe would be similar in feel just lighter weight. Take a look here.


I sewed View B minus the pocket, because I did not have enough fabric. Let this be a reminder to you (because it was for me) to always check the width of fabric while ordering. At 54" wide (instead of 60") I could not layout the pattern as shown in the instructions. I had to get very creative with my pattern piece placement to squeeze everything on my 2yds and the pockets didn't make the cut.

This pattern was a breeze to sew up as it only has 4 pieces, front, back, sleeve, neck band. I found it interesting that the raglan sleeve had a dart but I looked at a few other raglan sleeved patterns (like McCalls 6992) and I realized this was not unusual.

Sleeve dart

Other than that everything was simple and straight forward. I've heard/read others sewists say this pattern runs large and perhaps it does. I haven't sewn enough New Look patterns to have a go to size. I cut a 16 based on the finished bust measurements and knowing I wanted a looser fit. However I did end up taking a half inch out at the back center seam. I graded from the top of the seam out to a half inch so that I wouldn't have to make any adjustments to my neck band.  Next time I may go down a size on the back piece for a more fitted look.

I took in about a half inch tapering from the neck of the center back seam.

Even though I've been sewing for three years, this was my first time attaching a V neck band. I've heard they could be tricky and I was certain it would take a few attempts. To my surprise I got it on the first try. I'm not sure if it really isn't that difficult, the instructions were incredibly clear or I was just lucky, but everything came together once I got all my markings lined up correctly. My topstitching could be better but I am pleased with it.

My first V neck band
I will definitely be making this dress again likely with a different color of wool knit if Fabric Mart gets more in stock. I'll be keeping a look out for a bright red or a deep green. This time I'll check the width so I can add the pockets!

Dressed up a little with patterned fishnets and booties.
Head over to my blog, Frougie Fashionista, to see more pictures and to read my full pattern review.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Made By A Fabricista: Just Loungin' Around Wear


Hello!

I am so excited to be sharing my first post with Fabric Mart as a guest blogger.  My interactions with the team have been so great and I must say they are very prompt at providing service.  Now let’s talk about my DIY look! 

I like to lounge around my place in over-sized T-shirts and PJ bottoms, but at least once a year, typically around the holidays, I like to buy a pair of nice pajamas/lounge wear.  While perusing Vogue patterns, I came across V9218 and had to add it to my stash.  As I was deciding on my Fabric Mart project, I thought to myself, “Hey why not make you a nice pair of PJs/lounge wear this year”. So I did!  I made views C and F.  

I chose this beautiful 100% polyester charmeuse from Fabric Mart.  The print on this fabric looks like paintbrush strokes that blend together an array of colors…plum, lilac, pea green, seafoam green, ivory, cobalt blue, and sky blue. I did not fuss with matching the print up, because I could tell the brush strokes were going to flow very well without doing so.  This fabric is now sold out; however, Fabric Mart offers more choices in polyester and silk charmeuse at great prices, so take a look!  They are always getting in new inventory!



As I type this, I have on my lounge wear and it is so soft and comfy.  I pre-treated the fabric by washing it in cold water on gentle and drying it on low heat.  It came out perfectly and is not a wrinkly-prone fabric. In the future, I will wash it in a lingerie bag to protect the lace.  I used a microtex 70 needle to stitch this project together.  


This pattern was rather quick and easy to make.  Neither of the local fabric stores here in Vegas had the pattern in a size 6-14, so I ended up buying the 14-22.  I wasn’t worried about the size for the bottoms, because my backside usually needs a size 14-16, plus I like bigger PJ bottoms.  However, I did think I would have to size the top down quite a bit, because I usually need to make 8-12’s for my top (depending on the pattern).  Well, turns out I was wrong! After seeing the finished measurements for the bust and hip, and knowing I wanted a loose, flowy fit top, the 14 worked.  In retrospect, when I look at this picture below, I probably could have taken the bust sides in more under the arm, but it really doesn't bother me.


I was given a bunch of my Grandma Maggie’s beautiful vintage lace from when she made camisoles and slips for sale back in the day.  I found this really pretty deep purple from her stash and thought it went with this fabric perfectly!  So I used it for the contrasting lace panels.  The only problem was, the lace was a bit too narrow for the contrasting pattern pieces.  So I decided to stitch the lace together to create a bigger lace panel.  Basically, I overlapped the lace and stitched it together with a zig-zag stitch.  

When laying the pattern piece on the lace, you need to line the edges of the piece along the inner edge of the lace scallop.  These directions are provided on the pattern piece.  That’s how you end up with the pretty scallop along the bust and side panels.  Another note is to pay attention to the seam allowance and stitching directions on the pattern piece and instructions.  You need to overlap and stitch the lace on top of the fabric for certain parts.  


I was somewhat worried that the seam of the stitch where I adjoined the lace together would fall in an odd place, but I got lucky, it looked fine. Both sides are symmetrical.



For the bust pieces, you need to line your pieces…or not…it just depends on how "Fredericks of Hollywood" you are trying to get with this look.  I used jet knit as lining and basted the lining to the bust lace piece.  


The rest of the lace panels are not lined, so you really get to appreciate the beauty of your lace. Now in all transparency (no pun intended), I had a bra on for photo purposes, because this cami does not offer support (at least not for me).  However, I removed the bra for this picture to show the virtue of the pattern design.  Don't worry no wardrobe malfunctions here, LOL!



I don’t believe this is in the instructions, but from my experience working with lace and sheer panels, I like to stitch the seams down, so they do not look sloppy and go in different directions under the see-through portion of the garment.  So I stitched down my seams under the bust cup and down the lace to keep the seams in place and in one direction.  I believe the instructions just have you press them in one direction. 


For view C, I especially love how the straps are made.  The arm facing and straps are one.  All you have to do is attach it, fold it over, press in your edges and stitch.  No fuss!  Prior to folding in the edges, I stitched a basting stitch as my fold line.  I just find it easier to fold and press down a circular piece this way.  I remove the basting stitches after I have it all stitched together. 



Another highlight for me were the bottoms.  I don’t love elastic “squeezing me” around my waist, which is another reason I opt for larger PJ bottoms.  When I am relaxing at home, I like to “unsuck” my stomach in, LOL.  The cool thing about these bottoms are the elastic is in the back only, the front does not have elastic.  So I don't feel so constricted around my belly, but at least I have the extra stretch from the back elastic.  I added an additional top-stitch along the front waistband across the top.  I am short, 5’1” (and a half) and I could have shortened the hem a little more, but it was a personal preference not to do so.  I like the length to kind of fall on my feet, helps keep them warmer.
   

For the insides, I serged it all.  The directions have you double-stitch, but it is not necessary with a serger.  Also, I did not cut and stitch down my bust darts per the instructions.  I don’t like cutting darts unless they are super bulky and these are not.


I hope you enjoyed this DIY and have a lovely Thanksgiving!!!

Yours truly, Tee from Maggie Elaine
www.maggieelaine.com

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Made by a Fabricista: A Rain Ready Coat

I made a navy trench coat a few years ago, and lost it!  It was so perfect- the color was neutral and it was really waterproof.  I left it at a meeting on one of those days that starts out rainy, but ends sunny, so you forget that you even wore a raincoat that day.  Oh, the agony of losing that coat!  So, ever since, I've been contemplating making a new one, but could never find the right fabric.  Finding a truly waterproof fabric is not easy!


When I saw that Fabric Mart had some water repellent jacketing with a flannel backing, I was jumping for joy!  And apparently, I'm not the only one- fellow Fabricistas Sue and Dina also chose one of these jacketings for their November projects!  Amazingly, we all chose different colors and patterns, so all of our coats are really quite different.


So, what is so great about this fabric?  Well first, it is truly waterproof.  The water just beads up on the surface beautifully.  I waited for a rainy day to take pictures, so you could see the water beads.


Second, it has a wool flannel backing, which makes it really warm.  Being from the cold midwest, this won't cut it on really cold days, but it is perfect for 40-50 degree weather.  Here's a close-up of what it looks like from the inside.


Third, it stretches!  And not a little bit- a lot!  Which means that you can make it a little closer fitting and still be comfortable.

It's funny, but a lot of ready to wear raincoats don't have hoods.  I think that the presumption is the wearer will carry an umbrella.  Which I never do- umbrellas are great in theory, but are really hard to hold on a windy day, especially if you are carrying groceries, or books, or anything else!  So, I wanted this coat to be as practical as possible, and I chose McCalls 7058.

In addition to the hood, this coat has a button front, pockets, and a back walking vent.   It's fully lined.  To contrast the seriousness of the charcoal color, I chose a psychedelic polyester charmeuse with shades of plum and raspberry.  I have a lot of these colors in my fall/winter wardrobe, so it will coordinate well with many things.


Lining the vent was the toughest part of this.  Most vents are single, but this one had a double vent.  I don't think that the pattern allowed for the "turn of cloth", so that there wasn't enough fabric.  Luckily, I had just barely enough in the seam allowances to let out to make it work.  Here's a close up of that section and how I pinned it in place.


And here is the back vent from the outside.  The fabric looks streaked in these photos, but it isn't in real life.  I think that is the camera capturing the rain.  It was a challenge getting these photos as the camera lens kept getting wet. My husband was a little grumpy about this, but I insisted that you had to see the waterproof fabric in action.  I take my job as a Fabricista seriously!



I want to show you a close-up of the buttons too.  These were part of a special Fabric Mart puchase a few years ago.  They have a hammered surface and a copper stripe down the middle:


So, I'm ready for the rain and so happy to have a new raincoat with a hood! 


And you can bet, that I won't be losing this one anytime soon.  I hope to wear this for a long, long time!
Happy Sewing!
Ann

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Made By a Fabricista: Warm and Cozy Sweater Dress

HI Fashionistas!

It's getting so cold and I plan on doing everything in my power to stay warm!

I am that person who is always cold.  So when I saw this sweater knit with a fleece backing, I was intrigued! I made this dress and have a little bit leftover that I am hoping to use for a top.

I used this fabric, which is a sweater knit that feels like fleece on the inside. It is very nice and warm. This is my 1st time sewing a sweater knit and I loved it. It is very forgiving as the texture hides and sewing mistakes :)

I made the sleeves super long so they can be pulled over the hands, something I do often in clothes I make (Don't you love how we can customize our clothes ?)


For the pattern, I used McCall's 6886 that I previously used HERE

Here is the back view:


And front:

LOVE the drape on the cowl.  It is self-lined, so super warm . I free-handed the cowl neck. It was very easy to do. I will be adding a tutorial on this on my blog soon.



You probably did not notice it yet, but the cowl neck is stand-alone

I really was opposed to doing this initially, but eventually decided to do it. I have been wanting to simplify and downsize my wardrobe, so having pieces that can mix and match to create more looks is key. Deciding to make the cowl separate allows me to wear both pieces many ways.

The black dress can be worn with many other scarves, and the chunky cowl can be added to other looks as  neck warmer.


I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I would love to sew with this fabric again! I highly recommend it. Let me know what y'all are working on. Love to hear about your sewing projects.

XOXO