Saturday, December 9, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: A Little Black Dress in Velvet & Lace


Happy Holiday Peeps!

Mori needed a Little Black Dress for  Holiday Gala and this is what I came up with. She had one major request for her dress and it was that the dress had to have a deep "V" front. I knew right away that I was going to use the top of Vogue 9253 and the bottom I used Simplicity 1559. I had used both patterns for prior garments so the fit was not going to be an issue.

I picked this awesome scalloped lace and a stretch velvet, sadly both are no longer available but there are other options. I had to add a black mesh under the lace. The dress is fairly simple and you can make this in under 2 hours.









We'll end this post with my pick for best picture of the bunch!

I also want to share that my sewing magazine was released Nov 17th and I sold out of my first issue! 
The second issue is on sale now and I have some great things lined up for this issue including a Project Runway alumni. Stop by an grab a copy! www.sewnmag.com

 I Hope you enjoy your family and friends during this Holiday season.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Made by a Fabricista--playing with plaid shirting

Do you have fabrics that simply make you happy?  For me, it depends on the season and the colors.  In the fall and winter, I simply love plaid.  To me they speak of giving warmth, are cozy, and the colors are fun.  And, if you have seen some of my makes before, I gravitate towards red, black and white.  This plaid was the perfect choice.  Plus that turquoise blue is awesome!


It takes a little bit of practice to match plaids at critical points such as the center front, center back, shoulders, arms, etc.  Here are some tips I have found from trial and error. 


Depending on the style of your garment, it is super important the center front matches.  I always purchase extra fabric for matching plaids.  You just never know when you might have a mishap...


When working with plaids, find out whether your plaid is even or uneven.  If you fold back a corner to make a 45 degree angle, you will know.  If the pattern matches, it is even, if it looks like mine, it is uneven.  


I just love using vintage sewing books for reference on sewing fabrics that aren't on my sewing table daily.  This one is great for an explanation on how to sew plaid fabrics.  You must match the pattern within the seam lines, not the pattern edges.  It will make a difference, trust me. :)  


What you can see here is that I cut my plaids in a single layer.  I draw pencil lines on the pattern pieces where the designs need to match. In this case, I drew where the bold white lines intersected with a pencil so it is super hard to see in this photo.  


You'll want to make sure your seam lines match a critical points such as the shoulder seams, center front and back, down the sleeves, etc.  Sometimes I sort of 'cheat' and cut pieces on the bias to add a bit of drama and so that I don't have to have everything match.


My collar and center of the back yoke match, along with the shoulder seams, side seams, and center front.


Is that little loop a fun detail?  I had to add it.  I just had to.


My chosen fabric is a cotton shirting and since it is rather lightweight, to give the hem line just a bit of heft to help it hang properly, I cut bias strips to add to the hemline.  I turned it to the inside and top-stitched on the outside.  


On the inside cuff, I trimmed away the sleeve seam allowance, turned in the cuff allowance and top-stitched to finish off that seam.  I like how nice can clean the finish is.


Here is an area where I 'cheated' on matching the plaid.  I very simply cut the pocket on the bias.  I like the visual interest it gives.




Down the center sleeve, when I first laid out the pattern and decided which seam was dominate, this theme resonated throughout the garment.  That dominate part of the pattern became the center of the sleeve as well.  See my bias cut cuffs?  They go with the bias cut pocket.


Since this has a back yoke and a pleat, it isn't possible to have the pattern match everywhere.  I made sure my centers matched and went from there.  I did however make sure my side seams matched along with the sleeve pattern.  




I decided to highlight the red in the fabric with little red buttons.  


I really, really love this top.  I had a lot of fun putting it together.


It is always a challenge taking photos outdoors in South Dakota.  The wind just blows and blows.

Thanks for reading!
Sue from Ilove2sew!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: Thakoon Holiday Party Dress



Holiday parties are just around the corner and I am feeling so prepared in this awesome Thakoon silk Crepe de Chine dress!!!  I mean, just look at it, I can feel dressed up (because of the silk) and ready for a full plate of food (thanks to the loose fitting shape).  Win, win. 

I feel pretty certain that quite a few of you snatched up some of this yardage because it is all sold out!  But I'd like to say that the feel of it is a slight bit textured and that it was the least fussy silk I've ever sewn with.  I did not even have to use any stabilizer to bring it into submission, it behaved with just a light touch and some gentle coaxing...so nice.  I hate to go on and on about how wonderful the fabric is because its sold out but I really feel the lesson here is that the designer fabrics Fabric Mart offers are really awesome in quality.

During my partnership with Fabric Mart I've had the pleasure and luxury of sewing with some really gorgeous designer fabrics (not to mention all those yards that jump into my shopping cart) and they have truly elevated my sewing.  When I receive a piece like this one I want to give it the best TLC I can and make something that I will wear for many years with great pleasure.

In short I've come to a place in my sewing where it is worth it to me to invest in a nice piece of fabric knowing that I will get a great high quality garment.  But the beauty of Fabric Mart is that I usually don't have to break the bank to afford a really nice cut of fabric, there is always a great sale or coupon code!  I love that.



In the spirit of giving this dress some extra TLC, I fully lined the inside with rayon bemberg.  I did have to use two cuts of different, but similarly colored bemberg from my stash but no on will see it and it makes the dress hang so beautifully.  I used french seams in a few strategic spots for added durability because I plan on handwashing this dress as needed.  I should mention that I washed this cut of fabric on the "handwash" setting on my washer with woolite and let it hang over my shower curtain to dry.

If you are new to Crepe de Chine, I have to say that I got most of my initial courage to wash my silk from Lauren at the Lladybird blog.  She often posts on Crepe de Chine and washes it herself, so I bravely did the same.  This fabric held it shape perfectly and not one color bled.   


 I am very proud of my print matching on the front, that front bodice has three pieces and there is an empire seam at the waist.  I was so happy that I got this fabric placement perfect so that the diagonal flowers fed almost perfectly into one another.  I did fudge this detail (see in the mistake in the picture below) when I first cut the bodice out, I outwardly groaned "auugghh!"  There were significant pattern repeats next to one another- something I can't stand! I thanked my lucky stars that I had extra yardage and recut the center front.

Those side by side images drive me crazy, so the middle bodice piece had to be recut.  




I am also very proud of my invisible zipper, I *think* I've finally mastered the invisible zipper! Firstly I stabilized the back seam with Palmer/Pletsch Perfect Fuse Sheer.  This was my first time to use it and I am sold.  It fused beautifully and wasn't even detectable under the seam.  I.LOVE.IT.  I will definitely be using this on any future silk sewing. 



Next I ironed the zipper teeth open then used my invisible zipper foot, which really helped, sewed it down one side marked where the waist seam hit on both sides of the zipper as well as the top, then unzipped the zipper aligned those chalk marks with the waist seam and top of dress on the opposite side to get that side lined up just right.  I also finally figured out how to sandwich the zipper between the lining and dress with my machine but I can't begin to think of how to explain that process.
 



The pattern is Kwik Sew 4215 and I have to say that there was one significant change I made that really helped this dress out.  If you look at the line drawing and pictures of the dress it is cinched in at the waist by the back ties.  I initially had the back ties on this dress but during construction every time I tied those ties it just made the dress look awful.  I was pretty crest fallen at first and then after thinking it over, realized this dress really wanted to be a shift and ties had no business being anywhere on this beauty!  So out came the seam ripper and away went the ties!  Then it was just a perfect shift...just right for holiday parties and eating. 




One last construction note, I have to give a huge shout out to my husband who was a tremendous help in hemming this dress.  The poor, poor man, I begged him to pin it and he had NO IDEA how to handle silk and there was a lot of trial and error but finally he did it!  Such are the challenges of a sewing person and the poor spouses who marry them!  Ha ha!

I am thrilled to wear this dress next week to a holiday party and hope you too are busy planning your holiday sewing.  I have looked over the Fabric Mart selection of Crepe de Chine and if you need suggestions, I have a few!! This fuchsia houndstooth is adorable and would make an excellent shift dress, not to mention this very cute animal print.  In planning my project I considered a few other patterns that would pair perfectly with Crepe de Chine, they were Simplicity 8414, Butterick 6481 or  Butterick 6487.  And I even went so far as to cut a wearable muslin out of Vogue 1511 to see if it was the right pattern, so I will be making it up in the near future.  I hope this has you thinking creatively about what you might like to sew up in Crepe de Chine, after all planning and scheming your sewing project is one of the best parts of the process!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!
Elizabeth 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: The Baby Bump and the ITY Dress

Hey there fabric lovers!  You've seen my toddler, Cheeks, around here a few times, but I may not be as familiar.  Well, I've got another little muffin in the hopper and I've got nothing to wear:  and so I've been sewing up some maternity goodness!


This dress is a great one:  it's Simplicity 1469, and is great for both mamas-to-be and mamas-to-new-babies because it has both belly room AND nursing access.  Win-win!  The Simplicity version is out-of-print now, but never fear:  it was a reissue of Megan Nielsen's Amber dress and top.


I swore when I received this fabric that I had specifically ordered it (I really thought it had the typical Fabric Mart order sticker on it), but I could not find any mention of it on my recent invoices.  Since then I have sussed out that this magical panel ITY poly knit was part of a fabric bundle I'd received. Yes, I got something in a random bundle that I liked so much I was sure I'd ordered it.  Thumbs up!


If you want to purposely order something similar, instead of relying on delicious chance, there are a few nice looking ITY chevron knits on the site, such as:  this one, this one, and this one.  I actually used that last one in a different colorway to make this dress years ago, which both my husband and I thought of immediately when I completed the dress I'm showing you today.


Planning a dress with a panel, border print, or very large repeat is definitely a different animal than an allover print.  I really had to think about where I wanted each color and engineer the placement of the print.  Even now that I'm done I think I would've done things a bit differently.  For instance, perhaps not placing the lightest part of the fabric at what is currently the largest circumference of my body.



When using these kinds of prints, I love putting my favorite part of the repeat on either the top and bottom of a dress, or all at the middle of the dress, radiating out.  I really loved the blue and purple chevron section, so that became my hem and the top back of my dress.




I always enjoy playing with stripes and chevrons directionally, so I cut the bodice pieces so the chevron traveled along the bodice neckline (which is no problem with you have plenty of vertical stretch to go with your horizontal stretch!).



I would have preferred to cut the sleeves starting with the purple and blue chevron at the cap, but I just didn't have enough fabric.  So, I did my best to match up via eyeball where the white chevrons on the sleeve would lay in relation to the white chevrons on the skirt.  I didn't want any plain navy showing at the top of the sleeve, so I didn't quite match it up, but it's close enough for me.


I didn't want the nursing panel and midriff to compete with the rest of the dress, so I cut them from the solid navy parts of the fabric.  This was easy with the midriff, but the solid part of the fabric was not quite long enough for the entire nursing panel, so I had to figure out how much of the panel would be hidden.  Turns out, that was about 4", and I was able to cut it so only about 2 1/2" of the repeat was on the bottom of the panel, thus completely hiding the print in the finished garment.



The breastfeeding access is really what makes this dress shine.  You can add a few inches onto the front skirt of many an empire waist dress to make it work for pregnancy, but covert ways to feed a baby without exposing too much skin are much fewer and far between.  Here's a little peek at how it works, and the innards of the dress in general.


 
Construction-wise, this dress is a pretty easy breeze.  It definitely helps that I've made this twice before (a shirt and a dress) but it's pretty straight forward regardless.  I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one of my favorite notions,  which I was happy to see Fabric Mart started carrying a few months ago:  SewKeysE fusible stay tape.  I used the 1/2" fusible knit version to stabilize the neckline, to give it some stability but still a bit of give; they just seem to have the woven version currently on the site.


I measured into a medium, but made a small with 3/8" instead of 5/8" side seams per my last pregnancy and I'm happy with the fit.  The only thing I'm thinking about tweaking would be the sleeves:  they could be about an inch shorter and a tad slimmer, but overall I'd feel fine with leaving them as is.


And there it is!  A dress for cool weather that will take me through the Winter and into the Spring with my newborn babe.  Now if only choosing a name were this easy.

Thanks for reading!  Until our next sewing adventure...


Jess