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...


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: Comfy and Cute

The fall season is definitely upon us and the winter is quickly approaching. During these chilly/cold months I love to feel comfy and warm but I still want to look casual chic. Lets face it - the comfiest outfits aren't always cute. Thankfully McCalls released M7688 just it time to provide four different "fashionable" takes on the cozy, winter staple - the sweatshirt. I will likely make all of these views but I started with View E, the drawstring tunic.

I've found the type of sweatshirt fleece that is used in retail wear is difficult to find by the yard. I've order sweatshirt fleece online before that had no stretch - a huge NO GO - for me. Locally a big box store offers a sweater fleece that I find has stretch but is very thick, to thick for practical wear in the south. I decided to give this Candy Red Sweatshirt Fleece a try as it listed 40% stretch and light/medium weight. It has a knit right side and a soft fleece wrong side. I'm very pleased with it as it sewed up easily. Unfortunately it is sold out, but keep checking because I hope they get more in.

I was drawn to View E because it seems like a great go-to outfit for chilly fall days over tights or even fleece lined leggings. It's cute enough to be seen in while running errands or when that unannounced guest stops by during the holiday season and yet still comfy enough to wear all day.

This pattern sews up quickly and the instructions are clear. The only thing that confused me was the fact that the casing for the drawstring sewn to the right side of the front. I just assumed the photo on the cover had the casing on the inside and I started to do just that but ended up following the instructions. Now that it is sewn up I don't mind it on the outside as it just draws more attention to that feature. I'm not 100% sold on the drop shoulders either.

This project sewed up so well that I decided to make a girls version. I knew McCalls 6785 would work great, because I've used this pattern before. For the casing I cut a 14" long by 2.5" wide strip of fabric and sewed a 1/4" hem on each long edge and a 1/2" hem on one short end. Then I eyeballed and pinned the strip to the dress front before sewing in the ditch along both sides and stitching down the middle. Her's is a hooded version, because she loves them.

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: Chambray Button Up

Hi there Fabric Mart Fabricistas!  My name is Teresa and this is my first time posting here...I am so thrilled to be blogging with Fabric Mart!  When I started poking around at the fabrics available on the Fabric Mart site I immediately started my search with the chambrays.  My ready to wear chambray shirt died recently (after wearing it for many years) so it was time to replace it!

I landed on this beautiful light blue denim chambray and it is perfect!  I went to my tried and true pattern, the Grainline Studio Archer Button Up.  I love the casual fit of this button up pattern.  I've sewn this pattern many, many times and always love the results!

This was the first time I used a sleeve tower placket on the archer button up.  The archer instructions have you make a tiny little sleeve placket, which works great, but I much prefer the look of these tower plackets!  I grabbed the pattern piece from another sewing pattern, and it worked perfectly!

I also drafted the breast pockets.  I wanted this chambray shirt to look a lot like the ready to wear shirt that I was replacing.  I love the look of the buttons on the breast pockets!

The last area that I deviated from the instructions were with the collar.  A couple of months ago, I tried Andrea's collar insertion method.  I've always struggled getting the topstitching on my collars to look nice on the inside and the outside.  Following Andrea's steps, I have had the best results!

Button up shirts can seem like a daunting task with a lot of steps, but I absolutely love all of the little small details. And the archer button up has such thorough instructions, it is not complicated at all!  Time consuming, but definitely not complicated!  It's fun to slowly sew something that will get worn frequently!

I am thrilled that I have a little bit of this chambray fabric leftover.  I'm thinking I might have just enough to squeeze out a little chambray cami!  Thank you Fabric Mart for the perfect chambray fabric!
Thanks for having me Fabric Mart and thanks for reading!
Teresa from Dandelion Drift

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: Kimono and Jacket for Fall in Florida!

"I hope that my daughter grows up empowered and doesn't define herself by the way she looks but by qualities that make her an intelligent, strong and responsible woman."  Isaiah Mustafa

I am all about the palm trees and the 80 degrees. I am in love with Florida weather and would not trade it for the snow and frigid cold.  I have been lucky the last few years to be able to wear summer type clothing most of the year.  Even though it doesn't snow here, once in a while we get to dress up in sweaters and boots when the temperature drops to the low 40s.  Lucky for my daughter and I, we get to wear kimonos, light weight jackets and sweaters during the fall season.

My daughter fell in love with my pink kimono (here) and insisted that I make a mini size version.   She actually wanted a light weight rayon kimono and jacket made for her birthday.

She loves when we dress up in similar colors or matching prints.  On the first of the month, she is  carefully searching for fabric and planning our makes and looks.  Since we spend a lot of time hanging out, running errands or going to local events on the weekends, I opted to created a versatile, comfy look;  a kimono for her and a pencil skirt for me.

When I saw this amazing solid chocolate brown polyester spandex double rib knit  fabric (here), I was excited as I knew I wanted to make a fitted pencil dress and skirt.  My skirt was an easy sew using the Pamela's pattern knit column skirt pattern that I won (here).  I wanted to make something quick that I can wear casually or dress up.  My biggest pet peeve with sewing is matching the seams and of course, this was my first attempt working with this polyester fabric.  I opted to use my knit needle and a zig zag stitch.

Arielle loves the pineapple fabric that I ordered for me and begged that I create the kimono she wanted with it.  There are currently 3 selections available in different colors; burgundy (our favorite for Fall), black and navy as seen below. Go grab a couple of yards before it's sold out!!!
The pattern I selected was Simplicity 1108 VIEW C (here) as it was my second time creating this kimono.  I decided to modify to knee length for her and cut the XXS which is perfect for her sense of style, size and age.  She is excited to rock it with turtle neck sweaters when the temperature drops.  The only modification I made to the pattern was adding a yellow cuff sleeve (2 inches).  She wanted to add her own spunk and selected a piece of yellow fabric from my stash for this kimono, and pockets on the jacket. 

Second Look!! A Jacket (Pattern: Mimi G Simplicity 8227 )

This pattern has 3 views ( a dress, jacket and leggings) and I definitely will be making all 3.  My daughter fell in love with the look and feel of this amazing 100% cotton whimsical floral print (here) the minute she opened my package.
My daughter has been eyeing this pattern for sometime and wanted the right fabric that suites her taste.  She did not want a belt and wanted to use the remaining yellow fabric for the pockets.
I am a bit obsessed with matching prints and side seams.  I hate to see stripes, patterns that are misaligned on ready to wear garments.  I also try to ensure that when sewing with PRINTS, my side seams especially are aligned with the flow of the pattern not just the print.

I am happy with the finished look of the kimono and jacket.  My daughter truly loves the fact that her mommy sews her clothes and is always proud to let the world know my mommy made it.  I am pretty sure she will be rocking one of the looks next week at Thanksgiving dinner.

I am super excited to get started on our holiday looks for a family photo shoot and can't wait to share.  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Made By A Fabricista: A Wool Grey Coat

Hi Fashionistas!

Is it just me or is time moving faster than ever? I am in denial that it has been one month since I shared my last sewing adventure with you!

Trying to stay comfortable and fashionable during pregnancy has been challenging, but I am determined to make the best of maternity fashions and look chic while dealing with sleep deprivation, heartburn, and fatigue!

Here is what I made: A soft drapey waterfall coat that can be worn three ways:

First way to wear this coat: Draped, with either the right or wrong side of the fabric showing:

I wanted to make something that  I can wear for the remainder of my pregnancy, and also be able to wear it after, without having to make any alterations. I decided to go with a drapey, unstructured coat that would be fashionable, yet effortless, but most importantly functional. I am always cold and wanted something warm and cozy.

Second way to wear this coat: This is my least favorite and I don't plan on wearing it like this, but I thought I would give you some ideas :) This will require you to fold the top of the collar so the correct side of the fabric is showing, and then overlap the right side over the left side and pin with a brooch at the waist!

Third way to wear this coat: I LOVE this one! So chic!

The pattern calls for a button and buttonhole, but I instead used a vintage brooch to pin the coat. This easily switches it up from the waterfall drape to a cowl neck look, and perfect for those cold winter days! And to accessorise, I added these cute owl earrings which are a gift to self

This is an easy unstructured coat. It is unlined, had no pad stitching, no sleeve headings.  The fabric is so warm and so soft. When I ordered the fabric, I was expecting it to be a bit more densely woven, but I was pleasantly surprised at how soft it was.

Here are some side pics of how the coat draped if left open in the front

There is really nothing glamorous about the back view, but here it is

Here is one of the inspiration pics I pinned on pinterest

What I also love about this coat is that is is just one big ole' blanket. So nice and soft and so cuddly. I could live in this now through February :)

And if you get REALLY cold, you could just do this. Hahaha

I used this gorgeous wool blend fabric---> HERE

For the pattern, I initially considered using Butterick B6244, which I think would be such a good pattern, although more drapey and bulkier than my inspiration picture, I had a serious case of mommy brain. I was convinced I had purchased this pattern, but I had not!

 I looked through my stash and found Burda 7184.

I could have used it, but I really wanted a set in sleeve as opposed to the raglan sleeve.  So, in the end, I ended up going with Mccalls 7262. I cut view B but eliminated the facing. I'll talk more about how I finished the edges below.I made a muslin using some wool I had in my fabric stash to test out the pattern. In the end I made only one pattern alteration, extended the length.
I wanted something to hit me calf length.

So many pregnant celebrity mums have rocked similar length coats to rock their bumps and I wanted to join in on the fun!

I also wanted to show you some "Behind The Seams" pictures of the coat. I decided not to hem the perimeter of the coat. That would be bulky and since the wrong side shows, I wanted something subtle. So I topstitched all around the coat, 1/4 inch away from the edge. Then I took a pin and frayed the fabric. I treated it very similar to boucle, where the fabric frays, but still looks chic!

 For the side seams, I serged the sides individually before stitching them and pressing them open to avoid bulk. The only place I stitched the seams first and then serged all layers was the shoulder seam and the sleeves. At intersecting seams, my Brother 1034D Serger was able to handle 4 layers of wool beautifully, and I was quite pleased!

For the CB Seam on the collar of the coat, since the wrong side shows, depending on how you wear it, I did not want serger thread showing. So I did a flat felled seam on the center back collar

This project was so fun to make. I have saved the pattern and at some point, I will trace it on to a tag and hang it. That is my preferred way of preserving patterns I like, and having them on a garment rack makes me more likely to reach for them. I could see making this exact same coat in a camel color and a black color and oh. Maybe a light pink or blush! These are so easy to style. They can pretty much make any outfit look good!

I hope you enjoyed sharing in this sewing adventure with me! Happy sewing, and have a lovely Thanksgiving! See you again, just in time for Christmas!

-Vatsla from Fashion Behind The Seams