Saturday, February 18, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: Meditation on Mauve


I've always found the color "mauve" to be a little mysterious.  Is it pink?  Is it purple?  Is it brown?  Is it gray?  Whenever I read about color analysis, mauve is one of the recommended colors for me (a summer), so I thought I should find out a little more about it.   The first thing that I found out, is that I've been mispronouncing it my entire life.  It is not "mahv", but "mov" with a long o, as in stove or clove.  I'm already feeling a little more sophisticated!   According to Wikipedia, mauve was named after a pale purple flower called the mallow flower.  It's use didn't become popular until 1859 when a chemist trying to make a cure for malaria noticed a residue that ended up becoming a mauve dye.  The 1890's are referred to as the "mauve decade" because of it's popularity!

I ordered several different fabrics to experiment with that all had mauve in the names.  You can see that they range in colors from kind of a pinkish brown to a dusty purple. There really is spectrum, but they all are a little "dusty" in nature.



I started with the cotton jersey, which has subtle silver metallic accents on it.  It's a lightweight and firm cotton jersey, so I thought that it would work well with something that required ruching or gathering, such as this Lisette pattern which is Butterick 6411.


Here you can see the silver accents a little better. I really love the ruched overlay in this design, and it's quite cleverly constructed- much easier than it looks. I'd like to try it again in a solid knit.



However, the dress is a little thin to wear by itself for winter, so I used this dusty mauve wool jersey to make a cardigan to go along with it.  This jersey is something else- very, very high end, IMHO.  It's hard to tell from the photos online, but when I got this in the mail, I knew that I had hit the jackpot! The description says that it is made in Italy.  I knew that I didn't want just any old boring cardigan pattern for such a special fabric, so I hunted through my stash and found this one:  Simplicity 2148.  This is an out of print pattern, but I really love the details on it- the flared cuffs, the angled hem, and the ruffle detail around the neckline.



The little ruffle trim is made by cutting a large circle out of the fabric, and then cutting a 1-inch wide spiral out of the circle.  Then you run two rows of gathering stitches and pull it until you get a nice ruffle.  I also ironed on some sequins before I gathered it.  I've been watching Zelda (TV series about Zelda Fitzgerald), and have been inspired by the 20's fashions to use a little glitz here and there.  I know that I'm going to get a lot of use out of this cardigan. 


The honeycomb knit, also is a wool knit, but a little heavier than the jersey, and I thought it would be nice in a more fitted dress.   I used McCalls 7469, which is a Nicole Miller design with a boatneck. I liked everything about the pattern- the pockets, the interesting seams, the 3/4 sleeves, except I've never been a big fan of boatnecks.  So, I altered it to be a scoopneck, by lowering the front neckline about 2-1/2 inches using a french curve.   I also made this scarf from one of Fabric Mart's silk chiffons, and it is one of my favorites. 


After it was finished, I thought it was looking a little plain, so I used 7 iron-on gem cluster sets around the neckline as well.  This was surprisingly easy- just peel, stick and iron for about 5 seconds on the wrong side of the fabric. 



Even though the cardigan and dress are different shades of mauve, I think that this dress also works with the cardigan pretty well.  Here are the details a little closer up.


My last fabric was the faille which was a cotton poly blend.  I haven't worked with a faille before, and wasn't sure what to expect.  It turned out to be very stiff and rather shiny.  I washed it a couple of times and the end result was very similar to a washed silk dupioni.  It was less stiff, but still pretty firm, and had a rougher texture to it than before.  This was kind of a wild card in my mind, so I decided to go out on a limb and make into Kwik Sew 3577.

This isn't really my typical style at all, so I can't say that I'm going to wear this one.  First, I think it's too big, and second, the fabric creases too easily for my taste.


My daughter says that I look like I should be giving a speech.  I say I look like I should be serving drinks on a PanAm flight.  Neither of which will ever happen, so I don't know what I'll do with this one!  It might be my styling- the scarf is vintage 1960's and belonged to my Mom- I really wanted to work it in.  Maybe I'll separate the pieces and use them individually somehow.  I'd love to hear your suggestions on this!


But there is a silver lining because I realize that I really do like the color of this fabric- I find it to be a very calming color.  It is more of a mauve taupe, and it definitely could serve as a good neutral for my coloring when looking for fabrics in the future.  This has been a good impetus for me to experiment with different colors.


At the end of every photo shoot, my photographer demands a latte.  A great way to relax and enjoy a little more mauve! 

Happy sewing!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Designer Hack: Thakoon Flocked Sweatshirt

I love when we get designer fabrics. I love it for a few reasons --
1) I love the photo hunt to see what the designer made with it.
2) I love the excitement that the customers get.
3) I love trying to figure out how to use a fabric when it is unusual, such as a panel or border.
4) I love saying that, "This fabric is from XYZ designer and I made my own version of the garment!"


We recently imported a load of fabric from Thakoon. I had heard of Thakoon, but was not too familiar with his designs. Thakoon is Thai-American and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. His designs are described as "timelessly feminine" and "romantic and sensual as they are modern and innovative. (Thanks to Wikipedia for that info.) His designs have been worn by numerous celebrities and carry a high price tag.

I was intrigued by this cotton sweatshirt knit with a flocked floral design. It is a panel and honestly, at first glance, didn't seem to have a great layout. The flowers are about 24" inches apart, not leaving you with a lot of room to cut something without getting another flower in the pattern piece.

I browsed images found under "Thakoon sweatshirt" on Google, and don't you know, I found it! The original sweatshirt design has a dropped shoulder, back opening with a contrasting insert and piecing that skews the flocked design. I really liked the skewed piece work -- it helped break up this romantic floral and made it edgier.


One thing I didn't like about it was the boxiness. I am not tall and skinny. Boxy tops, especially in heavier fabrics, do not look good on me. I look like a box on sticks. You'll see how I reworked that in a minute.

I decided to go with a TNT pattern for me -- Pamela's Patterns Perfect T-Shirt. (If you remember, in the summer of 2016, we hosted a series of t-shirt pattern hacks.) I normally use the darted front with this pattern, but didn't want to mess up the flocked flower with a dart, so I went with the regular front piece.



To start off this project, I had to figure out how they cut everything out. It looks like two flocked pieces were used. I had 3 panels to play with and would recommend you buy the same amount if you want to do this project. You won't use all of it, but you need 3 panels for the length of the shirt. Panels are cut in between the two flowers. The fabric is available HERE.

I started with the front piece and laid it so the flocked flower was in the torso area. The shoulder area ended up really close to the flocked flower above it. I traced one side of the shirt, then laid the pattern piece down to create the second half. When I traced the pattern, I made it less curvy and a bit wider at the base. I wanted a looser fit than my normal t-shirts.

If you look close at the original design, there is a seam going down the right front side of the shirt. To create that, I traced the neckline and half the shoulder seam. Then I shifted the entire pattern piece over to create about 1/2" extra width from the shoulder to the hem. That way, I could just fold it, sew it and get back to the original size of the pattern. (I didn't fold and sew though until I skewed the hem piece.)

Here you can see I have everything cut out, except for the one side. I needed to leave enough fabric so that when I cut the bottom half where the skewed piece will be, that there was enough fabric.


Time to start cutting up this shirt! I measured 8 1/2" from the hemline and marked. This is where I then cut across the shirt to skew the bottom.

I moved the bottom piece over about 5 1/2" inches, skewing the flower.

End result: 

Then I sewed them back together and cut off the excess on each side. Remember the vertical seam? I sewed that in after this step was finished.

Back Piece: 
I actually didn't realize that the back on the original was opened when I started. (Can you tell I was figuring it out as I go??) I really liked this idea, so I took the back pieces and found a good spot on the fabric for them. One half I kept solid. The other half I positioned the flocked flower. I had it coming off the edge for interest. The shoulder area also caught a piece of a flower! I added length to the back pieces and graded them to the length of the front to get a high-low hem.

To create an open back, I added 1" to the center back pieces for finishing.



I fused SewkeysE 1" Fusible Knit Stay Tape to the wrong side of the center back seams to stabilize it and help it from winging out when I wear it. After the back seam was finished, I basted at the neckline to create one piece.


Sleeves:
I used the long sleeve pattern for this design. I cut out one sleeve without any flocking. I carefully placed the other sleeve so that an entire flower would be shown. I placed it so the flower would show more from the front. (Look at your sleeve cap markings to make sure you have the flower closer to the front vs. the back if you decide this same design detail.) I used the sleeve without flocking as my pattern because I widened it for a looser fit.


The original had a seam skewed at the sleeve. In the photo above, I am testing to see where I would like the seam break to be. I marked 4 1/4" and cut. Be sure you leave extra on one of the sides of the cut piece so that when you skew it you have enough fabric to have a full sleeve. (Similar concept to the front of the shirt.)

I sewed the rest of the shirt just like the pattern states and voila! I have my very own designer sweatshirt! (I have to say, I like my version better. Hehe **The perks of sewing for yourself**)

I top-stitched the back pieces together till about the waistline. I will need to wear a cami underneath because it stops just above my pant waist line. You could put a panel of some sort in it, but I chose not to.

Something to think about as you make this -- balance your design. I chose to have the flower on the back left and the right sleeve to balance it out. If I chose to have everything on one side, it would have been off balanced-- it would have bothered me! (OCD!)



Another thing to keep in mind is that there is more than one way to do it! You could place it differently. Depending on your size, you may need to. I find that if you size large or smaller, you will be ok. If you are plus size, you may have to do more tweaking or buy an extra panel just in case.

I hope you were inspired by my designer hack. It was a lot of fun to make. I'd love to see your designer hacks. Share them with on Facebook and tag us on Instagram @fabricmart.

Happy Sewing!
~ Julie

PS-- See our other fabrics from Thakoon HERE.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Made by A Fabricista: A Mommy and Me Valentines

HI Fashionistas:

This month I decided to make a mommy and me outfit for Valentines Day.

I decided to use a soft jersey knit in a pretty dusty rose color. Typically my go to knits are stable knits like ponte or double knits, but I just could not resist this beautiful color.

I made a top for myself with quilting detail on the sleeves and a cute dress for my daughter.



For her dress, I free handed the skirt and the ruffles. On the ruffles, even though I used a knit fabric, I chose to interface it with a woven interfacing to give the ruffles stiffness.

For my top. I used McCall's 6886 as a base and then did some interesting pattern manipulation on the sleeve pattern to create some pleats.  I finished the sleeve with some quilting details



Here is the pattern manipulation I did.



Dramatic sleeves are all the rage right now. Interested in learning how to make creative sleeves like this? If so I highly recommend this sleeve drafting class. I reviewed this class and many other pattern making classes HERE if you want to have a look

I love how the sleeve turned out. This would also be so fabulous on a knit dress with say a stiff silk like tussah or dupioni. Maybe that is next :)

Like the necklace? Me too! :)


We both wore our animal print shoes. 



I got these as a gift for self and had the outfit styled before I even made the outfit. 


Here is a view from the back. I changed the neckline to square on both the front and the back. 


I hope you had a lovely Valentines Day. Let me know if you sewed up something special too!

XOXO- Vatsla at Fashion Behind The Seams

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: Happy Fri-YAY Clothes!

Just like the rest of the world, I love Fridays! I get to wear more casual clothing to work and I daydream about what I am going to sew! For this month's post, I wanted to make a casual Friday outfit. I didn't want just any jeans but some sort of dressier ones--does that make sense? I also wanted a breezy top that was somewhat dressy as well but in some super awesome fabric.

So here is my outfit:


I choose to use the StyleArc Katherine Pant.  The legs are what drew me to the pattern--not skinny but also not too wide and those slant pockets are cute.  I knew they were just what I wanted to go with this amazing denim.  

See Fabric Mart's Denims HERE


      


This denim is the perfect weight for these pants and actually, it would work equally well for a shirt dress, jacket, or a structured top.  I love that it is printed and the floral design is right up my alley!

Katherine Pant - Straight leg tailored pant with seam detail

For my top, I used a New Look Pattern that I've tried before and love.  It is easy to put together and I thought the texture of the fabric with the draping would be very nice and I am happy with the result.   


I've always had issues with upper back leg bagginess.  After quite an extensive search, I found a link that talks about reducing that by equally lowering the bottom of the back crotch and also at the waistline.  You redraw the crotch to compensate for the lower seam line and then stretch the crotch seam to fit the front leg.  

             

You can kind of see what I did above.  Sorry I didn't take a before photo!  Stretching the inseams so that matched wasn't difficult at all.  


I think this technique worked well but when I use it again, I am going to try a 1/4" rather than a 1/2" adjustment.  I may have gone slightly overboard with the 1/2"!

               

For the top, I used a favorite New Look pattern.  I love the sort of twisted front and the split 
neckline.  

Image result for Images New Look 6303

I made view C.  


This fabric is from Halston.  Do you shop the designer fabrics?  This fabric is just so pretty and fun to work with.  



I used a single-layer for the sleeves, and a double layer for the front and back.  


I matched up the 'plaid' lines on the layers so it didn't blur the design.  


See the wonderful texture in the fabric?  


I enjoyed creating this outfit and now need the weather to warm up so I can celebrate a casual Friday in my new outfit!

Thanks so much for reading!
Sue from Ilove2sew!