Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sew Fab Sale: Margot Dress

I'm back to share another piece from the Sew Fab Pattern Sale: The Margot Dress by Violette Field Threads.

My first idea for this dress was inspired by a little girl's version I saw on their site. It was cream with a lace ruffle. Unfortunately I didn't have enough fabric to recreate that gorgeous version, but after some debating, I decided to go a totally different route.

Ashely and Emily sent me this fabric (from Girl Charlee) last summer, and when I saw it for the first time I gasped aloud with glee. It was destined to be a dress.

The Margot Dress is basic, but there are a couple of things that make it appeal to me: the neckline, the curved hem, the slim cut, and the simplicity of the design.

Thanks to my sister and her BFF, I learned how to style it for winter with tights, a cardigan, and skinny belt. But it'll work for spring and summer, too. I lined it with a comfy salmon knit from my stash.

I made three adjustments to the XS: broadened the shoulders 1/2" (using this tutorial from Colette Patterns), shortened the sleeves, and lengthened the waist 1" at the cut line.

The pattern includes 3/4 length and long sleeves, but I wanted short sleeves to be able to wear it every season.

The directions were good, but honestly, this was such an easy sew I didn't labor over them. There aren't any neck or sleeve bindings; the dress is fully lined, so if you omit the ruffle, there are only six pieces. It does take quite a bit of fabric, but it's straightforward.

The only challenge I had in sewing this up was the lining. In my experience, fully lining a garment and hemming the lining and main fabric together can get tricky if the fabric is not smoothed out properly. Because knit tends to stick together, it took some effort to make sure everything was nice and smooth before I hemmed the bottom. I did alright, but here are a couple of things to consider:
  • If your fabric weights are different for your lining and main fabric, will one knit stretch more than the other and hang differently? If so, it may affect the hemline.
  • Carefully smooth out the lining and main garment before pinning and hemming. It helped me to smooth everything while the dress was laying on the floor, pin it all around, serge the hem together, and then hem it.
(If any of you have suggestions for hemming fully lined garments, especially knit ones, I'd love to hear from you in the comments!)

The Sew Fab Pattern Sale is on through December 15th -- $29.95 for 10 brand new patterns! Here's the link with all the information and the giveaway! (I received complimentary patterns for my participation in the tour, but I keep it real about how they turn out.)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sew Fab Pattern Sale: Extraordinary Girl Top

I've been sewing like gangbusters, so there should be a whole lot to share this month. (Um, could someone please tell me WHERE NOVEMBER WENT?!?!) Before I show you wedding-related goodies, there are a few other projects to share.

It's time for the winter Sew Fab Pattern Sale! A couple of times a year we get a chance to buy a big bundle of patterns at a price much cheaper than they'd be separately. This time the bundle includes 10 brand-new women's patterns!

When Jenny invited me to sew up a couple of things from the set, I landed on the Extraordinary Girl by Filles a` Maman.

The patterns in the bundle aren't available for sale separately, so if you'd like a description of the pattern and sizes and such, there's a nifty link here that breaks them down in detail.

The Extraordinary Girl is a boatneck knit tee with an envelope shoulder, 3/4 length or long sleeves, an optional pocket, and hi-low hem. 

It's been a long time since I've finished a project that I didn't want to take off. This one? I wore it two days in a row. It has just the right amount of ease to be comfortable and has unique details that make it interesting. 

It was my first Filles a` Maman pattern, and I was very impressed with everything about it. The instructions were incredibly thorough and the drafting was excellent. This one was a pleasure to sew up. 

The only adjustments I made were to the shoulder and length. The back neck gaped a bit, which happens to me occasionally. The envelope design made it a pretty easy fix -- I just had to overlap things a bit more to eliminate the excess fabric at the back neck. In the photos I can see a little pulling going on around my shoulders. I may need to add a little to the yoke width at the sleeve cap to accommodate my wider-than-average shoulders. Hmmm. I added an inch to the length of the shirt, per my usual adjustment.

It was so windy and cold.

The fabric for the back and yoke is a sheer patterned white knit given to me by the awesome Frances Suzanne sisters. *grin and wave* With a little camisole underneath, it's perfect for this top.

The teal knit is from JoAnn and is flimsy and thin. Lee says it looks like Neptune.

The Sew Fab Pattern Sale is live until December 15th! The price tag is $29.95 and includes all 10 patterns. There's a big giveaway, too.

Wednesday I'll be sharing another make from the bundle. It's super quirky. You'll either love it or hate it. (We can still be friends if it's the latter. Promise.)

See you Wednesday! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Completed: Elsa Dress #3

Sometime in July or August the conversation starts.

GRANCY: What do the kids want to be for Halloween?
ME: Today? I don't know. It depends on what movie they watched last week.

Then we brainstorm. We plan.

She executes.

This summer we decided to forego handmade because we knew we'd be busy Wedding Prepping. She sat down with them and looked through a catalog. Lee picked Commander Fox. Daniel picked a black ninja. Boom and done. She ordered them, and they were thrilled.

Eliza wanted to be Elsa.

"No problem," I said, side-eyeing the $130 price tag on the Elsa dress. "I can make one."

Ha. Haha. Hahahaha.

There were 30 pieces in the pattern I used. 30. (10 pieces is probably an average number for patterns.)

This is the third Elsa dress I made. (That's 90 pieces in all. 90.)

The first two were for a friend's girls. She bought enough fabric for all three dresses, and we collaborated on the choice of materials and style. We went with a sparkly tulle for the cape. It's itchy, so I underlined the yoke. (The top layer of sparkly tulle on the yoke isn't showing up in photos. Neither is the glitter on the cape. Trust me, there's glitter.) I made the first two sleeveless, but Eliza's has little puff sleeves with elastic at the cuff.

I serged the edges of the tulle. Knowing that she'll wear this a lot (she hasn't taken it off since it's been finished), I used French seams throughout. The bodice fabric is sheer, so French seams ensure the raw edges aren't visible.

There were a few hitches with this third dress. This time around I got the zipper and button closure right in the back, but accidentally reversed the front and back cape pieces, which explains the wide gap of the cape in the back. (The cape is supposed to butt right up against the zipper.) It took half a dozen attempts to get the bodice attached to the yoke and skirt. The bodice fabric is knit, so there was some distortion by the time it was all said and done.

And by the time I got to the hem, I'd given up. It's wonky.

Ask me if she noticed. 

She liked it. So did my friend's Elsas. I'm thrilled to have made some of my favorite girls happy.

Next year we're begging Grancy to be in charge of ALL Halloween costumes again. 

Let it go, let it go!! (or, as Eliza says: "Wet it go, wet it go!")


Pattern: McCalls 7000
Fabric: polyester and tulle from Jo-Ann
Modifications: chose non-itchy fabric for sleeves, underlined yoke (tulle is on top, though it doesn't show up well in the photos), elasticized sleeves, used French seams throughout

Friday, October 3, 2014

Completed: Eliza's Fall Ensemble #1

First up on the list for Eliza's fall wardrobe is a pair of jeggings. She has a polka dotted pair that she's worn threadbare, and a lightweight knit pair that she loves despite their being two sizes too small.

It was time for a replacement pair.

Here's what I started with:

also, my feet are jacked up. but seeing that flaming duct tape that holds my cutting mat together makes me SO HAPPY.
I started with the polka-dotted pair, which I ripped apart and used to draft a new pattern. When I cut the new ones too short, I decided to add an angled detail at the ankle. For the ankle pieces, the pockets, the yoke, and the front pockets (which I didn't photograph), I used the reverse side of this denim-look knit. It's super shiny, but of course shows up as a dull gray in photos. There's a sheen to the knit that doesn't translate into photos either.

But it does translate into pants that my all-things-shiny-loving daughter will wear. Score.

I used navy thread for all the topstitching. Why? Because I didn't have silver.

And now the Bimaa. I've made this shirt several times (four times, actually), but this is the first time with the shawl collar. I used an old dress of my sister's for the collar, sleeve bands, and waist band. When it came time to find coordinating fabric, I had a tough time choosing from my stash. I knew Eliza would only wear it if certain criteria were met (shine!), so I finally landed on this teal fabric with metallic stripes.


Patterns: Bimaa Sweater by LouBee Clothing (shawl option). Self-drafted jeggings.
Fabric: Upcycled knit for sweater bands and shawl. Other fabrics from Jo-Ann. 
Thoughts: I would like this outfit in my size. Really.

I need to bring the neckline up on the Bimaa. I know this and just keep forgetting. Also, I need to shorten the sleeves a tad. Then the 3T will fit her perfectly. There are a few more Bimaas on the list for the Fall, including a hood version and a maxi dress. The Girl loves long dresses.

The jegging pockets are a little big for her tiny tush.

This look was inspired by the "'80s Cartoon" theme for Project Run & Play week one. (I was thinking "Jem" with the zig zags and metallic fabric.) It also fits the upcycled theme (week two) and the denim theme (week three).  Too bad I didn't finish it in time for any of those sew-along linky parties. Ha. And. . . meh.

Up next: a denim skirt with tights and (another) Bimaa. Then my practice version of The Bridesmaid Dress. I'm saving some awesome t-shirts for the boys for Kids Clothes Week (October 20-26).

Friday, September 26, 2014

Completed: Paper Piecing for Halloween Basket

Just jumping in to show you a basket I made up for the Halloween Basket Swap on Instagram. (follow me on IG here) It was a fun little change from my usual apparel sewing.

For this project, we used the fabric bins created with a free tutorial from Birch Fabrics. My assigned partner said she liked lime green, orange, and black cats. From the beginning I wanted to have a paper-pieced feature on the front of the basket.

After hunting around, I found this free pattern for a paper-pieced black cat. It took a few failed attempts to get the hang of it, but then things went together easily after that. It helped when I finally found a tutorial that explained it wonderfully.

I'll definitely be trying paper piecing again. Look at these sewing-related paper-pieced blocks. And this Polaroid camera! And these witch's shoes are adorable. These ballet shoes would be perfect framed on Eliza's wall.

I could go on and on. The possibilities are endless! (Lego Star Wars!)

with the lining folding down

without the lining folded down
Have a great weekend!
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