Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Pinterest Denim Dress

This denim dress from Pinterest influenced the making of my second denim dress. 

The Pinterest denim dress ~

My version of the dress ~

Supply List ~
Black Denim from EOS purchased in December 2015
Pleated black pleather also from EOS
18" black invisible zipper
Pattern: Vogue 8824

Pattern choice and construction details ~
I honestly thought I was going to start this dress using my TNT dress but after the latest issue of Vogue Pattern Magazine arrived in my mailbox, I saw how they revived Vogue 8824 and was inspired. Then I remembered that I've made that dress. Unfortunately it was one of the dresses that was purged because it had become too big to wear. It was a favorite so I have fond thoughts of this pattern.

Assembling the Bodice ~
The front of Vogue 8824 is perfect to reproduce the Pinterest dress. I started with the largest size the pattern offered - an XXL which is actually smaller than the traced pattern pieces I originally used. So I used the lengthen/shorten line on the pattern front and back to cut out the top of the dress.

I added a 5/8" seam allowance to the front so that I could make sure my top matched the inspiration dress. I also added a 5/8" seam to the bodice back. One of the things that I didn't like about the original dress was that there wasn't a zipper in the back to make it easier to get into the dress.  With this dress, I rectified that problem.  Though the only zipper I had on hand was a 12" invisible zipper so I added it, figuring that with the wide front neckline opening would help with the shorter zipper in the back.

Tissue fitting helped me to make sure the darts landed in the right place and that the length was good on me. Then after I sewed the top together and tried it on for fit, I realized that I wanted to make the front opening wider. So I folded the front pieces down one more time.

Assembling the Dress Bottom ~
After cutting the dress front and backs out, I measured the front of me and determined that I needed to add another 18" to the bottom of the dress to get the length I wanted.

I love the strips on the inspiration dress but to me there are just two many for my shape. So I divided the 18" into 3 and cut 6" wide strips the full length of the fabric which I cut off on either side after the strips were sewn to the dress.

When the strips were assembled and added to the dress bodice front and back, I basted one side seam together to insure the seams matched. Then stitched it flat and pressed it open. That's when the topstitching began...all the topstitching! 

The Topstitching~
  • To make the topstitching, I used the triple stitch on my machine with a length of 4 using regular Gutterman thread.
  • I first did some topstitching on the bodice front pieces in black but it melded into the fabric so it wouldn't be worth the time and effort and I really wanted topstitching.
  • My choices were a purple, a royal blue and a teal thread.

I went with the royal blue choice after sending a sample to Gaylen asking her opinion.

So the topstitching commenced...though about halfway through I started to feel as if I'm repeating myself. All of the topstitching reminded me of this dress that I made in July/August 2013. It made me wonder if I'm just repeating myself or if I actually have anything new to add?! *sigh*

This was also the longest part of making the dress...and the most boring! It took me forever to get the topstitching done because I had to sew slowly and be precise or the topstitching would look awful.

However, when my daughter showed up to take the pictures, it was the part she noticed first and commented on.  So I guess all of the time sewing that topstitching was worth it!

Sleeves ~
I cut the sleeves out with a seam down the center of the sleeve for two reasons.

One because I was using the original sleeve pattern and was worried that it would be too tight through the biceps.  Two because originally I thought I would leave a slit in that center sleeve. But when I started working on the sleeves, I realized I had enough space and that nothing should take away from the topstitching. 

Though can I talk about the fact that I should have removed some of the ease from the sleeve cap because gathering that excess ease and inserting it into the sleeve? Cause it was a pain. I like smooth sleeve caps and this denim was thick and not easy to manipulate. I took the sleeves out a couple of times and reduced the bulk of the gathers as best as I could. However, it should have been removed prior to cutting out the fabric.

A few more pictures ~
The wind was blowing so hard that my updo 
was blowing all around!

Conclusion ~
When I put the dress on for the final fitting, I was sooooooo happy because not only did the dress fit but it was everything I wanted. Plus it's denim AND a dress, what's not to like!?!

The insert is from a piece of pleather I purchased from Emmaonesock after Christmas last year. I decided to just baste it into the dress front so that it can be removed when the dress is washed and dried.

Finally I love the details of the dress. I loved the challenge of sewing this dress, it made me feel like me again. It will be a great dress for the rest of the chilly spring days we're experiencing. I can also pull it out again in the fall to wear with some tights for another look so it was worth the effort.

I have two more denim dresses I want to make to before I move onto other pieces. Although as I look at these pics, I realize that I really don't know how to do casual! *LOL* But I'm wearing this to work anyway! always more later!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Featured Sewist

It's always an honor when another blogger wants to feature you on their blog. Faye from Faye's Sewing Adventure, has been doing an amazing series on sewing bloggers and I'm up next. If you get a chance surf on over and read not only the interview she did with me but some of the other awesome sewists she has featured.

BTW, another denim dress is up on the blog tomorrow... always more later! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Denim & Faux Leather Dress

I've been on the hunt for a great denim dress. I've spent quality time snoop shopping at Macy's Herald Square. I've searched the internet and especially Pinterest and I've come up with a list of denim dresses that I'd like to incorporate into my spring/summer wardrobe.

There are several reasons why denim dresses hold so much appeal for me now.
  1. It allows me to wear a dress in my very casual work environment.
  2. Denim dresses are something I've never really sewn before. I know that jeans are in and everyone is making them but I'm a dress girl so denim dresses really speak to me.
  3. The dresses I've found and been inspired by are stored in an album on Pinterest. They've really sparked me creatively.
  4. By limiting myself to the fabric I have on hand, I'm challenging myself to think outside the box and that's also exciting me.
So I'm making a couple of these as part of my Chicos Chic wardrobe. That said I did go my own way with this one.  I originally meant to sew a denim shift dress sort of like the examples I showed in my May Day post.  However, after pulling denim pieces down (yardage left over from making granddaughter dresses) nothing worked together like I imagined it.  Then I started to pull pieces from the pleather collection to see what would work with the denim remnants and that's when inspiration finally reared her head!

Here is what I came up with ~

This dress is made from a yard and a half of denim plus about a 1/2 yard of the faux leather. Since I started with my TNT dress pattern there are no instructions to give for this because I totally riffed it. I measured as I went so that everything matched and worked.

When I took my first pic and posted it on Instagram, I was awed by how cool it looked. I'm even more awed by the finish product. A TNT dress pattern that I reworked for my new life, yes!!!

A few things ~
  • I used every piece of the yard and a half of denim in this dress. Even piecing some together to get the sleeves...there are only small scraps left.
  • Surprisingly, the faux leather and the denim are similar weights so they work together and not against each other.
  • Because the dress is unlined (who lines a denim dress?) I had to make facings for the dress...and those came from the scraps too.
Some more pictures ~

The first set of pictures were taken in the office...

...and these were taken at home...

Conclusion ~
There are several dresses in the pattern catalogs now that you can use to achieve this look, if you're interested. I would suggest Vogue 9017 or McCalls 6988

I'm thrilled with my new dress especially since it wore so well at work and I got quite a few compliments on it. However, even though it was denim, I still looked dressy for work. Good thing I had a dinner date with friends after work so I used that as my excuse! Look for more denim dresses to come since I've finished one more and started another! always more later!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Vogue 2647 - The Dress

This is the first of the Adri Vogue Patterns that I'm sewing for my summer wardrobe, or outfit number 5 in the Chico's Chic Wardrobe. As I stated in my previous post these patterns are out of print. There were 2 on eBay and one on Etsy as I published this post, if you're interested in owning it. That is if it's not already in your pattern collection!

Of course once I chose a fabric ~ one of the printed linens from the collection ~ and laid it down on the fabric my mind started to race. So I made some alterations to the pattern.

See I was looking for a simple medium weight linen dress that I could wear with a cardigan and some skippys or wedges to work.  Here is what I ended up with:

Supply List ~
2 yards of printed linen from Fabric Mart purchased last year
Bias binding

Pattern & Construction Information ~
Can we say that I'm still sewing believing that I'm heavier than I am! Cause I made a whole list of alterations and then I took out all of the space I added in. I seem to have forgotten that I no longer need all of that space AND that linen grows so I didn't want this dress too loose or it will hang like a sack by the end of the day!

Here is how I made the bow tie ~
~ It was made by cutting a piece of fabric 5" wide and 45" long. 
~ Before adding the tie to the dress, I pressed 5/8" seam on one side. 
~ Then after the shoulder seams were sewn together, I stitched the unpressed side right sides to the dress. 
~ I stopped an 1.5" from the v on either side.

~ Clipped the tie and the fabric. 
~ Turned down and pressed the v, then stitched it down. 
~ The last step was to stitch the rest of the band together.

I followed the pattern instructions for inserting the bias binding after sewing up the side seams. It's a better method than I use and more like the one that Kelli from True Bias used in her Colfax Dress sew-along.

A few more pictures of the finished dress ~

Conclusion ~
This dress works for me now.  As pictured above, I will wear it with a yellow cardi. A couple of things to note. I only washed and dried this fabric once. I normally wash and dry linen fabric 3x so that it will wrinkle less. However, I was worried about the print on the linen, since it's printed on and not woven in. So I expect this dress to wrinkle like crazy!

I do feel a little out of step with the sewing population right now since I'm sewing not only from the fabric collection but from the pattern stash too. However, my silhouette is current with what's presently being shown in RTW, so there is that.

As I continue to sew from the cave, I will try to give you either a current pattern that you can use to obtain the same look or let you know if the pattern can be purchased on eBay or Etsy.

I know I went my own way with this dress, and I do want to use the pattern pieces again to make a straight dress more like the actual pattern envelope. Hopefully, I will get to that before the summer is over.

In the meantime, I've pretreated a bunch of fabrics and I want to work my way through the pile of them. Denim dresses are up next! always more later!

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Does Social Media Affect What You Sew?

I usually pose my "Question of the Day" later in the month. However, it's rained every day for the last two weeks so it's made picture taking impossible. I have two dresses and a third almost completed but need a little sunny weather to photograph them. Of course while I'm free this morning, it's rainy and gloomy out and when I head off to Mother's Day celebrations, the sun is supposed to come out. I have plans for next weekend so probably later in the month the garments will show up!

On to the Question of the Day ~ 
"Does Social Media Affect What You Sew?" 
I've been thinking about this a lot since it seems like the sewing blogosophere has been overtaken by jeans sewing and the "Boho/70's Chic" look. Then of course, each new pattern offering brings new inspiration and criticism, and the actual sewing of garments to turn your creative eye. My third thought is that sometimes when flipping through pics on Instagram and the Internet, it seems as if some people sew so quickly that they must make entire new wardrobes in a season. So does social media affect what you sew?

I can honestly say that it didn't use to. I sewed for a particular portion of my life, my work life, and I needed professional type garments that weren't featured on a lot of sewing blogs. Now that my circumstances have changed, I find I pay way more attention than I use to while I'm trying to determine what's my new sewing style.

I use to admire another person's style or technique, incorporating what worked for me, leaving behind the vast majority of items because they didn't apply. Now that I can wear whatever, at times the offerings can confuse or overstimulate me, making it harder to choose what to sew at what time...and causing me to question what I should sew. I know I'm not alone here so talk back to me and let me know what you think!

BTW, it's Mother's Day here in the US, so I'm wishing all the Mothers, Mothers to be and wanna be Mothers - "Happy Mother's Day!" always more later!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

May Day

It's been raining here all day and it's cold & damp.  The weather is predicted to be that way all week so I won't really feel like wearing light summery dresses although light & summery dresses are all I want to sew.  I'm just that sewist who likes to make garments that I can wear the next day. Which always makes sewing out of season a pain...

I did finish a version of one of my Adri patterns with a twist of my own. However, the weather is so icky that there were no pictures this weekend. Hopefully some next weekend...though next weekend is Mother's Day weekend so who knows?

Also, I decided that I just didn't like the sleeves on my last ponte dress so I removed them.  The dress wears better with a cardigan without sleeves so they had to go.

I've also been on a tear to find inspiration for a denim dress.  I have a piece of lightweight denim set aside to make a shirtdress but I'm not ready to make it now. I really want a denim shift dress that I can wear on these cooler spring days.

Here are some of the inspiration pics I found on Pinterest ~

This silhouette is similar to the Sewn Go Anywhere Dress

So I've pulled some denim remnants from the collection to work on a denim dress. This is what's on my cutting table right now.

I hope you had a more productive weekend than I did and since next weekend is Mother's Day, I'm not sure how much sewing I will get done.  Then again you never know! always more later!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Do you?

All of my sewing machines and the serger came with either a hard case or a plastic cover to cover the machines.  If they weren't included with your machine, there are patterns available like this one... purchase online. I'm sure there are some on eBay and probably even on Etsy.  However, I've never covered my machines unless they came with the hard case and I was transporting them. So I was wondering how many sewists do or don't cover their machines?

Also, why?  Do the machines really get that much dust inside them if they aren't covered? In all the pretty pictures of sewing rooms on Pinterest and the internet, the machines are uncovered. So do you or don't you cover your sewing machine? That's my question of the day, so talk back to me okay.  I'm very interested in hearing what you have to say! always more later! 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Photo Shoot Outtakes & A Few Other Things

My daughter is still taking my pictures which means that she comes with assistants.  Last weekend she arrived with only the girls.  The boys stayed with their father.  So we had fewer assistants than normal and the girls behave differently without their big brother.

That being said at times they had me rolling with laughter because they were mimicing me and their Mother, posing, giving each other direction on how to stand and finally running, running and more running.

Here are the pictures of the girls ~

Both of them posing like Nana!

Samantha getting her groove on!

Aleena laughing & playing


Ummmmm girls you gotta move so your Mama can take Nana's picture!

Nana - look at me pose too!

I am truly blessed to have grandchildren and a daughter who willingly adjusts her day to come by and take pictures of my outfits. I appreciate her so much for that!

Fashion Revolution ~

Sasha from Secondo Piano contacted me last week and asked if I would be willing to participate in a post she was doing for Fashion Revolution week. I was honored to be asked because I really admire her sewing skills. As well as recognizing the need to highlight how clothing is manufactured now and how the people who make them are exploited.

She wrote the most amazing post featuring a global round up of sewists. You will recognize some of the sewists but there are many here that were new to me. So now I have a whole new list of bloggers to follow. Please check out the listing here.

Wearability Report ~

I wanted to include a "Wearability Report" in this post since new clothes, you know they got worn this past week.

First everyone's favorite the black/white ponte striped dress:
I wore this on Monday because I loved my new dress. I unglammed it a bit by wearing some black wedge slides (no cool black and white criss crossed slides), no necklace, only 2 gold bracelets and not the armload pictured above. Even my hair while down was worn with a headband and back from my face. AND STILL I looked like the school teacher surrounded by a class full of students. See it was in the 80s on Monday and quite a few of the guys showed up in shorts. Yeap, casual. 

I love my dress and it wore perfectly and was so comfortable, yet I was still overdressed. I will need to figure out a way to make it a little more casual, maybe wear it with a short black cardi and my skippys!

The vest/denim legging combo:
This was fine. It fit in my workspace and the vest was perfect. Too bad I don't own another Kantha Quilt to turn out a few more pieces...

Midi Skirt & Denim Jacket:
I wore the midi skirt with a RTW white tank, orange cardi and black slide on wedges. It was a hit. It was comfortable and fit the office dress code. I wore the denim jacket as a topper only - like to the bus stop only. Friday ended up being warmer than I thought.

Lessons learned ~
I have several more dresses I want to make. For them I will use some of the denim and chambray I've collected, as well as, the printed linens in the collection.  All of these should work well.

I like dressing up and I need to tamp this down just a tinge more and remember that I can wear anything however I'm feeling that morning. It can be expressed in my outfit, no matter how casual.

There is hope here for my spring wardrobe especially when I mix it in with the pieces I made for last summer.

Lastly, I did sew this weekend so more garments coming soon to the blog! always more later!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Outfit Two - A Denim Jacket and Midi Skirt

Outfit Two of my Chico's Chic spring wardrobe plan consists of this denim jacket and a midi skirt from a bold floral print.  We all know that florals are hot for spring and I love them. So making garments with some of the bold florals from the fabric collection is definitely happening this spring/summer.

This is one of those outfits that's great for early spring because I can layer for more warmth. The jacket is loose enough that bulky or thin sweaters/tops/tanks can go under it.

The Supplies ~
2 yards of a polyester twill floral print given to me from Smuggler's Daughter.
1 yard of non-roll elastic

Construction Details ~
Details of the jacket construction can be found in this post. The skirt is made from a pattern that's been in my pattern collection forever ~ McCalls 2795 ~ circa 2000.  Dayum this pattern is 16 years old and I've been using some version of it for the last 16 years. Interestingly enough, the pattern pieces I used for this skirt, are the original pieces, which thankfully I kept.

That is one good thing about the weight loss, my original TNT pattern pieces now work. This was a quick and easy sew. I only had two yards of fabric, so the pattern piece was cut on the fold for the front and back. I folded the fabric matching selvedges, then folded in it half. The pattern piece was laid on both folds and cut. This allowed me to take advantage of the length of the fabric and get the skirt as long as possible.

After that, side seams were sewn. A casing was made.  The elastic inserted. The casing closed and a 1/2" hem was put in the skirt. I wanted the fabric to do all the talking and I believe it does.

A few photos ~

I'm thrilled with this outfit because it's casual yet on-trend and it's me. Well the new Chico's Chic me! *LOL* always more later!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Reversible Vest - Outfit One

When I cut out the Tamarack Jacket, I knew I had just enough of the Kanthra Quilt left to make a vest. In my mind, it was always a vest because the fabric was too thick to use as anything else.  As an aside, my Tamarack Jacket was one of my most worn garments this winter!

However, I got the idea to make this vest reversible from Secondo Piano's blog. She made this amazing jacket and I loved how she handled the pocket situation so I incorporated her pocket idea into my vest. See I really wanted those inset pockets in my vest but I wanted the vest to be reversible so that I could use both sides of the last of that amazing quilt.

The challenge was to figure out how to make my idea work. I once again turned to my topper pattern pieces. I believe this will be my final evolution of Vogue 1247.

The Supply List ~
Last of the Kanthra Quilt
Gray Bemberg Rayon for pocket lining
Yards of Linen Bias Binding - made by me

Some Construction Information ~
Since this is a vest, I cut the armholes a little deeper in the front and back pieces. I didn't put the darts in the vest front and worried about the lack of them until I tried the vest on half way through and it seems to work. The edges of the vest front are the finished edge of the quilt. I used it so that I didn't have to worry about how to make the front edges reversible.

All seams are french seamed so that the vest is reversible. Making the french seams was a little challenging due to the width of the fabric.  However, this technique hid the seaming since the fabric is so busy.

Otherwise the construction was pretty easy. After determining that I wanted the lighter side (the Tamarack Jacket side) as the side to have the invisible pockets, I cut extra large pockets from the darker fabric.

These pockets were finished with a dark blue linen bias binding and stitched to the jacket front. 

Again the good thing about this fabric is that the stitching fades into the busy pattern of the quilt on the opposite side.

The linen bias binding was added to the armholes and the neckline - folded in half and sewn down on both sides so that it works with the reversibility of the vest.

Those are the construction highlights. So here are a few pictures of the vest:

First the darker side of the vest ~

Then the lighter side ~

Since the temperatures are still up and down, 70's one day and high 50's another, I think I will be able to get at least one wear out of this before I put it away for the fall. I was uncertain about this when I finished it but looking at the photographs I'm thrilled with it now.  Even my daughter was complimentary about this one. 

BTW, I think I've evolved V1247 as far as I can take it! Skirt to dress to topper to vest is quite a journey! Now that the temperatures are going up, I'm moving on.  This pattern and it's editions are going back into the file folder and maybe I'll look at it again next fall or maybe not! always more later!


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