Friday, July 21, 2017

The Last Tuesday of Every Month

The last Tuesday of every Month the NYC Sewcialists meet at The Houndstooth Pub in the Garment District.  This meet-up is the brain child of Carol and Grace. The inaugral meeting was last month on June 27th.


All of the attendees


At that first gathering there were 13 of us and we spent 3 hours talking about everything sewing.

Lara

Marcy, Grace & Syreeta

I met some new sewists. I made a date to go fabric shopping in Queens, cause y'all know I'm always looking for more places to fabric shop! *LOL* I touched some me-made garments and before I knew it, it was almost 8:30pm.  2.5 hours went soooooo fast!

Carol, Amanda, Lara & Claire

Kten & Marcy's curls

So this Tuesday, July 25th, we will be meeting again at:

The Houndstooth Pub 
820 Eighth Avenue
6pm - until 

If you're in the NY, NJ, CT, PA area and want to spend an evening with other sewists talking about our favorite topic, come through!  If you can't make it this Tuesday, then we will be there the last Tuesday of every month...come then...

...as always more later!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Some So-So Concord Tee Hacks

I thought it was important to share two Concord Tee hacks that didn't quite work out as I'd planned. I know it seems like experienced sewists turn out beautiful garment after beautiful garment. However, I don't know about anyone else but sometimes I have less than spectacular results. I believe it's important to keep it real and share the losers as well as the winners!

So here is the first one ~


I am calling this one a failure. I bought this white & black polka dot lace from Fabric Mart a couple of months ago...maybe late 2016. I've always wanted a slouchy top from it. I thought I could use the Concord Tee to achieve that look.


First the top is too tight. While the lace has some stretch, it doesn't have enough. I thought on it and added some triangle inserts into the sides hoping it would help. It doesn't. Now the top just looks sloppy not slouchy. 


The sleeves are also too tight. Why? Because not enough stretch. These could be shortened and it would relieve some of the stress. 

Even though the pictures make the neckline work, it doesn't in real life. Again this could be fixed by adding the band that I omitted. 

I could fix all of these issues and make this work but I've got other things to sew and am calling uncle. I'm admitting that my fabric + pattern hack just didn't work the way I wanted it to.


I tried my black maxi dress with this too and it looked just as bad as this black ponte skirt does. Though my daughter did take some amazing photos of this fail!

The second one is a black tee with a ruffle ~ 

Technically it isn't a fail until I turn around...


See I added a ruffle to the tee because I wanted more than just a black tee. Why? A black tee is a staple in almost every woman's wardrobe, why did I feel I needed to do more to make it special?

So the ruffle cups right underneath my backside.  You can see it better here...


I just find this look so unattractive from the back and side views.  Though to be honest, the top is quite cute from the front...


This is the look I was going for and would actually wear this to work.  Now though, I'm totally on the fence about this tee. 

To solve this, I could cut the ruffle off and hem the top to have a normal tee. Or I could cut the top off around the top of my hip and add a lace peplum, which would be great. I even looked in a couple of my fave trim stores in NYC for a lace that was precut but found nothing in a price point I wanted to pay. I'm sure I have a lace in the fabric collection that I could use but I've been to lazy to look. 

Or I could just wear it as it is...


BTW, I've lightened the heck out of these pictures so you could see the ruffle details, cause as we all know black is hard to photograph.

These tops have been hanging on my wall for about a month. The polka dot one is definitely going to be disassembled. I will save the scraps to use in a future garment. The black one will have some alteration done to it...even if it is just removing the ruffle...so it hangs waiting for me to be inspired. Though now that I've seen these pictures I may be a little more willing to figure something out! *LOL*

I've been home from vacation for a week. My sewing mojo obviously went on vacation with me since I'm struggling to come up with ideas to sew. I don't think it helps that I have a back log of things I've photographed for the blog but haven't worn in real life yet. Working only four days a week in the city and one day at home, definitely affects what I wear. Especially since I tend to make garments quicker in the summer than in other seasons, thus the back log.

I know that I've been desiring some woven dresses with a looser fit. I have a ton of maxidresses, short tank dresses from ITY knits and a wardrobe of t-shirt dresses now. I would also like a couple of shirtdresses but those take more effort than I have in my sewing tank right now.  So we shall see what comes out of my sewing machine...

...as always more later!


Sunday, July 09, 2017

A Flowy Mixed Fabric Shirtdress

I'm planning to sew a couple of shirtdresses this summer/fall.  Most of them are from shirtdress patterns currently available in the pattern catalogues. I definitely want to make another Cashmerette Lenox Shirtdress and at least one McCalls version and a Butterick one, too.

However, I've wanted to make a dress version of my TNT button front shirt since I made my second one. I was a little concerned that the dress would be a little too flowy, overwhelming or maternity looking. Lately though, I've seen several types of flowy, oversized versions online, so I was encouraged to go ahead with my own.


Now this look isn't going to be for everyone...but I made it for those really hot, humid and sweltery days in NYC where a nice loose-fitting dress is the perfect thing to wear. Personally, I can't stand close-fitting on those days so this one fits the bill! 

Materials ~
Yellow striped 100% cotton shirting from the collection via Fabric Mart
Linen floral scraps used in this skirt - fabric from Marcy Tilton

Notions ~
14 - 5/8" covered buttons made from the linen floral scraps

Pattern Alterations ~
-I lengthened the front tunic length pattern pieces 10" and the main back piece also.  
-The sleeve was made elbow length and the hemline was widen by 1/2" on either side. 
-I added a 2" band of the linen fabric to the short sleeve.

Construction Changes ~
The only construction differences between the dress and my other shirts are the sleeves. If you need the original construction information for the shirt, it's contained in this post.

I guess I've really fallen down the #yearofthesleeve rabbit hole. Because this is a simple change made impactful by choosing a different fabric to coordinate with the pinstripe. Then again if you've been following along for a minute, you will know that I've consistently made changes to my sleeves to add some ummph to my garments!


I added the printed linen to the undercollar, neckband, buttons and sleeve band to give the dress a little more pizzazz. It is a striped fabric that reads pale yellow from a distance, so it needed that extra color to save it from looking like a house dress.


Also, even though I've made hundreds of buttonholes, I was intrigued by the YouTube video by Johanna who blogs at The Last Stitch. Check out this video on her tips "How to Sew Great Buttonholes." Cause even though I've made my share, I did learn something new. For those who've asked which sewing videos I watch, Johanna's YouTube videos are on my list!

A few pictures of the dress ~




Even though I was on vacation last week, this is the only sewing that I did. Some home repairs stopped me from sewing a couple of the days I was home. I spent a day in NYC with Shams fabric shopping and finished the week in Tampa visiting a friend. The only bad thing about the week was that I wasn't able to meet up with Debbie Cook and Myra as I had originally planned. But ladies I promise when I'm back in Tampa later this year, I will definitely get with you!

The grandkids were here with their mother while she took pictures...here are a few of the outtakes ~



Perfectly good shots that were enhanced by running little people, sigh!

Anyway, I've spent very little time in front of my sewing machine and amazingly I'm not lusting to get back to it. So I don't know what's up next but I'm sure I will be sewing something next weekend!

...as always more later!




Thursday, July 06, 2017

Second Quarter Review - 2017

Spring sewing is easy sewing ~ well at least for me ~ and I tend to sew more pieces during the spring/summer season. I've made 19 garments during the second quarter of 2017. It sounds like a lot, but quite a bit of this is tops. So for the first six months of 2017, I've sewn a total of 31 items. 

Honestly, I'm kinda amazed at that amount but in the past I didn't make a lot of tops, I bought RTW. Sewing tops/blouses/shirts are quicker makes, at least for me, and they add up quickly. Also it's finally gotten warm here, so I will be turning out more dresses, which take a little longer to sew than tops. 

I have a few trips planned this summer, so while I've gained 2.5 day weekends, I will be missing the sewing cave during some of those weekends. So here is this quarter's sewn garments breakdown.

Eight tops:
Blue pinstriped shirt with lace sleeves


Rose floral button down shirt


Six Concord tees hacks

   - White cotton tee with elastic neckline
   - Black & White color blocked tee
   - Beige Lace knit top with peplum top
   - Gray splattered knit top with flare sleeves
   - Black cotton peplum top (still to be photographed)
   - Black 'n White polka dot tee (still to be photographed)

One topper:
Dashiki print McCalls 7481


Eight dresses:
Saldana Maxidress from SewSewDef Magazine 


McCalls 7542 Flounced Sleeved Dress


Cashmerette Border Print Turner Dress


Cashmerette Lenox Shirtdress


Cashmerette Concord Tee as a dress - black lace ponte with lace sleeves


Cashmerette Concord Tee as a dress - black flamingo sleeve version


Cashmerette Concord Tee as a dress - rose print with split sleeve


Cashmerette Concord Tee as a dress - peach print with flutter sleeve


Two Maxi Skirts:
Black 'n White floral print TNT maxi skirt


Pastel Pale Print floral print TNT maxi skirt


I thought I used to sew a lot before. Though I do have much more time now and I tend to fill it sewing in the cave! My current sewing list has 13 items on it. I'm sewing from the list now, but who knows what will inspire me in the future, and what creative flights of fancy I will take.

Finally, "Thank You!" for following along on my creative endeavors, for talking back in my Question of the Day posts, for leaving comments on my outfits and for following me both here and on Instagram. It is truly appreciated!

...as always more later!



Sunday, July 02, 2017

Concord Tee Dresses - Round Two

These next two dresses are all about florals and pattern hacks and are my latest Concord Tee Dresses...



The Sleeves ~
As shown below the sleeves are the difference between the two dresses. I made a slight change to each sleeve to personalize each dress. There are no other construction changes from the original Concord Tee hacks. 

Adding the circle/flutter to the sleeve was discussed in the Adding a Ruffle to the Concord Tee post.



The split sleeve for the rose dress was detailed in this post.


The Dresses ~
After making two darker print Concord Tee dresses, I knew that the next ones had to be of a lighter hue. I pulled two floral print crepey knits (what Fabric Mart called them but what LAFinch Fabrics is calling Liverpool Knits) from the collection.

I need to stop here and discuss the fact that I love florals. I own a lot of floral fabric.  However, if you've followed along for awhile, you will notice that I didn't sew a lot of florals prior to leaving the corporate job. That's all changing now. Big florals, big & bold prints, loads of polka dots and large border prints are no longer off limits! Now that summer is in full force, I'm sewing more of these. So without further ado, here are the latest versions...

Dress with Split Sleeves & Ties ~





Dress with Flutter Sleeves ~




I'm glad I took the time to make these dresses. They will be perfect for the rest of the summer and into the fall.

Conclusion ~
I have one more that I want to make from an ITY fabric. It will get me to five and I will be done with this pattern. I have so many other things I want to make and new patterns to use.  

However, I REALLY enjoyed lengthening and hacking this pattern. It's a great pattern if you just want a t-shirt that fits a curvy body but it also has wonderful possibilities. You can take it on a creative journey to fulfill whatever flights of fancy you can dream of. It allowed me to do the thing I love most about sewing, slice and dice to come up with a new look, based upon the good bones of the pattern.

So I'm off on new sewing adventures! I hope you've enjoyed the series, been inspired and maybe learned a new technique or two.

...as always more later!



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

One more sleeve hack...

This time I decided to share the technique before the dress' reveal. Partly because it was a good sewing weekend and I didn't want to stop and take pictures and partly because my photographer wasn't around.

The sleeves are what makes the difference between the last two dresses. The rose and white dress has a split sleeve with a banded tie. How that banded tie is constructed is what's featured in this post.


Honestly, that tie took me three tries to get right and I almost gave up on it! I photographed all the steps so that I would have them memorialized in case I want to do this again...okay, not so sure about that last statement!

Here is how I made the split sleeve with tie ~

The sleeve alterations are the easy part. Take the sleeve and fold it in half, then press it flat:


Lay the pressed sleeve flat and cut the pressed edge leaving a full inch from the sleeve cap:


Serge finish the edge and press back 3/8" just pass the serging:


Stitch all the way around the cut edge:


Put the sleeve aside until it's time to insert it into the garment.

To make the band ~
- I decided that I wanted the band to be 2" wide, so I started with a 3" band. 
- That gave me 1/2" seam allowances. 
- I made a pattern piece for the tie that was 3" wide and 17" long. 
- This is what fit the hemline of the sleeve measured with enough fabric to form a knot with a tie that didn't hang over too far on my arm. 
- I rounded the end of the pattern because I didn't want a square ended tie. 
- Each band consists of two pieces sewn together. 

My finished band/tie was a trial and error situation. I made two attempts before the third one looked the way I wanted it to. I'd also cut my sleeve too long so I had to remove 4" from the hemline of the sleeve.

Attaching the band ~
The rounded ends of the band was clipped and graded before the band was turned and pressed flat.


The two pieces of the bands were sewn together until where it needed to be attached to the sleeve hem.


Then the band was stitched to the sleeve hem. Finally the entire band was topstitched.

Here is what the final sleeve looks like on the dress on Lulu. Yeah, my girl really needs some legs...*sigh*


I posted the construction pics to Instagram last week and promised that there would be words/directions to explain the process here. I hope that these are clear. If not, please feel free to leave a question and I will answer it.

Next up on the blog are the last two Concord Tee dresses. I know that I said I would make five but I got tired of working with the pattern, so I've ended up with four. I think I hacked myself out. LOL! 

Also all the other Concord Tee's will be shown with the bottoms I made or am making to go with them. I have nothing new to say about their construction, so they will make an appearance later. I have worn this pattern out. There are other patterns on my list and/or garments that I want to sew so I'm moving on.

...as always more later!







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