Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pictures of Butterick 5618

I know I should wait until someone comes home to take these pictures before I post but seriously all I really want to do is sew.  Because of that sometimes the blog post is written way before a photographer shows up...and all of that to say here are the pics of me in the tank dress (okay Rachelle!)

Hands on the hip shot

With the cardigan


Now this next shot is to answer Julie's question:
"Carolyn, I'm curious about the armhole fit of this dress. No alterations needed? Whenever I make a sleeveless dress, I get the gaping armhole because of sewing the size to fit my bust and then having an armhole too large."

I'm sure there is some alteration that you should do to the pattern to reduce the armhole prior to cutting out the fabric and sewing the dress together BUT I've been doing this "cheat" for so long that it's become second nature to me and I never even think to put it in the alterations section when I'm writing a post.

What I do is sew a deeper side seam of about an inch from the 5/8" seam allowance.  This deeper seam helps to snug the dress up to the body thereby eliminating the gap that many people experience with sleeveless dresses.

Even with adding the border to the bottom of this dress it only comes to my knees so since I won't be wearing this to work, I'm okay with the daughter who judges my wardrobe the harshest really liked the color and the length...I must be doing something right!  *LOL* always, more later!

Butterick 5618 - The Tank Dress

As you know most of my sewing is work-related.  However, the three quick pieces left on my sewing list are really casual pieces.  I sew alot on the weekends but I still attend family functions and get together with my friends to see a movie, go shopping or have dinner.  I've been wearing the same couple of skirts & RTW maxi dresses all summer so these last three pieces (ruffled skirt, tank dress & tank top) were made to add some additional pieces to my casual wardrobe.

I chose to try the tank dress from Butterick 5618 because if it worked, I thought I could make quite a few of them out of a variety of fabrics for next summer.  Our family has planned a family cruise and of course I'm thinking ahead...its hard not to since I have to hand in a check every month! *smile* 

Anyway, here's garment number 2 - the Butterick 5618 tank dress on a hanger because all of my photographers are out of the house.  I promise to update with some pics on me later.


lightweight linen from Vogue Fabrics
Strips of print from one of the trendy rayons from Fabric Mart

Ltwt. interfacing from Farmhouse Fabrics
cotton/poly bastiste from

Pattern Alterations:
None.  I started with a size 24 and added a center back seam to the tank dress.  That was it.  This is a very simple pattern to sew.  So simple that I didn't even use the pattern instructions.

After I washed and dried the fabric it shrank...quite a bit.  I was already starting with a short piece and this did not help my case at all.  After laying the pattern pieces on top of the fabric, I determined that I was about 3" short.  So even though the front and back pieces are suppose to go on the fold, it just wasn't happening.  The first thing I did was add a 5/8" seam allowance to the center back piece.

The second thing I did was to dig through the fabric collection looking for a piece of white linen to add a band to the bottom of the dress.  But as I was digging, I found this blue/lavender floral print and realized that if I added it to the dress it would give it an entirely different flavor...less plain...more fun and casual like.  So I pulled it to use with the dress.

Another thing, the violet linen was see definitely needed a lining or interlining.  When I originally thought about constructing this dress, I was going to have a free floating lining...only connected to the dress at the neckline and the armholes. 

Once I decided to add the band to the bottom of the dress, it changed my lining thoughts.  I went with underlining the batiste to the fabric pieces and sewing them as one.  I think the underlining deepened the violet color of the fabric too... 

I added the print to the neckline (bias binding) so that it would be in two places on the dress.  The armholes are finished by turning under 1/8", pressing and then stitching flat. 

Finally I like the way it looks with the purchased cardigan and I have a great casual dress for weekends or Casual Fridays at work.  This would have been a quick and simple sew if I hadn't had to improvise because the fabric ended up being a bit shorter after prewashing. 

Now I'm working on the green dress...I'm not sure that I will finish it up today...I don't feel like we shall see. always, more later!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Clearing off my sewing list...

Monday is August 1st so next weekend I will begin sewing my 6pac collection.  However, there are a few quick & easy projects still on my spring/summer sewing list that I decided I should clear off this weekend.  They are:

1.  Finish up the green linen dress.

2.  Make a long skirt from the black ruffly fabric ala Elizabeth's using her directions.

3.  Make a linen tank dress from Butterick 5618 using a violet lightweight linen to match a violet cardigan I just scored from Talbots cheap!

4.  Make a tank top from the same Butterick 5618 pattern.

As of this minute, I have the black ruffly skirt finished.

Elizabeth's instructions are sooooo simple and easy to use.  I wanted to make this last weekend but I didn't have the right elastic on hand...hence the trip to the Garment District this week.  Here is a picture of the wide elastic attached to the top of the skirt:

The first view of the skirt was with a tank top and my flat sandals...weekend wearing...but I know that I will want to wear this to work for Casual Fridays.  Here is how I would add one of my Burda cardigans and a pair of black 'n white floral cloth shoes:

and a back view:

Next up is the violet linen with a cotton batiste that I want to use for the underlining.  Both fabrics have been through the washing & drying cycle and are currently laying on the ironing board waiting for me to press them so they can become B5618.  Hopefully I will get all four pieces sewn this weekend... always, more later!

p.s.  I'm wearing a black half slip under my skirt because it is sheer and I didn't want to attempt to line this quick & easy project!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday Evening Musings...

I just bought the Helen Armstrong Patternmaking book.  You would think that it would already be in my sewing library, right?  Well it isn't and I'm just picking it up.  I've been reading some of my favorite sewing bloggers and they make all these detailed alterations and I wanna do that too.  Also, I have ideas for how I want to change up my TNT pattern but I'm not sure exactly how to proceed and I'm hoping that the book will help me achieve the looks I'm seeing in my head...even tho' my eyes glazed over at the first portion of the book that's all about dart manipulation.  *sigh*

The fabric I bought arrived yesterday and today.  I'm now awash in fabric and I'm like a pig in slop! Yes!!! I have to tell you that if you didn't get some of the $2.50 a yard rayon challis from Fabric Mart you are missing out.  I only bought two pieces but they are fantastic...and of course the pieces from my new man  "Sawyer Brook" said in a whispery sigh...are just as wonderful as I thought they would be.  I can't wait to sew these up!  Trust me they will be making an appearance here sooner rather than later!

I went to the Garment District today during lunchtime.  I needed some elastic and notions...picked them up at Daytona Trimmings.  It was dead in there...I'm hoping that this doesn't mean anything...*sigh* I'm really hoping that it's just summertime.

I'm calling August - "Repeat August."  Why?  Because I've been sewing so much this summer that I end up wearing at least one or two new things every week.  And I have a lot of clothes, some things that I made last summer I haven't worn yet this since I'm working on my 6pac wardrobe during the month of August...this plan should work allowing me to wear all of the newly made pieces in September.  Speaking of September, even tho' I'm not taking my normal 10 day vacation around Labor Day...I will be off for five days so there will be some sewing going on then.

Want to know my guilty TV pleasure?  I'm in love with the show, "Ice Loves Coco" on E!  Seriously, I love that show and hate when I miss an episode...tho' they play the heck out of the repeats so I can usually catch up.  I didn't think I would like it, cause I'm not a big reality show watcher...Dancing with the Stars and American Idol being about all I can handle...and I don't understand the Kardashians or those other people who have "shows" on E!, Vh1 or BET.  I've even stopped watching Project Runway...scandalous I know!   Can I say it again ~ I LOVE Ice Loves Coco!  It makes me laugh soooooo hard!

Finally, I'm going to work on the pea green linen dress this weekend.  Its all cut out and waiting to be worked on and it needs to be finished so that I can finally wear the floral jacket.

I'm glad tomorrow is Friday...this has been a seriously l-oooooooo-ng week! always, more later!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Autumn Collection 6pac

I might have mentioned it before, but I've decided that I want my August/early September sewing to be garments made during the Autumn Collection 6pac sew-along that's presently being discussed on Stitchers Guild.  

Elizabeth (ejvc on Stitcher's Guild) has set up the following guidelines to use to plan a collection:

ONE jacket -- neutral
ONE bottom (skirt or trousers, though for autumn, I like trousers) -- dark neutral if you're pear-shaped, lighter if you carry weight on top
TWO underlayer tops, one ideally in a print combining your colours, one in a contrast neutral
TWO overlayer tops, one coloured, one neutral

and possibly

ONE more bottom -- skirt if you've done trousers, trousers if you've done a skirt, or a dress if you like them

Of course, I've already customized the plan to fit my needs:

One jacket from tan linen (NL 6788)
One bottom - pants (TNT pattern) from tan linen for a suit type look
Another bottom - straight skirt from tan linen again from TNT pattern
Two underlayers - will be dresses (both will be prints)
One overlayer - cardigan - Burda 8869 (TNT cardigan pattern)

I have another two/three pieces I want to add in a red linen to really mix and match with this but I'm using my underlayers as dresses and I've added one additional bottom.

So far I haven't been kicked to the curb for adapting the rules! *smile* I like the fluidity this sew-along provides and it will also allow me to complete two and possibly three more JAM's (Jacket A Month).  As I stated before I'm sewing my pieces during the month of August and into the Labor Day weekend for an early fall/transitional 6pac wardrobe while the regular sew-along lasts from August to October.

I've made my fabric choices...they are actually occupying one end of the loveseat in the living room and I have a general idea of what patterns I want to use but for the dresses that's still flexible right now.  I just know that I want to reproduce this pantsuit in the tan linen as the basis for my 6pac:

front view

back view

The jacket is from NL6788 and the pants are from my TNT pattern.  I made this pantsuit three years ago and it's still a hardworking outfit in my work wardrobe.  It's perfect for corporate meetings and goes with several other dresses and a skirt so a tan version would be great.

I haven't decided what patterns to use for the dresses...maybe a new one and one that is a rendition of my TNT pattern...I don't know.  I just know that I want these to be my go with the flow patterns.

There are a couple yards of red linen in the pile that I want to incorporate into this grouping.  From it I want another jacket and another version of The Rachel Skirt.  I've also got an idea for a funky version of a SW Mission Tank top to complete the set. I know that these extra pieces will put me at more than the six garments required for the 6pac but I have the fabric and a plan so I'm going for it.  

I'm really looking forward to sewing up this collection.  It's been awhile since I've sewn a planned group of coordinates and I like the challenges that this type of sewing gives me. always, more later!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Puttering around on a hot sunday afternoon...

I don't have much initative to sew...must be the weather!  Or could it be that I've already made six garments this month so I have no pressing need for more...whatever...I'm puttering!

So how about I answer a couple of questions...

bpatricia74 asked:
"What pattern did your daughter use? If no pattern what instructions can you share?"
At my house we use the wrap the fabric around you and add 2" in the hip area to make sure it fits method.  However, this is a do as I say not a do as I do moment and let me direct you to some wonderful instructions on how to make a square dress/skirt pattern - Ann of Gorgeous Things has some awesome instructions on how to make this skirt/dress look.  You can find them here.

quava62 asked:
"Please Carolyn could you name the pattern for your TNT pants !!
I hate to tell you this but I have no idea what the pattern number is.  That is one of the patterns I started working with over 10 years ago and as I traced it from pattern paper to pattern paper, the number went by the wayside.  I also no longer have the pattern envelope since the pieces went into their own folder marked pants pattern.  In any case, this pattern would be out-of-print now since most of my TNT ones are. 

JudyP asked:
"Would you mind posting your tips on lining knits?"
Let me tips on lining knits...well I don't do anything differently from when I line a woven garment.  The only difference is that I use nylon tricot lining that I purchased from I haven't lined one knit dress that I've made this summer.  Probably because the V1250 dresses are just too complicated for me to figure out how to line and the other knit dresses either had enough fabric (as in loose wearing) or were thick enough that I decided just to wear a half slip with them.  However, I did add the tricot lining to the black 'n white knit skirt I just made and for that I just cut the lining the length of the fabric and basted around all 4 edges...nothing special. 

Fourkid asked:
"Where do you find all your lovely cardigans?"
You mean besides the ones I make ~ everywhere!  I'm constantly on the lookout for a great cardigan and I collect them in all colors.  I've purchased them online from Jessica London and Talbots Women, at Lord & Taylor and Macy's (both have excellent women's plus size shops in the NYC), The Avenue...I even have one or two from Wal-Mart.  Anywhere!


Okay next...

I was reading the Sunday New York Times this morning (yes, I must be one of the last people that still have it delivered on Sunday mornings...but I LUV reading that big ole paper on Sundays and looking at the ads!) and I saw this picture:

Sunday NYTimes Style Section - Blue Chip - 7.24.11

 It made me realize that my Rachel Dress:

is right on trend!  And for whomever asked the reason it's called "The Rachel Dress" its because I nicknamed the skirt from Vogue 1247 "The Rachel Skirt" after its designer Rachel Comey.  Since the main feature of the dress is the pockets from her pattern and I used those pattern pieces to achieve the look, it became The Rachel Dress.

Finally, I am prepping some fabric to be sewn.  I haven't worn the floral version of the Simplicity 2958 jacket because I don't really like it with the vanilla silk twill dress.  To me the two pieces together are too plain and washed out looking.  So I broke down (don't laugh!) and bought three yards of the pea green couture linen (so called by Fabric Mart) before the last sale with the 20% off discount ended.

Here it is on my ironing board going through the pressing process...

I'm making another version of my TNT dress from it and I may work on constructing it today or I may not... always, more later!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sewing with my daughter

It is too hot for man and beast on the East Coast right now.  So as wise women we stayed inside with the air conditioning blowing (though it went out for about an hour - can we say panic time!) and we sewed. 

My daughter wanted a simple tube maxi dress from a matte jersey border print (Fabric Mart) that she found in the fabric closet.

So after pinning the two sides together (because it was really sheer)...

To cutting out and sewing up...

Adding an elastic casing at the top...

And leaving it as is at the hemline...

She was finished and modeling in about 90 minutes.  Now does this look like the mother of two children...

back view

side view

She's got another one cut out in a black ruffly fabric with some nude tricot lining but a little one needs to be fed so I'll have pictures of that one as soon as she's finished. always, more later!

Friday, July 22, 2011

My new boyfriend

Lately, I've been getting a little tingle when an email from my new boyfriend drops into my email box.  My heart beats a little faster causing my pulse to flutter, my throat gets a little parched from the desire, and my credit card starts to itch...knowing it's going to be used soon. 

My new boyfriend is Sawyer Brook Fabrics.  Lately, I've been stalking him/them like nobody's business.  I've recently made a few small purchases and they have added such an awesome wonderfulness to my fabric collection & future garments that I'm putting my old boyfriend on hiatus.  Yes, I'm fickle like that! 

The last two pieces purchased have already been prewashed and are sitting with the other fabrics from the collection waiting for August to roll around so that they can become garments in my August 6Pac.  And yes, I've planned my sewing out that far ahead...well actually September too but we just won't discuss that part of my obsession right now...mmmkay! *LOL*

So why am I being unfaithful to my long time love (shush I can't say his name - he might overhear and be jealous and we just can't have that!)?  Well because he's good for my basic needs and every once in awhile when I need something a little different.  But SB *sigh*, well SB is providing some much needed spice...something a little distinctive...a little unusual...and sometimes a girl just needs something that deviates from the norm...y'know what I mean?

The transitional fabrics that Sawyer Brook is offering now just fits the bill for my present needs.  I know, I know transitional as in summer to fall 'cause who's thinking about fall when the weather here today is 101 degrees farenheit and with the heat index bringing it up to 115 degrees...but fall is coming!  And I already know what the last of my summer sewing is going to be, so my thoughts are turning to transitional sewing...and this is where my new boyfriend is more than satisfying my needs!

This is what I ordered today...and I have plans for each piece! 

Rustica - a cotton/lycra blend

Backwoods - a jersey knit print

Provence (rust) - a jersey knit

Provence (plum) - a jersey knit
I just couldn't leave the twin behind!

There are no stragglers in this bunch because these all coordinate with pieces already in the collection...isn't that fantastic!?  See how my new boyfriend has already eased into my life, working with the existing collection?!  Isn't that so very thoughtful of him!

It is with much anticipation, that I await this box of new goodies!  Cause I need something to take the edge off of this stiffling heatwave! always, more later!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rewind: A second time around...

I wrote this post back in 2009 and it was originally called, "Getting Better." I thought it was worth a retread so I hope you enjoy it!

"Would you by chance share where you have found answers to questions you may of had besides going to maybe your blog readers?"
Jean asked this question a couple of posts back....

Let me start out by saying that I learned to sew when I was 11 and I never stopped...through high school, college, during my first jobs, back to school, through marriage and pregnancies...I never stopped alot of my knowledge is first-hand and through experience. The second place that I gained most of my knowledge was through books. I have a pretty extensive collection that I've been amassing for decades...starting with the Singer Sewing Library.

The internet started to affect my sewing about a dozen years ago when I first stumbled onto the sewing board, Sewing World that eventually evolved into Stitchers Guild...and there were several email sewing lists that I was on from Quiltropolis...which eventually led me to join The Sewing Circle which was managed by Julie Ann.

I made some great friendships on this internet sewing list...discovered JoMars through them...and fabric shopping with friends. Met Colleen Jones (who first taught me about Full Bust Adjustments - FBA)...things that took my sewing to another level.

That's a quick review of my background...what would I recommend today? Patternreview and Stitcher's Guild are sewing boards that have an awesome amount of information and people willing to answer questions any time of the day or night. Podcasts and blogs of some amazing sewists like: Ann, Marji, MaryBeth, Summerset, The Sewing Divas, Phyllis ~ these women have sewing chops and the ability to teach you how to do whatever.

And books and videos...I can't stress enough how far a great sewing library can take you and teach you. My top 10 sewing books are located to the right here and I know that EricaB has written a post on the books she loves.

But most willing to learn! Be inquisitive...don't settle...strive to go higher, do better, accept the challenges and the failures and learn from them. Finally...the old saw, "Practice makes perfect!" is so true. If you truly love this craft, you would want to indulge and wallow in learn it to the best of your ability!

Hopefully, with all that the internet offers, as well as, the various sewing bloggers you will be encouraged to spend some time with the craft that we all love to do which is SEW!!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A quick knit skirt that packs some punch!

I bought this remnant from JoMars when I was on the great fabric shopping trip with Shams, Peggy and Noile earlier this year.  It was just a scrap that I found on the table across from the cutting table where I was rooting around while waiting for my fabric to be cut.  I thought it would make a great top and I totally forgot about it until I found it mixed amongst the lace trimmings that I bought yards and yards of  during the trip.

Seriously this took about an hour and a half to sew up and only that long because I got it into my head to add a tricot lining to the knit.  You know me...if it needs to be complicated count on me to complicate it up!  *LOL*


Knit Remnant that's kinda embossed

1 yard of 1" non roll elastic
Tricot knit lining

Baste the lining fabric to the knit. 
Serge finish the edges. 
Sew the back seam and press it open. 
Press down a 1.5" casing for the elastic. 
Thread the elastic through the casing and smooth it out. 
Finish off the casing seam. 
Done!  Try on skirt! 
Oh and I didn't bother to hem it.  It has the serged edge and you can't even tell...the stripes hide the finishing or lack of one!

This skirt was so quick and easy and packed such a punch!  Even my daughters loved it...especially the younger one who rarely likes what I make. She's 21 and funky & edgy in what she wears.

...another front view...

...a back view...

...a view of the skirt on the hanger...

I love how this works and from a remnant piece of fabric too! always more later!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Rachel Dress is Finished!

The dress is  lined, piped, buttonholed, buttoned and done!

As you can see, the dress is sleeveless.  When I was finishing it up, it just seemed the way to go and I'm happy with that choice...especially since it will make it easier to wear under cardigans.

Some stats:

100% couture linen from Fabric Mart
(these are still on their site)

20" invisible zipper
2 yards rayon bemberg lining
2 yards black satin piping
1 yard black lace
rayon seam binding

All of the pattern alterations are contained in this post.  However, I did use the skirt instructions to help construct the front of the dress.  After the front was made, I just sewed the dress up as I normally would.  As I stated in my last post, seam matching was very important to me and it does work all the way around the dress. 

And since I did not add the short sleeves to the dress, I piped the armholes instead.

The detail that really makes the dress for me is the pockets with the buttons & buttonholes.  I will definitely add this detail to another version of the Rachel Skirt for fall. 

...and I'm loving the the lining with the touch of lace at the hemline!

Thankfully this is one of those flights of fancy that worked.  I can't wait to wear this to work...preferably on one of those hot & humid days that's forecast for this week...that way some  of those linen wrinkles will fall out as I'm walking from the subway to work...cause this dress is gonna wrinkle like crazy.  But isn't that the reason we linen lovers like working with it anyway!?!

One last shot:

...and as always, more later!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Rachel Dress - Part 2 The Details

Besides the pockets, its the details that makes the dress for me.  Now these details weren't necessarily part of the PYT's dress that I'm copying.  However, they are features that I envisioned when I started to plan the making of this dress.

The Buttons & Buttonholes
I decided to add buttons and buttonholes to the pockets of the dress after wearing The Rachel Skirt.  Because of the way the pockets are inserted in the skirt, you can only see them when I stick my hands into them.  I wanted to feature them a little more in this dress.  I thought a button/buttonhole detail would bring them more into the limelight.

Choosing a button was a little involved because right from the beginning I knew I wanted black accents/embellishments on the dress to make it less of a blue blob.  I auditioned about a dozen buttons before I settled on this one.  I think the black/gold combination works well with the style of the dress as well as giving it a professional rather than just a pretty look.

It took some work to get the buttonholes on the dress.  Since I'm going my own way here without benefit of pattern instructions, I decided that I wanted to add the buttonholes after the pocket bags and the dress' bodice and skirt front were sewn together.  I thought that I would be able to determine where the buttons/buttonholes would go better on a fully constructed front...and this did work...however, making the buttonholes with a small window was a little more challenging than if I had sewn them before attaching the pocket bag and the dress bottom. 

They are on with a little help from my trusty seam ripper!  And they are where I want them to be and symmetrical on both sides of the dress front.

The seaming details
Even though I am not accentuating the seaming with any thought in my original is imperative that the seaming match.  Side seams...back seams...and center back seams are all lined up.  I'm not sure that anyone will even notice the matching of the seaming detail but it was important to me.

On the original PYT dress there were no embellishments except the belt.  I saw the dress a little differently in my mind's eye.  I thought the neckline and sleeve hems needed a little something, so I pulled out the black satin piping that I have yards of in my notions stash.  Here it is basted onto the neckline waiting to be machine stitched down before I add the lining.

Lining with lace hem
I have no idea whether or not the original dress is lined.  I'm much happier with a lined dress than fiddling with a half slip...which seems to be what I've been doing lately.  So this dress is lined with black lace added at the hemline.  This is my signature in a lining and I'm staying true to me!  *LOL* 

This is where I'm at now.  The dress shell is complete.  The lining is made.  And the piping needs to be machine stitched to the dress before the lining insertion.  I still have to make the sleeves, pipe the sleeve hems, insert them.  Stitch the lining down to the zipper tape and hem the dress.  I have several hours of work ahead of me and hopefully with no distractions, I will have a new dress to wear to work this week! always more later!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Borderprintedness - Part 2

I own a lot of borderprint fabrics...having purchased every one that I liked that came my way last year.  I even wrote a post about some of the lovelies that showed up at my apt, "Borderprintedness."  And as I was adding a few pics to my Flickr albums this weekend, I realized that I've made quite a few dresses this season using those prints purchased last year.

There is a version of the Vogue 1250 from an Anna Sui border print:

(and Cennetta I'm gonna make this again - in black knit jersey for a LBD!  
I know, I know but I think FIVE really is the charm! *LOL*)

There's the Connie Crawford dress from the bubbles polka dot fabric:

The Butterick 5600 dress - where the use of the border print isn't as obvious but it's there nonetheless:

The knit version of my TNT pattern:

The knit border print dress where I spliced the border print and ran it in several directions:

...and my piece dela resistance - the Christine Jonson dress:

Now why this walk down memory lane...well I was foraging in the fabric closet and ran across the navy/white floral border print featured in the first borderprintedness post and it's now on the cutting table...waiting it's turn to become something fabulous!  I really do have a serious case of borderprintedness...but isn't it fun! 

...more later!


Related Posts with Thumbnails