Monday, July 30, 2012

Butterick 5211

Here is the dress on me...

Stats ~

Trendy Rayon Print

9" invisible zipper
fusible knit interfacing

This is a very easy dress to make.  Of course, I added some involved techniques along with the simple to create my own dress. 

Pattern Alterations ~

  • I used a pivot and slide technique on the dress front to get a little more room in the abdomen area.
  • I added one inch to the center back seam.
  • Two inches were added to the lengthen/shorten line.
  • Another inch was added to the hemline.
Construction Techniques ~
  • I added a 9" invisible zipper to the back neckline instead of the button and loop closure.  I hate button/loop closures because they never stay close on me.
  • A vent was added to the back seam.
  • To make the neckline fit closer, I added a pleat to the neckline and stitched it down 3 inches.

I had to stop myself from adding even more techniques to this simple dress especially since I'm not sure that it's going to wear well.  I don't know what it is about me but I always seem to take things to the next level where sewing is concerned.  Anyway, once it's worn out and about I will decide whether or not to make the next two versions.  The fabric has been chosen, pre-washed, ironed and set aside for future versions.

More pics... 

Dress worn with belt purchased 
from The Avenue

Worn with self fabric tie

Worn with purchased sweater
from Issac Mizrahi/QVC

Back view of sweater & dress

Conclusion ~
This is a simple sew.  Great for beginners and easy for intermediate and advanced sewists.  I have a few more adjustments that I want to make to the pattern, if I make it again because this is not a silhouette that I normally wear.  The last time I made a dress with a tie waistline was in June 2008.  This dress is another step in my changing up my sewing routine and trying out some new styles. always more later!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Doesn't everyone do that?

Faye left this comment on the Valentino Panel Tried & True Dress post:
"You really know how to put a look together shoes and all."

You know that comment stayed with me all evening.  It kept tumbling around in my brain because my thought was, "Doesn't everyone do that?"  I mean when you're planning out your garment and then sewing it up, don't you audition the jewelry and shoes in your collection in your mind to see what will work with it?  I can't be the only one that does that right?

Please tell me that I'm not the only one that's bought fabric and made a garment to match a pair of shoes or a necklace?  Please tell me that others have done that too?!  I really don't want to be even more of a sewing freak because of that!  *LOL*

So this is the question of the day, "Do you plan your accessories out either before or during the sewing process?"  If you do, why?  If not, why not?  Are accessories and jewelry a secondary thing?  Or are they an integral part of your design?  Talk to me because I'm really interested in what you think!

I have been sewing and I have another piece or two to share with you. I recently received some good news and so my creative muse has been unleashed! *LOL*  I haven't started working on vacay pieces yet, that probably won't happen until next weekend because I think I can just bang out a couple of maxi dresses for vacation...and I'm refashioning (cutting off some hems) of a few other pieces.  I probably won't share those until after I return from vacation...but we'll see! 

Don't forget to talk back to me! always more later!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Valentino Panel Tried 'n True Dress

While I was working on this dress, using such fine fabrics, I truly felt like I was sitting at the grown-ups sewing table.  Honestly!  See I use nice materials and I make pretty garments.  But the fabrics used in this dress, from the Valentino panel to the china silk lining are all top notch pieces.  Using them just makes me feel like I've arrived! *LOL* 

You want to see pictures of the finished dress right?  So here you go:

Stats ~
Valentino Silk Panel
Black Silk Satin

Photo Courtesy of Mood Sewciety Blog

22" invisible zipper
China silk lining
Rayon seam binding
1" black lace
Farmhouse Fabrics Fusible Knit Interfacing

Sewing Machine Set-Up ~
**I used the straight stitch foot for my sewing machine.  
**The stitch length was set at 2.7
**Gutterman black thread

Construction ~
In my last post I described how I handled turning the panel into the dress front. The back of the dress and the sleeves were cut from the black silk satin which is a little heavier than the lightweight & airy Valentino panel used for the front. So I added some stay tape at the shoulder seams to assist with stabilizing the dress front and the back of the dress. After all of the work in this dress, I didn't want the shoulder seams to pull apart from strain.

The invisible zipper went in the back perfectly and then the lining was added.  For the sleeves, I cut off a 2.5" band of the black fabric at the hemline.  Then I added the 2.5" wide rose print band.  I left the band unhemmed until I could decide how wide I wanted the rose band to be.

Making Your Own Version ~
My dress is made from my TNT pattern.  If you'd like to make a similar type dress, I would recommend Vogue 8786...

I actually thought of using this pattern with the panel but didn't think I had enough of the rose portion of the panel for the front yoke.  Mood has a couple of interesting border prints, as well as an assortment of panel prints on their site that could be used to make your own version of my dress.

Conclusion ~
This dress is very light and airy.  It is amazing because the fabrics feel so wonderful against my body.  I'm thrilled that I was able to turn the Valentino panel into the vision I saw...the entire sewing journey was a joy especially since I ended up with a great new dress.

...and a few more pictures of me in the dress...

Dress back showing solid back and floral band on sleeves

Front neckline and side sleeve showing floral bands

Side view

Another view of the front

My daughter really loved how I used the print and I really hope that I did it justice.  I can't wait to wear it to work!  Finally, a parting daughter makes me laugh so hard when she's taking these pictures and then she continues to snap pictures while I'm cracking up... always more later!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Evening Update

I've been sewing though I have no pics.  It was a quiet day at home today which means no daughter and grandchildren, so no pictures.  I'll get them up as soon as I can.  However, over the last week I've become obsessed with this Coldwater Creek dress after I received an email from them showcasing their new summer dresses.  One of the dresses featured in the ad reminded me of Butterick 5211.  Now this dress has been in Butterick's pattern catalogue for several years and I've looked at it a couple of times but always passed it over.  

However, this year the temps have been terribly hot and since my office has been moved to another floor, our daily dress code has been loosened.  I mean on high holy meeting days we all revert back to black, navy and gray but when the office is not experiencing those days, I can wear bright colors and larger prints.  Also it's summer...and it's the summer of bright pops of color, huge floral prints, and bright abstract prints.  When perusing my summer wardrobe, I have a few dresses like this but nothing that works well with the high temps and high humidity we've been experiencing.

So I decided that since I have loads of material to create new dresses that I would delve into some of it and come up with a few new pieces to use with the Butterick 5211 pattern.  Now this dress doesn't appear on any of my sewing lists.  I saw it. I wanted it. I sewed it.  I even found a piece of fabric in the collection that was similar to the Coldwater Creek one...a green rayon print purchased last year from Fabric Mart.

I spent this afternoon putting it together.  Now this is a sack of a dress that's light and airy and will be perfect for hot summer days.  I pulled two more pieces of fabric to make additional versions but decided that I need to actually wear this dress before whipping up some more that may or may not be worn.  I don't mind sacrificing one piece of fabric but I'm not yet ready to give up two pieces that I really like!

So this was my quickie following my involved dress...because the Valentino Panel Dress is done.  Again pictures when my daughter shows up next because I've just not mastered the art of taking pictures by myself.  I have a hanger shot, I just don't think it does the dress justice.

However, I do have a parting shot to share...for the last few weeks I've been sitting with the curtains closed covering my fabric.  It hit me the other night that maybe the reason I've been buying fabric lately is because I have my inspiration covered up.  So here it is uncovered and the way I've had it for the past week...

I haven't bought a piece since...but boy do I see some garments I want to make! always more later!

Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm Leaving it All in the Front!

In my opinion, the most important aspect of making this garment work is ~ perfect pattern piece layout.  Laying the pattern on the panel to get the optimum effect was my first priority. To achieve that I made entirely new pattern pieces. These pieces allowed me to use a single pattern layout. That way I could most effectively use the fabric, as well as, have the ability to see how the pattern pieces lay on the fabric.

Background Information...
But before I even got to that point, I did a little research.  Gigi, who use to blog at "Gigi Sews" has a great blog post (yes, her blog is still up and accessible) on how to best use a large scale print called, "Pattern Matching Tutorial".  This is a fantastic post with great pictures that I read through a couple of times.  Gigi also did a series of posts on The Sewing Divas blog, called "Distinctive Prints" that I also referred to before working with my panel.

Why did I use these blog posts?  Because I've seen some of the garments that Gigi has made which have excellent pattern matching. I wanted to walk in the footsteps of someone with that kind of proven sewing experience and emulate it. Because to me, this dress will ONLY work if I'm very careful with the pattern placement on the dress front.  Can you tell that I was hyperventilating about this aspect of the dress' design, wondering if once again I've bitten off more than I can chew?

I laid the pattern pieces out several ways on the panel until I decided on the one above...which was really my first choice but I wanted to see the other options to make sure I wasn't missing something. Then I carefully pinned it all down and cut it out. Okay, honestly I laid it out, pinned it down and let it sit for a few days while I walked around it...stared at it...and let it marinate before I finally took the scissors to it!

Construction Techniques...
Since I have a limited amount of fabric for the dress front, I block fused the floral piece of the panel to insure that I wouldn't have to recut the facing piece.  

This was done to insure that the yoke piece 
was not distorted by my handling of it...

Here is the front stitched together...

I still have to make some decisions about short sleeves vs. sleeveless and I have to work on the back...but I took a breathe, put on my big girl panties and moved forward...I mean it's only fabric, right?! always more later!

Monday, July 16, 2012

July's Project of the Month

The Trendy Lace Dress was my June Project...something that took some planning and some care in it's execution.  My July Project will be based upon the beautiforus panel print that I got from Mood in June.  Since this panel is so special, I've really taken my time and thought CAREFULLY about how I want to use this fabric and what the final project should be. 

So let's start at the beginning...I've chosen to make a dress (surprise, surprise) and naturally it's a rendition of one of my TNT dresses.  I've made this version before, The Chadwicks Dress for spring/summer... 

and as a fall/winter dress from a cream plaid boucle... 

Both versions of this dress are worn often as I think this one will be too.

My materials (all purchased from Mood Fabrics):
The Valentino Panel Print
A black silk satin for the dress back 
A grey china silk for the lining

I think the key to getting what I want will be how I cut the panel for the front of the dress.  Yes, the panel will only be used on the front with a little around the sleeves for the back.  The dress will have a solid back and I'm going with this as a "design detail" and not as an omission ala funeral clothing!

Here's a picture of my very poor sketch...

This will be my roadmap.  I've already spent many hours on the ride to and from work, planning out the cutting and construction sequences and working out alternatives, if my original ideas should not work.  I'm getting excited about laying the scissors to this piece of fabric which I will do this weekend... always, more later! 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Another Butterick 5760 Cardigan

I was really inspired by Pauline's ponte knit versions of Butterick 5760 and I decided that I needed a ponte knit version of my own.  Now this couldn't be just any ponte knit would have to be one that matched at least two of my dresses.  Well as luck would have it, it matches three!  Here's Lulu modeling the finished cardigan:

Snapped closed

Back view with no 
center back seam this time

Snaps open

As you know I've made this cardigan before and the fabric is left over ponte from an earlier dress so basically this is a free piece, right? *LOL*

Some stats ~
Fabric ~ Purple ponte knit
Notions ~ Black Size 16 Long Prong Snaps

The last time I made this cardigan, I went my own way and didn't follow the pattern instructions to a "t".  However, I was very unhappy with the neckline binding because I didn't follow the instructions - believe me Carolyn does not always know best! *LOL*  So for this make (thanks Karen - love that word!), I decided that I would be a good little sewist and follow the instructions from start to finish...okay I didn't pay attention to hemming the sleeves but otherwise everything was done exactly as the pattern instructs. the binding turned out wonderfully...I was much happier with this rendition. But I was totally unhappy with the fact that the pattern has you insert the sleeves in the round.  I've been making my favorite Burda cardigan f-o-r-e-v-e-r and it has you insert the sleeves flat.  I much prefer that method...but trying to be a good little sewist, I did as the pattern said. Okay, on the next version that in-the-round insertion is being kicked to the curb...I will be inserting the sleeves flat...enough said about that!

Next was adding the snaps...I've had these long prong snaps for years and I was a little put off by how much work was involved in getting them onto a garment. My daughter used them in a couple of her pieces but I've had the supply and they've just sat.  However, I didn't want regular buttons on this cardigan...I wanted something a little different.  But I hadn't used the snaps and Snap Setter before. After reading the instructions and being unhappy with them, I decided to look for a video on YouTube and of course I found one:

And after viewing and using the video, I realized that I'm a visual girl...words without pictures just don't cut I got the snaps on but I was unable to get one at the top and I've decided to just leave it off.  I'm thrilled that I've managed to do this and thankful that I found a YouTube video to help me!  If you want to go down this road, I have just one piece of advice...mark the garment carefully. Otherwise you could end up with crooked snaps and I can just imagine that they are a b*tch to take off.

First snap put on the cardigan

Close up of the neckline

I bought my Snap Setter alongwith several sizes of snaps from Nancy's Notions...

Otherwise, I'm quite happy with this cardigan...especially since it will work with my quick and easy ponte knit dress from last it should, since it's the same fabric!

Of course, the floral linen Peyton dress...

...and even the new 2012 edition of Vogue 1250. 

See three dresses that this cardigan will work with and I haven't even looked to see if it will go with any of my spring/summer skirts.  A very necessary addition to my wardrobe, as well as, a good use of a large remnant!  I'm glad I finished this off.  I now have nothing hanging around the sewing room and I'm ready to move onto my July project...which I will be working on next weekend...and which I'm starting to get very excited about! always more later!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Quick Note

...with no pictures attached but a very heartfelt thank you!  Thank you for all of your very kind comments on my last two dresses...neither of which have been out for more than a quick photo shoot since I'm in the midst of intense meetings.

Your words of encouragement, your compliments and pats on the back, mean so much to me especially when I haven't seen my sewing machine for a minute and it will be at least another week before anything (besides the purple ponte knit cardigan - which I still have to write a post about) comes out of my sewing machine.

I may get some time this weekend to sew...but right now I'm thinking about sleeping the weekend away because work has been that we shall see!  But mostly, thanks for stopping by, oogling and commenting on the is soooooooo appreciated! always, more later!

p.s.  If I don't mention were I purchased the fabric from just assume Fabric Mart since almost three quarters of my collection is from there... 

Monday, July 09, 2012

Vogue 1250 - The 2012 Version

I cut this out Friday night and sewed it up Saturday afternoon...nuthin' like a TNT pattern to bring some sewing satisfaction...

I thought I did a good job of matching the paisley print but now I'm worried about how it appears at the bustline.  What do you think?  Is it too bullseye?  Will I need to wear it only with a sweater?  Don't worry you can answer honestly.  I'm gonna wear the dress anyway because the civilians will never realize!  *LOL*

Some stats:
Fabric ~
Poly ITY Border Print Knit

...and that's it!  Besides a little stay tape in the shoulder seams and some stitch witchery in the hem, there are no other notions needed.  That's part of what makes this dress so wonderfully easy to sew.  That and the fact that you just throw it on and wear it out the door!  So a few pics...

This is one of my all-time favorite dresses which is probably why this is my 6th version!  I know I said 7th in my last post but I was wrong. Since this one went together so quickly, I looked around for more knit fabric to make another one. But I came to my senses and just moved onto the purple ponte knit B5760 cardigan that I've already cut look for that one soon...followed by my big July project which I've planned out to a "T" I just need to get started on it!

A parting shot of me and The Little Prince who is getting bigger every day! always more later!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

A Lacy Tried and True

Lace pieces are in.  Lace pieces are so in that they are everywhere.  Earlier this season, I did a post about lace inspiration dresses and this version from my TNT pattern was one of the first garments I put on my spring/summer sewing list.  It was just a matter of finding the right fabric which I found earlier this year and dyed last month.  It was finally ready to be used...and this is the end result...

Some stats ~
Cotton lace - tea dyed to get the antique color

TNT dress pattern

22" invisible zipper
beige silk charmeuse fabric
striped bias binding
rayon seam binding

Construction ~
Okay this is my TNT dress pattern, there are no new construction tips. However, I did have to take a lot of care when applying the lace to the silk charmeuse underlining.  That was a three step process.  

*First the two pieces were pinned together using ALOT of pins to insure that the lace fabric was attached together everywhere.  
*Then I ran a basting stitch through the center of the two pieces and around the edges of the two pieces.  
*Finally the sides were serged together.

The point of all these stitches was to insure that the two pieces functioned as one. I didn't want the dress to be two pieces - a lining and the lace fabric...again going back to ease of wear. I also had to take care when inserting the invisible zipper. 

The cotton lace was very bulky in certain points so I wanted to leave some space for the fabric to meet but not get caught in the teeth.  Even stitching the seams had to be done more carefully so that I wouldn't catch any of the lace or the lining in the stitching.  

As well as putting up the one point I thought about just cutting around the lace motifs and leaving them as is.  But I thought of this great idea too late into the sewing process, because I didn't have enough full lace motifs to follow through.  I ended up adding a one inch hem, pressed up carefully and pinned at every motif.  I added rayon seam binding to the hemline and then carefully hand stitched it to the underlining.  Which ended up not being careful enough, since I had to go back in undo some of the stitching and sew it down again...but it was worth it!

Some final thoughts ~
*I had to take a lot of care with sewing this dress because of the thickness of the lace motifs.
*Even though I've made this dress several times, these fabrics caused it to fit a little closer than usual.  So I have very small seams to insure that it has the ease I want in the final dress.
*The silk charmeuse lining is inserted with the matte against the lace.  The shiny side looked too dressy for work.
*This was an expensive (for me) dress to make up ~ the cotton lace was $20 a yard and the silk charmeuse was $32 a yard.  Not exactly inexpensive but worth every penny because I got the dress I wanted!

Making your own version ~
Since my trendy lace dress is made from my TNT pattern, I'm once again featuring current dress patterns that you can purchase or may already have in your pattern collection, to make a similar dress.

In Conclusion ~
I'm glad that I've made my own version of the trendy lace dress and using this particular fabric presented enough of a sewing challenge to make this a very rewarding sew. This dress embodies the spirit of my "Ye Olde Familiar" series because the fabric is the essential element of the dress. So this is one more completed dress off of my sewing list. I'm now moving onto my July project!

A few more pics... always more later!


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