Saturday, May 31, 2014

Vogue 8995 - The Reveal

This dress was a joy to make ~ truly!  It was a challenging sew but not a frustrating one.  You know the challenging ones where things just don't go as planned vs. the ones that are challenging because the construction is so involved. Challenging but fulfilling...

I definitely plan to make a fall/winter version of this using pleather inserts and a wool crepe.  I mean all of that pattern work shouldn't just sit in the pattern envelope/folder!!!

Some stats ~
A mediumweight linen from Ebad Fabrics from the collection

22" beige invisible zipper
nude bemberg rayon lining
seafoam green rayon seam binding
yards and yards of white piping

All of the pattern alterations and construction information is in the previous posts. The highlight of this dress is the piping. It was a lot of work and time consuming but so worth it in the end. This was the perfect dress to sew over a three day weekend because I had time to enjoy the journey.

Some more pics ~

Originally I was going to add a cardigan to the dress. I'd picked an amazing paisley cotton knit from the collection to use for the cardigan. I've put the knit back on the shelves. This dress deserves to be worn on it's own.  You need to see all of the piping work that I put into the dress.

I have to tell you that this dress is a closer fit than I normally wear. I'm not sucking in my stomach that much ~ hahahahaha! I'm counting on the linen fibers to relax and give me a little more space. Also, the curved seams which the piping highlights, give definition and shaping to the dress. IF Vogue graded past a 24, I would probably be a 26/28...yeah I ain't a skinny chick at all! However, this silhouette works for any size if you need a pretty new summer dress...I highly recommend this pattern to my plus size sisters.

One last picture of the dress' piping details... always more later!

Friday, May 30, 2014

This is what 55 looks like...

I am 55 today and I'm thrilled.  Earlier this year, I was a little freaked but as I started to meditate on it, I realized a few things...
  • I'm alive and in relatively good health.
  • I've lived longer than several of my high school classmates.
  • I've lived longer than several of my college classmates.
  • I have three healthy and beautiful daughters.
  • Four amazing grandchildren.
  • My Mother is in relatively good health and "right" every day!
  • I like who I am and try to live the life I want to every day.
  • Beauty fades but the essence of you lives on.
  • Still don't need to dye my hair yet but I plan on going gray gracefully.
  • Kindness trumphs everything.
  • A job/career is just that.  It doesn't comfort you when things go wrong. It doesn't rejoice in your personal triumphs ~ it is just a source of income. Don't fall for the hype!
  • Sexy is confidence ~ no matter what age you are!  
  • It doesn't matter if I'm not as young as I once wisdom and experience make up for it.
  • More disposable income is a good thing!
  • Which allows me to have the sewing machines I want and to buy as much fabric as I can cram into the sewing cave.
  • I'm looking forward to retiring and doing what the hell I want!
I have either 7 or 10 years left to work...haven't decided yet...but I am thinking and planning for what I want the next phase of my life to look like.

So I'm going to revel in this year of 55, appreciate it, and make it count!

Finally an Oprah quote ~

"If you're blessed enough to grow older, there's so much wisdom to be gained from celebrating the process with vibrancy and vigor and grace." always more later!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Vogue 8995 - Construction Details

First I need to say that my alterations worked using the smaller of the waistline inserts...and I was totally thrilled!  I will make a note on the file folder so that I know for the future which version of the pattern piece to use when I make this dress again...because yes I will be making this again!!!

Working with the pattern pieces was like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. I had to fiddle with the side pieces a little before I could get them to work together well. Then I basted all of the pieces together to get a visual and to see if the sizing was right.

Again it worked...*sigh of relief* the basted dress was taken apart and I started to add the piping to all of the seams.

Adding the piping ~
The part that makes the dress sing is the white piping...which took quite a bit of work because each piece of piping had to be pressed flat, then hand stitched to the seam prior to stitching the seams together. Finally I added a little topstitching on the top of the seam to insure that the seam stayed flat. 

Let's not forget the pressing time needed to insure that all the seams were laid flat, as well as, a little heat and pressure to make sure the joins weren't bulky.

As previously stated, piping was added to every seam, as well as, the neckline and the sleeve hems. For the piping at the sleeve hems, I added a band to the bottom of the sleeve hem for a clean finish.

Adding piping to dress front

Adding piping to front seam with the join

For how I add piping to a seam, please check this post. I wrote this back in 2008 and I still add piping the same way.

Other construction info. ~
The pattern instructions tell you to cut the lining pieces from the same pattern pieces that you use to make the dress. I've never understood that. Personally I want a lining to cover the seaming, not compete with/rub against it, and is smooth next to my body. So I did what's considered a no-no and cut the lining from the front and the back dress pieces. 

I understand the reasoning, not wanting the lining to be distorted by using the fashion fabric as the pattern. I've just never had a problem when I've chosen to go this route. However, I'm not encouraging you to follow in my rebellious footsteps!

There were three choices in my lining stash that I could have used for the lining.  I went with the nude lining because it wasn't as opaque as the white and the green made the fashion fabric look weird. It's a straight forward lining. No lace at the hemline, just a double stitched hem.

Otherwise, the construction was pretty straightforward. I didn't need the pattern instructions after completing the dress front. Although the pattern tells you to line the sleeves, my personal preference is unlined so that's how I sewed them.

Conclusion ~
I love the detailing on this dress. All of the additional time and work needed to add the piping was so worth it. The embellishment really gives the dress that extra special something.

Close up of the piping on the neckline & front of the dress

Piping and banded hemline on the sleeve

Here is a picture of several pieces of the dress with the piping added...

So the final post about this dress will be the reveal...I have to admit that all of the work was worth it...the finished dress is pretty awesome.

From the Vault ~
The young me as a senior in high school. I was 18 years old. The white dress photo is from my Debutante Ball, the suit my Easter Outfit that year made by me, the center pic is of me and my cousin after church at his "Going To The Army" party. Gawd, I was thin wasn't I? always more later!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Vogue 8995 - The Start of the Journey

I knew I wanted to sew this pattern as soon as it appeared online.

Especially since it reminded me of Vogue 8799 which I made in August 2012...though I was never thrilled with my interpretation. I mean I finished the dress and wore it then and again last summer, but it really wasn't the silhouette I wanted.  The line drawing above is the silhouette I was attempting to create.

So for this version, I couldn't decide if I wanted a black and white combo or a single color with some type of embellishment.  I finally decided that I wanted my dress to say spring! So I chose a lt. spring green linen that had been in the collection for awhile and some white piping to embellish the seams.

Pattern Alterations ~
I know making a muslin is very popular in the home sewing community but I hate making muslins.  Hey, just my point of view.  So I made pattern alterations by using my TNT dress pattern as a basis for checking the pattern pieces.

Back Pattern Pieces:
I started with the back pieces first.  I'm presently using a 4 piece back on my TNT dresses for a better fit. So I used my TNT back pieces to check the Vogue back pattern pieces. I ended up making a few small changes to the Vogue pieces.

1.  I decreased the shoulder seam pattern on each piece by 1/2".
2.  I added an inch from the waistline to the hemline of the back side seam.
3.  This was done to match my TNT pattern and to insure it would fit.

Those were the only changes I made.

Front Pattern Pieces:
This is where it got interesting. How to enlarge the pieces without losing the design silhouette?  Of course I started by laying the pattern pieces on top of my TNT dress pattern.
  • There are four pattern pieces that make up the front of the dress and after laying them on my TNT dress front I had to decide how to alter each piece to make them work.
  • My first thought was not to add any inches to the center insert. On the pattern envelope those center front seams curve, however, if you look at the line drawer above, those seams are straight. I decided to go with the straight version because it gave me some space and was a simple space addition to the pattern. 
  • The second piece I worked with was the top bodice piece because I only had to change the shoulder shape to match the change I made to the back piece.
  • The bottom skirt piece was next because it only needed width added at the center front seam.
  • The piece that presented the most challenge was the waist insert. Of course it was because besides my bustline that's where I carry the most weight. I made several alterations to the pattern and just couldn't decide if the changes would work. So since I have five yards of fabric, I cut the pattern piece both ways...extra large and medium large.

Smaller version of the waist insert

Larger version of the waist insert

I decided I would baste the dress front pieces together and the piece that worked best would be the one that I'd use. Fine piece of pattern altering that was - NOT! But I was getting beyond my spacial abilities. I just couldn't see how the pieces would work together and I'd rather have cut out two versions of the piece and switch out whichever one worked best.

After working with the pattern I decided that I wanted to make the short sleeve version of the dress, so the sleeve pattern also had to be altered to work with my bodacious biceps.
  • That was accomplished by making a pattern sandwich ~ my TNT sleeve pattern, then the Vogue 8995 sleeve pattern piece which I sliced and spread then a piece of tracing paper to make the new sleeve.  
  • This way I didn't alter the sleeve cap on the original pattern piece and the sleeve would still fit into the armhole.  
  • I just gave the sleeve width and additional length so that it would work for my body.

Pattern Sandwich

Sleeve traced

Finished sleeve

After all of this ~ which btw took most of the day, I moved onto cutting the fabric.  Cutting and construction will be in the next post. always more later!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Lilac Dress without the Gray

I definitely started this journey with a necklace as the inspiration and two fabrics from the collection. However, actual weekend sewing never yielded the cardigan. That doesn't mean that I'm not going to make it...I just didn't get to it yet.

So a few pictures of me wearing the dress instead of Lulu ~

Dress with RTW cardigan - how I will wear it 
until the gray cardigan is made

All of the information regarding the construction of the dress is in this post.

I spent three of the five days I was off working on Vogue 8995. I started tagging the pictures I showed on Instagram with the hashtag epicsew (#epicsew) because it was a very involved sew. I finished it this morning so the posts regarding the pattern alterations (which took one full day) construction, and the reveal will be shared during the week.

Since I highlighted the new baby in my last post - this one has my first granddaughter in it.  Thanks everyone for the very kind comments you've left on the grandbaby pictures and "the vault" pictures. I have just one more vault picture left to share later this week. always more later!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Updating an Outfit

I'm seeing a lot of seersucker this spring! I like seersucker alot.  It's a cool fabric that's available in loads of color and seems to scream easy breezy summer days.  I made this outfit back in 2007...

...and recently thought about it again. I was moving clothing around in the closet today and found this suit in the back of it.  As I touched it, I thought it would be great if it had a matching straight skirt. Giving me a new suit for work this summer.

A trip through the fabric collection and I realized that there were still 2 yards of the fabric left. So using my TNT elastic waist skirt pattern, I whipped up an unlined version to go with the jacket.

The skirt took about an hour to make.  It has two side seams, a back seam with a vent and 1" non-roll elastic in the waistline casing. Oh and I pressed the hem up with stitch witchery, no sewing because I didn't want the line of stitching across the bottom. Seriously easy.  I whipped this up while my grandson sat and watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the sewing cave with me...y'know the theme song is running through my head now and it will take forever to get out of my mind...anyway, finishing it off means that I now have a great new outfit for work with a minimum amount of effort.

The grandchildren and their Mom are here tonight and tomorrow. Sammy just turned four months...isn't she gorgeous?! She really reminds me of the Little Prince when he was that age...

...and another picture of me from the vault...

Here I am pregnant with my third daughter and her two sisters.
I was 30 wearing a Me-Made maternity dress.
(BTW, Sammy's mother is the baby on the side of the chair!)

Finally, I have pictures of the lavender dress and will share them next. always more later!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Elliott Berman ~ Have you been lately?

The last time I was at Elliott Berman's was for the PR Little Black Dress Event. There was so much to do and so many people to talk to that I never looked at the fabric. I've been meaning to get back ever since. I got the chance to on Thursday. 

I love the entry way to Elliott Berman...

...which is located at 235 West 35th Street on the 7th Floor.  The hours are Monday through Friday 9am-5pm. Sorry but they aren't open on Saturdays. We asked Eugenia why and she said it's because the building they're located in doesn't open on Saturdays...sad right?!

However, people EB was as wonderful as the last time I'd been...and that was prior to the PR Party.  First, the fabric was amazing as always!

The awesome thing is that they've designed a back room to hold even more fabric!  Peoples, there were awesome pieces from top notch designers housed here...and there was a lot of drooling going on between me and my companions!

Eugenia and Oonaballoona checking out the back room

I always find the most beautiful pieces of fabric here. This dress and jacket was made from Elliott Berman fabric, as were these cardigans and the Olivia Pope tunic...which are all still in the wardrobe. They have quality fabric that has staying power!

BTW, Bina sent me this picture of her daughter's dress made from the same black and white silk/wool gazaar that I used for the Olivia Pope tunic.

Isn't this beautiful?!

So if you haven't been lately or if you're planning a visit to NYC anytime soon, I highly recommend that you take a trip to Elliott Berman!  But just in case you're not in NYC and won't be visiting, there is always the website.  Starting May 24-26th, they are having a Memorial Day sale.  20% off your entire order by using the code ~ MDAY20.  Or you can become a "friend" of Elliott Berman on Facebook and enter their weekly fabric giveaway.  Loads of ways to experience the wonderfulness that is Elliott Berman!

Of course I didn't leave empty handed...these two pieces followed me home.

A digital print polyester charmeuse

A french viscose knit print

I'm not even going to put these on the fabric shelves. If I don't get to both of these this weekend, I will next weekend. I just don't need to add to the fabric multiplication that's presently going on in my sewing room!!!

I hope you'll experience the "magic" of Elliott Berman soon! always more later!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Is Your Garment Free...

...when you sew from stash?  Or the collection as I like to call it?

See, I'm not buying any fabric in the foreseeable future.  Not because I don't want any but because it's started to crawl up the basement steps again and I just need to sew from the collection.  I honestly can't think of anything I'd want to buy...notice I didn't say need...even though I still open every Fabric Mart, Michael Levine, Mood and Sawyer Brook sale email I receive.  Something about the word "SALE" that triggers something in my brain e-v-e-r-y-t-i-m-e! *LOL*

But I'm committed to...well for the sewing from the collection. I've picked out my next project and realized that the fabrics are O-L-D!  I bought the linen like ten years ago from Ebad Fabrics in NYC...and the paisley cotton printed knit was gifted to me by a friend when my daughters were 11 and 12, so like 14 years ago!

Ebad Fabrics - 550 Eighth Avenue - NYC

I even remember the stories for each piece of fabric.  Where I was when I bought the linen.  Who I was with.  How heavy it was to get home!  Or how I lingered over my friend's fabric closet, touching all of the pieces when she said I could take a few pieces home with me...which meant the world to me because I was living on a very tight budget at the time.

So if I was doing a cost analysis, would these be "free" fabrics because they're so well aged that it doesn't even matter what I did or didn't pay for them?  Do you consider well aged fabric free when you finally sew it?  Or do you always add the cost of everything ~ fabric, notions, thread, pattern ~ to determine what your outfit actually cost?

This is my question of the day!  Talk back to me.  Do you believe in free fabric?  If so, how long does it have to be in your collection/stash before it's free?  Or is the cost always counted in the final total?!

Finally...another trip down memory lane...after my 6th grade graduation pictures at home: always more later!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lilac and Gray Pieces ~ The Dress

I was inspired by this dress from Talbots ~

I just loved the pretty lilac color and how it screamed spring. But this is a very simple design and after handling the fabric I realized that I wanted more seaming detail in my dress.

Then I saw this dress in the latest Jessica London catalog where the empire waistline was highlighted and it looks like there's some seaming detail on the bodice.  Now whether it's there or not, doesn't matter because it did set my mind spinning. So I decided to add some additional seaming to the bodice of my dress.

I'm using the lilac ponte from this post to make my mashup of these two dresses.

Pattern Alterations ~
I've made so many versions of my TNT pattern that it's just a matter of finding pattern pieces I've already traced to use when sewing another version. So of course, I used an already altered piece as my jump off.  Then I cut it up to add a few more seams. See a mashup design.

Bodice pattern cut at the empire waist
Then tracing paper added to start the additional alterations

To get the triangle design on the bodice front:
*I picked the center point at the neckline
*Then I drew a diagonal line from the center front 
to the hemline on both sides of the bodice

5/8" seam allowances were added to all of the pieces

Then the new pattern pieces were placed on the original
to insure that the new pieces would fit together correctly.

Embellishing the Dress ~
I used topstitching to embellish the dress and to add some zing to a basic dress. There is a lot of topstitching in the dress.  Every seam was topstitched including the hem of the dress. This topstitching is what gives the dress flava to me.

The bodice front with the topstitching

Close up of the triangle insert on the bodice

Here is a sneak peek of the dress on Lulu with the inspiration necklace ~

Some stats ~
Fabric ~
A lightweight ponte with quite a bit of stretch from Fabric Mart (sorry but it's no longer available on the site.)

Notions ~
22" bone invisible zipper
1 1/2" wide white bias binding
strips of ltwt. fusible interfacing
twill tape

Construction Techniques ~
Since it's another version of my TNT dress, my construction sequence was completed by what made sense to me.
  • The dress bodice was constructed first, topstitched and attached to the skirt front.
  • The back sides were stitched together, then topstitched, and the invisible zipper inserted.
  • One inch strips of ltwt. fusible interfacing was placed on the back center seams prior to the zipper insertion to stabilize the area.
  • I used a little twill tape in the shoulder seams to stabilize them.
  • Topstitching was achieved by using the #5 utility stitch on my Janome MQ8900. I changed the stitch length to 4 which makes a more pronounced and noticeable topstitch. 
  • Since the dress is unlined, I added binding to the neckline and armholes then topstitched the binding down.
  • Stitch Witchery was added to the hemline and it too was topstitched.
A few pictures of the dress' insides ~

Inserting the invisible zipper - added fusible interfacing
strips to stabilize the center back seam

Close up of bodice seaming and bias binding 
finishing for the neckline and armholes

It's weird having the guts of a dress exposed
because this dress is unlined.

A few final thoughts ~
On my AT Black Lace Ponte dress post there were a few comments about the details I include in my garments.  This dress is no exception.  Even though it's unlined (I plan to wear a slip with it) changing up the bodice and adding the topstitching really took the dress' construction to another level.  It also made a rather simple sew timewise, a much longer sew.  

Honestly though, this is way I like to sew now...using a simple silhouette and taking it to the next level by adding seaming or embellishment details to make it slightly different from the norm. I think this is why I like garments from the 60's so much...they are modern-ish...yet they have amazing details that make each garment distinctive!

If you're interested in using a pattern presently on the market to make these changes, try this one:

Sewing this dress was the run up to my sewing vacay.  It really helped me get into the zone ~ where I need to be ~ so that my time in the sewing cave will be productive.  I only have four items on my "To Sew List" ~ 1 new Vogue dress pattern, a TNT cardi, then a top and skirt also from a new Vogue pattern. I'm hoping that I can get all of these pieces sewn or almost completed during that time.

I will have modeled shots of the dress and the Burda gray knit cardigan on the blog soon.

One last thing ~
I loved Michael Jackson. Was truly devastated when he passed away so young...because when I was 11 I KNEW I was going to marry him! *LOL* Anyway, I've spent the weekend blasting this song from Michael's new album in the sewing cave...Michael and my favorite little N'Sync boy - Justin! Enjoy!!!! always more later! 


Related Posts with Thumbnails