Monday, May 30, 2016

The End of a Sewing Weekend

It started slow. I slept late on Friday probably because I got in late from my birthday celebrations on Thursday evening.

Dinner with friends, coworkers and a few sewing peeps you might recognize

Then we had drinks on the Monarch Rooftop Bar with a great view 
of the Empire State Building

My daughter and I on the train home

On Saturday I shopped online. Hey there were Memorial Day Fabric Sales and I had birthday money and gift cards to spend. Cause I'm not the kinda woman that holds onto those waiting for inspiration to strike. No, me I spend my funds/gift cards right there will be ALOT of packages arriving over the next couple of days.  I promise to share fabric buys here when they arrive.

Saturday afternoon I prepped a bunch of white fabrics for Concord Tees and a button up...and on Saturday night I finally cut something out and started to sew.  Sunday and Monday were good sewing days and I ended up with these finished pieces hanging in The Sewing Cave.

One pinstripe 4 gore denim skirt, 
the Ann Taylor eyelet and lace trimmed skirt, 
and another Pinterest inspired denim dress

I finished up early enough Monday afternoon to think that I could get another dress cut and sewn. However, I ran into some inspiration problems, so it's sitting on the cutting table waiting for me to figure out something to make it pop!

My daughter is scheduled to come by next Sunday to take pictures so blog posts will be up after that. Hopefully I will have figured out what to do with that linen dress laying on the table.

BTW, thanks for the suggestions on my last post. I have an idea on how to make the dress work and will pick up some trim this week. It will be applied next weekend and pics of that dress taken then too.

My company starts Summer Fridays next Friday where the office closes at 1pm every Friday until Labor Day in September. Hopefully that will translate into more sewing time for me since I have no vacation planned for this summer...well that's the Fridays I don't have things scheduled though I seem to have quite a few activities this summer! *LOL*

Anyway, there is sewing going on and items coming off my to-sew list. Actually it's kinda encouraging to have so many "DONE". There are even a few holes appearing in the fabric shelves...not sure if that's from actual garments sewn or the fabric I have stocked on top of everything that I'm "planning" to sew! But I feel like progress is being made and it will be shared with you soon. always more later!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A list and some free time

Okay more like a couple of days off for Memorial Day weekend...but I do have a list! A sewing list that is...and except for the fact that I babysat the grandbabies last night for their parents date night...I'm staying home to sew.

One of the good things about my job now is that I no longer work the horrible hours I use to, so I haven't felt the need to hunker down and sew. In my old life, that would happen every three months like clockwork. Now that I have my life back, I don't feel that need as greatly anymore.

However, the feeling is here and very strong my fellow sewing friends. So I'm going to spend the weekend buried in the sewing cave, working on a few things from my list.  Because I'm sewing for the weekend, that will mean no pics and no blog posts...but if you follow me on Instagram, I will more than likely send some update posts or food requests through there! hahahahahaha!

I worked on this pattern last weekend ~

Which resulted in this dress ~

...and even though it's been hanging for a week...I'm still not sure I like it...because it needs something. I will address this dress this weekend too.

Anyway, just wanted to drop in and let you know that I'm around, sewing, and I'll be back with some finished garments soon!

If you're in the US, hope you have an amazing Memorial Day weekend! always more later!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Pinterest Denim Dress

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

The Pinterest denim dress ~

My version of the dress ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 20, 2016

Featured Sewist

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

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Denim & Faux Leather Dress

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

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

Here is what I came up with ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Vogue 2647 - The Dress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A few more pictures of the finished dress ~

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Does Social Media Affect What You Sew?

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 01, 2016

May Day

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

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

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

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

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

This silhouette is similar to the Sewn Go Anywhere Dress

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

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


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