Sunday, March 27, 2016

Simplicity 1756: Skill Builder

My top is this striped peplum in poly chiffon from NY & Company 
(I've always loved their tops)

The year I started sewing I coveted this pattern! 
There weren't many versions made up but still - I wanted it! 

I was going to make it before as part of a wardrobe contest, cut the pattern out, but didn't have enough fabric. Then, I intended to use it for the current PR Wardrobe Contest (of which I've dropped out of), so when Michelle from Style Maker Fabrics contacted me and asked me to participate in her Spring Canvas Blog Tour, I jumped at the opportunity to choose a white fabric to use for my vest.

I am #7 on the tour so be sure to go back and check out the projects of the lovely 6 ladies that went before me!

I've wanted a crisp white topper for the longest and went for THIS cotton/linen blend.
1) For the crispness
2) Because it's lightweight (and summery!)
3) Because while lightweight, it's stable enough to handle the zippered welts I wanted to insert

As I mentioned, the pattern was already cut out - in a size 16. I'd already made flat pattern adjustments: Narrow shoulder, taking a tuck between shoulder and bust, and swayback.

Zip-It (NAYY) is my main go-to for interesting and/or single zippers (Otherwise it's Wawak all the way).

I was buying zippers for another project and picked up 4 of thsese. I HAD to have them! :)  I ordered these almost a year ago and was so excited that a project finally came up giving me cause to use them.

The vest comes with patch pockets -- which I am SO glad I didn't use! More on that later. 

I used Fashion Sewing Blog TVs tutorial for the pockets - she is so good. Interfacing. Careful marking. Careful stitching. It's certainly nothing you want to rush through!

They aren't perfect - next time I'll topstitch 1/4" from the zipper - but I was So proud of myself!!

I'd posted this on IG mid-construction.
always mind your marks!

My collar went in effortlessly, because I had everything properly marked and took my time.
I'm very happy with it!

All seam allowances are serged and pressed open. The fabric is fairly opaque, but the center back seam shows up through the fabric. I have no photos of the back because it started raining and my photographer ran in the house. She'd just did her hair. :) But this photo starts my issues with the finished project.

I think it looks like a lab coat.

And after I initially thought it, I couldn't shake it. Could. Not. Shake! I hoped the zippered pockets would help (see why I'm glad I didn't go with patch pockets?!) but I just don't love it :(

The pattern wasn't without problems. Not until after I was working overtime to press the collar did I question why the pattern had me interface both the upper and under collar. Even though the under(?) collar was to be cut on the bias. I questioned it and cut it on the fold, but my collar is much more stiff than it should be. And there's something weird with the way they tell you to finish the front facing when attaching it to the front.

Also, it is incredibly boxy and shapeless. And making it a size too large doesn't help (it was cut out in a 16 and I really needed a 14). I really like the back vents and the idea of it -- and the fabric truly is awesome! I may go back and try to nip it in through the waist. Maybe. I don't have an issue walking away from a pattern that isn't working though. And right now, I have so much on my plate that it isn't a priority. I'll toss it in the naughty box for now and see if I want to bother with it when I have time to sew again.

Even so, I think my next attempt at a sleeveless jacket notched-collar vest will be from a different pattern.

***I received the fabric for free from Style Maker Fabrics in exchange for participation on the tour.
Pattern choice and opinions (as per usual!) are completely my own.***

There are 5 more stops on the tour, the lovely Lori of Girls in the Garden is up next!

I'm moving soon and in full-on crazy mode. Then I need to finish the prom dress. BUT! I have a couple finished projects though that haven't made the blog! So I'll be scheduling those to post over the next couple of weeks. And I'll only be responding to questions in the comments. They are all appreciated though! Know that!!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Wagon Tumblin'

I've been very, very good about not purchasing fabric but I am itching for warmer weather and warm weather sewing.

When I started the PR contest I was determined to sew from stash. But we all know the temptation of NEW fabrics, right?! :)

I had a free shipping offer (for premium members) from Fabric Mart. I have been looking for *this* green gingham cotton shirting for AGES! Not lime green. Not hunter green. Just a nice spring green. This FM offering was made better by the fact that it's seersucker. Perfect for a casual top!

And then I looked at my other favorite categories - sateen, crepe, challis, ponte, double knit, jerseys and ITY knits. I know I probably missed out on some good knits since that sale just ended but probably all the better for my wallet.

peach crepe, green gingham shirting, 'papaya' jersey knit 
berry sateen, grey geometric double knit and army green crepe

M7167 jumpsuit, S2255 shirt, M7350 dress
V9032 pants, B6244 jacket, Burda 4/2015 dress

My spring/summer sewing doesn't appear very cohesive, I know, but I am filling gaps. I have things to go with these things -- and the items I've sewn for the wardrobe contest) -- plus I've filled a few holes with some RTW purchases. And a little splurging too.

J.Crew has never, ever been on my radar because OMG the pricing! But I saw this gingham jacket and just about keeled over from swooning so hard. It was steep, for sure, but I signed up for a credit card (don't worry - I'll pay it off asap! LOL!) for the 15% discount.

It's really, really, lovely!

It's a linen/cotton blend with lots of fun details. The jacket is unlined but the sleeves are faced AND lined. It has an optional drawstring across the back. I thas the fun pop of color in the bias tape and it fits very nicely (save for my bionic biceps).

I have a few things I already envision pairing it with so hopefully it'll be featured as part of some cute outfits soon!

On the cutting table is my TNT skirt, B5760 in this yummmmmmy denim look boucle from Fabric Mart:

Front and back of both shell and lining are constructed. Have to sew side seams on both, sew them together, and hem.

Now, if only spring would come back to the tundra...

Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekend in Pictures & Simplicity 2700

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU(!) for the kind words on my two new awesome dresses! :) I really love both of them and am grateful for the love!

I mentioned before that I am ready for spring and OVER my winter wardrobe. Trolling the stash, I found this brick-red wool/poly suiting from Fashion Fabrics Club. It was super cheap at $2.30/yd (they have good sales but I feel like their quality is far more hit-or-miss than Fabric Mart) but I scored and it was really great to work with!

It washed and dried well and sewing/pressing was no problem.

I made no flat-pattern changes from the last time I used the pattern (which was awhile ago and I don't have any of those pants in my wardrobe because they'd gotten too big and I'd taken them in once. A second set of alterations wasn't going to happen!). 

I ended up sewing 3/4" side seams on this pair though. I do *think* now that I can fix those high-hip wrinkles. I truly forgot how much I like this pattern. More of a trouser cut without being too full through the legs, and the nice, wide waistband makes them a hit for me.

These were hemmed long with a couple specific pairs of shoes in mind. But as you see here, I was losing daylight and just wanted pictures, so I grabbed the shoes I was wearing that day :) In the taller heels they don't pool at all.

I redid that fly topstitching once and wasn't going to redo it. I don't usually have an issue there so I can only assume I may have placed my zipper a bit too low, giving me an issue with the zipper stop.

I used these lovely shell buttons gifted to me by Carolyn -thank you again! :)

I left off the pockets and hand sewed the hem. 

I really love these and they look amazing with black/white tops -- of which I have plenty!

I started this Cynthia Rowley vest (S1756) that I have been wanting for a long time! I decided on this linen/cotton blend and I thought, "oh how cool! It'll be super casual and lightweight and..."


It looks like a lab coat. 

Could be that I actually wear one but...Let me tell you; I am SO glad I didn't use patch pockets or I probably would've tossed it. The zippered pockets are the only thing saving it but I fear they aren't enough.

More on that when I finish it.

My wonderful, super awesome and fantastic daughter received her financial aid award package - 90% of her first year funded via scholarships and grants!

I am one happy and proud mama!!! And relieved! I don't want her to have the burden of student loan debt that I have!

I want this little decorative sailboat from Target SO badly but every time I see it, that uneven line of paint stresses me out.

Because I learn (sometimes) I cut out several samples of satin for the prom dress and tested needle size, tension, stitch length, etc.

I don't have adjustable presser foot pressure but I did find that the satin likes loose upper thread tension, a moderate stitch length and to be kept taut while going through the machine. Seams were pressed and flattened with my psuedo clapper (e.g. a thick but smooth block of wood!)

No puckers! YAY! 

I have Lily WAY tall in this pic so the dress doesn't drag on the floor. I have to press the top of that slit a bit but hadn't tested pressing on the right side so I didn't dare touch the iron to it, even with the press cloth.

I used lining fabric for the underlay -- there'll be a layer of illusion over that and then the lace. But it's far more sheer than I bargained for so I may go back and use the satin. Doesn't seem like the lace will do much for coverage.

Also, I did a french seam on the illusion and it looks terrible to me. Will see how I feel about it after I recut the front bodice in satin. Oh and the client decided upon seeing this that the underlay needs to be sweetheart.

The back will be illusion only with partial lace (e.g. maybe up to the waist??). Details, details... ;-)

This was me today. All day. Life was HARD.

Oh and I am officially out of the Wardrobe Contest. Booooo!

I knew I didn't have time to be going off on tangents with this wardrobe. And I also knew I didn't want to sew to create a wardrobe for the contest but rather I wanted to create a casual summer wardrobe and enter the contest. Since certain parts aren't coming together, no need to stress over it. Aside from the chambray top and the white vest, I LOVE every other piece I've made. So I'm just going to stick to the original summer plans.

OH! I have to blog the failed M6965. Perhaps with the chambray shirt.  A post of failures. Hahahaha!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

2 New Dresses: McCall's 6884 and Vogue 8904

I'm so happy with these two!

I'm not 100% sure I'm going to finish the contest but no matter, I am off to a great start for my casual summer wardrobe!!!

I first attempted V8904 December 2014 (here). It was a disaster.

Mostly due to the fabric but I've lost enough weight that the size I'd originally cut fits much better now.

I got the striped jersey awhile ago and it felt a little too heavy at first for this pattern. The front and back are a basic tank dress and then the shingles (4 front and back on this view) are added. That is quite a bit of layering. But once I started working with it, it proved to be a nicely behaved jersey. Bonus - the edges don't curl after cutting. Score!

I cut a size 16 with no changes. I cut the front piece out and then the shingles. I marked the underlayer by folding up the paper and then making a dotted line with a fabric marker.

The shingles are the same front and back. Sooooo I was cutting everything right side up, single layer and cut out ALL of the back shingles. Also right side up.

When I went to attach the back shingles I realized my error. DOH. I had to eek out those additional layers and just barely made it! WHEW! But that meant not having the 3/4 sleeves I envisioned.

I attached the shingles on the sewing machine and then basted front shingles to front and back to back. I then serged the side seams.

I made no attempt to stripe match but it seems it went okay. Score!

I am very happy with the dress! Very happy!!! 

McCall's 6884 has been made a couple of times before and just makes me super happy. It's only time consuming because of hemming the fronts but otherwise it's such a quick project with lots of bang for the buck IMO.

I cut a size 16 as per usual for this pattern. I added black bands to the neckline and armholes after deciding to go with a colorblocked option.

Remember a couple years ago when this striped/floral print was huge?! I managed to snag 2 yards of this nice ITY from Fabric Mart back in summer of 2014 and have been hoarding it. Well, 2 yards was not enough for a maxi dress! But 18-month sewer me didn't know that :)

I was all distraught and was going to go with a short option when I remembered the version I made here. Ahhhhh I can use solid black and that'll be awesome!!! 

I absolutely ADORE this dress! I am certain this will be a go-to option this summer!

My posture is so bad. I swear my side seam isn't that crooked (on the bodice) but POSTURE!

I just love the floral print over the black & white stripe

Little bit of a split there! :-O 

LOL! But it isn't open or doesn't open very high when you walk.

Love. Love. LOVE!!!  I will probably make another one and add a couple of inches to wear it with heels. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

First Week of March: Gone!

I think time is passing by a little too quickly!!!  Just slowwwwww down 2016, sheesh!

So far this month I've made a pair of pants and a dress. I need to find some time to take photos because I hate having a backlog of stuff to blog! It's easy to forget details and specifics I want to point out when time passes between projects. 

Such is life, right?

I've been wondering if I'm going to finish the PR Wardrobe Contest and I think I may make it. The first 3 items below are part of my wardrobe. I have 3 items left to complete. 

  • McCall's 6884 in a floral ITY - LOVE THIS!!!! Can't wait to show photos!
  • Vogue 8904 in striped jersey - MUCH better result than my last attempt.
  • Burda 7136 in chambray - so far, not a fan of this Kaufmann chambray. It feels so much stiffer all made up than it did when the fabric came out the wash. I have to do the buttonholes then I plan on running it through a couple cycles to see if it softens.
  • Simplicity 2700 in this brick red poly/wool suiting - Love. Love. Love. I was looking for something else on the blog when I came across a photo of these and remembered how much I love the fit/details. V9032 is still my ace, haha! But these have some fun features like the super wide waistband and trouser-cut leg. 

So photos of those 4 soon! 

I received the lace for my daughter's prom dress (from Vogue Fabrics) on Saturday. We'd ordered a ton of swatches from a bunch of places (EOS, Sawyer Brook, Mood, maybe 1 or 2 others) and she really loved this floral motif and the color. 

She then picked out the BFF Collection dull satin in Buff from Hancock Fabrics. But we couldn't find a chiffon that we loved at SR Harris (I KNOW!) nor at Hancock.  I emailed Vogue and asked for suggestions to match the lace. So we have 3 new swatches of chiffon on the way. 

Also from Vogue I ended up ordering these seam tracers in 1/4" and 5/8". I've been working with Burda mag patterns so often lately I thought it was a good idea and a bargain at $3.69 each. Such a simple concept but it works!!

Often times I do just add SA directly on the fabric but I've totally avoided remaking items that I really liked because I didn't want to add SA again. LOL!

Lately, I've been tracing a pattern piece, adding SA, cutting it out, moving on to the next piece. It's felt like less of a chore--but this should help speed things along.

I also got a little haircut this weekend. Wasn't my intent originally and it took a few hours to grow on me, but I think I really like having it in "a style" vs just being there. I'm not into much morning prep so this makes it easier to look pulled together when you're lazy like me. ;-)

I want my bangs to grow out completely to go for this kind of longish bob:

The last thing I wanted to mention...I've been standing in front of my closet everyday feeling blah. And somehow, today it hit me! I've reached my "OHMYGOSH I'm so sick of winter and black and grey and DARK clothes!" point. It's over 60 degrees today in the tundra which for us, coming out of winter, may as well be 85. I'm ready to switch my closet over but...

I'm moving in a few weeks. Boooooo! I mean, YAY! But moving. Ugh.

So it makes no sense for me to lug out spring clothes for a couple of weeks. I'll just wait until I'm settled...Perhaps I will bring out a couple of brighter tops to get me through :)

Until later!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

February Wrap-Up

Well that month went by fast!

In February I sewed 11.75 yards.

Favorite: Aw man, it's hard to say! My work on the Simplicity shorts made me very proud! I ADORE the Burda athleisure outfit! And that Butterick skirt makes me HAPPY!!!!! Gosh and I love my Burda #trashbagtop. I can't decide. I just can't. February was a great month for me!

FAILS: None! Woooohoo! 

Accomplishments: After basting my Burda pants and having a wth moment when I realized the pattern was for stretch wovens, I made adjustments and made it work. I consider that an accomplishment! Also, for the first time ever, took the time to grade down a tall pattern (the sweatshirt) and it worked out just fine. Yay!

March Plans:

Hmmm...I'm still unsure if I'm going to finish the PR contest. I have 6 items completed (well, I have to do buttonholes on my chambray shirt, but that's not too much of a chore).  I finished the knit wrap dress, just need to wait to get photos.

I am swapping out one of my tops. I made up the body of the (barely) cropped Simplicity top but that ponte is just not good. It's kind of slick and slightly icky. Plus, I saw this super cool BCBG top I want to knock off and should it work out, I'll use that to enter into the Bargainista Fashionista contest too.

I am also swapping the romper for V8904 in striped jersey and the jacket for a sleeveless jacket vest. I was going to make this vest before so it's all cut out and adjusted, and the V8904 dress is cut out too. Hoping that moves things right along. (A girl can dream).

Using M6960 to knock off the BCBS top
V8904 will have sleeves

The updated color palette. I like it!

Lastly, I am awaiting the lace for the prom dress. I'm dedicating weekends to prom dress sewing - no sewing for me, only for prom - until it's done. So again, Not sure if the contest will be completed. No worries though if it isn't. This was more about me having a fun casual summer wardrobe and all of these pieces fit.

There won't be a CF seam on the dress - I had to take a tuck down the front - which will be transferred to paper. And I'm sure on the actual dress my waist seam will line up. Hahaha!

She had on a sports bra on this pic which...the first time she tried it on with a regular bra, the bust didn't look so smushed. So I won't worry about that.

The sharpie line...I was going to take a tuck through the back but decided to just shave it off the center and that worked out fine too.