Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New Look 6936 - a found object...

I've been on a bit of a quest lately, trying to get the upper hand on all that fabric stashed in bins in the loft. Because so much of it is pieces and bits. Why have I been keeping it all?

My first move was to take a critical look in my closet, which is home to fewer garments than it housed in January - the result of my closet bust and donation gig. But what about those things I really like, mostly because of the fabric, but don't wear?

I've taken my favorites and actually redrafted/resewn a lot of them. Whatever didn't make the cut got tossed. For good.

When I say tossed - I donate anything that's wearable. What doesn't suit me might be a glad find for someone else.

Anyway - this morning I pulled out the bin that's dedicated to knit 'scraps' and remnants. And I came across a whole dress! I made this for Jungle January 2016. But I guess I didn't like it :-) I've made it twice in the past, 2012 and 2013, and liked both dresses. I donated the short version from 2012, because I just didn't wear it, and I had no occasions in the offing. But the 2013 version is still in play.

Now - this one. I pulled it out - it was totally put together but had unfinished sleeves, hem, and waist casing. And an incredibly high neckline! I trimmed the latter, bound it with navy poly crepe, and attacked all the rest. And voila - a dress I really like. In fact, I'm wearing it as I write.

This is a nice pattern with lots of options:

On to my morning's work...

This ITY knit jersey is from Fabric Mart, and I had 5 yards with which to work. Which was a good thing, because I didn't want to end up with a very large lily splashed across the girls or my fantail. Large prints can be a real challenge! But I think I handled this one pretty well.

So, mark one up for a great save...this is perfect for home, very comfortable, keeps me just warm enough.

While messing around in that bin, I found loads of ITY remnants that would work together. So now I'm think about doing a version of Marcy Tilton's Vogue 9108, which includes the top, dress, and leggings. I bought the pattern when it came out, it's one of the few Marcy Tilton art-to-wear patterns that I really like. What fun piecing ops and such becoming lines.

However, even this one has some features that I'll decline - like the back treatment. Looks great on the model, but I cannot even imagine how those straps would work for me in real life. I'll try to capture the lovely lines of the back skirt, in a back bodice that's comfortable and wearable.

Happy Tuesday! Coco

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Butterick 6215 Tunic - Sunday Fun Day!

Well, that old August moon has had me up three mornings in a row at zero-dark early. I'm usually up by 5 a.m. anyway, but 3 a.m. is, well, earlier. However, I've always enjoyed the quiet and stillness of the early morning hours. They go great with fresh coffee.

I have a TV in the loft and watched listened to The Incredible Dr. Pol reruns for about 4 hours this morning, finishing this cute top.

I've liked this pattern ever since I found it - it's kind of funky, kind of Lagenlook, and it has lots of mix-match potential:

Last year I sewed View A and completely redrafted it to use fitted sleeves. That was a lot of work, and, afterwards, I didn't like it. The sleeves were stuffy looking and just didn't meld with the ruffle. This time I sewed View C, and I left those sleeves alone!

A few notes:

  • I sewed the Medium. Yes, it appears to have a lot of ease, but the Small would have grabbed me under the arms. And it's supposed to be full and swingy.
  • No pockets. IMHO, those are some weird pockets.
  • As with my first version, I brought the center front hem down a bit. The original curve line is just too extreme for my taste. 
  • And I added 1.5" to the hem, front and back. 
On Emile - I Iove that hi-lo hem:

The neckline is faced - and the facing fits! But be sure to staystitch both the neckline and the yoke edges before sewing. The instructions remind one about the yoke, but forget to mention the neckline. And it's needed - there's a lot of bias in the front, back, and yoke neckline edges.

Facing: cotton/poly broadcloth, which is more stable than challis.
Now the challenging part - my fabric. This is a pretty simple pattern, just seams, nothing fancy. My first version was cotton lawn, which is easy-peasy to sew. But this time I used rayon challis, which squirms, eludes, escapes, ravels... Aack. I spent more time pressing, pinning, and basting, then I did sewing. 

But it was worth it. This is incredibly comfortable to wear, and I like how it looks!

Pants - Pattern Emporium Harem Pants in ITY knit
I debated adding this next bit - but I will. Please please don't sew the armhole and sleeve the way Butterick suggests. If you look at it carefully, this approach leaves lots of raw edges at the armhole. Yuck.

An alternative: I serged the side seam allowances, continuing about 1" into the armhole area. Then I stitched the sides with a 5/8" seam and pressed them open. When I hemmed the sleeve, everything came out nice and tidy. This approach, or a variation, works with just about any 'kimono' sleeve.

Parting shot: It's Sunday, and my sewing loft has reached it's maximum messiness level. But I don't mind. 

I hope everyone is enjoying a safe weekend,

Tchau! Coco

p.s. Blogger got really wild this morning and published this 2 times, plus put 2 drafts in my files as well. It needs coffee!

Monday, August 15, 2016

A balancing act...

Balancing. No, not my life - my dress!

In my original post of this dress, I was contemplating those sleeves. They just seemed a little too much for the dress. And I suggested that I might rework them.

But I didn't - instead I added a waistline feature to offset the sleeves, and, as it happens, bring some interest to the front of the dress.

This didn't happen overnight - I tried on the dress a couple times, fiddled with the sleeves. Nope. Nothing. Thought about ditching it! It kind of had me at a stopping place with my sewing. Thank goodness, somewhere around midnight Saturday, the idea of a tie hit me.

Lots of seam ripping, draping, messing around, removal of elastic in the front waistband, and re-sewing later...a tie I really like! The basics of the tie pattern:

The wide end is placed in the side seam, with 1 3/4" above the waistline seam, and 1" or so below it. And I added a 'preventer' belt loop at center front to keep the knot in place.


 I'm super happy with the result...

So now I can think of my next project. Actually, I might try a tie on this dress, which has been hanging in the loft, taunting me since I disparaged it.

What is it with me and tie-front dresses this month? If someone would just create a pattern for the Mociun dress, I wouldn't have these challenges!

Parting shots: I finished my T-Shirt Graffiti pen escapade with my Willow tank, Washed and dried, pretty nice for a first attempt with these fabric pens.

And Monday, Monday. I started the day with a 3-hour wait at my Honda place, while they replaced an air-bag that's been recalled. I almost finished this Felicity slouchy hat. I love love this pattern by Wanett Clyde. Check out those crystal polo beads, totally inspired by Roobeedoo's beaded Amulet shawl, which is absolutely stunning.

Ciao! Coco

Thursday, August 11, 2016

McCalls 6552 Fashion Star Dress - revisiting...

I've been rummaging my pattern stash, looking for something different to sew, because I've been so underwhelmed by pattern releases all year. And I have so many patterns that I can mash-up elements for something new. But I found one - I made this pattern way back in 2012, when it first appeared, and I thought it was a nice little dress. But I had some issues with it, for which I totally blame myself: I used polyester seersucker and lined it. It was incredibly hot and uncomfortable to wear - so I didn't.

So I pulled out a cotton calico from JoAnns that I've been avoiding. I just don't like the print! That's awful, isn't it, to blog about something one just doesn't like? But I was thinking 'muslin' - I wanted to see if a calico, one of my favorite summer fabrics, would work.

Got a little peek-a-boo going on...
And actually, I quite like the calico. But as so often happens, I discovered a little problem with the pattern design: those kimono sleeves are big and might even look a top heavy on the dress. I didn't feel that way about the seersucker version, which has more drape. But, hey, I'm not going to wear this in charmeuse, crepe, or jersey knit in 90+ degree weather!

Mr. Michael Phelps has nothing over me on wingspan... I'm loving the Rio Olympics!

So, I'm thinking about redrafting the arms - there's plenty of fabric in them to play around. Why bother? Because I love the lines on the bodice and skirt...

About that peek-a-boo front. It's really not 'bad', and a little cami-bra would add some modesty. I'm just feeling lazy this morning.

I redrafted the front on my original version, so that it has a 3.5" crossover (info and pics in the first blog post). And this bodice is the same. Ah-hem - without the change, this bodice would be open to somewhere above my navel...which qualifies it for a very sexy nightie.

Just a couple sewing notes:
  • The skirt is short - I didn't add to it and barely managed a 3/4" hem (I'm 5'7").
  • I don't care for the suggested finish on the neckline, so I used self-fabric bias binding, finished to the outside for comfort. I used my favorite 1/4" quilting foot, Juki foot P - it positions the needle at the perfect place for top-stitching the binding...

  • OK, a gratuitous shot of favorite Juki feet. Mr. I, on the right, positions the needle 3/8" from the fabric edge. How useful is that! I've collected about 60 feet from various machines, and this is the only true 3/8" foot I have.

  • Finishing the curve in the armhole - kimono sleeves can be tricky, kind of tight and awkward, and it's nice to relax the curve. I sewed it with a 5/8" seam allowance and trimmed it on the serger. Opening the curve (kind of pulling it backwards), as it goes under the needle, adds a little ease in the seam. 

  • The pattern has a self-fabric drawstring, inserted in a casing formed from the 7/8" seam allowance at the skirt/bodice join. Kudos to McCalls for at least using a wider SA, something that's often overlooked in other patterns. Nonetheless, I used a 1" seam allowance, which gave me comfortable room in the casing - and I inserted 1/2" knit elastic, no drawstring. IMHO it's a little classier without it.
  • And I added patch pockets across the side seams, 9.5" wide and 7.5" high (avoiding the floppy pocket bag of an in-seam pocket). Since this is a simple cotton, I didn't line the pockets. But I did finish them on the inside. 
A bottom corner of the pocket
Parting shot: 

The Zika virus is a very real concern in south Florida. Not every case gets in the news - it's been reported just 10 miles south of me. And Weston is fogging and spraying. I can really see the results, as my butterfly population has gone from clouds of the lovelies to just 2 or 3. So - I've emptied some of my bird baths, and I clean/refresh the two larger ones every day. Mosquitoes hatch so quickly. We don't get killing freezes down here, so the problem is likely to stick around...

Bye for now - Coco

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunday small projects...

Mr. Lizard was out and about early this morning, king of the garden. He looks so feisty!

This has been a fun day - I've pulled out, started, and messed around with four different projects. Completion was not a goal...

But it's been so pleasant. I've had the Olympics on the TV all day, and we've had thunder storms all afternoon. Very cozy.

So - components of the mess in my living room at the moment!

I decided to sacrifice my lawn Willow tank and try out my new T-Shirt Graffiti pens. I'm using part of a print from Alexander Henry's Dia de la Catrina fabric. I just downloaded a pic, selected the section I wanted, and used special effects in Paint to accent the lines. Then I printed it and slipped it inside my tank. Oh, and there's a piece of cardboard in there, too, to guard against bleed-through. The lawn fabric is sheer enough to make the tracing pretty easy - I used a Frixion pen, just in case I wanted to remove any of the drawing.

The printout...

Using the Graffiti pens has been interesting. I'm not doing a great job, but I've learned a lot. And when I'm done, I'll follow the directions for setting the colors and washing the tank - that's the real test! If the ink doesn't run and stays intense, I think I'll look for pens in other colors - these primary colors are not really my thing. But neat, huh?

I also designed and printed some 'business' cards. Finally. It's really flattering when someone asks about something I'm wearing, chats with me, and asks if I have a card. Particularly when I'm in fabric or craft stores. I've been embarrassed to say 'no' and just scribble something on a scrap of paper.

The pic is also from Alexander Henry fabric, the La Strada fabric. It's the same one I use on my blog, just a different section of the print.

And I've been making more looper bracelets for David. He has broken a bunch of them - we figured out its the salt in his pool and in the ocean (the loops are silicone). Football season is around the corner, and he really wanted the Florida Gator version. Gosh, it made me feel so good when he asked for more.

Not done yet - I purchased McCalls 7381 from SewingPatterns.com. I just love that they have so many patterns available as download PDFs. They're inexpensive and instant gratification when I get a hankering to make something. OK, I enjoy the trimming and taping, it's so mindless :-)

Parting shot: Here's my girl at the San Diego Comic Con, with her Walking Dead sling bag in action!

Bye for now - Coco

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Summer maxi - bittersweet...

 I love this print! It's from Cotton & Steel, their hatbox design. And it's all cotton, a lovely calico, not sheeting like my Art Gallery disappointment...

But purchased from Craftsy, on clearance. Watch their sales! I got 3 yards of this cute fabric for $13.17... I wish I had bought the turquoise colorway as well.

This is my go-to franken-pattern hack. smile A simple darted bodice with a waistband and gathered skirt. And big ole patch pockets centered across the side seams. They're a little over 10" wide and 9" wide. Love them.

So - the particulars...

My bodice finished at 5.5" long below the armhole, several inches above my natural waist. At the bottom, it's 40" around. Plenty generous to let me pull this dress over my head.

The 'waistband', which is raised, is finished at 1.25" wide. I just cut a piece across the fabric, 2.25" wide, 42" long, which allows for .5" seam allowances. And it's lined in cotton/poly broadcloth, cut to the same dimensions (I have this broadcloth in so many colors, love it for linings and facings).

And I'm such a cheater - since this fabric is 42" wide after selvages, I just cut 2 pieces across the width and 43" long, to make the skirt.

 I've used this 'formula' over and over in the past couple years - it works for me.

Check out the selvage on this fabric - so detailed! I wonder that Cotton & Steel would expend so much dye and so on, on a selvage that will be discarded...maybe I should have sewn it in somewhere inside my dress :-)

Bittersweet - because I made it sleeveless, anticipating continuance of the diminished inflammation in my arms. Well, too soon. I've developed new lesions on my upper and lower arms, lots of swelling - I just hate this. My morning trip today was to my local medical supply house for hydroderm, which can be very helpful for healing. But my experience is that time - lots of it - is the healer. I need to be patient, once again. I see my rheumy every 4 months - he is starting me on two new meds in October, for the scleroderma and the osteoporosis. Fingers crossed.

But I can enjoy my new makes at home, or out and about with a shrug or cardi.

Truth time - I photo-shopped all the pics in this post so that the lesions went away. I don't usually do this, but I wanted to share this nice little dress and adorable fabric.

 Check out that hair - I'm going gray, but it's a light blonde mixed with gray at the moment. And I love it. No more hair dye!!

Cheerful - a couple poses. This is such a happy dress, and I'm a pretty upbeat person.

Ciao! Coco