Tag Archives: dress

Completed: Vogue 1610

26 Feb

Good morning, everyone! Sorry, I took the last few days off of blogging… to be honest, I’d spent the entire weekend in my sewing room futzing with ONE fitting adjustment for ONE pattern, and six muslins later (yeah, just typing that makes me die a little inside), I was done. Not done with the fitting adjustment – I wish! – but rather, done with sewing. I took some time away to do more important, non-sewy things (specifically: binge-watching infomericals from the comfort of my velvet couch and drinking bourbon with ginger beer… yum.), and I gotta say – I feel like a new woman now. Ready to go tackle that god-forsaken fitting adjustment and get back on the ~swagon~.

Speaking of swagon (which is like a sewing wagon, except way funnier), check out my new threads- baby’s first DVF!

Vogue 1610

OKKKKK, it’s not a ~real~ Diane von Furstenberg, obviously, but it *is* a Vogue Designer Pattern, which is close enough in my book. This is Vogue 1610, a classic DVF wrap dress with sleeve and length options. I found this dude at an estate sale a few years ago – in my size, and for $1, no less! – and this is the first chance I’ve had to make it up.

Vogue 1610

Sewing this wrap was an experience, albeit a fairly easy one. Although the pattern came in my size, a quick tissue fit (and by tissue fit, I mean I held it up to my chest and looked in the mirror, ha!) showed that the bodice front was big enough for complete coverage – which, when one is sewing a stretch knit, that is TOO big! You need the pieces to be a little smaller than you are, so they stretch into shape and give you that lovely silhouette that only negative ease can do. Further, this pattern was drafted for stable knits – i.e., pontes and double knits and all those goodies – and the fabric I had was an extremely fluid, extremely drapey rayon jersey. Fortunately, both the style of this dress + knit fabrics in general are pretty forgiving, so I sized down with some experimental hacking and I think it came out pretty good!

Vogue 1610

At the cutting stage, I took 1″ off the center back seam and the front side seam. I didn’t bother changing the pattern tissue itself (have you seen how much this pattern sells for on Etsy? Holy shit.), just folded over the edges to size and pinned them down. When cutting a piece on the fold, I just extended the pattern piece so it hung over the fabric edge by 1″. I also shortened the skirt by, um, a lot. I think 7″ the first time, and then another 2-3″ after I sewed it up (and immediately regretted that decision, because YIKES SHORT AIEEE). I don’t really recommend this type of size hacking unless you are very familiar with sewing and manipulating knits, because you can definitely end up with a surprise outcome, but it all worked out for me.

Vogue 1610

I chose not to follow the instructions that came with the pattern – I’m sure they were fine, but they were also written for stable knits and included things like facings and pockets. I hate pockets on knits, by the way! They always come out lumpy and can’t hold anything heavier than a cell phone. I also hate facings on knits because, whyyyy. Why would you put yourself through that kind of torture.

Vogue 1610

Construction-wise, I sewed everything up on my serger, except where I used my twin needle to topstitch the hems. The hems are stabilized with Stitch Witchery, which seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, but in retrospect, my hems are weird and stiff and lumpy. Not a good look! I also can’t trim any more length off that skirt for fear of indecent exposure. I’ve used Stitch Witchery in the past to stabilize hems, and I stand behind it, but for something as drapey as this rayon, it just didn’t work. Next time, I will probably just steam the heck out of it and sew very slowly to get my hems.

Vogue 1610

I applied my neck binding in the flat (starting at the center back and stretching down each side of the front individually), so I could get it as stretched as possible and cut off the excess. I think I ended up cutting a couple of inches off each end! The final result is a binding that stays in place and does NOT gape – which is important for this wrap style. I like my clothing to stay in place while I’m wearing it, thanks.

Vogue 1610
Vogue 1610

I was a little concerned that the gathered skirt would look stupid in a knit, but I actually think it’s quite lovely. I think the key here is to go with something lightweight and drapey – bulky fabrics will add, well, bulk!

Vogue 1610

Isn’t this fabric fun, though? It’s the Arc Deco rayon jersey from Mood Fabrics. I snapped up three yards of it while it was on 50% off sale (do y’all get those sale emails? Oh man. Those are dangerous.), specifically with this pattern in mind. It sewed up like a dream, wears like a dream, feels like a dream… just don’t use Stitch Witchery with it ;)

Vogue 1610

Next time I make this, I’ll shorten the bodice a bit – whoever owned this pattern before me had lengthened it about 1″… I left it because it definitely hits my waist, but I think it looks a little long and unbalanced in these pictures. I also promise not to get too scissor-happy with the skirt length on the next go ;) But yeah, I’ll definitely be making this again – I want one in silk jersey, like a proper DVF! Yum!

Vogue 1610

I guess that’s it! Some housekeeping before I dip outta here-

- Clare and I have already started planning the meet-up while we’re in NYC, and emails have been sent! I tried to get everyone who expressed interest, but inevitably I’m sure I missed someone. If you’d like in on the action for Saturday March 15th, holler at me and I’ll get that email out to you! I’m really excited about this trip, can you tell? :)

- Oh, right, giveaway winner! Let’s see, random number generator says…

Ok, for whatever reason, Flickr won’t give me the html code to show the number box (and I don’t have time to futz with it this morning because I need to leave for work in… 5 minutes haha), but you can click this link if you want to see the screenshot. Btw, fuck you, Flickr.

winnerstevie

Congratulations, Stevie Nicole! Watch for my email so we can get your Georgia out to you :)

Everyone who asked – I don’t care if you copy my Georgia! Remember, I copied that lace+emerald combo from someone else. Plus, who doesn’t need a gorgeous sexy lace dress in their life, yeah? :)

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Completed: Simplicity 2145

10 Feb

Happy Monday, everyone! I have some good news and I have some bad news. The bad news is – I didn’t make it through the first round of Project Sewn. Bummer! Although, I’ll be honest right now – as soon as I saw who I was competing up against, I immediately figured I’d be one of the first to go :) On the flip side, my girl Oona made it as the winner for the first round! YAY OONA GET IT GIRL. Can’t wait to get some celebratory drinks with you when I’m in NYC next month!

Speaking of my short stint with Project Sewn – I’ve received lots of sweet messages and comments since I was eliminated, and I am absolutely floored by all the support. Aw! You guys! I think some of you were more upset about the elimination than I was :) I’m actually a tiny bit relieved to have that heavy workload off my shoulders. I’m not gonna lie – it was tough trying to coordinate all that sewing (for PS, as well some other ~secret~ side projects, stuff for the Mood Sewing Network, not to mention this blog!), and it got a bit stressful. SO MANY UFOS ALL OVER MY SEWING ROOM. Which is certainly a first world problem, don’t get me wrong, but it is what it is. I really don’t know if sewing contests are for me at this point – I always feel too rushed when I’m making my shizz, and half the time I end up with something that isn’t up to my personal standards. I really loved participating in Project Sewn, and I don’t regret my decision to join one bit, but but I think from here on out, I’ll be staying out of contests like that :)

So, anyway, the GOOD news – my pink dress is already finished and photographed, and since I’m not one to let a perfectly good project go to waste, I’ll be showing y’all a whole DAY earlier than originally planned. Woohoo!

Simplicity 2145

The color is a deep magenta, although it looks quite red in these photos.

Simplicity 2145

This is Simplicity 2145, which is one of those ~be your own designers~ Project Runway patterns. I’m just going to throw this out there – I don’t like the PR patterns. Sorry! The drafting is fine for what it is, but the method of construction (and instructions) is usually pretty subpar in my experience. I suppose the drafting is more important than the instructions (ok, I KNOW the drafting is more important than the instructions, ha), but they are generally intended for “emerging designers” and I think they just set a bad example. I’ve sewn lots of these patterns in the past – they usually have some neat style lines that I don’t find replicated in other patterns – and if I was dealing with those instructions as a beginner, I think I’d give up on sewing entirely. Lots of unfinished edges, missing information (I can’t remember the particular pattern, but I do recall one that spent 3 paragraphs explaining how to sew a dart, and then forgot to tell you to close the side seams. Really!), and the yardage requirements are waaaay too generous.

I guess my point is – if you want to sew these patterns, great, but make sure you have a good instruction book close by. That is all.

Simplicity 2145

ANYWAY, back to the matter at hand – I think this particular dress turned out great! I really love the front wrap and the pleated skirt, and I think it’s a cute (and flattering!) look. I believe this pattern was intended to be a knockoff of Princess Kate’s engagement dress, although let’s all take a moment to acknowledge that she looks 1000x better in hers than I do. Must be the silk jersey ;)

Simplicity 2145

My version is made from wool crepe, which I picked up at Textile Discount Outlet while I was in Chicago last year. It was cheap, too – I think I paid less than $10 a yard for it (and it’s pure wool, according to my burn test. Nice!). I used a scrap of baby pink Bemberg Rayon to underline the bodice, and left the skirt unlined (only because that’s all the lining I had). I decided to go with underlining because the thought of trying to draft a lining for this style gave me a headache, haha. Underlining also meant that I got to keep the facings without there being a lot of bulk. I like facings.

Simplicity 2145

One thing I will warn y’all about this pattern is that it runs LARGE – like, super duper large! Holy shit! According to Simplicity’s size chart, I should be wearing a size 10. Well, I know how much they (and the rest of the Big 4) looove to make things way too fucking big, so I double-checked those finished measurements and ended up sewing the 4. So freaking ridiculous!

On the flip side, I didn’t have to make many adjustments to get a good fit. I did make a muslin – this has become a very regular thing for me (more so than usual) because I’ve learned that my posture means the back is too large at the top and needs a flat pattern adjustment. So I have to muslin everything I make now. It’s a pain for sure, but I will admit that it is REALLY nice to not have a big gape at the back of my neck! This one didn’t need much of an adjustment – I did a 3/8″ rounded back adjustment, and the fit at the back is pretty much spot-on now. The only other alteration I made was to shorten the sewn-down part of the skirt tucks. They were a little too long on me and it just looked weird.

Simplicity 2145

The dress also has two tucks at the back, which upon viewing these pictures appears to hit a somewhat unflattering spot right above my ass. Oops.

Also, for some reason, I had a DEVIL of a time inserting that invisible zipper. I don’t know why – invisible zips don’t really give me much trouble! – but my feed dogs were trying to make it gather on one side. So weird! I’ve since inserted several invisible zips, and they go in flawlessly. I don’t know if it had something to do with the wool crepe or what. If you super zoom into this photo (which, I mean, uh, don’t. Haha), you can see that my waistline seam at the zipper is off by about 1/4″. That was the closest I could get it, after ripping the zip out like 4 times. Stupid zipper!

Simplicity 2145

Another thing I don’t care much for about this dress is that the sleeves are SUPER tight and it’s difficult to raise my arms very high. So it’s ok for wearing if I’m going to be sitting all day/not moving around, but that’s about it. I need to rip them out and reinsert them and see if that helps. I’ve been told that if the sleeve isn’t eased in the right areas, it can make it difficult to move your arms, but I was pretty careful about that while I was setting these in. I’m thinking it might be another pattern adjustment that I need to address, because it happens a lot to me. Anyone have a suggestion on what I should be looking for? The armhole is high enough (I believe) and the circumference around my bicep is the correct size, so I’m not sure where to go from here, or even what to research.

Simplicity 2145

Sleeve issues aside, the rest of the dress is right up my style alley. You can get a better idea of the true color here – it’s a very rich, deep pink, and it looks super fabulous with all the wool crepe-y texture.

Simplicity 2145

Simplicity 2145

Simplicity 2145

Wish I’d actually had the correct thread color on hand – I had a pale pink, which in retrospect was a horrible decision (you can sort of see it at some seams when I’m wearing the garment, ugh), but at least it matches the lining, I guess?

Simplicity 2145

Oh yeah, and if you were wondering why my hair looks SO good in these pictures – I’d just had a haircut and that blowout they gave me was LEGIT. God, I wish I could afford regular blowouts haha! As it stands right now, my hair doesn’t even look like this anymore. I had it bleached last week, and now it’s neon orange. More on that later ;)

A couple things before I dip outta here:
– Remember Joanna Baker, she of the sweet sewing prints giveaway? Well, I just heard back from her (she’s been busy getting married since then!) and she has listed the 3 sewing prints in her shop for a limited time. I know some people were interested in purchasing them, so if that’s you – here are the dressform, button collection and thread prints.
– Also, She’ll Make You Flip is currently offering a nice discount – use the code VALENTINE25 for 25% off your entire purchase, good through 2/24/14! Someone should go buy this and hang it on their wall, because that is EXACTLY what I would do with that pattern. Ok ok, in all seriousness, how cute is this pattern?? AND IT’S IN MY SIZE. EEP, my neverending quest for the perfect stripe fabric continues!

Completed: A Stripey Lady Skater

31 Jan

Oh my god, you guys. I am so sorry to do this, but I’m about to dump another Lady Skater on y’all.

Stripey Lady Skater

Actually, you know what? I’m not sorry. This dress is damn cute!

Stripey Lady Skater

Since I’ve posted about this pattern a few times already, I’ll spare y’all the repeat drivel about my sizing and construction. I used this really amazing grey and white striped medium weight knit from Mood Fabrics – which has apparently already sold out (wah! I was planning on going back and ordering ALL THE YARDAGE), sorry guys! This ivory knit is the closest thing I could find, at least weight-wise, although it’s sold out too (and yes, I totally bought some of dat).

Stripey Lady Skater

Anyway, the fabric is fabulous and I plan on getting a lot of wear out of this little dress. I think it will make a nice backdrop to a variety of colors – I’m wearing it with red here, but I think it will look equally fab with yellow, or navy, or hell – even green. It’s super comfortable and the fabric does not wrinkle, which means this will be great for traveling*. Since, you know, I travel all the time and everything . Ah well, a girl can dream!

Stripey Lady Skater

This dress was also SUPER fast to make. I am not kidding when I say it took me an hour to assemble – and that includes cutting the fabric! Yeeeeah buddy, this is why I love knits!

Stripey Lady Skater

So, realtalk: this Project Sewn has been sucking up a LOT of my sewing time lately. Fortunately, we were given the challenges a bit in advance and encouraged to start as early as possible, so I’ve managed to knock out quite a chunk of my work over the past few weeks. Which means, less stressed Lauren – but also, less time to work on other things! So, unfortunately, this blog has had to suffer a little bit as a result.

I’m happy to say that the contest officially starts on MONDAY – so I can finally start showing y’all what I’ve been working on! Yay! I’m also hoping this will free up some personal sewing time for me, because I’ve been staring at my fabric and pattern stash and just been getting that itch.

Stripey Lady Skater

With that being said, now you know why I’ve been sewing up a lot of knits :) What can I say – they’re a great little palate cleanser when you want to work on something else but don’t have a lot of time to devote to it.

Stripey Lady Skater

Plus, I don’t know about y’all, but a cute knit dress is ALWAYS welcome in my closet! Expect to see more of this fabric… I bought 2.5 yards, so I’m hoping I can squeeze another top (or two!) out of the remaining piece :)

Stripey Lady Skater

Now, can we please get the weather to warm up again so I can go back to not wearing socks? And maybe get some greenery back in my pictures as well, that would be nice!

Stripey Lady Skater

* Oh, hey, and speaking of traveling… I just booked myself a plane ticket for a weekend jaunt in NYC with my blog bestie/super babe Clare (AND I’M SO EXCITED OMGAH)!! I’ll be rolling in March 14 – March 17 (lucky Clare gets to stay a bit longer than I do, boo!), and I’m thinking maaaaaybe we should try to for another epic meet-up on Saturday 3/15? Who wants to go fabric shopping??? :D

Completed: A Lola Sweater Dress

17 Jan

Here we are with my first official I-made-this-entire-thing-in-2014 garment*! It’s a pattern repeat, but a newb in my closet nonetheless – another Lola dress!

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

Honestly, this is a super duper simple make – like, I hesitate even posting this because it’s kind of the equivalent of a tshirt. Which for me is fun to make, and even more fun to wear, but doesn’t really translate to ~dazzing blog post~. However, I think it’s relevant today because it’s a shining example of how drastically different a pattern can look when you make it up in a new fabric.

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

If you recall my first Lola, it was done up in a proper sweatshirt knit. The stability of the fabric gave the dress a nice structure – I mean, it literally looks like a sweatshirt that has been made into a dress, little V detailing at the neckline and all. For this dress, I went on the opposite end of the spectrum with something that has a lot more drape. The resulting dress is loose-fitting and a little slinky – and looks completely different!

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

This is a sweaterknit that I picked up while I was in Chicago. I think I picked up at Vogue Fabrics, I think, but it may have also been Textile Discount Outlet. Either way, it came from the same city that the sweatshirt knit was picked up in, so it’s kind of a fabric romance story, ha. This knit isn’t anything special – I wish it was wool, but it’s boring ol’ acrylic (on the flip side, I can throw it in the washer and drying without worries of shrinkage, so yay!). The colorway is a very subtle blue gradient, and it’s quite drapey with a slightly loose weave. I love it as a dress, but I also wish I’d bought like 10 yards of it because I’d also love it as a sweater. Oh well!

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

Here you can really see how the drape of the fabric affects the shape. It just kind of skims over my body and hangs nicely. Thanks to the loose weave of the knit, I did have to size down a little as I went, but I tried to keep the shape relatively loose because this isn’t a super forgiving knit – it’s so lightweight, I think it would just look lumpy on anyone, even the skinniest lady in the world, if it was super tight. The way it is right now, it’s also reeeeally comfortable. Like, lounging in the pjs comfortable.

Sweater Knit Lola DressIt is not, however, super duper warm. Thanks, acrylic!

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

The only construction issue I had with sewing this up is that the waistline ended up quite a bit ripply since the fabric is so lightweight. In my experience with knits, there are a few ways to eliminate this problem -
1. You can make one piece smaller and stretch to fit as you sew (kind of like how you apply binding to a knit neckline). It’s still ripple like crazy, maybe more so than before, but once you actually put the garment on a body, it should stretch to fit and it will look fine.
2. You can stabilize that sucker with some elastic or interfacing and hope it all works out.
3. Sew only with stable knits, thus bypassing all ripple issues!
4. Steam the shit outta that bad boy and show them who’s boss.
Obviously, with my positive-ease fit and lightweight fabric, my best option was #4 (I reckon I could have stabilized the waistline, but I didn’t, and I think it worked out fine). This was also the easiest option – as simple as, well, steaming the shit out of the seam and pressing it down. Ripples begone!

Also, you totally needed a second shot of those tights, right? Aren’t they adorable?? omg.

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

Oh yeah, no duh, I also lengthened the sleeves so they’d be full length! This totally makes this a proper, cozy sweater dress, in my opinion. I made them long enough so they’d pull over my hands with the cuffs, which is my favorite way to wear long sleeves. To lengthen the sleeves, I actually just lazied my way through and used the long sleeve pattern piece from the Sigma dress to get the correct length and width below the elbow. Obviously, the pattern pieces are different at the top – the Sigma has a set-in sleeve, the Lola has a raglan – but since they are almost identical starting at the armpit and going down, I was able to just trace the bottom half and it worked out fine. I used the cuff pattern piece from the Lola pattern, and it perfectly fit the long sleeve length. Yay! I love it when these things work out :)

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

Here you can better see the color gradient of the fabric. I love this stuff!

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

I decided to keep the neckline simple and not bother with the V detailing – I think it’s cute for a sweatshirt dress, but on this fabric, it just looked like I was trying to cover a mistake. For my binding, I just used self-fabric. I set it in-the-round and left off the topstitching as it lays just fine after a good steam. God, I love my steam iron. I can’t even express that enough.

I left off the binding at the hem, same as last time, and just pressed up a good 2″ hem and topstitched it down with my twin needle. I also omitted the pockets and just kept the dress simple.

Sweater Knit Lola Dress
And that’s it! Pretty simple, kind of a boring blog post I guess, but I love seeing the difference between these two dresses. Oh, wait, one more thing before I let y’all go-

I’m an official contestant for Project Sewn, Season 3. This is SUPER exciting and has been very difficult for me to keep under wraps (truth, if you know me at all in real life you’ve probably heard me mention this at some point or another. Sorry! I’m bad at keeping secrets when they’re this fun!), but now I can talk about it so YAYAYAY!! I’ve already been working on my projects for the upcoming contest, hence the little * at the top of my post – I have some half-finished makes from 2014 that predate this sweater dress, but you can’t see ‘em until February ;) Sorry babes! Needless to say, I’ve been having a lot of fun with the season 3 themes and I’m really excited to share them with y’all, not to mention see what everyone else makes of ‘em! Which leads me to my next concern… have you seen the other contestants for this round? YIKES. That’s a superstar line-up if I ever saw one, and I’m a little terrified :) Ha! Regardless, even if I get booted out of the first round, I think this is gonna be fuuuun!

Have a great weekend, everyone! Don’t forget to enter the knitting pattern giveaway if you haven’t already done so – entries close this Monday!

Completed: The Lola Sweatshirt Dress

27 Nov

I keep complaining about the cold, being the delicate flower that I am, but for some reason I also keep finding myself in dresses on a daily basis. What’s a girl to do?
Lola Sweatshirt Dress

DUH, MAKE THAT SHIT OUT OF SWEATSHIRT FLEECE.

Lola Sweatshirt Dress

Pair it up with some merino leggings and you’ve got yourself a nice stew outfit!

Lola Sweatshirt Dress

This is Lola from Victory Patterns. A dress pattern specifically designed to look like a sweatshirt, who woulda thunk!

Lola Sweatshirt Dress

I don’t feel like I have much to say about this pattern, but I’ll try anyway. I cut the size 2, although I did take in the lower bust seams (toward the empire waist seam) and the upper skirt seams for a slightly closer fit. Actually, I recut the entire skirt because the first time just wasn’t doing it for me – I had shortened it, added the ribbed band at the bottom, and it just looked… weird. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a cute look (lord know I’ve made millions of these types of fitted knit dresses with bands at the bottom, lolz, back when I used to ~sell~), but with this fabric/ribbing/on ME, it didn’t look good. So off it went, and I had to cut a new skirt because my shortened skirt was tooo short for even me. Bummer, because I had been thinking about making Landon a sweatshirt with the remaining fabric, as it’s a color that he really likes. BUT NOT ANYMORE, SORRY LANDY.

Lola Sweatshirt Dress

So, I left off the bottom band. I also left off the pockets, as I felt like they added unnecessary bulk. Of course, now I find myself reaching for said nonexistent pockets – oh well! Perhaps the next version of this dress will include them, I dunno.

Lola Sweatshirt Dress

At any rate, this was super quick to make up, especially since I used my serger for nearly every seam. And it looks pretty cute, if I do say so myself, although I think I prefer to wear this color with burgundy tights instead of brown. My favorite part is the little V at the neckline, it really makes it look like a proper sweatshirt! I debated flipped the fabric to show the wrong side as suggested in the pattern, but it just looked like I had sewn the V on backward and ain’t nobody got time for that.

Lola Sweatshirt Dress

Next time, I will try this in a ponte knit, like my homegirl Sonja already did (you should probably know by now that I spend most of my sewing life trying to emulate her and her makes, it’s tru). With the sweatshirt fleece, it’s pretty casual – which is nice!, but it would also be nice in a not-casual fabric too. I might even try doing the ribbing in a matchy color, instead of the contrast I’ve got going on here.

Lola Sweatshirt Dress

Speaking of which….

Lola Sweatshirt Dress

So, the pattern calls for actual rib knit to finish those edges. Guys, where the fuck do you even find that shit? I saw a giant (like, bigger than me) pile of assorted rib knit odds and ends while I was in Chicago at the Textile Discount Outlet, and obviously I grabbed an armful (eh, they were like a quarter apiece, sue me), but all the greens I got were all wrong. And not all wrong in a cool contrasty way, they were all wrong in a “I tried to match this but I done goofed” way. So much for that! I’m a big fan of finishing knit edges with self-fabric, but this fleece is not terribly stretchy, so what did I do?

Lola Sweatshirt Dress - ribbing

Oh yeah. I went there. RIP American Flag Sweater, hope u enjoy your new life as a pillow!~*~*~*~

Lola Sweatshirt Dress

Basically, I just cut the rib knit off the sweater (including the bottom hem rib knit, but we all know how that did not work out) and treated it like it was the kind you purchase by the yard. It sews in the same way as those knit bands I looove, although I would rly rly recommend using a serger for this particular task, since it likes to shed. A lot! And it looks pretty profesh! Good idea to file away for those huge novelty sweaters you have but don’t ever wear (am I the only one with a stash of those? All right), especially since you can sew the sides up and make it into a pillow :3 lol my couch is so patriotic now.

Lola Sweatshirt Dress

So there’s that! No flat shots because I’m wearing this as I type this post, heh heh heh! Sorry, not sorry! If you were wondering, YES, I did get a hair cut! Got me some bangs, and I think I love them! I also should point out that every time I typed “sweatshirt” in this post, nine times out of ten it came up as “sweatshit.” Where is my mind. I need a vacation.

EDIT Looks like Victory Patterns is running a Black Friday sale woohoo! Take 30% off your entire order with the code “happyanny”! Thanks to everyone who alerted me of this, yay for saving money! haha!

Completed: The Sugar Plum Dress (+ a Giveaway!)

25 Nov

This dress is SO awesome and sneaky. Looks like two pieces, but wait- there’s more! It’s actually one dress! Sugar Plum dress made with Oscar de la Renta silk and ponte knit from Mood Fabrics I LOVE these kinds of dresses! Looks like a silk blouse with a high-waisted pencil skirt, without the bother of keeping a shirt tucked in all day and making sure things match in the morning (because, ew, all I wanna do is sleep right now). Extra bonus – the skirt is a ponte knit, so it’s actually a COMFY pencil skirt. Are y’all feeling my excitement right now?? Sugar Plum dress made with Oscar de la Renta silk and ponte knit from Mood Fabrics This is the Sugar Plum, from Lolita Patterns. Full disclosure: Amity sent me this pattern free to try it out and see how I liked it. I guess you probably gathered at this point my reaction to the finished dress – ummm, amazing! I love how it’s totally appropriate for a professional environment (not that I need clothes like that anymore, but, you know, I still like to dress up ;)), but it’s still beautiful and feminine and unique. The pattern is really fun to put together – lots of tiny pieces, clever seam finishes, the kind of stuff that makes me :D Since it doesn’t require a lot of fabric to make up the top half (less than a yard!), I splurged on this amazing Oscar de la Renta silk print from Mood Fabrics. I also bought this navy blue ponte knit for the skirt (omggg so comfy) and lime green china silk for the lining for a bit of a color pop. Sugar Plum dress made with Oscar de la Renta silk and ponte knit from Mood Fabrics This is view B, without the front flounces. I sewed up a size 2. The top fit with no alterations, although I did need to take the skirt in a bit to get it fitted (it’s actually a bit toooo fitted now, whoops. Good thing it’s a knit lol). I did use a much stretchier fabric than suggested by the pattern, so I’m not surprised. The pattern has you use a stretch woven, and pontes tend to be a little more like an actual knit. Based on the way the skirt fits, I suspect you could also use a non-stretch woven and just cut the panels on the bias for the same fitted/comfortable effect. I skipped the pockets and the sleeve gathering detail for a more simple look. Sugar Plum dress made with Oscar de la Renta silk and ponte knit from Mood Fabrics The more I sew with silks, the more I find myself not wanting to make up anything else. The most important thing I’ve learned when it comes to sewing lightweight/slippery/silky fabrics is to make sure that your cutting is super accurate, then the sewing is a piece of cake (or, at least, as much of a piece of cake as it can be!). I always rip my fabric along the cross grain first, to ensure that the edges are perfectly straight, and then pin the selvedges together before I lay down my pattern pieces. This prevents the silk from shifting as I cut it. When it’s time to cut, make sure your scissors are nice and sharp, and try to cut the entire length of the blades (instead of timid little snips). One thing I loove about ordering from Mood Fabrics is that I know the fabric is going to already be on-grain, so I don’t have to worry about straightening the grain before I cut. Just rip the cut edge, pin, and cut those pattern pieces! Sewing with the ponte was much easier than the silk, obviously. I used a serger for all the skirt seams, and my regular sewing machine (treating it like a woven) to attach the silk top to the ponte waistband. I love this ponte because it’s quite a bit more stretchy than other pontes I’ve tried, which means it’s extra extra comfortable. Just be careful when you press it – it definitely gets a shine, so use a press cloth. I keep a big square of silk organza specifically for this purpose. It absorbs the heat of the iron so my fabric underneath doesn’t shine, and it’s sheer so I can actually see what I’m doing :) Sugar Plum dress made with Oscar de la Renta silk and ponte knit from Mood Fabrics Sugar Plum dress made with Oscar de la Renta silk and ponte knit from Mood Fabrics I really enjoyed working on this pattern – lots of tiny details to make me feel challenged as a seamstress, but not so much that I got overwhelmed with the process. A lot of indie patterns run on the easy/beginner side – which is fine, I know there are lots of people who want something simple to make up, and it’s easier to complicate a pattern than simplify it. But sometimes it’s nice to have something that I feel is aimed at a slightly higher level, without me having to run through the steps and find ways to make it harder for myself. Wow, I just made me sound like a total weirdo. What can I say, I like a challenge! Sugar Plum dress made with Oscar de la Renta silk and ponte knit from Mood Fabrics I did make a pretty crappy mistake toward the end of this dress. I was sewing in the invisible zipper and could not get the waistband seams to match up. I was tired, hungry, getting grouchy (you can see where this is going), and I thought, “One more try and then I’m outta here.” While picking out the zip, I somehow managed to detach the teeth from the zipper tape. WHYYYYY. I know I tell y’all that I have millions of zippers in my stash, and I do, but none of them are invisible. I actually have to go out of my way and buy one whenever I need it (because I’m too stubborn to keep those in stock, apparently), which usually ends up with me going to Walmart because they sell invisible zippers and they’re open at 3am when I suddenly need one. So I pretty pissed about destroying this zip, and trying to avoid another trip to Walmart. I ended up cutting the zipper right above where I sliced it open, and just finished the dress with a super duper short zipper – it ends about halfway down the waistband. Since the skirt is so stretchy, this works, kind of. It’s funny to watch me pull it on, ha! And you know the worst part? THE WAISTBAND PIECES STILL DON’T MATCH UP. Whatever, I’m over it! Sugar Plum dress made with Oscar de la Renta silk and ponte knit from Mood Fabrics Sugar Plum dress made with Oscar de la Renta silk and ponte knit from Mood Fabrics I love the little details on this dress that make it so special – the ruffled collar (hemmed using the rolled hem on my serger), the tiny buttons with the tiny button loops, and that BRIGHT LIME GREEN LINING. Really, it’s like a party when I take the dress off! Sugar Plum dress made with Oscar de la Renta silk and ponte knit from Mood Fabrics Sugar Plum dress made with Oscar de la Renta silk and ponte knit from Mood Fabrics Sugar Plum dress made with Oscar de la Renta silk and ponte knit from Mood Fabrics By the way, don’t ever search Oscar de la Renta on the Mood Fabrics site unless you plan on dropping some serious dough on some seriously incredible fabrics. I just fell down the rabbit hole – again! – and discovered violet boucle, boucle with sparkly lurex (!!!), silk floral and some freaking polka dot silk taffeta. I want, I want it all! Sugar Plum dress made with Oscar de la Renta silk and ponte knit from Mood Fabrics

Now time for the fun part – a giveaway! Amity has generously offered a copy of Sugar Plum to one lucky winner, yeeeah!! Still having reservations? Just know that the sizing goes aaaaall the way up to 24 (yes!) and there is an entire sew-along on the blog for anyone who needs some hand-holding. You have no excuses, people! To enter, just leave a comment on this post and let me know what you’d make your Sugar Plum up in (Personally, I’m lurking on a second version with a leopard blouse and a denim skirt, like, ahem, Leila’s. Yes. Exactly like that. Sorry boo!). This giveaway is open to WORLDWIDE and I will close the entries a week from today, Monday, December 2 8:00AM CST. Good luck!

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

Pattern Testing: The Sigma Dress

13 Nov

Umm, have you guys seen the new Constellation Collection from Papercut Patterns? Obviously, I’m biased here, but it’s pretty freaking amazing! Katie has really killed it this time, with the release of six fabulous new patterns – including a bomber jacket (which, duh, totally making that). I was lucky enough to test a pattern in this round, so I ended up making the Sigma Dress. Want to see? :)

Sigma Dress

The Sigma is a simple dress that can be made up in a variety of views/fabrics to create a different dress each time. What I love best about this pattern is the pure simplicity of it – it can be embellished however you please. Add a sweet detachable collar, sew it up in a fabulous brocade for the holidays, tough it up with an exposed zipper – it’s super versitale! And, I should point out, it’s a great pattern to sew up in a lovely plaid ;)

Sigma Dress

My Sigma has the skirt from variation 2 (small gathers at the waist; kind of hard to see in this fabric, ah!) and a weird mishmash of sleeves from both variations. I reeeeeally wanted this dress to have long sleeves, but I totally borked up the cutting, like, immediately (I blame it on the kidney stone), so I just made the sleeves as long as my fabric would allow me to. Soo, elbow-length it is!

Sigma Dress

I cut the size XXS, based on my measurements, and it was a near-perfect fit straight out of the envelope. I did have to add two small 1/4″ darts at the back neckline because it gaped a little, but that’s a pretty typical measurement for me. I also sewed in a lapped zipper at at 5/8″ seam allowance (these patterns use a 3/8″ seam allowance), to tighten the waist seam and also because I didn’t want to math.

Sigma Dress

Fair warning, this baby is SHORT! This is the actual length you see on me, and I’m 5’2″. Katie and I discussed the length, well, at length (hee, we’re like a mini-focus group), and she ultimately decided to keep the original short length because it’s cute as hell and add lengthen/shorten lines to the skirt so you can get on with your bad self and make it whatever length you want!

Sigma Dress
Sigma Dress

See that strange lightened area around the pocket? Yeeeah, that was where I applied interfacing to the wrong side of the skirt, sewed up the pocket, stuck it on the dressform and realized my stupid fabric was identical right/wrong side and I had used the wrong side as the right side. Meaning, my unbalanced plaid did not match at ALL at the waistline. After mulling over it for a couple of days, I carefully shredded off the interfacing and tried to wash the glue off, but as you can see – a little still remains. It’s not totally noticeable, but it *is* there. Something to keep in mind if you’re making this up in a plaid – make sure you’re using the correct side of the fabric ;)

Sigma Dress

“Wait, did someone say pockets? In this dress??”

Sigma Dress

Yep! Yay for pockets!

Sigma Dress

If you were wondering about my fabric choice, it’s really not anything special – some lightweight cotton plaid I got from a friend (who I think originally bought it at an estate sale). It’s actually a bit toooo lightweight for this dress, as it loves to wrinkle up whenever it has the opportunity. But, you know, that’s the beauty of this pattern – you can make it in practically anything. Anything!

Sigma Dress
Sigma Dress

I also think the neckline is just perfect for showcasing those little choker-esque necklaces that I can never figure out what to pair with.

This was my first experience testing for Katie (although not my first rodeo with her patterns, yeehaw!), and it was a very pleasant experience! I really liked that she had the patterns printed and shipped directly to us, as opposed to sending out PDFs to be printed and assembled at home. For one, I hate printing PDFs (and I don’t even have access to a printer anymore after quitting my office job, sooo it’s not like I could print even if I wanted to. Ok, I could go to a copy shop but you and I both know that’s not gonna happen), and for two, I’m not really sure how accurate they are when it comes to testing purposes. Seems like an easy way to fuck things up, size-wise, in my opinion.

Sooo, now that I’ve waxed poetic about this pattern for an entire post, who else is excited to get their hands on it? Or anything from the new collection? I think the next sewalong we have on the Papercut blog will be for this dress – just because I reeeeeally want to play around with different looks (which you can’t really do with a tester pattern, I mean, not the slicing and hacking type of playing :)). Speaking of which, we have a La Sylphide sewalong going on right now if anyone is keen to join!

Sigma Dress

Right now, through 11/15, you can get 15% off this pattern (or any pattern in the new collection) with free shipping! This is a great opportunity to try out a Papercut Pattern, if you’ve been on the fence before. Not to mention, Katie added a new size so they go up to XL now :) What are you waiting for??

Completed: A Totally Sheer Anna Dress

21 Oct

I swear, this is my last Anna dress for now!

Sheer Anna

But I mean, look at that fabric – can you blame me? That shit was meant to be amirite?

Sheer Anna

So, this fabric is pretty amazing. I actually bought it way before the pattern was released, with no real project in mind except that I HAD to have it. I found a lonely yardage stashed away at my new work (obviously this was before I started working there, when I was going on weekly visits and soaking up little sewing tricks and tidbits by osmosis) and took home 3 yards.

Sheer Anna

You can’t really tell in the pictures since I am wearing a slip underneath, but this fabric is quite sheer. I’m not really sure what the content is, but it feels (and sews and presses) like a silk organza, maybe with a tiny bit of poly blended in there. For being a sheer fabric, it has a surprising amount of body (again, like an organza). When I first started sewing it, I wasn’t sure how it would look as this dress -the pleats were sticking straight out over my boobs! Fortunately, they seem to have toned down a little, ha.

Sheer Anna

I just loove the print! Little brown leaves, covered in some kind of flocked something (I say flocked, but it almostttt feels like super duper short fur. They’re like, hairy, haha. Oh man, I’m making this fabric sound disgusting right now) and then outlined in sparkly black flocked something. To sum it up in one word: magical.

Sheer Anna

Speaking of things that are magical, I feel like I’ve been using that word a lot lately. I should probably come up with some new adjectives.

Sheer Anna
Sheer Anna

For the pattern itself, I didn’t make any changes apart from the tweaks that were there from my last two versions. I sewed the entire dress using french seams, except I did serge the seam allowance next to the zipper (hairy fabric means sheddy fabric, ugh).

Sheer Anna

Ah! There’s the slip! :)

Sheer Anna

The neckline was a little tricky thanks to the sheer fabric – I didn’t want to use a facing because it would show through, and I didn’t want to line the dress because duhhhh what if I decide to go all undiesonly.com (lol does anyone else remember that website HAHA) and I can’t because the dress has been lined? I decided to bind it with a strip of black silk organza cut on the bias. Boo on me, my silk organza was actually grey, not black (the hell?) so I had to turn it to the inside and that’s where things went a bit… wonky. It’s ok, but it’s not my best work. If you have a hankering to make a sheer Anna, buy matching silk organza and bind the edges like you normally do with bias tape. It makes it easier to miter the V for a nice sharp point. Just a tip!

Sheer Anna

Also, while we’re being honest with one another, I should let y’all know that I put that tiny bow+button on the neckline to cover my less-than-lovely v-point haha. And of course, now I’m noticing that it’s totally not centered at all and it’s making my eye twitch.

Sheer Anna

I guess it’s tacky to show my bra straps, but idgaf.

Sheer Anna
Sheer Anna

All french seamed and shit

Sheer Anna

Here you can really see the texture of the fabric. Also, isn’t that button on the bow so cute?! I got it in a box of tiny deco glass buttons. This was the only one, so I’m happy to have found a use for it :)

Sheer Anna

Despite the french seams and fiddly neck binding, this dress came together VERY fast. Which is good, because I needed it for all the weddings I went to this month (three! Seriously, October, what’s up with that?? Don’t worry, tho, I caught 2 out of 3 bouquets… poor Landon HAHA). I mean, yes, duh I have tons of dresses, but I wanted a faaaaall dress. And here she is! And yay!

Sheer Anna

A couple more things before I let y’all off the hook! One, we have a winner for the ChatterBlossom Giveaway! Random number generator says…

cbwinner

uglybeat

Ding ding ding! Congratulations, Uglybeat! Expect an email from me about right… now :)

For the rest of you who need consolation for not winning, may I remind you that the coupon code is still good for the next week! Lladybird15 gets ya 15% off your order through 10/28 :)

And because everyone loves coupon codes, we’ve also got one for my newest newest sponsor, She’ll Make You Flip! Use the code LLADYBIRD20 to get 20% off your entire purchase through the end of 2013. Meaning, someone buy this 1940s dress pattern before it accidentally ends up in my shopping cart, thanks ;)

Happy Monday, everyone!

Completed: An Emerald Green Wool Jersey Lady Skater

13 Sep

Before I start, two things:

1. I know. Another Lady Skater. Y’all are probably getting sick of looking at this, but uhhh sorry not sorry! Honestly, I wanted to put both of these dresses in the same post, but I hadn’t managed to get pictures of the green one and I wanted to post the floral one RIGHT THAT SECOND and, well, you know how it goes.

2. Much more important, but thank you thank you thank you for all of your lovely comments on my last post! Again, I wasn’t posting that bit to fish for compliments, or anything like that… it has just been on my mind for a long time. I wholeheartedly believe that sewing + the blogging community (not to mention taking pictures of oneself and posting them on the internet, eep) is so wonderful for helping us maintain a healthy body image, and I would be lying if I said the outpouring of support and consolation stories didn’t make me feel a trillion times better about my insecurities and why they shouldn’t even matter in the first place. Y’all are just lovely, and I love you :)

Now, back to the matter at hand…

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

I made another Lady Skater! This one comes with bonus surprise Duck Lips!

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

I know I don’t have to justify myself when it comes to things I sew, but just in case you were looking for justification – I made this twice in a row because it’s an awesome pattern and I wanted to try out every sleeve version. I have made short sleeves, I have made 3/4 sleeves, and today we have long sleeves!

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

I really love seeing how a pattern can look totally different depending on the fabric that is used to make it up, and this one is no exception. My last Lady Skater was a thin, drapey, VERY stretchy cotton knit. For this version, I used wool jersey that is fairly stable, and look at what a difference it makes!

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

My green wool jersey is from – where else? – Mood Fabrics. Having tried Merino Wool and now Wool Jersey, I am now going to give you my opinion on them and how they are different.
Merino Wool – due to the chemicals in the wool, this stuff can be washed and dried as normal in your machine without felting. It also tends to be less scratchy, in my experience. Elasticity and stretch recovery are excellent. Fabric can be a bit sheer, at least based on the pieces I’ve personally handled.
Wool Jersey – ok, I’m going to be real gross and weird here and admit that I didn’t pre-wash my Wool Jersey. I plan on washing it the same way I wash my sweaters – which is a lukewarm sink bath with no agitation, and laying flat to dry. The stretch recovery on this is good, however, it doesn’t have as much elasticity (see the difference in fit vs my previous dress? Wool Jersey is a bit more stable than cotton jersey). It is also pretty scratchy! It’s not unbearably scratchy by any means, but it does feel like I’m wearing a wool sweater… which, I kind of am! It is much more opaque than the Merino. I am wearing neon undies under this dress and you can’t even tell, ha.

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

It is also REALLY warm. Which will be good, when it eventually gets cold here :P

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

I kind of feel like a Girl Scout in this dress, what’s with the bright green and slightly scratchy fabric. I know the green looks sort of muted in these pictures, but trust me and not my inexperience with my camera. This shit is BRIGHT FUCKING KELLY GREEN. It is amazing.

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

See what I mean about the fabric not being as elastic? You can totally see bra straps and back fat here. Which doesn’t bother me, personally, but if you don’t like looking like you were poured into your clothing that morning, you maaaay consider sizing up if you choose to make this pattern with a more stable knit :)

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

I should also point out that the stability of this fabric makes it really easy to sew. Just like Merino Wool – it doesn’t curl up, doesn’t slide around (actually, it’s slightly lofty so the pieces kind of stick together and that’s MAGICAL), stitches and presses like a dream. I really enjoyed the sound my scissors made when they cut into it, strangely enough. It’s the little things.

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

Ok, so who’s jumping on the Wool Jersey bandwagon with me? ALL ABOARD, LET’S GOOOO!!

Completed: A Transitional Lady Skater

11 Sep

I know, I know. Fall is just around the corner – the temperatures are dropping, the leaves are changing, everyone is flipping their shit over pumpkin spice everything. September is such a magical month… unless you live in Tennessee. It was 95* yesterday and the humidity was so thick, going outside felt like walking through a pot of soup. Gross.

If I sound butthurt, it’s because I totally am. I love fall and I love September, but honestly – it ain’t fall weather here. And as much as I want to start busting out the wool crepes and snuggly flannels, I know in my heart of hearts that I likely won’t have a chance to wear them until closer to Halloween… possibly even later. I have memories of wearing shorts on Thanksgiving. It happens.

So, what do you do when you want to change for the season but the season won’t change for you?

Fall Floral Lady Skater

Concentrate on seasonal colors and prints, not fabric weights.

Fall Floral Lady Skater

I know, this is basically the biggest “No Shit, Sherlock” statement I’ve probably ever made, but it has seriously taken me years to come to terms with this. I do it in the spring, too – try to start pulling out the lightweight voile dresses while there’s still slush on the ground, hate myself, rinse repeat. Something about the seasonal changes makes me want to overhaul every single color in my wardrobe, I dunno.

Fall Floral Lady Skater

Since I live in an area where the temperature tends to hover around “Hell,” except for a couple of months out of the year, I need more layering/lightweight/transitional pieces than I do big cozy wool garments (don’t get me wrong – my wool is ready and waiting for me the second I think the temps are gonna start dropping. Just need more patience, ahhh!). You know, so I can wear them now instead of sticking them back in the closet for a few weeks :) Bonus – once we do get cool weather, this will layer up nicely with tights, boots, and a scarf. Win!

Fall Floral Lady Skater

This fabulous cotton jersey is from Mood Fabrics (they have another colorway if the mustard is *too* retro for ya, but I like it! Mustard for life!). It’s a little bit on the sheer side – like, not indecently so, but enough where I gotta watch the color of my undies when I wear this.

I was pleasantly surprised with the stretch recovery for this fabric, by the way. Cotton tends to stretch and sag over the course of the day, making everything baggy and off-the-shoulder, but this stood up pretty well after a full day of wear. I think I can get an extra day out of it before needing to throw it in the dryer for a little shrinkage. Win!

Fall Floral Lady Skater

I used the Lady Skater pattern to make this dress. I have made this dress before, so this is basically round 2 (there’s also a round 3, you just wait. It’s finished; I just haven’t taken photos yet :3). The only change I made was to stretch the neckband ribbing a little tighter, to keep it from getting floppy, which meant for a shorter neckband piece (since the band is applied flat, it’s REALLY easy to do this – you just stretch, sew, and cut off the excess. Yay, no maths!).

Fall Floral Lady Skater

I will urge you to pay close attention to the elastic at the waist seam, and make sure not to skip it when using a cotton knit! I think a good part of the reason why this stuff didn’t stretch out all haywire by the end of the day was because the waist seam is nice and snug and fully stabilized.

Fall Floral Lady Skater

Fall Floral Lady Skater

Fall Floral Lady Skater

Next, I want to make this pattern in pumpkin colored knit. Wouldn’t that be DELICIOUS?

Fall Floral Lady Skater

I also want to give a shout-out to my hair in these pictures. I think this might be the first time I’ve ever posted pictures of myself on this blog with my hair up? There’s a reason for that – I’m actually really really self-conscious about my ears. I hate how much they stick out and I rarely take any pictures with my hair up. Which is funny, because whenever I see people with a similar feature, I think it’s super cute… just not on me. I’ve never liked it and it’s been something I’ve always wanted to change.

I’m not saying this to fish for compliments, so please don’t take it that way. I guess I’m just realizing now how stupid it is to spend so much energy hating something about myself that I CAN’T change (ok, yes, I know otoplasty is a thing… but it’s not a realistic option for me). It’s part of me, what makes me unique, and is just as much a family trait as the shape of my nose or the color of my eyes. There is no point in wishing change on something that won’t change, so my next move is to learn how to love and embrace it. Starting with posting pictures of myself with my hair up. I know, my head is turned to the side in all these pictures, but… baby steps, y’all.

Fall Floral Lady Skater

Sorry to get all deep on such a lighthearted post, just been thinkin! Anyone else struggle with this? What has helped you?

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