Tag Archives: wool crepe

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!

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Completed: 40s Wool Crepe Wrap Dress

12 Jun

I know, this dress looks strikingly similar to the 40s wrap dress that Peter made for his identical cousin Cathy earlier this month, not to mention I’ve already dabbled in wool crepe for summer wear, as well as a full 40s wool crepe dress. Yeesh. Ya think it’s possible for me to branch out a little here? Nuh uh, no way. Not me.

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

I actually bought this fabric ‘way back when I was visiting Mood Fabrics in NY. I’m sure y’all are sick of hearing about it at this point, but heyyyy I’ll be working through that stash for at least the next couple of months. Just so we’re clear.

Anyway, fabric. As I mentioned before, I wasn’t planning on buying any wool crepe – but again, Carolyn talked me into it. She’s SUCH a good enabler! This wool crepe is actually a bit thinner and drapier than most wool crepes I’ve come across, making it a good weight for a smart summer dress (oh god, did I really just describe a dress as “smart”? I am totally stuck on this 40s thing…). With Carolyn’s advice, I underlined the entire dress in a lightweight cotton batiste, to combat the slight sheerness and make the dress more comfortable to wear in the heat.

McCall 6113

I used McCall’s 6113 to make this dress up. Isn’t the pattern gorgeous!? A friend found it (along with an entire paper grocery bag full of patterns – ranging from the 40s to the 80s, all in my size. I MEAN COME ON, WHAT ARE THE ODDS) in her attic, and gifted the whole stash to meee! Yes!! The pieces are intact, but unfortunately… the instructions are not. Wah wah. Thankfully, I’ve made a few wrap dresses in my day, not to mention I feel fairly confident in my assemblage skills, so I decided to give it a go.

McCall 6113 - pattern piece

… this is what I found when I pulled the pieces out. Not only is everything labeled (thank you, printed patterns!), but there are construction notes printed ON the pattern sheet, AND the notches are numbered in the order that things go together. PRAISE THE LORD. Although, in all honesty… I probably could have put this together without the help. But MAN, it was nice to eliminate most of the guesswork!

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

Despite the pattern being in my size, I did have to make a few adjustments to get everything to fit nicely (I generally like to go down a size or two – sometimes more – since I find most patterns tend to have more ease than I prefer to wear. Yep, even vintage patterns. What gives; am I just in denial of my size or something??), mainly in the form of taking in the side seams and shortening the shoulders, as well as hacking about 5″ off the length. I made a muslin for fit, but it ended up also giving me a great idea of how the pattern was put together so I had less guesswork with my wool crepe. Which is good, since wool crepe can be a sneaky little bitch when it comes to ripping out stitches.

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

In hindsight, wool crepe is definitely a little on the bulky side for the gathers in this dress. I’m afraid I look a bit boxy at the waistline here :( Oh well!

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress
Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

I do love the little tucks in the back :)

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

And the curved hem at the overlap.

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

I don’t know what’s going on with this picture, I just thought it was funny. ~Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline~

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress
Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

Oh, did you notice my pretty embroidery? This all happened entirely on a whim – I finished the dress, put it on and looked in the mirror, and it just looked… red. Overwhelmingly red, and plain! I decided to add a small punch of (neutral)color by embroidering the shoulder detail. The embroidery is from the Hoop Love Vintage Transfers Flickr Group, and it’s all just a basic back stitch with french knots in the middle of the flowers. Ha, that sound so easy but it seriously took me about 6 hours to do. Embroidery is definitely a time-suck!

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

Here you can see the underlined inside, as well as the series of snaps and hooks that hold the dress together.

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

And there it is closed!

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

How many of you will groan if I finish this post with something like, “WELL I GUESS THAT WRAPS IT UP!!”

Sorry.
Not sorry.

Completed: My Easter Outfit

12 Apr

Remember that wool crepe I bought while I was in NYC? Remember how I was afraid it was going to be too winter-y for a climate that’s already rapidly approaching summer weather?

WELL, CHECK THIS SHIT OUT:

Easter Outfit

I made me a fancy lady flouncy pencil skirt! Totally banking on Carolyn’s reassurance that wool is a lovely fabric to wear during the summer, I decided to test that theory by making it into a skirt. I really wanted a whole ladysuit – or even a dress – but unfortunately, this kind of saturated yellow doesn’t do favors for my coloring. I went with a skirt so there would be plenty of space between my face and the yellow.

Easter Outfit

I felt pretty silly making a wool pencil skirt just as we’re creeping into 75* days – I mean, I’ve always thought of wool as a winter fabric (and I’d guess that a lot of people feel the same way). The best coats are wool – why would I wear wool in the summer heat? Isn’t that just asking for a sweaty disaster?

Easter Outfit

So here’s my little wool crepe pencil skirt for spring – in the kind of bright yellow that would almost be embarrassing if it wasn’t so awesome. But sit back down for a spell, there’s a lil’ surprise in the back…

Easter Outfit

… a circular flounce insert! I call it a party in the back, Landon calls it my tail. Either way, it’s a fun little addition to jazz up an otherwise plain pencil skirt (well, as plain as a *bright yellow* wool crepe pencil skirt can be, I suppose!).

Easter Outfit

This pattern is Vogue 8317, which I received during a sewing swap (also while I was in New York – thanks, Oona!). Just based on the envelope art, the pattern is a bit dated looking (I originally thought it was from the earlyl 90s, but the copyright date is 2006 wut), but the line art showed promise. I made a 10, although I probably should have done a smaller size as I needed to take in quite a bit at the waist. I also shortened the skirt by about 2″ before cutting into my crepe.

Easter Outfit

Easter Outfit

Easter Outfit

Easter Outfit

The skirt is fully lined with Bemberg Rayon. I originally wanted a bright yellow like the crepe, but there wasn’t any in the store when I was there (nor was there any white – at least not in rayon!), so I ended up getting a light peach that is very close to my skin tone. Surprisingly, it picks up quite a bit of the hue of the wool and almost looks like the exact yellow I was trying to obtain. Love it when that happens!

Easter Outfit

Easter Outfit

I also made my bow-neck blouse, using polka dot cotton batiste (from Mood, of course) and Simplicity 4676, a vintage pattern. The batiste is quite sheer, so I underlined the body with white batiste. I love this stuff – it’s incredibly soft and lightweight, and the black and white pin dots go with EVERYTHING. Seriously. I will probably end up wearing this top all summer, it’s so good!

Easter Outfit

Easter Outfit

Easter Outfit

I made this outfit to wear for Easter dinner with my family, but I can definitely see myself wearing it all throughout summer, as well as pairing up the individual pieces with different tops and bottoms. Oh, and to answer my own question at the beginning of the post- wool crepe gets two thumbs up from me when it comes to summer wear. Just make sure you pair it with a lightweight, breathable lining, and you can wear this amazing fabric year-round.

Easter Outfit

Do I sound like an advertisement, yet? :) WOOLCREPEWOOLCREPEWOOLCREPE

Completed: A Very Purple Simplicity 3178

16 Jan

Y’all. Can we talk about wool crepe for a minute? I just love this shit to tiny threadbare pieces and I wish everything I made had a wool crepe option. I love the spongy texture, the glorious drape, the magical body-temperature-regularity (yay, wool!), and the COLORS. Truly, everyone should have at least one experience rolling around in a uncut length of wool crepe. Especially if it is a jewel-toned wool crepe. Ooh la la.

For my first Mood Sewing Network project, I wanted that experience to include wool crepe. I have a beautiful 1940s Simplicity pattern that I knew would look amazing done up in such a fabric. And since we’re talking about ~my first time~, I decided to go all out with my bad self and splurge on silk crepe de chine lining and satin bias tape as well. The end result is very… purple.

Simplicity 3178
The pattern I used is Simplicity 3178, which is undated but looks to be from the late 30s/early 40s. I love vintage patterns because they always have sweet little details, like the darts on the elbows that provide gentle shaping for the sleeves and the shoulder yokes that are actually pockets (!!).

Simplicity 3178
The skirt is bias cut, so I finished the hem with 1″ horsehair braid to give it a nice flare.

Simplicity 3178
The pattern gives a couple of options for finishing the neckline – I went with the double collar (self fabric on top and ivory wool crepe at the bottom) and a giant bow!

Simplicity 3178
I didn’t have to make too many changes to the pattern to get a good fit. I took in the side seams by 1/2″, tapering up to the underarm. I also removed a whopping 9″ of length from the skirt – the original pattern pieces came all the way down to my ankles! Yeech!

Simplicity 3178
I reckon the pockets are totally unnecessary, but ughhh I love those little fuckers!

Simplicity 3178

Simplicity 3178
This baby is also lined! Wool crepe really begs for a nice lining to give it some additional structure, and although the pattern doesn’t include pieces or instructions for adding a lining, it wasn’t too difficult to figure out. Unfortunately, I didn’t correctly calculate my yardages, so I didn’t have enough lining for the entire dress – which means the sleeves are not lined. I’ve noticed a distinct lack of lining in lots of dress sleeves, so this doesn’t bug me too much. Bonus plus: now you can see the pretty bias tape at the sleeve hems!
Also: lol at this hideously unflattering photo of me. IT WAS WINDY WHEN I TOOK THESE PICTURES, OK.

Simplicity 3178
The instructions do call for the sleeve slit and hems to be finished with bias tape, and then closed with a series of snaps. After trying the dress on during one of many fittings, I decided to flip the hems back to show the bias tape since the dress really needed a bit of color breakup. I pressed the cuff (wool crepe really does press so beautifully) and tacked down each side with a couple of hand stitches to keep everything in place. The neck bow is the same bias tape, just pressed completely open.

Simplicity 3178
I think the shoulders are my favorite part of the dress! Instead of using shoulder pads, I made a small stiff rectangle with horsehair interfacing and tacked that to the armholes like a sleeve head. It keeps the pleats from dropping too much and gives the dress those badass strong shoulders that were so fashionable in the 40s.

Simplicity 3178
Here you can better see the yoke pockets. I just think they are the coolest little detail! I wish they were big enough to hold my phone, but they’re just baarely too small. Hm, what do you think I could use them for? My seam ripper seems to fit :)

Simplicity 3178
Simplicity 3178
I worked hard to make the inside of this dress just as pretty as the outside. The yoke pockets and neck facings are lightly interfaced with silk organza, the facings are finished with satin bias tape, and I even rolled the hem lining and used tiny hand stitches to secure it. The collar is detachable – it’s current state of attachment involves basting stitches.

Simplicity 3178
Overall, I’m very happy with my dress – I love it’s snuggly wool warmth and did I mention purple? Because purple.

IN OTHER NEWS:
– Brittany of Viva Bang Bang, one of the MANY local Nashville bloggers who I’m just obsessed with (check out my sidebar; there are tons of us! WE ARE EVERYWHERE, YO), came to my house over the weekend and took a bunch of pictures of my sewing room. If you thought it looked cool before, definitely go check it out now because she made it look fucking amazing. Yay! Thank you so much, Brittany!!
– I’m sure some of y’all are into Project Runway, yes? Even if you’re not (that would be me, haha. Guilty!), you should totally watch this season because my homegirl Amanda Valentine is one of the designers and she is super rad and you should support her. I mean, they called her a bitch in the season preview. How sweet is that?! Haha!

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