30 July 2008

Dirn It All!

I love dirndl skirts, so when I saw these two gorgeous border print fabrics at my local Fabricland, I could not resist picking up 2 m of each. These skirts could not be easier to make. Cut the fabric to the desired length (in my case, 24" + 4" for the hem), sew up the single seam after inserting an invisible zipper, throw on a straight waistband, tack on a hook/eye and presto...a summer skirt ready for wearing!

I'm not sure which one I like more - the coral or the teal. And as an added bonus, I still have the extra fabric that was cut off, which will make a cute summer top (or two).

ETA for TwilaO: Both skirts were made from the full 2 m lengths of fabric, gathered to fit the waistband.

29 July 2008

McCall's 5632 & Butterick 5187

Pattern: McCall's 5632 (view C) & Butterick 5187 (view A)

Size: I used the size 8 for both patterns.

For the capris: stretch denim from Fabric Mart.
For the cardigan: papaya linen from Timmel Fabrics (sadly defunct now).

Project Photos
& Comments:
Capris ~ I wanted a pair of denim capris as the pair I have now are becoming increasingly thread bare. M5632 appealed to me the first time I saw it, although I don't normally like pants with pleats. This pattern is well drafted and went together smoothly from start to finish. Unfortunately, I am not in love with the pleats, the cuffs or the extremely wide bottom leg circumference on these capris - they all add up to making me look a tad stumpy. If I attempt these capris again, I will be narrowing the leg, forgoing the cuffs and making them in a fabric with more drape and flow - I think that will remedy the "stumpiness" issues.

Cardigan ~ This is just the cutest cardi! I love all the views and hope to make each of them. I decided to start with view A because it spoke the loudest to me. I had some leftover papaya linen from a sundress project a couple of years ago and the weight of it was perfect for this project. I was so pleased when all the pattern pieces just barely squeezed onto my fabric remnant. However, when I cut out the pattern pieces, I must have been daydreaming because I forgot to cut doubles of a few key pieces - namely the inside front and back yokes. I had to use some ecru linen (the only linen I had at the time that was in a compatible colour) to cut these missing pieces. The inside back yoke wasn't a major concern because it isn't visible when the cardigan is being worn. The inside front yoke was a different story, as it also backs the ties at the neck, which are clearly visible when worn.

What to do? What to do? How do I make this screw up look intentional? Well, after putting together the jacket, I top stitched (with a decorative asterisk stitch pre-programmed into my sewing machine) various sections of the papaya regions of the cardigan in a thread that matched the ecru linen. Also, the ecru ties were likewise top stitched with papaya thread. As you can see in the photo to the left, my bonehead mistake now looks like a "design feature" or at least that's what I have been telling myself (so, don't burst my bubble). In the end, I really like this cardigan - it gives off a vintage (1940s?), nautical feel to me.

Conclusion: I am still on the fence as to whether I'll make the capris again, but I will certainly be making all the views of the cardigan. The cardi is a perfect summer cover up for a cool evening or for the daytime when my shoulders are getting roasted in the sun.

18 July 2008

Simplicity 3323

Pattern: Simplicity 3323 ~ From the envelope: "Dress has slightly extended shoulders, bateau neckline, back zipper closing and contrasting bias and bow trim. Version 1 features a full gathered skirt."

Size: Sub Teen Size 12 s (bust 31)

Muslin: car print cotton polyester blend
Garment: embroidered cotton w/ a border print
(both fabrics are from Fabricland)

Project Photo
Comments: I was looking for a simple sun dress to showcase a beautiful border print I found at the local chain fabric store. When working with a border print, I prefer to not have to cut up the border at all, so I wanted a pattern with a dirndl skirt (basically a rectangle that is gathered at the top). When I found this pattern in my vintage stash, I knew it was the one.

I wanted to first make a wearable muslin of the dress before cutting into the good stuff. I'm glad I did. The dress straight from the package was sized for a person with a very short torso - it may be due to the sub-teen sizing on this pattern, although I didn't encounter this problem with other sub-teen patterns I've used in the past. In the end, I added 1.5" to the bodice length. When I make this dress again, I will add another 0.5", to bring the total up to 2" added length.

Flat pattern measuring also suggested that I needed to reduce the size of the two front and two back darts (by 0.5" in each case, to add a total of 2") to accommodate for the larger size of my waist. In the wearable muslin, this worked out beautifully, since the garment sat up above my waist, at the bottom of my ribcage. However, when I lengthened the bodice, I forgot to take into account that my actual waist is smaller than the measurement on my body 2" higher up, so the final dress was roomy in the waist. I removed the skirt and resewed the darts, effectively removing the 2" I had added. I'm pretty good at tweaking patterns to fit me, but every once and a while, I still goof up - ah well, to err is human!

The only other alteration I did was to remove some fabric from the front armscyce (0.25" at the centre, tapering to nothing at the shoulder and underarm seams), as the muslin pulled in this area when I would reach forward. In the next version, I will remove another 0.25" and it should be perfect.

The skirt is a single layer of fabric (too bulky otherwise). However, the bodice was fully underlined with cotton batiste.

Conclusion: The muslin is wearable, although it seems a bit young what with the crazy car print (check it out - it says "vroom!") and the elevated waistline, so it will likely be reserved for weekend wear. The border print version is definitely a winner and will become a regular in my warm weather wardrobe. I actually have another border print fabric that was to become a skirt, but I may end up making this dress again with that fabric.

8 July 2008

I Love the Smell of Rayon in the Morning

I just noticed that Lucy's Fabrics has some gorgeous rayon lycra knits. Since I am incapable of saying no to beautiful rayon knits, I purchased the following:

And, since it seemed wrong to only order a few paltry cuts of knit fabric, I rounded out my package with a brown double knit, a dark brown ottoman knit and a medium brown ottoman knit.

As much as everyone raves about the new poly/lycra knits that are out these days, I just can't get myself to love them too. I have found a few (very few) that are acceptable. However, for the most part, I find them hot and sticky in the summer, static clingy in the winter and usually downright icky feeling. Give me natural, breathable fabrics with a supple hand and now, I'm in heaven. Three cheers for rayon!

1 July 2008

Happy Canada Day

To all my fellow Canadians, here's wishing you a happy and safe Canada Day. Whether you're taking in the sun at the beach, paddling on a peaceful lake or barbequing up a storm in your own backyard, I hope you're enjoying this day with family and friends.

Unfortunately, I'm alone today, as my husband had yesterday off (his work tries to place holidays to give them long weekends, which is nice). So, I plan to make good use of my time by sewing. I'm almost finished a cute little tie-front cardigan in a gorgeous deep papaya coloured linen.

In other sewing related news...
I have been on an insane orange kick lately. I cannot get enough of this juicy, citrusy, delicious colour! So, when I stumbled upon Vogue Fabrics latest offerings for summer, I was rendered incapable of resisting the following luscious fabrics:

Chapeaux Blooms - Stretch Cotton Sateen & Chapeaux Tangerine - Blouseweight Linen

Chapeaux Window Panes - Rayon Blend Suiting & Hannah Jardin - Poly Georgette

Oaks Sensation - Variegated Crocheted Novelty & Oaks Delight - Floral Jacquard Knit

Oaks Mango - Poly/Cotton/Lycra Interlock Knit & Oaks Stretch - Cotton/Lycra Stretch Twill

And, get this...drum roll please...I even have a plan for these babies. Check it out:

Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I picked up some more fabulous summer fabric at a local store yesterday. I haven't had a chance to photograph them yet, so I don't have any pictures. But, suffice it to say, they helped to sate my appetite for orange as well.