Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Vogue 8968 Summer Dress in Linen

I saw a similar pattern for this dress in one of my Japanese pattern books. But as of late I have not had the energy to transfer, adjust, sew, adjust, and sew again. I've perused my books, and dreamt about making a few more things...but the transferring feels like such a burden these days. I feel the same way about my Burda Patterns. I have probably a dozen of them in my online account that I haven't even printed up because I'm too overwhelmed to tape, make adjustments, add seam allowances, sew, make adjustments again, and sew again. Are you tired of reading this yet? Whine, whine, whine...

Enter Vogue 8968, an easy dress to sew in a day or two depending on your fabric choice. My fabric is linen and a recent acquisition from my friend Ali at our latest sewing stash event. This dress cuts loose...really loose. Made in a size large, this dress can fit a plus size, up to a size 22, which why I gave this dress to my sister for her birthday.

 The neckline really stretched out even after stay stitching, The facing was interfaced so it did not stretch. I had to create a small pleat at the neckline to fit the facing in. What I learned here is that I should have probably double stay stitched the neckline or added some kind of stabilizer like spray starch. Eh...I live and learn.
 I ran out of fabric for the bottom facing. I used some lightweight linen scraps from my poofy Vogue dress from last Summer. Worked out fine.

I made version "A" with the neck opening. I love these kind of necklines, but they can be super tricky to make with stretchy fabric. Stabilize, stabilize, stabilize!

The FAM (family still at home, which consists of my daughter and husband), did not like this dress. Everytime I sew something in a shade of light blue, my daughter calls it a hospital smock. My husband didn't like the cut of the long, pointy side panels. My husband's comments went like this:

Husband: What's wrong with this dress?
Me: Nothing.
Husband: Why does it look so wrinkled?
Me: Because it's a linen dress.
Husband: But no one knows it's linen...people will just think it's a wrinkled dress.
Me: I don't think anyone will really care.
Husband: It still looks wrinkled.

Happy sewing!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Super-Cute Blouse - Vogue 9067

I might have to eat my hat if I make one more Vogue Pattern, and it turns out scrumptious after the first muslin. But before I get ahead of myself, I do have a few things to say about how this pattern is not perfect if you are shorter than five foot three inches. 

This was purchased on sale from Denver fabrics for about $3 a yard. It is also wide at 60 inches. It is a light-weight cotton similar to a voile or a lawn. It drapes beautifully, and is one of the most successful muslins I have made thus far.
It's always a good day when the muslin turns out.
This pattern is drafted extra long and wide. If you are close to pettite, everything will be swimming on you. For me, it turned out a bit wider than I would like, but it was still acceptable. I shortened the bodice by two inches, and the blouse still sat below my high hip, and even lower in the back because due to its "high-low" cut.

The pattern comes in several cuts, but I bought it primarily for the plain white blouse version below with the ruffled sleeve. This pattern also comes with pants suffering from the same problem...too long, and too wide. I took a good five inches on the leg off, but after sewing the muslin, I needed to also take up a couple inches from the hip area both in length and in width. This pattern is obviously best suited for someone above average in height. Otherwise, a lot of adjusting is necessary. I made the large, but I think I could have made a medium or even a small. Unfortunately, I did not have a smaller option.

The actual sewing was easy. Bear in mind that the least amount of waste happens if using 45' wide fabric. The pants on the other hand, would need 58" wide to get both pieces on a single folded panel.

I didn't have matching light pink-coral thread for the blouse, so I used a standard ivory.  I hand stitch all the visible seams with some embroidery thread of a similar (but not exact) color. A lot of hand work usually annoys me, but I felt especially patient that day. The result was a beautifully stitched blouse that looked more bespoke than machine-made.

I hand stitched the keyhole facing which made it easier to ease around the curve. 
Right side of the back keyhole neck. Not perfect, but I think it would have looked worse if machine stitched.
I also hand stitched the neck bias facing too.

I made my first a semi-tailored linen jacket in high school. At the time, my then home economics teacher insisted that I put in the lining (after I sewed the sleeves on) completely by hand. I remember being really mad at her at the time. But to her credit, she taught me how to sew an invisible hem that I still use today.
Hand hemmed was performed on the sleeve as well.
These are my favorite hand sewing tools. I don't remember where I bought the thread, but I've had it in my toolkit for many years. It's a beautiful silk embroidery thread from Asia (maybe Japan).

Silk thread, beeswax, and Bohin hand-sewing needles.
This is my first packet of Bohin needles. I like the fact that the top of the eye of the needle is flatter, which makes pushing the needle through fabric easier. I never knew this would be an important feature in a needle until I discovered it.

Friday, June 5, 2015

One Fabric - Two Styles

 My Meetup group is having a pattern swap next weekend. Luckily for me, I don't have many patterns to giveaway. But I can't say the same about my fabric stash. With my decluttering goals for the remainder of the year, I am back to finding easy and quick-sewing patterns. But there still remains the cycle of "more." More sewing equates to more stuff to store. Am I just moving my things around, and not reducing? How do I solve this conundrum? One way is selfless sewing...making things for other people. This is just as slow and time-consuming as sewing for myself. I have to ask myself...am I getting close to parting with some of my fabric stash? Maybe.

Now back to some sewing...

Veering off a bit from StyleArc Patterns, I dabbled in a couple of new ones. I have been holding on to this piece of cotton from Stone Mountain for a long time. The cotton is a bit sheer for work, but great for Summer layering, and warm days on the beach or park. My fabric looks like a thin cotton muslin, but wears like a lawn. It was originally planned for a peasant top...enter Butterick B4685.
I used my bias tape stash to create the casing for the elastic neckline. 
This pattern feels more like a juniors cut to me, and it is a bit skimpy on the width. I like fuller peasant tops in general. But if you are looking at saving fabric, then this one is for you. It is mostly easy to make, but the hem is curved at the sides. The pattern instruction said to use a simple doubled narrow fold hem. This is okay, except it will pucker a bit if the fabric is thin and loosely weaved like mine. A better alternative would be the eased curved-hem technique, or reshape the hem entirely, which I think is pretty easy to do.

I made the white one on the pattern, but with the shorter cap sleeve from the yellow top sample below. I did not like the way the elastic looked on the cap sleeve, and removed it in the end. It is more comfortable for my chubby arms without it.
I have not had a ton of luck with Butterick patterns. I find them inconsistent in sizing.
With the peasant top completed, I still had a bit more fabric leftover to create a second top. I thought about making a second version of the peasant, but ultimately decided that I didn't really like the pattern as-is. B-bye! Enter Simplicity 1693...

A simple high-low top supported by bias binding. I used the same bias binding on both tops. Except this one is turned inside at the neck and arm opening for support. The sheerness of the cotton allowed the peach bias tape color to show through, and added a nice touch. But I had problems with my fabric puckering from the stiff bias tape. Sigh...

Here's a close up of the fabric and neck area. (Excuse my puckers.) Both of these tops were essentially muslins, that I whipped up like Speedy Gonzales. After adding more water to my iron, the steam straightened out a lot of the puckers. 
Not so proud of my speed sewing, but here's the thing...no one seemed to notice. This Simplicity pattern looked a bit hum-drum at first, but the simple lines helps highlight fancy fabrics. Look at the many variations below. I think this pattern is a keeper. It fits straight out of the package. The only thing I would change is the back hook and eye opening. The neckline is big enough for my version that it does not need an opening at all. I wouldn't suggest skipping it with the collar version though. At least not on the first try. My version only had two pattern pieces, and the only necessary notion is bias tape (and hook and eye if needed).
I made the simple collarless moss green tank.
I've already worn both tops a couple of times already. I admit that I love the peachy color on my skin. If only it didn't remind me of bridesmaid dresses from the 80s. I have a burnt orange Swiss dot cotton in my stash that I'm thinking of turning into another variation. But it might have to wait a couple of weeks. There's a new Vogue pattern prepped and ready for fabric cutting. If all goes well, and I'm not too distracted, I hope to have the new project done by this weekend. I just started picking up Saturday half-day shifts, so there goes one quarter of my weekend. Second sigh... Happy sewing!