Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Vogue 1395 - Breezy Rebecca Taylor Summer Dress

Bold and beautiful Anna Sui silk voile, a pale soft yellow topped with bold vibrant sunflowers on flocked dots, little texture.  This fabric is extremely breathable. 

As stated in my previous post about this dress, my confidence was boosted after working out the fit issues and ignoring the recommendation  indicated on the pattern envelope. 

Vogue rated the pattern "easy", and I think that is an appropriate assessment.  It sewed up easy and didn't present any difficult construction techniques or confusing instructions.  The dress is basically five major pattern pieces plus two binding stripes.

It comes in sizes 8 to 24; I used size 14 with modifications.

My plan was to make this for my summer vacation, but I was unable to make it in time for the trip.  Luckily, it's finished and ready for my next vacation.

Construction - I appreciate some of the construction techniques provided by Vogue.  The little things like the finishing on the neckline and armholes gives the dress a polished finish.  Now, there are some that I'm not to crazy about; like the three rows of stitching.  That seems like a waste of time.  Why not suggest french seams or serging.  Anyway, I serged the seams of the skirt, the two layers of lining, and the underlining to the fashion fabric of the bodice.  For the overlay, I sewed a french seam down the center back. Other changes are noted here.

Observation -  I underlined the front and back bodice to reduce transparency.  The back overlay is not underlined as I didn't want to add any bulk to the draping of it.  It has the cut-on back sleeve.  So part of the sleeve is underlined whiel the other half is not.  It almost goes unnoticed.  I realized it been I attached the overlay to the bodice.

Will I sew it again?  Sure, I want a crepe de chine version too.  And I do recommend it to others with modification if your body shape is similar to mine.  With most commercial patterns, 99.5 percent of the time I need to modify some aspect of it. 

I think this is a nice little summer dress.  It could be made up in knit as well.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Mixed Blue Abstract Rayon Jersey and My Favorite Maxi Dress M6700

Changing up on the print is good sometimes.  So instead of my favorite print (floral), I chose this great geometric rayon jersey.  I wanted a quick, easy cute dress to wear to the Toni Braxton concert.

My all time favorite, a McCall super easy and super cute maxi dress.  I made it twice before and thought it would be the perfect match for this awesome jersey print.  This dress takes about two hours to make.  My previous reviews are here and here.

It's 54 inches wide.  I ordered only three yards, not enough for a belt.  So I wore a silver belt to complete the look.

Not much more to say about this dress. Love it.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Notes on a Pattern - Vogue 1395

Vogue 1395 is an easy summer dress designed by Rebecca Taylor. It was published in 2014 and since that time several sewing bloggers have made it. To name a few: Lauren has made it three times and Andrea made it a few months ago. Based on the figure flattery diagram, this is not the best style for my body type. I bought it anyway, determined to make it work for me.

I like:
  • the gathering across the back and the tie in the front
  • the "V" neck
  • the appearance of a very comfortable summer dress
 My Concerns:
  • the dropped back neckline that could make my back appear to be even wider
  • the affect of the draping formed by the back over my sway back
  • making an appropriate FBA without a bust dart
Selecting a fabric with the right amount of drape could disspell my concern about the "broader back" appearance of the neckline.  But the FBA was still questionable.

I found this lovely Anna Sui silk voile and lined it with a fine silk/cotton voile.  Both fabrics are from Mood fabrics. 

Again Andrea to the rescue on the FBA.  She recommended this FBA to resolve the issue.  I've been similar FBA's in the past, but did not think of it for this dress.  To deal with the excess fabric at the waist, I lightly gathered it to match the width of the skirt.  The gathering is totally unnoticeable once the elastic is inserted.

Other Changes:
  • Small tuck to reduce the gaping neckline, front bodice.
  • Lengthen the skirt about two inches.
  • Tapered the the skirt from the mid hip to the hem and balanced out the hemline.
  • Underlined the bodice with silk voile.  The Ana Sui silk is sheer.
  • Added two layers on the silk voile to the skirt to reduce transparency.
Should have:
  • Raised the lower armhole by an inch.  Too much underarm exposure.   
  • Made the tie a little longer.
More later this week on my version of the Rebecca Taylor summer dress.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Watercolor Floral - New Look 6322

It's clear that I love floral prints.  In recent months I've ordered several yardages of bright, bold floral prints.  My favorite, so far, for 2015 is Mood multi- color watercolor cotton sateen.  (Too bad it's already sold out.)  The colors warm my skin giving me a summer glow.   Mood has a huge selection  of floral prints to pick from if this is not your favorite color.  My dress is completely lined with Mood's mint -mechanical stretch polyester crepe de chine

I regularly surf  Pinterest looking for inspirational garments.  I found this dress early summer and I knew I'd make a new slim dress to complement my summer wardrobe.

The pattern used is New Look 6322.  It comes in sizes 8 to 18.  There are several things I liked about it:
  •  pleating at the waist giving me a little more shaping through the hip area and minimizes the excess fabric below the bust.
  • the 'V' neckline.
  •  the option of a straight skirt or an a-line one.
  • simple to make.
The finish dress is true to the photos and drawings including with the pattern.  My version looks like view D with sleeves.

The construction techniques are standard.  I've used similar instructions in other patterns.  So I just glanced over them.  I did fiddle with the pleats and darts until I was satisfied with the location of them.    More on the alterations and changes can be found here.

This dress has good bones, and I definitely will use it again to make one of the other views.  For this dress, the combination of the fabric and the patterns works well for me, and I recommend both to others.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Notes on a Pattern - New Look 6322

A few weeks ago, I decided to pair New Look 6322 with these beautiful Multi-Color Watercolor Cotton Sateen  and Mint Mechanical Stretch Polyester Crepe De Chine (lining) from Mood Fabrics.  This summer I decided to use several bold fabrications to update my wardrobe.  My handy color fan helped me select the best colors for my skin tone.  I hadn't noticed this pattern until May of this year.  But its been around since last year.  My favorite view is view B with sleeves.  Of course, I knew I'd need to make at least my usual pattern adjustments:  FBA, broad shoulder, and sway back.  These changes are pretty standard for me.

Looking at the drawings and the front bodice pattern, I noticed that the pleating at the waist was a combination of pleats and darts.    My challenge was to successfully incorporate the excess fabric from the resulting FBA without adding too much bulk in the bust area.   The solution; add another dart and to extend the lines of the pleats to reduce any pooling below the bust.

The second challenge was to reduce or eliminate any gaping at the neckline.  This mostly happens when I sit in some dress styles.  In this case, the front of the dress gaps a bit.  Andrea (Sew It Fit) and I were talking about future projects and making the appropriate adjustments when I mentioned this issue.  She suggested that I make a small tuck in the neckline just above the bust to fix the problem.

For the back bodice, two adjustments were done.  The broad shoulder adjustment resulted in a small shoulder dart plus a deeper waist dart.   That is a pretty easy adjustment.  The sway back tuck eliminated the pooling fabric at my lower back.  Also, pretty easy to do.

After these fit resolutions were made, I noticed the shoulder seam does not fall on the ball of my shoulder.  It's about 1/2 beyond it.  Keep in mind, this amount plus the seam allowance. Next, the back sleeve has some fabric pooling near the shoulder blade.  I trimmed away the excess.  Finally, the center front and back extends 1/4" beyond the center of my body.  These areas were also trimmed as needed.

I starting the adjustment process using size 16.  I think don't my size selection caused the additional changes in the shoulder and sleeve, as I have experienced these issues before using size 14.  Using the size 16 does cause me to have large seam allowances along the side of the entire garment.  Sometimes resulting in down sizing to  14 or 12 in other areas.    At this point, I think I will go back to starting with size 14 just to see how that works.

On the skirt of the dress:  I lengthen it by 2" in the front and up to 2.50" on the back to level the hem where the sway back adjustment occurred.

Final observation:  Many of my "custom made" dresses slide off the hanger due to the wide neckline?  Especially, those made using New Look patterns.  It's not my imagination.  On the model, the neckline sits far away from the base of her neck.  This is another area that I will attempt to correct in future garments.

That's all for now!

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Simplicity Summer Jumpsuit - S1114


Boy, I have been so lazy to blog or even get on the computer. This post was semi-already two weeks ago. It is another vacation outfit.

I'm going to try to get back into the habit of posting and reading blogs (fingers crossed). 


Here is my review on Simplicity 1114:

At the forest preserve here my home.

Pattern Description:  Misses' easy dress and jumpsuits which features mini dress with halter ties, wide leg jumpsuit with thick straps, and slim jumpsuit in two length with v-neckline in front and back.  All views include convenient side pockets.  I used View C.

Pattern Sizing:  XXS to XXL; I used size medium adding a little more width along the bust area of the bodice.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, it did except for the straps.  I changed the design of them.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very, very simple to make.  I didn't need them, but at a glance, they look pretty easy to follow.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I wanted to try one of the new summer jumpsuit patterns, and I wanted something quick and easy to sew for vacation.  This fit the bill.  I was a little concern about how it would look on top.  In retrospect, I did not need to add any width to the bodice.  I could have narrower the entire jumpsuit for a slightly closer fit. 

I see someone on the path.

Eyes Closed, Grr!

Fabric Used:  I purchased this challis print from Hancock.  It is soft and floating, great for a vacation outfit.  Before sewing, I preshrunk the fabric and gave it a good steamy press.    The print was crooked.  This was a challenge when it came to trying to line-up the print.  I think I was at least able to get the print straight cross the pattern pieces, but I didn't have enough fabric to match the print front and back.  Next time, I will be careful when selecting a print of the type from the fabric store.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: There were only a few small changes:

  • For the straps, I cut six bias strips about 2" wide and 18" long to make six narrow straps to braid into to straps.  
  • Added 4" to the length of the pant.
  • Excluded the pockets and belt.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I think I will try this again.  Next time taking out some of the width.  And yes, I do recommend it to others.  Jumpsuits are on trend.  You can even add elastic to the hem of the pant leg.  All of the views of this pattern are great for easy, breezy vacation clothes.    This pattern can be made by all level sewists.

Conclusion:  This is an quick and easy pattern to sew that does not require lots of fit adjustments for the average person.

Parting Shot:  Me in Jamaica.  We stop so I could at least get a picture or two before going to the Raggae concert at the Rui Negril Pavillion.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Soutache - The Cutest Little Victorian Button and Trim Shop

I have the pleasure of working at Soutache this month and in April.  Now that I'm retired from the University, I am able to do something related to my favorite hobby.  Soutache is located on the near north side of Chicago.  Maili has moved across the street from her previous location.

If you remember, I mentioned Soutache in the Chicago PatternReview post back in 2011.  I didn't really review the shop at that time but would like to share a few thoughts on it now.

First, I'd like to say that I love the layout of the store and presentation of the goods.  It's vintage style reminds me of a Victorian shop.   At the front of the store, one side of the store is ribbon/trim and the other is buttons.  The middle of the store is displays and floral.  At the back feathers, bridal, and findings.  Upstairs is a large work/storage room where small classes can be held.  Rhonda Buss and Susan Khalje hosted their winter workshop there

I bought ribbon, feathers, and buttons.  The prices are competitive considering the quality of the goods.   Maili is the sole proprietor and occasionally has part-time staff come in to help out.

Shoppers are like kids in a candy store.  Some come into the store looking for something unique and special for a custom garment or fascinator/hat.  Last Tuesday, an author of a sewing book came in to buy buttons for a military style jacket featured in her new book.  She bought $65.00 worth of metal buttons.  Everyone who stops by appears to have a great appreciation for the quality of goods that Soutache carries.

If you are in the Chicago land area, consider stopping by Soutache.  The address is:

2130 North Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL  60647

Happy Sewing!  I mean Happy Shopping!


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