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!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

White Party in Jamaica - McCall 7048

One of the few things that I made for my summer vacation was this outfit for Anita's birthday celebration.  Everyone was asked to wear white for the party.  It was left up to each individual to decide to wear something casual or dressy.  I chose to dress it up a bit. 

Recently, I shared an inspirational post that featured sequins.  To my surprise, JoAnn's Fabrics has stocked a few sequins fabrications.  One of them happened to be ivory on ivory mesh.    Not to fancy, just rows of single sequins stitched onto mesh.

For my outfit, I decided to use McCall 7048, which is similar to an inspirational designed I saw in a fashion magazine.  There were only a few changes required to achieve the look I was going for.  With that being said, let me start the review of my two piece sequined dress.

Pattern Description: MISSES' TOP, DRESS AND SKIRT: Close-fitting top and dress have self-lined yokes and bodice with princess seams, and back zipper. A: exposed zipper. B: lined skirt with princess seams and side pockets. Purchased trims and flower. A and C: overlay. B and C: horsehair braid on hemline.

Pattern Sizing: This pattern is available in sizes 6 to 22.  I used between  12, 14 and 16 with modifications.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  My dress is similar to the drawing (views A and C).

Were the instructions easy to follow?  This is a Designer Joi pattern which includes some fitting tips.  The instructions were easy to follow. I omitted some construction steps though.  More on those changes later. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I selected this pattern because it was similar to the designer inspiration. Other likes:  princess seam top with yoke and full skirt.  No dislikes.

Fabric Used:   Sequins on mesh, Casa special occasion polyester crepe. and China silk from JoAnn's Fabrics.   I used tricot interfacing.  Use a sharp needle to sew the sequins fabric.

Fabric dislikes - handling China silk, but love the polished look of it.  I wish for better crepe.  The polyester gets the job done.  Does anyone sale wool or silk crepe anymore?

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  
Changes and Alterations-

Top:  Overlay added to the front yoke, back yoke, and center back; FBA; broad shoulder and swayback adjustments; lengthen the top an inch; hand picked the zipper; and omitted trim to lower edge of top.

Skirt:  Added nine inches to the length of the skirt and overlay; hand picked the zipper; omitted the trim on the overlay; and omitted the horsehair braid to lower edge of lining.

Fit Observation:  The bodice fitting across the bust isn't as smooth as I'd like.  The width below the bust is a little loose. Also, lengthen the top caused some pooling in the lower back area.  These issues can be easily corrected.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I may make this again.   The skirt is common and is the same in many patterns on similar styles.  It can be used as a slopers.

Conclusion: I enjoyed making this outfit.  Adding the sequins as the overlay gave it a little "bling".

Parting shot:  Here is a cropped head shot of me in a group photo at the party.  Sorry I don't have any pictures on my wearing the outfit at the event.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Feathers and Flowers - Simplicity 1103

Feathers not flowers!  At first glance of this colorful summer print, you think flowers.  I liked the placement of the feathers and decided to order two colors of this print, with the second one being the black, teal, red, and green.  This stretch cotton twill is light and breezy.  It has a smooth hand and sews up with no problem; easy breezy.  Don't let the audacious print intimidate you.  It's perfect for summer dresses, tops, and pants.

Some people believe that less is more.  I believe it depends on how the "more" comes together to complete the desired look.   I'm always looking for new ways to add some interest to the garments I make; whether it's an inspired design or some sewing technique that I want to try.  In this case, I was first inspired by Andrea, a member of the Haute Couture Club of Chicago.  She made a beautiful floral print dress that she added some embroidery to add "more" interest.  I loved her idea and wanted to make something similar.  But I wasn't ready for the embroidery part. ;-)

In my search for more inspiration, I found several images of 3-dimensional floral applications.  So I decided to try adding silk flowers to my feathered dress.  I found the perfect flower, orange orchids, at JoAnn's Fabrics.  I pulled the flowers apart and tested where to place them on the dress.

I used Simplicity 1103, view D without the overlay.   This is a "V" neck princess seam drop waist dress with a half circle skirt.  It comes in sizes 6 -24.  Of course, I had to do my usual pattern adjustments before cutting out the dress:

  • FBA
  • Sway back adjustment
  • Prominent shoulder blades
  • Lengthen the skirt a few inches
My final sizing was between 14, 16 and 12.  I sometimes start with size 16, but find size 14 is closer to the size I need in most areas except the bust area.

Here are my initial pattern alteration photos:

My dress looks like the drawing minus the overlay and the placement of the appliques.  The instructions were typical; nothing confusing or hard about them.

My likes: 
  • drop waist princess seam bodice.  I don't have any dresses with a drop waist.
  • back closure (tip - I used stay tape along the upper edge of the lower back bodice to keep it from stretching out of shape.)
No dislikes

I'm not sure I will sew this again for myself, but I do recommend this pattern to others.  It's easy and stylish.

Parting shots: Here is Andrea and me at the Haute Couture Club of Chicago Annual June luncheon.  She is wearing a dress made with Mood Fabric. ;-)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Jamaica! Jamaica!

I love vacationing in Jamaica! The Rui Negril is the best. This year we were celebrating Anita's Birthday. It was a big one. Wink, wink.

All white party for the birthday celebration

Anyway, it was a great time to enjoy family and friends on the beach with a glass of rum punch, sunglasses, and a less than classic fiction novel. It was great. One of the many great things about vacationing in Jamaica is the Rui Negril Resort (all inclusive). No worries about food, drink, or entertainment. There are three great restaurants on the property (reservations only) and the huge family banquet restaurant. There is also daily jerk chicken meals on the beach from 12:00 to 2:00pm, two pool bars available to serve your favorite tropical drinks, and in every room there is a personal bar stocked with rum, soda, and water.
My meal at the steak house

Jerk Chicken Pit

Fruit bar in the main dining area

Every night at the pavilion there is a show or band performance for your pleasure. The entertainment team is spectacular, always engaging and hosting the beach and pool side activities.  Then at night, they are the main event or the prelude to the musical attraction.  The wait staff is impeccable. Always smiling and ready to serve.  Some looked so young.  One day I asked one of the young ladies her age.  She looked no more than 16; her response was 22 years old.  She had just completed her college education in food services.

If you are there for a week, you can count on a "white" beach party full of games, music and, of course, Appleton Jamaican Rum. It does not stop there, the resort also has shops, game rooms, a small casino and day spa. (I had to make a stop at the spa to get a manicure.)  So you never have to leave the premises. But, if you are the adventurous type and want to take advantage of an excursion or two, there are agents in the lobby to help you plan your adventure. Also, on the beach you can make some water excursions at Water Sports.

This time around, I wanted to see the interior of the island. I wanted learn more about the culture and the people who live and breathe Jamaica. Tourism is the number industry and aluminum the second.

I took a tour with Chukka, the company that handles the excursions. This was a tour by jeep, which traveled through some historical areas of Jamaica. Along the way, I learned a little about the slave trade and revolt. I saw plantations where they produced rum and plantation houses that were burned down by slaves trying to escape to freedom. Surprisingly, slavery on the island ended (1838) long before the emancipation in America.

Life is slow in Jamaica. People build houses on government land and can buy that property (land) if they have the money. I saw many, many construction sites where new homes where being built. As people have money to build, the construction of the home continues. But when there is no money, all construction stops. So you see a lot of unfinished homes that look like they've been abandoned.

Many of the people live in the smallest quarters I have ever seen. Some places are only a little larger than my bathroom. Incredible. The towns are busy with people conducting business and personal trade. The children are all uniformed. In high school they learn to speak French and Spanish.  The people of Jamaica have their own language, handed down from slavery. It is called Patois, which is a combination of many languages including old English, Spanish, Portuguese, and some African languages. It was developed by the slaves as their own personal means of communication.

All over the country you will see goats in the fields and on the sides of the road. Goats are everywhere! There is other livestock: chicken, cows, and horses.

We stopped on a hill overlooking Montego Bay. There I saw planes land, cruise ships docked, and mountains where escaped slaves would run for freedom. Then Richard, our trusty guide showed us how they tracked run away slaves. There is a certain vegetation that grows in grassy areas. It responds to touch the same as a Venus fly trap. It stays closed for about five minutes. This behavior would allow slave catchers to track and find runaway slaves. Then, we were shown a huge cotton wood tree. This is the type of tree slaves were hanged. This part of the tour was very disheartening. Jamaica is a small island surrounded by water compared to the USA. How far could a slave run before being caught?

Richard tried to teach a little Jamaican slang. It was so funny listening to him speak/teach.
  • trashy and ready - means pretty woman dressed to the nine.  Looking good.
  • fluffy diva (mama) - big woman weighting over 200 pounds.  Big is good in Jamaica.
  • bumper - (behind or butt) 
Jamaica got her independent in 1962.  Richard says that independence is not always good.  Many UK companies left Jamaica, which took away commerce and affected the government policies.

Bob Marley changed things.  His popularity spanned the globe.  His message and music touch people from all walks of life.  Bob Marley died at 39 of cancer.  He did not believe in cutting his hair or removing any body parts and tissue. 

The final leg of the tour was the falls.  We went to the beautiful, deadly rain forest.  I thought those mosquitoes and spiders were going to eat me ALIVE!  Before leaving the resort, I applied repellent.  Then before entering the forest, another application.  The insects laughed at me.  By the time I got to the falls, I had over 20 bites.  Richard's solution:  get in the falls.  The water will cool your body and rinse the sweat off.  It did and the biting stopped.  But none of the Jamaican people were getting bit.  I needed their repellent.  GRRRR!

After the cool dip at the falls, we went to a outdoor eatery, where they served cool drinks, delicious jerk chicken, peas and rice with corn fritters.  I needed a bottle of Benadryl to go!  Despite my uncomfortable state, I enjoyed the tour.  Richard stopped at one more location, where snails were a plenty, feasting on algae.  The trip back to the resort was quite.  Everyone had had a full day of excitement.

Back to my lazy days on the beach and at the pool to sip on the best rum punch, while reading.  Life is beautiful visiting Jamaica!

Parting shot:  Me and Richard overlooking Montego Bay.  Richard shared his photo pose, always pointing up.  This is to acknowledge God, the creator of all things.  This is a form of praise and thanks.  I like that.

Happy Sewing!


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