Animal Print: Vogue 1245

Vogue 1245I bought this fabric a couple of seasons ago from a sale table of silk georgettes, mostly because DD1 really liked the print.  Then it sat on a shelf, and I would periodically ask what she would like to do with it.  Well, earlier this summer I asked again, and she confessed she didn’t really know and that she wasn’t really sure she’d wear this particular fabric anyways.  😀  More for mommy to wear, said I, and got down to cutting out this Alice + Olivia top.
Vogue 1245 backI purchased the pattern about 3 years ago in DD1’s then-current size, and need to grade up one size for me.  I didn’t do any other adjustments to this pattern – I just sewed it up as it was drafted.  Rationale:  flouncy design, flowy fabric and a busy print would probably hide any picky-perfectionist fitting issues.
Vogue 1245 AWell, the top was made up quickly without any hassle other than the usual extra time required for accurately handling lightweight silks, and then it hung in my closet until this past week when I finally decided to wear it and take pics.  We’ve been having lovely warm fall weather and this was perfect to wear on a warm fall day.
Vogue 1245 detailThis top is super comfortable to wear, although the ties are quite long even pulled into laaaaaarge bows and kept getting in the way of unloading groceries, making dinner and general kids-are-home-from-school time chaos.  It’s light, floaty and it’s fun to wear something with flounces.  My green Ruby camisole is perfect underneath and added that little extra bit of warmth that’s always desired in the fall.  The cami is also modesty insurance.  I don’t know if you can see it, but the neckline has a narrow-hemmed slit opening at the CF, and it’s low.
Vogue 1245 frontIt’s nice to finally blog this top.  I enjoyed making it and was pleased with the result on the hanger, and wearing it was a lot of fun.  And may I just add this disclaimer:  the pattern matching on the front hem flounces is a completely random occurrence.  Every time I try to think through and analyze pattern placement it’s hit and miss.  When I just go with the fabric, it works.  Luck, or proof positive that over thinking things without the benefit of a scientific mind doesn’t work.
And peeps, I made a pair of jeans.  I can’t wait to show them to you, because I am dayum proud of myself!

Vogue 1247: The top this time

Rachel Comey ensembleWell, after making three of these skirts, I thought I’d try the top.  I’ll be honest:  I wasn’t really interested in this top because it’s so loose and shapeless, and I have a hard time with loose and shapeless on myself.  I think loose and shapless is flattering on figures that are less curvy than I am.  I was curious about the top, especially with the interesting seaming on the front. I really love Carolyn’s version in orange linen.  I mean, c’mon.  It’s orange and it’s linen! But what really made me want to give it a go was seeing Merche’s pretty version during MMM’13.  The stripey fabric made me start thinking about this top seriously, and I started fingering and considering and rejecting fabric specimens from my stash.   Enter a piece of silk chiffon that has been languishing since it didn’t make it into a sundress years ago.  I had originally earmarked it for DD1, but she didn’t care much for it, so I smiled broadly and set to work.

I like the silk chiffon for a couple of reasons.  It’s floaty and drapey and it works on my figure for garments that aren’t particularly shaped by providing something resembling fit to an otherwise unflattering cut through it’s skimming qualities.  And because it’s sheer, it means my curves kinda maybe get hinted at without actually having to make the garment follow them to a “T”.
Vogue 1247 top back
I read a lot of review on PR about this top, and was a little concerned about how negative they were, but after poring over each one, I came down on the side of the designer:  it’s supposed to be a very loose-fitting garment, and that’s what I both liked and disliked about it.   However, I thought I didn’t have much to loose making it out of this bit from stash.
My one stupidity in the cutting was not grading it out a size at the hips.  Well, I actually didn’t have enough fabric to do that even if I’d wanted to.  So it catches on my hips.  I cut the straight size as dictated by my chest measurement, not my bust measurement.  I did not do an FBA, although I did cut the CF higher by about 2 inches.  Once it was partially sewn up, I did have to take in the CF an inch on each side, tapering to the horizontal bust darts, in effect giving me the equivalent of an FBA without any forethought.
Vogue 1247 top sideBecause it’s sheer, I wear it with my green Ruby which goes with everything sheer in my closet, interestingly enough.  The only other little addition to this pattern were bra strap keepers.  The neckline isn’t extremely wide, but it’s open enough to warrant something to help keep it in place.
Vogue 1247 top

Verdict:  I like my “very loose-fitting” top.  I may be tempted to try this again.

Baby Blue and Navy Blue

Vogue 2396It’s done and on its way to Alberta.  I couldn’t be more pleased with this outfit – simple, chic and I’m so happy with the way it came together.  The ice-blue sheath is Vogue 2396.  Here it is without the lace shirt.Vogue 2396 sheath dressI pre-washed the linen when it was purchased about 12 months ago (longer, maybe?).  I had originally intended to simply underline it with silk organza, but it was a little on the show-all-possible-undergarment-lines semi-opaque, so I also lined with bemberg.  Vogue 2396 interiorI added a small kick pleat at the CB, since my DF isn’t a fan of hemline slits.  This is such a lovely simple design that it will be wearable for many occasions.  I faced the armholes and neckline with a self-drafted facing instead of taking the lining to the edges as per Vogue’s instructions.  I think this finishes up the edges in a much nicer way, and the support afforded by the self-fabric keeps everything in shape properly during wear.  Isn’t that icy blue such a pretty summery colour?Vogue 2396 facingAnd now the nitty gritty of the lace top.  I folded the lace in half, matching the scalloped selvedges, laid the front of the dress pattern over top to get an idea of the neckline shape, took a massively deep breath, and slashed from the centre front out to the shoulders.  I’m sorry I don’t have pics of this process, but it was pretty simple, and I’m hoping I’ll write well enough for you to follow along.  Then I put the lace “top” on over the dress as it was on Ms. Vintage, adjusted the shoulders so that the hem hung horizontally, pinned it to the shoulders of the dress, and carefully trimmed away the excess to match the dress’s neckline.  Then I tried using my silk ribbon to bind the neck edge.  I’ve not pictures of that either, and for good reason.  It was an atrocious ugly mess.  Of course, I can hear some of you more experienced sewistas muttering, because silk ribbon is not bias, and therefore will not shape smoothly.  Yup.  Stitch and learn.

So I tripped down to the fashion district last Friday and matched the lace with silk chiffon (since French navy silk organza is NOT to be had anywhere in this town and I’ve not tried dyeing anything and didn’t want this to be the start of a foray into that art form).  I cut long 1″ wide pieces of bias and made a couple of yards of narrow bias binding.  Not the most fun job in the world with chiffon, but it worked.lace shirt chiffon edgingThen I carefully trimmed away all but 1/8″ of the uglified silk ribbon neck edging and stitched the chiffon binding around the neckline by hand.  I didn’t trust my machine.  Once the neckline was all finished, I put it on Ms. Vintage again and started draping the side seams.  I ended up trimming 2″ off the front and backs at the sides, tapering to a short sleeved kimono shape.  Then I bound each long edge, back hem to front hem, and fell-stitched 8 inches of the edges together from the hem up to create the shape of the shirt.lace shirt sleevesThe bias binding is not uniform in width, but it’s complementary to the variation of widths in the design of the lace.  I think so, anyways.  It’s a pull-over style, and I’m hoping it will get worn with a myriad of other outfits. When my DF picked up the dress she was wearing a backless spaghetti strap black maxi dress. She tried on the lace shirt and it looked amazing with the dress she was already wearing. And here’s a final shot of the back.  This was a fun project.  I love working with linen and these sorts of garments are what make my sewing heart leap with giddy joy.  Next up:  boring snoring cake for DD1 and another go at the Vogue 1039 skinnies pattern.  *yawn*Lace shirt back

Better late than never: The Reptile Arrives

Burda 09-2012-114 belted

I really wanted to participate in the jungle that was January.  I had a jungle Tiramisu in the mental planning stages to be done prior to my vacation, but it just never happened because, well, life happens regularly with three children at home during holidays.  I’m not whining, I’m just stating a fact that all moms understand:  Plans change, interruptions happen constantly, and, well, projects don’t materialize!

Burda 09-2012-114 front

But I am pleased to say, that despite the horrid cold (and y’all know reptiles go comatose in the cold) that I’ve managed to wake this one up and convince it to be sewn and photographed.  Hooray!!! I finished it last night.  I hate being late, but in this case, I’m happy with the very annoying adage that’s titling this post.  ‘Cuz I really like this loose trenchy take on a silk chiffon blouse from Burda 9/2010 #114.  I wasn’t sure this would work – the trench style as a chiffon blouse – and thought I’d experiment.  Then, of course, I realized that it just had to work.B 09-2010-114 I used shell buttons, and you can see the cuff tabs with working buttonholes.

tabs that button

There is virtually no shape to this blouse, but it floats about beautifully while being worn.  The back is very loose-fitting with a deep 8 inch pleat.

Burda 09-2012-114 back

I did my standard FBA and left it at that.  I debated about making it a bit more fitted, but it’s nice to have a different silhouette in my closet.

Burda 09-2012-114 2

And the sleeves gave me grief – Burda’s ALWAYS give me grief.  Vogue’s shoulders fit me perfectly, but Burda’s require a bit of alteration.  I always have to re-draft the armscye, adding 1 inch (2.5 cm) of width at the shoulder blades, and taking out the same amount on the front.  It’s like Burda’s sleeves are drafted for narrow backs and very broad pectorals.  In my mind, I think they have the shape of the armscye and sleeve head reversed:  the width that should be in the back is in the front in their set-in sleeves.

Burda 09-2012-114

Yes, that’s construction – my kitchen is about to be renovated, and DD1’s graffiti art is the only thing left on the art wall!  Anyways, after futzing with that fitting problem (because I didn’t do a toile, of course!!! *handforehead*) it’s done and ready to wear!

belted (2)

Happy Belated Birthday Giveaway

birthdayTuesday this past week was my birthday, and I don’t like to mention birthdays out of a wish they’d go away, but since the most wonderful birthday present every showed up in my e-inbox as I was blearily getting everyone ready for school, I thought I’d share my excitement at the news and pass it around in the form of my own birthday giveaway.

Tj, of The Perfect Nose, hosts monthly giveaways, a catalogue of which can be found here.  For the month of November she was offering a Knipmode winter supplement on one of my favourite items of clothing: coats. Now, never having ever beheld a Knipmode anything in the flesh, and dearly loving all things wintery and  coat-ish, I threw my hat into the draw.  And won!  What a perfect birthday present to wake up to on Tuesday!  Woo hoo!  I’ve never won anything in a giveaway before, so this was doubly exciting!


I’d also like to say thank you to the lovely and inspiring Carolyn, Zoe and CherryPix for passing along the One Lovely Blog badge to me.  I’m honoured! Since this blog is mostly about me and my sewing life, I shan’t bore you with more trivia than you’ve already come to know about myself, but I most definitely will pass along my appreciation of a host of blogs that I read and enjoy.  Do you find it difficult to nominate blogs for awards?  I do.  How do I choose? So I’ll mention several that I’ve just started reading over the last few weeks, as I need to update my blog roll and you won’t find the links there as of today… yet!

Tulle & Tweed

Karin from Sew Here we Go Again

Kay the Sewing Lawyer

Anne from Petty Grievances

Mrs. Mole from Fit for a Queen

The Overflowing Stash

Mad for Mod – in German, but worth the translation effort!

And since it’s my birthday, I’d like to pass around the giveaway cheer and offer up a choice of the following lengths of fabric (because I cannot choose what to give away).

First, 1.4 metres (150 cm wide) of a poly-lycra knit.  I’m sorry I don’t really know the difference between ITY and a plain poly knit, but the edges of this do not curl, it’s got a medium weight and it’s stable.  The background is an espresso shade of brown. IMG_5264

Second, 1.25 metres (100 cm wide) length of lace.  It’s black, white and gold.IMG_5265IMG_5266

Last, 2.5 metres (115 wide) of silk chiffon, which would look really pretty made up as a floaty dress for spring or blouse, perhaps? IMG_5260

The Belated Birthday Giveaway rules are:
  1. Leave a comment telling me a) what book you’re reading now and b) what fabric you’d like.  If you’d like a chance at more than one, please state that!
  2. I am quite happy to ship internationally, so please include yourself, wherever you may sew!
  3. I’ll make the draw one week from today on Saturday, December 15th.

Thank you all for playing along, and spread the word!

Vogue 8182: The party version

Thanks for all your encouraging comments about N2’s silk party dress.  I’m happy to report that she wore the dress and it fit very well considering I was sewing it only from measurements without the luxury of proper fittings and muslins. The sparkle tulle was a big hit.

And I took all of your lovely advice and made myself a party dress for the wedding this past weekend, too!  BTW, do any of you have DH’s that really take poopy pictures?  I had to pinch the life out of DH’s backside to get him to grimace for the picture above.  And it’s the best of about 17 shots.  *sigh*  But anyways…. back to my party dress.  It’s based on Vogue 8182, and you last saw it on me waaay back here. I fell in love with the design back then.  I was thrilled beyond words because I had managed to fit the bodice so well – the first time ever.  For this version I used Anna Sui silk chiffon from my stash purchased from Fabric Mart eons ago.  The outer layer of the skirt has a very fine dashed pinstripe in rust all over it and gives the chiffon a blush colour.  I used a plain ivory chiffon as the second layer in the skirt and lined it all with silk habotai in a slightly darker shade. Both the chiffons have little ovals in satin marching orderly throughout in perfect rows.   It’s really pretty fabric.  IMG_3715

Remember this Vogue pattern from a few years ago?  When I saw the silk for sale at Fabric Mart I recognized it as the silk used in this dress.  And it was the right price, so I bought yards of it.anna sui dress The most difficult part of Vogue 8182 is the midriff.  It’s got an overlay cut on the bias and the fabric droops all over the place.  Pulling it taut does NOT work.  I had forgotten that annoying part from my previous version.  On this dress I stitched rows of gathering stitches every 3 inches or so across the midriff pieces and pulled them up to fit the lining/underlining.  Then I pressed them into place.V 8182 midriffAnd hand tacked every single pleat so that they stay in place during wear, washing and hang drying.  I chose to interface the midriff with muslin.  Here’s my tacking stitches:V8182 midriff tackingI was in such a flurry to get this dress finished in time to wear that I forgot two things I meant to include:  bra strap keepers and a waist stay.  You can see from the photo below that the shoulders are slipping off slightly, and would have been kept in place properly with the keepers.  I’ll be adding them tomorrow before I put it away in my closet for the who-knows-when next airing.

IMG_3804I substituted the skirt pattern from Burda 06-2011-118, which is basically a full length six-gored skirt.  Hemming it was a bit of a chore:  each layer is about 4 m in diameter and doing baby hems on chiffon is paramount to a profound exercise in torture endurance.  The side zipper is hand picked.  I remember the mess I made of the invisible zip from the first version and decided I’d save my sanity and just do this one by hand.V8182 zip And now for the bad news.  Every garment has a mistake or flaw in it, and despite the prettiness of this dress, I’m annoyed about several things.  Although you can’t see it, the hem is completely AWOL, but there is no length to even it out so it’s perfect.  This is bugging my inner perfectionist no end.  All I see is an uneven hem every time I put this on.  Ugh.  And I’m very sorry I was rushed with the bodice.  After I had basted it all together I tried it on and was horrified at the fit.  The midriff was a full size too big and the bodice gaped a good 2 inches in the front AND the back.  What the heck?  The previous time I’d made this dress I had actually taken the time to make a proper muslin and kept it as a pattern in the envelope.   I assumed it would still fit, so I blithely went ahead and cut it out before fitting it.  Wrong.  I had no idea I’d change size/shape so much in such a short time?  Unless there was a lot of tweaking I did in the first dress that I don’t recall, because my notes don’t reflect any other changes.  Here’s a shot of the inside.V8182 interior I shortened the bodice by about 1.5″ at the shoulders, and I took out about 3/4″ too much which is really what is causing the  shoulders to pull downwards.  *sigh*  I should have re-fit the midriff prior to deciding what to do with the bodice, because the alterations would have been very different.  I had so wanted a perfectly perfect dress that I would be pleased to wear with sewers pride, but the truth is I just didn’t feel my best in this dress or that I’d done my best in this dress. V8182 It was a lot of fun to go swishing around in yards of chiffon, but I’m disappointed in the overall effect.  I’d love to take the bodice apart and do it over, but I doubt that will ever happen.  Never mind.  It was a fun fairytale wedding at a castle, complete with men in uniform, cannons and swords.  (They even used one to cut the cake!!)  An event like this happens once every couple of years, and I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of getting dolled up and dancing the night away!

E’s Prom Dress 1: The Skirt

I’m making a prom dress for a good friend’s daughter, and instead of posting all the information when it’s complete, I thought I’d break up my progress into a variety of posts.  This is six yards of silk chiffon in a border print for the skirt.