Batik Exercise No. 2

I’ve so many ideas working through my mind these days that I feel quite stumped.  Where to begin?  I seem to have no discipline to sit down and work out the ideas so they become 3D wearable garments.  I am so easily distracted by reading blog posts, various household tasks, my children’s shenanigans and the sunshine outside.  It’s hard to sew singlemindedly when your sewing corner is in the basement somewhere and the sun is baking the world outside the windows….  Sigh.

anyways……  My goal this year was to work through my stash (and something about fit), and this batik was a purchase from last summer, I believe, from EmmaOneSock.  I really liked the colours, and thought it would be fun to have something in my closet made from batik.  There was only one yard and a bit, so I knew it would be a short summer sheath dress.

I used the bodice from Vogue 8469, did my usual FBA (actually, this is one of the rare patterns in my life where I actually cut and fit a proper muslin for the bodice and then folded, ironed and returned it to the pattern envelope for future use) and shortened the back bodice by 2 inches, tapering to nothing at the sides.  Yes, I am that ridiculously short-waisted and sway-backed.  I left the waistband the original width, hoping that I could take the length out of the bodice pieces only.  Not quite.  You can see from the side seam wrinkles in the picture below that I should have shortened the entire bodice by the usual 2 inches, but I didn’t this time for some unknown reason (sewing late at night?).

Unfortunately, it was still too long, and because I still don’t have a dress form that mimics my shape well, I asked DH to please help me with the fitting.  Well, he carefully pinned the excess out of the CB seam (I hadn’t put the zip in yet), and critiqued the resulting fit with a very accurate eye, I may say.  He suggested that the waistband was too wide – the proportion was off – so I shortened it by 5/8″ all around and took in the side bodice seams by about 1/2″, tapering to nothing at the waist.  The bottom of the waistband sits at my natural waist in the back only, by the way.  It sits above my natural waist by about 1 inch at the centre front.

I must say he was quite picky with fitting the back, and commented that “there were still wrinkles” after he’d adjusted and pinned everything out so that the front fit properly.  I honestly wasn’t too worried about it and trusted to his judgement.  Actually, truth be known, I wanted this thing done and ready to wear and really didn’t care if the fit wasn’t dead-on-perfect.  I didn’t shorten the hem, although I think it should be shorter, because I’m sure it will shrink over the multiple washings it will endure over the summer.  We’ll see…

As I didn’t have an invisible zipper, I went with a lapped zip insertion, which worked just fine.  I trimmed the seam allowances off the neckline and armscyes because I wanted to bind them in the remnants from the batik romper made earlier this week.  I just really liked the blues in that fabric and wanted to use it as a contrast for the rusty batik.  I honestly thought I’d end up with an incredibly ugly dress, but I’m kinda liking it’s oddness.

I didn’t line the bodice.  I thought, “Why bother when I’m binding the edges, anyways?” although I did line the skirt.  The skirt is the straight skirt pattern from Vogue 2864.  I can’t draft, but I can piece things together from a variety of patterns!  I decided I’d leave the side slits as originally intended, and lined the skirt to the top of them with bemberg.  It’s kind of a ridiculously short lining:  there’s barely enough length to sit on it, but I really psychologically need the extra layer of lining.  It just makes the garment feel finished in my mind, y’know?   The only other finishing touches I added were strap keepers at the shoulder seams and a thread loop for the hook closure at the CB neckline.

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Summer has finally begun

MMJ29

Yes, it’s official.  Today is the first day of summer holidays for my DDs.  And it’s a wrap on Me Made June.  I must say I’m not sorry to see the end of trying to decide what me-mades I’m wearing today, and then taking (postable)pictures.  At some point I may post an overview, but let me catch up on outfits first.

MMJ Day 29 – Outfit:  RTW top and me made capris from Vogue 8094, worn several times this month!   Stuart Weitzmann clogs, picked up for a song (almost literally), and extremely comfortable.

MMJ Day 30 – Outfit: Susannah dress, blogged here

MMJ 30

Until the next post….

Me Made June: Days 8 & 9

MMJ 8

Just a quick post today for MMJ’s sake…

MMJ Day Eight

Outfit: Vogue 7340, from Liberty of London tana lawn in “Judy” and a shortened version of Vogue 2165 in olive green linen.   Both patterns are OOP, unfortunately.

Activities:  Bible study with friends in the morning; picking up DD3 for lunch; another meeting in the afternoon

Thoughts:  I really enjoy wearing this shirt. V2165 The tana lawn is very cool and the print is so delightful!  I did an FBA on this wrap shirt and it fits like a dream.   The skirt is bias cut and is really comfortable to wear.   The original design calls for two layers of fabric – one of organza or chiffon over a heavier layer – but it works very well in linen.  This is the second version of this skirt that I’ve made up over the years.  The first one was a dusty yellow linen the full length of the pattern.  I wore it out.  I’ve never actually put the entire suit together, mostly because of the jacket, and I just don’t do skinny pants… nope… no way.  But with the return to longer jackets on the runway, this might be an interesting one to try.

MMJ Day Nine

P6090001Outfit:  My Susannah dress which is Vogue 8469.  I reviewed the pattern last year over at PatternReview.com, but I’m not sure anyone can read it without logging in, even if I do add a link.  So I posted a (very) belated review of it here on my blog.

Activities:  Getting the kids out the door to school on time, chatting with an overnight guest who was leaving this morning, the salon, and checking out a karate class for kids with Down syndrome for DD2 this evening.  I’m hoping she will be able to attend this September.

Thoughts:  The waist on this dress really bugs me because it rides up.  It sits high anyway – the bottom of the band is about 1 inch above my natural waist.  I really like this fabric, and I’d be sorry to thrift the dress just because of the waistband, which is something that I could fix if I found some extra fabric in my big box of remnants.   But I think the real problem is not adding enough depth to the bodice when I was doing my FBA.  I’m slowly learning that whenever I do an empire styled bodice, about 2 inches needs to be added to the bottom to ensure a proper fit.  I wonder if I could just add a strip of fabric in below the bust (and above the front waistband) to make it fit properly.  Does anyone have any ideas about this?

Pattern Review: Vogue 8469

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This is a dress made up last summer, but because I never did a blog post for the pattern/dress, I thought I’d post one for those of you interested in the construction process.

Pattern Description: Semi-fitted dresses have lined bodice, midriffs, back zipper closures and topstitching details. A: mid-knee length and cap sleeves with elastic casing. B: 6″ above ankle length, sleeveless.

Pattern Sizing: AA(6-8-10-12), EE(14-16-18-20)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, I think so, except for the binding on the waistband and no ties, as discussed below.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Well, yes, they would have been if I’d had a brain in my head and actually READ them prior to beginning, but I was so focused on getting that waistband and FBA just right, that I didn’t actually pull them out and have a look until it came to putting the sleeves in by hand. And then I kicked myself! Oh well, I really love hand sewing, so i just did everything . And I mean everything – zipper and interior. I have to confess I loved the look of a fell stitched lining.

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What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the “sweet summer dress” look. Maybe it’s a bit too youthful for me at this point, but I just had to try it. I really liked the scoop neckline and the waist.

Fabric Used: BeYEWtiful Liberty of London tana lawn from my stash, recently purchased from one of my favourite sellers on ebay. I think it’s called Susanna. I actually found it because of reading about the Target agreement with L of L, and was really interested that they’d licensed the prints, not their actual fabric – which is definitely my cotton of choice! I liked the yellow colour way, but, boy! You can’t beat purple and green! The trim for the dress was an olive silk noil from thai silks for another project that I decided looked stupid and cut up. The lining is china silk (or silk habotai) from yet another project that was not working based on Vogue 2561.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Well, my usual FBA, except that I forgot, after cutting the fabric, that in order for things to fit perfectly under my bustline (instead of half-way down it) I have to add yet another 2″ to the bottom of the bodice pattern like this. I added 5/8″ binding on top and bottom of the waistband – I just liked the idea from other people who’ve reviewed this dress. As I mentioned before, I didn’t read the instructions prior to beginning. I stitched the darts in the bodice back and for the FBA, then stitched the lining to the bodice around the neckline; turned it, and gathered the front; stitched the bodice to the waistband, and then wanted to put in the sleeves. Well, that’s when I discovered that I should have put them in BEFORE attaching the bodice to the waistband so the lining could be all nice and neat. So I had to put the lining into the entire sleeve by hand, including turning the armscye and fell stitching the lining into place by hand à la couture. imageThe zipper I decided to use a regluar one and a lapped insertion…image… prickstitched by hand to ensure better control of design matching. imageAnd then, of course, the lining had to be put in by hand. imageSounds like a chore, but I cannot tell you how much I like to do the work by hand, and fell stitching goes very quickly.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I think I’d like it in a solid colour. Maybe another red dress?

Conclusion: I really like this dress. It went together very easily and it looks exactly like the pattern. I’m not sure it’s the best for me, but it’s a pleasure to wear and I get lots of good comments!

SSS Day 22 and 23

SSS 22

Well, here I am on Wednesday, September 22nd, on my way out the door to the library, of all places, to pick up holds that my DD2 had put on…. wait for it…. Hannah Montana stuff.  😮  I also had an interview with DD2’s new teacher to see how she’s fitting in at her new school this year.

Cardi-wrap and tank:  Simplicity 2603 again with capris from Lands End and shoes from Town Shoes.   BTW, I wanted to share a picture of my little Nuggett trying to figure out the Simplicity cardigan pattern layout.

isn't he just so darn cute?!?

He’s so funny.  Every time I sit down to sew, he thinks I want to play.  So he drags all his toys and sits at my feet and yelps when I get up to press something and inadvertently step on his little feet.  He’s been in our house since April – you’d think he’d know better by now!  And don’t you love all the scissors holding the pattern piece in place?  I was just too damn lazy to pin the entire thing, so I used my shears collection as pattern weights!

Day 23:

Well, this morning I worked on a headboard cover.  Yup.  A headboard cover.  My first ever foray into the world of home decor.  I must say, sewing 1/2″ diameter piping is not a piece of cake, especially around corners.  I was asked to put this together for a lady in our church who’s redecorating a room for her granddaughter.   I finished it up this evening, and will drop it off tomorrow.  Hopefully I can get a picture so you can see it tomorrow.

Anyhow….  Since the best radio station in Toronto with a Weather Guarantee said it would be 21°C today, I decided I’d wear my “Oh, Susannah” Liberty dress in Vogue 8469.  You can read my review here, since this was prior to the start of my blogging.   And off I went to read with my little guys at school this afternoon.

Nuggett watching the camera take my picture

By the way, I’m wearing Lisa’s purple earrings again!  These are very comfy and unusual and pretty and subtle and unique.  I think that about describes all aspects of them nicely! 🙂  Oh, and did I mention they’re PURPLE!?!?!?!