Saturday, July 31, 2010

Summer Essentials Sew-Along - Update

As July comes to an end, I thought it would be a good idea to let you know how my projects for the Summer Essentials Sew-Along is progressing. I still have a fair bit to do to get the items done, seeing as I've had some health problems the past two weeks. Nothing serious, just enough to keep me from sewing as much as I'd like. However, the sew-along description does say that you need 'to sew five(-ish) warm-weather friendly pieces by August(-ish)', so I'm going to take advantage of the wording and upload them to the Flickr group as well as blog about them as a part of that sew-along, despite of finishing in early August ;)

Hope everyone is enjoying summer :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Simplicity 3967

I bought this pattern from one of my favorite Etsy sellers, Midvale Cottage:

I made view 1 using a printed cotton and pink satin bias tape:

The pattern was very straight-forward to work with, but I'd sorta lost my sewing mojo so it took me a while to finish the dress. I wore it to a wedding last weekend, but apparently I'd also lost my blogging mojo, that's why it took me so long to get this posted, hehe.

This pattern is very similar to another wrap dress pattern I have previously made, namely Butterick 6914, but the construction of Simplicity 3967 is a lot better in my opinion. An example of this would be the fact the grosgrain ribbon used for the fastening of the back piece also works as a waist stay (I do apologize for my wonky stitches):

In comparison, the back piece of Butterick 6914 has no waist stay and just a little elastic to fasten it in front. Another problem I had with Butterick 6914, which I intend to correct, is how unruly the neck opening got because the instructions didn't mention anything about facings, although that probably would have been a good idea. While the instructions for Simplicity 3967 didn't call for any suppoort for the neckline either, I decided to apply a facing with fusible interfacing to the sweetheart neckline to have more control when sewing on the bias tape, and it worked like a charm. If you're going to make this pattern, I would recommend making some kind of facing with interfacing or maybe using stay tape. Whatever suits your fancy :)

Other than the addition of facings, I made the following alterations:

Shortened the skirt of the front part by a couple of inches.

Used bias binding instead of making a hem.

Used three sets of snaps instead of the suggested set of a hook and eye to fasten the back piece. I figured it would be a plus to be able to adjust the tightness of the back piece.

Made a series of small pleats when gathering the bust instead using the suggested gathering stitch.

So, what's up next? Well, I've just finished pre-shrinking the fabrics I'll be using for my summer projects, so now I just need to trace the patterns as I go. I hope to have at least one summer outfit finished by the end of this week, hopefully more :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Essentials Sew-Along

I signed up for the Summer Essentials Sew-Along back in the beginning of June and now I'm ready to reveal what patterns and fabric I'm going to use. Sew-alongs aren't normally something I sign up for, mainly because I often find the deadlines too strict for my busy studying schedule. But now I've got two months till I go back to school, so this sew-along seemed just right and I thought it would be a great way to get some summery sewing done without non-summery projects getting in the way. Here's the categories and my choices:

Poolside Pretties: Anything that cools or dries you off when there’s lots of sun and water around. One and two-piece swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, surf shorts, sun hats, oh my! One versatile swimsuit cover-up I find lovely is a terry cloth dress. Double-duty, that’s what I’m talking about.

The fabric is a printed cotton. I'm planning to make view 1 and wear some bikini bottoms in matching colours underneath. I'm not really that hot for the bikini bottoms in view 2, but I'm not ruling them out completely :)

Clam Diggers & Co.: Bifurcated bottoms of every style and length, from flowing linen pants to short-shorts and all the inbetweens—clam diggers, pedal pushers, Bermuda shorts, etc.

The fabric is again cotton. I bought this fabric ages ago, intending to make some pedal pushers, but just never got round to it, so I thought this sew-along was a great way to get them checked off my list. Seeing as I'm going for pedal pushers, the length will of course be shorter than what the pattern suggests, but this is the only pants pattern I have that fits my measurements as it is :P

Sweet & Sassy Skirts: Prints and solids, short and long, low-slung and high-waisted. But most of all: Airy, flirty, flattering.

When I wear skirts, they're usually pencil skirts. Whenever I wear something with a fuller skirt, it's usually a dress, so I'm skipping this one and saving the fuller skirt for the next category.

The Sundress: Need I say more? To me, the perfect sun dress strikes that cord between casual and elegant—arms and collarbones, looking good barefoot or high-heeled. It’s something you can wear to both a barbecue and a summer wedding. A summer staple I’ve never owned until now.

This fabric is a lightweight half panama weave. I intend to make view A with the straps and band in white cotton. While I'll be making other dresses this summer, I wanted my entry for the sew-along to be the summeriest design I could possibly think of and this pattern and fabric combo was it.

Tees, Tunics & Blouses: Yes, please! I’m finally understanding the worth of blouses as they also strike that balance between casual/formal, totally versatile. I’m also thinking mini-dresses that do triple duty as tunics, dresses and cover-ups.

You might have noticed that this pattern doesn't quite fit the description for this category. Seeing as I don't really wear tunics and the likes, I decided to do a little creative interpretation of this category; I wanted the pattern to be something that could be used both casually and formally, as well as being super comfortable in the summer heat and a halter top was what I arrived at. I'll be making view 1. I don't know what the fabric is, it has a significant amount of stretch and the weave reminds me of denim. If you view the full-size photo, you'll see it's flecked with cobbery thread.

Those Summer Nights: Pullovers, cardis and hoodies may be the last thing you’re thinking of with the mercury rising, but there’s those cool summer nights, not to mention every last establishment with the air con blasting. Or: for those of you where thunderstorms are a daily summer experience, a lightweight trench?

I'm going for view A. Long pajama pants may seem a little weird for summer, but I think this outfit will be quite nice for breakfast on the balcony and snuggling up with my fella on the couch for a scary movie during a thunderstorm. The fabric is actually a bedsheet I bought at the local supermarket... Seems kinda appropriate to use it for a pajamas, eh? :D

This is what I have planned so far. I may make a skirt if the right fabric and pattern turns up. Some short shorts is also an option. Another halter top isn't ruled out either and there'll definately be more dresses, starting with a wrap dress I'm making for a wedding I'm going to next week. I also intend to make the sailor playsuit reproduction from Wearing History on Etsy, but I didn't know what category it would fit into, so that's just an extra feature :)

Butterick 6836

There's just something about wrap dresses that make them irresistible to me, so I was very happy when I stumbled upon this pattern at VintageDressmaking on Etsy at a very favourable price:

The design is significantly similar to that of Butterick 6015, but the construction of Butterick 6836 seems to be a bit better and I think the collar is a great addition. Another plus about the the design of Butterick 6836 compared to many other wrap dresses of the 1950s, is that it doesn't use the usual "pencil skirt with an overskirt"-design, which usually rules out using a crinoline. While I don't tend to wear crinolines, it's always nice to have the option to use one and the design of Butterick 6836 makes the use of crinolines possible. Anywho, here's the results of my attempt at this pattern:

Due to the season I decided to use all cotton. The floral fabric is from Michael Miller Fabrics and it's called China Garden. I found it on sale earlier this year and I'm so happy I bought a couple of yards, it looks particularly beautiful on the back of the dress:

The pattern was pretty straightforward to work with. The only alterations I made were:

Grading the pattern up to a vintage size 14.

Making the shoulders a little narrower.

Taking off a couple of inches in the length of the skirt because the fabric wasn't very wide.

Using bias tape instead of doing a hem, again because the fabric wasn't very wide.

Using four sets of small snaps instead of the two sets of hooks and eyes suggested to fasten the front bodice in the back.

I had some concerns as to whether the front bodice would ride up, but I wore the dress last night and had no problems whatsoever, so using snaps instead of hooks and eyes probably wasn't a bad idea. Another concern was how well my bound buttonholes would turn out; the last time I did bound buttonholes was about 6 years ago, but I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out :)

So... What's up next? Well, seeing as I passed all my exams, I've been planning what contributions I want to make for the Summer Essentials Sew-Along, so stay tuned to see what patterns and fabric I have chosen :)