Thursday, August 29, 2013

Things I've Sewn Lately: Cambie Dress

In an effort to whittle down my (already very small) stash before my trip to New York, I used my American-made Colorado fabric to make a Cambie dress. And, because I like to save new items of clothing for special occasions, this dress made its debut on Male Pattern Boldness Day

I had already made a pink Cambie from a bedsheet, which I wore to the rehearsal dinner for the wedding I attended in Colorado, but broken zippers and decreased breathing room in that dress (plus a few other muslin mistakes) mean that I won't really be wearing it much, or at all, if I'm honest. It's just not comfortable except on my thinnest "thin" days.

I will say, that I learned with this version, on which I broke two zippers, how to stop breaking invisible zippers in Cambies. The instructions have you insert the invisible zipper normally on the outer fabric, and then with the lining and the outer fabric right sides together, it has you stitch the lining to the zipper.

Do yourself a favor and don't stitch the lining too close to the zipper teeth. I guess I'm a slow learner, but I broke a total of four zippers between the muslin and the final.

I took a few pictures with my "special occasion" crinoline, just because it looks pretty with this dress, but I'm not really one to wear a crinoline on a regular day. Too itchy and difficult to fit through doors/around crowds (though I totally take my hat off to you vintagey ladies who wear them on the regular! I love the look.) 

Aside from assorted zipper-related issues, this dress, like all Sewaholic patterns I've made, has lovely instructions and is very well drafted. I made a straight size 6. Because my last one got really tight with the broken zippers, I decreased the seam allowance to 1/2" instead of 5/8". I don't think I needed to, though. I'm pretty sure now that all of the tightness in my other one stemmed from the zipper issue. However, the extra breathing room is very nice to have. I wore this on a four-hour car trip, followed by a long day in NYC plus a second two-hour car trip and I was very comfortable all day long.

I worked really hard to make the inside of this dress as lovely as the outside (and then I neglected to take pictures of the inside -- woops!) I used lace hem ribbon on the lining and seam binding hem tape on the fashion fabric. I hemmed by hand, as I usually do.

The dress is fully lined -- I used white cotton lining fabric, also from Colorado -- and the gathered skirt version has hidden pockets.

This is the first sweetheart neckline dress I've ever owned, but I really like it. Normally, I'm a necklace-wearer, but I think the neckline interest in this dress eliminates the need for one. I do wish I'd overstitched the neckline -- I probably will go back and do that. It's not rolling, but even with pressing it looks a little puffy to me.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this dress and I could definitely see myself making it again -- maybe with the A-line skirt in a more work-appropriate fabric if I start working in the office more frequently. 

What have you made lately?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

New Fabric and Upcoming Projects

While I was on vacation in New York, I got lots of fabric for upcoming projects. Because GARMENT DISTRICT. 

I made a big list of patterns and their fabric and notion requirements and hit the stores!

I got some lovely dark grey non-stretch cotton twill for a Minoru jacket for fall, along with some bright blue synthetic lining fabric.

This light blue chambray is from Mood and was just too soft to pass up. I bought three yards and am hoping to squeeze a dress from a vintage pattern Greg got me, McCall's 5238. I loved this dress on Mad Men and shamelessly bought the pattern after someone on Lucky Lucille suggested the pattern for her Mad Men Challenge dress.

I'm currently working on a muslin, but it's my first vintage pattern, so I'm trying to be extra careful! If I have enough of the chambray fabric, which is 100 percent cotton, then I'll join By Gum, By Golly and Lucky Lucille's Fall for Cotton Sewalong. :)

Got some bright pink knit for a Renfrew shirt. (I asked the crowd if it was too pink for a t-shirt, and they assured me it was not!)

I have a yard and a half of this lovely fabric, from the remnant bin at AK Fabrics. Skirt maybe? I don't have a definite plan for this one, I just liked it a lot.

Greg found this lurking in the back of the pile at Chic Fabrics ("Oooh, coral flowers! You love coral!" -- I love this man.) I've never used a border print before, so no idea what I'll make with it. Probably a dress or skirt.

Polka dots! My one true love. I'll make a blouse from this. Probably New Look 6808 again.

Black slightly stretchy twill for a Kelly skirt, with attendant buttons from Mood.

Plain cotton knits in black and white for tank tops.

Super soft velvety brushed cotton in a lovely navy color. Skirt!

Dark wash denim for a Hollyburn skirt. And buttons to go with it:

I also got some grey cotton canvas to make into shorts (or another skirt) and some black knit yoga pants-esque fabric to make some Tofino pants.

So lots of skirts in my future -- but if we want to get real here, that's pretty much all I wear -- and I like to sew what I like to wear!

What's your next project?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Male Pattern Boldness Day + New York Vacation

Greg, Lyra and I just spent a lovely week in New York. Our first day concentrated on Male Pattern Boldness Day, which was absolutely wonderful.

Pic stolen from Peter of MPB

There was a huge group of people that met up at FIT for a free exhibit. (I'm in the back of that photo, just to the right of Peter's head.) We also had lunch at Panera and shopped until we dropped.

It was so fun to meet so many sewists -- it's really neat to finally meet folks whose blogs you love (and get introductions to new sewing blogs!) And it's also really funny the pattern/sewing recognition that happens. It's not "I like your dress!" it's "Is that a Cambie?" and "Oh, nice Hazel!" Love that!

While I was hanging out with the MPB Day crowd, Greg and Lyra were wandering around NYC. Seriously, Greg is the most patient person ever. He sat in Bryant Park all day with the dog, watching bocce ball and playing DS. Luckily, the weather was gorgeous and they had a nice time in the park.

At the end of the day, we headed out to spend a few days with Greg's aunts on Long Island. The weather was kind of meh, but we got one good beach day and spent time swimming in the backyard with the dog -- apparently Lyra likes water!

She was so worried we were going to leave her behind when we went stand-up paddling (we rented boards) that she swam out to us and jumped on Greg's board! Guess that answers the question of whether she can swim.

After a few days relaxing with the aunts, we headed back to NYC, where Lyra became hotel dog extraordinaire, I stocked up on fabric, thread and notions and we all took epic walks and ate lovely food. It was absolutely dreamy.

Not a great picture, but we went out to Eataly and ate on the roof one night and I wore a skirt made from a bedsheet.

It was altogether a lovely vacation! Here's a preview of the fabric I brought home:

I'll do a separate post tomorrow on upcoming projects and new fabric. There's no place like New York for sewing inspiration!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Things I've Sewn Lately: Sewaholic Lonsdale Dress and Simplicity 2166 Clutch

I sewed this dress in May, for a wedding in June, and finally got pictures before I wore it to a different wedding this past weekend. So lately might be a bit of a misnomer, but at least it was this summer!

The wedding we went to this past weekend was the wedding of one of Greg's childhood friends, whose family has a winery, so these pictures are from the porch at Greg's parents' house, where we dropped off Lyra and spent the night afterward.

Greg's parents have two hilarious jack russells, Rascal (standing beside me in that picture) and Sugar. Lyra ADORES Rascal and Sugar. Unfortunately, Lyra also outweighs a jack russell by about 35 pounds, so sometimes her enthusiasm doesn't go over too well with them.

Anyway, I tell you all this because they joined me for the photoshoot.

Rascal cannot stand to not be part of the action, so he ended up in the majority of my pictures.

And then this kept happening. 

So now that I've set the scene, about the dress: I love it. The fabric is a printed cotton (maybe Ralph Lauren?) that I bought at Mood when I was there earlier this year. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for a Lonsdale. It's got a little body to it, so it helps the A-line skirt stand well. And since the bodice is lined and the fabric is thick, I didn't need to worry about a strapless bra (I can't abide them.) 

I chose to tie mine in a knot in the front, but there are a couple of options for how to tie it. I kind of wish the zipper had been enclosed in the lining the way it is in the Cambie pattern, but that'd be easy to do myself if I make another.

I don't know if it's just me, but I also found it really difficult to tie a pretty bow in the back by myself!

The gripes, however, are very small in comparison with the things I love about this pattern, starting with the fact that I can wear most Sewaholic patterns straight out of the envelope since they're designed for pear-shaped women.

Also, the drafting on them is spot on. I always thought I was crazy that my notches on Big Four patterns rarely matched, but everything always matches perfectly on Sewaholic stuff, which combines with the fact that the instructions are so easy to follow.

I made a miniskirt muslin of this, but I didn't need it. Size 6 was a great fit.

I originally bought some light blue wedges for this dress, but Lyra ate one of them (baffling -- the only inappropriate thing she's eaten since we got her and it was a single, unworn wedge shoe) and I wasn't sure about the match anyway, so I ended up going with bright yellow accent wedges. Wedges were a must since both weddings were partially outdoors. (Though I may have ruined them since this wedding got majorly rained on.)

The biggest issue with the yellow shoes was that I couldn't find a (well-priced/pretty/appropriate) bag to match. I have an ancient white clutch I usually carry, but it's tiny and getting scuffed. And I wanted yellow to match the shoes.

So I did what any self-respecting sewist would do and put one of the shoes in my purse and headed out to the fabric store.

Voila, Simplicity 2166. I made mine in yellow canvas with a white cotton lining. This clutch was EASY and uses barely any fabric. There are options for a whole bunch of different things to do on the front, but I just left mine plain.

I still am not sure if I read the cutting instructions wrong or if the cutting instructions are wrong, but I ended up with an extra bag flap, so watch your cutting instructions if you make this.

The only really tiresome thing about this pattern is all the interfacing you have to fuse. But that's bag-making I suppose! I would use a heavier interfacing for the main bag next time, something like decor bond, maybe. I used heavyweight interfacing and it was still a little floppy for my liking.

I will say it is a great size. I fit my wallet, phone, lipstick and hairbrush in there. All in all and easy make to get yourself a bag that matches perfectly!

On another note, is anyone else going to Male Pattern Boldness Day? I am and I can't wait! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Things I've Sewn Lately: Colette Sorbetto (and bonus Ginger)

When I got my new iron, the first thing I wanted to do was make bias tape. 

And if you give a mouse a cookie sewist some bias tape, she'll probably want to use it right away. 

And what better for using bias tape than Colette's free Sorbetto pattern?

I bought the fabric for this top off of Etsy a few months ago for $5. There was only one yard, and I think it might reclaimed pillowcase? But I can't resist fabric with hearts on it. I made the bias tape from a white bedsheet. So all in all a very thrifty make. 

I'm also wearing my beloved (and sadly unblogged) denim Ginger skirt, made from denim I bought at Mood. It's a bit wrinkly because I wore it both days this past weekend and these pictures were taken on day two. Oops. Did I mention I love it? I'm headed back to Mood in a couple weeks and you can bet I'm going to buy denim for a second skirt. I wear this one constantly.

Anyway, Sorbetto is a super easy make. I cut mine in three different sizes (2 at bust to a 6 at waist to an 8 at hip) and added three inches. 

I also folded stitched the bias tape on the sleeve holes under. I liked the look of contrast white at the neckline, but it looked funny to me on the sleeves as well. 

You can see a little closer here. I made a little pucker on side of the neckline, but it's not very noticeable, so I'm fine with it. (No, I'm not sure what I'm doing in this picture.)

 (That's better.)

Since I had so little fabric to work with and I wanted to add length, I couldn't cut the back on the fold, so I did a seam down the center.

I used French seams throughout the garment because the fabric was fraying pretty badly after cutting, so I figured enclosed seams would be best.

Here's another shot of the Ginger. I want to make 1000 of these, it's my favorite skirt I think I've ever owned. God, I love Colette patterns. 

I'm finishing up some light blue Sewaholic Thurlow shorts right now and I think I'll make a white Sorbetto to go with them. It's a nice easy pattern and very easy to customize -- not to mention easy to wear. I highly recommend it!