Monday, June 28, 2010

Fun Skirt

When I wear this S2655 skirt (view B), I feel like twirling around like a little girl. I'm much too old for that, but I do it anyway. I'm all for anything that causes me to feel young!
The pockets took some time to make. Otherwise, it is a simple cotton gored skirt with a flounce.

I considered making the skirt without the pockets. Then, I went back and added them. Although the pockets do not show very well in this print fabric, the added detail makes a positive difference. If you look closely, you can see the tie hanging down from the pocket.

The most difficult part was matching the fabric at the seams. Honestly, I think that it would take about 10 yards of fabric to match the pattern exactly. I'm not going there for a simple skirt. Finally, I just matched the line of the flowers. It's okay for me since the pattern is so busy anyway.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The English Garden Dress

This B5488 dress was finished over a week ago. My biggest problem was getting a photo. Despite our crazy Florida weather, I was determined to "model" it outside in the garden. When there was sunshine, the heat (index 109F) and huminity was so high that my camera screen fogged. Late in the day, there was lightning and/or rain. The possible days were windy. I thought that I had chosen a perfect day. Then, the wind decided to appear at an inappropriate time (for me). The dress tends to ballon with the wind. Maybe, I need to rename this the "billowing dress". Please keep this in mind. I look heavier in picture than I am (ugh!!) and the hem really is even. If you look closely, there is a flower stalk in the lower left corner of the picture. I managed to cut off the other flowers. The butterfly even flew away from the camera! That's enough whining!

Here's a picture on Dolly, without the wind. I think it shows the actual fit of the dress better.

This dress is super easy to sew. It only took an afternoon even with a couple of problems that I experienced.The pleats might cause a bit of a challenge for new sewers, but they are clearly marked on the pattern pieces. I did have a problem with the yoke in this fabric. I changed (means ripped out) the yoke in the same fabric. It didn't look right, looked sloppy, and reminded me of a mumu (a real danger with this pattern if anyone is not into mumus). I was able to find a matching fabric in my stash. Note: A large fabric stash can help with emergencies. Once the yoke was sewed, it looked so lonely that I added a band to the sleeves. BTW, I added about 3 inches to the sleeves. The yoke and band looked just added on (which they were). So, I added topstitching in the darker blue. That helped a lot. The picture of the yoke is blurry but it does show the topstitching. The picture of the sleeve band is clearer.

In the muslin, I made my usual size 12 for the top and tapered out to size 14 for the hips. This pattern has A LOT of ease. I ended up making a straight size 12 for the final dress. The extra ease made a great nightgown!

During the month of May, I actually made 2 nightgowns. Despite the ugly fabric of this one, I love both of them. There will not be any more oversized t-shirts at night!
I do like this dress although I won't say I love it. I won't make it again although I may shorten it and make a top. It's just so hot that I like a looser fitting top in the summer. As for dresses, I definitely will go for more fitted in the future.
I've finished a skirt that I love. This post is long enough for now so I'll post about it later this week.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The English Garden Dress

I love delfiniums. Aren't they pretty? I don't remember seeing these flowers when I was in England, but they look like they belong in an English Garden. Certainly, they typically don't grow in Florida. We grew these from seeds. I guess they adjusted to our crazy weather. We even have some more coming. I hope they make it before the Florida sun scares them away.
This is the fabric that I first saw on Shannon's blog:
When I saw it, I went to the Fabric Mart Site as fast as my fingers could type. It reminded me of the delfiniums. They still had some of the fabric left. (Of course, several other fabrics jumped in my cart to keep it company on the ride to my house.) For some reason, I can't seem to get Fabric Mart e-mails despite multiple requests. I seem to do all right, though, with blog reading and fabric browsing!
I spent a lot of time deciding what pattern to use for this fabric and looked at numerous dress patterns. Finally, I narrowed it down to two. My English Garden Fabric decided it wanted this one (B5488):

Maybe, it was the dress on the model who was wearing a similar fabric. Another fabric started screaming that it wanted to be the other dress pattern. Yes, my fabric makes a lot of noise. Usually, I'm wise to listen to the fabric. I'm not so sure this time. The pattern is an easy one that should have gone together quickly. There weren't any major sewing problems. I'm just not sure that I like it so I kept dragging my feet on finishing it. Finally, I hemmed it today. It's on my ironing board ready for the final press. I'll take pictures when the iron finishes (It's slow sometimes.). Then, I'll decide what to do about it. I definitely love this fabric and really want a dress that I love, too. There may be a remake in my future. It's NOT going in the trash.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Experimental Shorts

I finished M5393 (OOP) shorts last weekend. I didn't have enough fabric to do the large lower pockets. I doubt that they would have looked very good on me anyway, but they would have been functional. While I'm proud of myself for hanging in there until the finish, I was too tired of the shorts to do a blog post. They took a while because I tried several different techniques. One worked well and the rest will be exchanged for my TNT way of doing things.
I wasn't looking for a fitted look because the shorts are for playing at the park with the grandchildren and similar activities. I started with a size 14 (my usual) and cut them down to a size 12. The view from the back shows that they are still a tad too big, but still very wearable. IF I decide to make them again, I'll go to size 10. Wow! Could I have lost 2 sizes? Honestly, I don't think so. These shorts are just exceptionally roomy. Definitely, this "too big" problem is a new one for me. One of my experiments was to try a casing and drawstring waist. Take a look. This will be the last time you'll see a waist like this from me. I generally wear my shirts out rather than tucked in my shorts. The look isn't very good IMHO for this short body. I don't have much of a waist so I think that I look heavier than I am. I'm aiming for the opposite effect: skinnier than I really am (Ah! The dreams of a sewer!) Also, my shirts tend to pull out and look sloppy.

The pattern calls for the use of twill tape through the casting. To me, that looked messy and very home-made. That meant a trip to Jo's to see if I could find something that looked any better. Actually, there was a great sale so I added about $50 of patterns and fabric to my $1.50 cord. Naturally, I left with a big smile! This is the cording that I used. It doesn't look much better in the picture, but believe me, it makes a big difference!

I usually use Sandra Betzina's method for a fly zipper. It works well for me and looks just fine. This time I decided to follow the pattern instructions. BIG mistake!! It took a while because it was new. Also, I kept thinking that the instructions were backward. Hmmm...should have known. I ended up with the topstitching on my right side rather than the left. I guess they meant the "other right" because the instructions clearly said the right side (I did reread them). Also, the zipper wasn't as neat. It could just be me but I'm won't be trying any new fly zipper methods for a while.
Now, I'm finally getting to the reason that I made this pattern in the first place. There is a slanted side pocket. That's about the only thing about the pattern that is right for my body type and it's the only new technique that turned out well for me. At least, I have one technique that I can apply to future sewing. I think that that style pocket works well for me. Thanks to Beangirl I no longer have a gap with this pocket style. She extended the pocket and the pocket lining to the center seam which becomes interfacing for the fly facing. Here's the easy pattern adjustment:
I love how flat the pocket is.

That's all the "experimenting" that I did. Now, I'm back to my know-how-sewing before trying some more experiments. I do believe in trying new things. Sometimes, they work and are great to add to my bag of tricks.
As an aside, I do have a collection of hats that help with the Florida sun. It's not as big as my fabric, pattern, and shoe collections, but it's growing. This purple hat was $2 at Claire's. Shhhh...don't tell anyone that I bought it at a tween shop. It pays to have a small head sometimes.
Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!