Friday, July 30, 2010

New Look 6816, head to toe and maternity friendly

What is that sound you hear?  Perhaps the tiny footsteps of my mojo coming home??  I hope so!!  In view of how happy my knit dress made me, I decided to keep with the theme and sew some quick knitwear.  New Look 6816 has been a favorite top for some time.  I've sewn it here and here. These continue to be favorite tops that I wear constantly, so I decided to give it another go, and to add the pants from the same pattern to the mix.  I love me a wide legged pant!
While sewing this I had no end of (self-inflicted) trouble!!  My twin needle needed replacing, and I bought cheap Walmart C&C thread, so it kept snapping, all while my twin needle kept skipping stitches.  It took longer to hem the top than it did to cut it out and sew it together.  For the pants, I was wise enough to go get a new needle, so the hems went well, but I didn't listen to Elaine, and although it was one of those mystery fabrics, I'm pretty sure that this was supposed to be lining.  This stuff is thin and painful to sew.  My feed dogs actually kept snagging it if I wasn't careful to hand feed it.  Ewww.  It's a good thing I don't tuck in tops.  The waistband is a mess.
Aside from my sewing woes, I'm really happy with the end result.  This outfit is crazy comfortable.  Check out that perfect line in back!  The fit is really great.  The picture fairly effectively illustrates the thin-ness of this fabric though.  Need something not white to go under there...
I did make a few changes to make this more maternity friendly.  I lengthened the top by an inch to give me a bit more bump coverage, and rather than a traditional cased elastic waistline,
I used buttonhole elastic (which also happens to be very soft and stretchy), and left an opening at the side where I can adjust the waistband as I get bigger, and then pull it back to still fit after baby comes.  I think this will be great for that transitional period before I get my real body back as well.  I am really happy with this pant pattern and am thinking that I will use it for the black silk I got for my birthday.  I'd like to try it out first in an actual woven fabric though, before I start cutting up sixty dollars worth of silk...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BWOF 02/2009-124

I sewed something!!  I know, I'm as shocked as you are!  On Sunday when I wore my knit dress I had a minor epiphany.  I've been avoiding sewing, partly because I'm tired and the pregnancy is kicking my butt, but also because I don't want to sew what I have ready to sew.  Both of my current "In Progress" projects are detailed, woven things.  I don't feel like sewing fussy.  I'm in the mood for instant gratification.  And so...
I made an effortless knit dress!! Yay!
Here it is sans bump.  It is a BWOF from Feb 2009, style 124, sewn for an cotton/lycra interlock knit that I purchased at Fabric Mart.  The pattern is drafted for a woven, but as you can see, works fine in a knit.  I did have to grade it down to a 36, and I moved all of the darts to the side seams.  (Click here for a little tutorial on how I did that.)  I hate darts in a knit, especially with stripes.  I also didn't use the facing pieces, just created a "facing" out of a band cut on the greatest stretch.
What really attracted me to this style was the back.  I love the vee!  I was afraid it would be a little low, but decided to throw caution to the wind and sew it without a muslin, and it is perfect.  Totally covers all the underthings.  I also really like the little cut on sleeves.  They provide good coverage for modesty and you can't get easier to sew!

I actually had a second reason for wanting to sew this dress.  I bought a pair of maternity leggings the other day.  I haven't owned leggings since the 80s, when I was in junior high, but I know that the 80's are supposed to be back, so I decided to go for it.  Once I got them on I realized that I HAD to have a knit dress to layer over them.
I'm still not sure.  I'm very much of the opinion that if you lived through a trend the first time, you are probably too old for it the second time.  I'm right on the edge for this one...

Moving darts to the side seam

I got a few questions about how I moved the darts to the side seams on the BWOF 02/2009-124 dress.  I am having a hard time explaining it in words, so I thought I'd just show you how I did it in pictures.

DISCLAIMER:  This is just how I did this.  It is not the only way, and mayn't even be the best way!  Any and all tips and suggestions are much appreciated.

So, obviously I started by tracing  the pattern since it is a burda.  I actually trace all my patterns, because I'm OCD like that, but you can do this with your regular tissue.
This is the pattern piece for the skirt front, size 38 and unaltered.  The plan is to move the total area that the dart includes to the side seam.  To accomplish that, you need to know how wide the dart is at a couple of points.
I started at the top, and measured the width of the dart at that point.
Then marked that distance in from the side seam at the top of the pattern piece.
Be sure to mark the endpoint of the dart as your "zero", ie where you stop taking out width.
Measure the width of the dart and mark that distance at several points along the length of the dart.  Since this is a contour dart (ie, has it's widest point somewhere other than at the seamline.), you want to be sure that you find and mark the widest point, as well as several others.
Here it is with all points marked.
And the dots connected to create a new seamline.  I colored in with green the area that you have "removed".  It should look a lot like you bent your dart around the side seam, since that is essentially what you did.
Now add your seam allowances (the blue line) and go!  Remember that the dart has moved, so from now on you can ignore it.  Scribble it out if it makes you happy.  :-)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Simplicity 3775, How do I love thee?

I know that there is concern out there about the clinginess/figure flattering abilities of a knit dress.  One worries that every lump or bump will be visible, and that knit dresses are only for those with perfect figures.  Well, I have for you today conclusive evidence that this is not the case!
Here is my bump, at 17 weeks (yesterday!).  We're coming along...  I made the dress nearly a year ago.  You can see all the details here.
But standing up straight and without my hand under the belly, and where is that bump??  I would also add that this dress was easy to make and forgiving to fit, as knits tend to be.  It is also as comfortable as my PJs.

Ladies, if it can hide a 17 week pregnancy, it can hide whatever you've got!  Go make yourself a knit dress!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Acquisitions and some progress

While I may not be sewing, that doesn't mean that I don't need new fabric!!  For my birthday, my sainted mother let me go a bit crazy at Thai Silks.  Mmmm, silk.  Here is my haul.
This is a black crepe de chine with an equivalent length of habotai, which shall be a lining.  I'm planning the wide leg pants from NL 6816.  I should be able to wear these now, but I'll have to get cracking!
This is a bronze-y gold silk taffeta, which will become McCall's 3830, the perfect pencil skirt.  This one will wait until after the baby is born.  I'll also need some lining.  Contrast or match?  I've still got some time to decide!
Last we have an unbelievably gorgeous doupioni.  The photo just doesn't do it justice, so you'll all just have to come over and touch it.  It is a richly saturated purple with an almost hot pink sheen.  Amazing!  I think that I am going to make the jacket from Vogue 1064, although there are also a couple of burda jackets I'm also considering.  I do love the clean lines of the Anne Klein, though.   This one will also have to wait until after baby.

I've also been making some progress on the Red Riding Hood cape for Myra.
This represents some serious knitting for me!  I'm thinking that if I can get it done by Halloween, it would make an adorable costume!!  Toward that end, I needed some gingham and eyelet for a dress.
Hancock obliged by having eyelet 50% off!  So I got some of this pretty border eyelet and used my coupon to get some gingham.  I'm planning to make Butterick 4054 to go with the cape.
Of course, with eyelet on sale, Myra had to have the pink, too.  She wants me to make her an Aurora dress...  We'll have to see about that.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A purple tutu and some whining

Myra recently rediscovered a cute tutu that a good friend made for us, but it has gotten too short to be a proper tutu (and Myra has decided that it is a hat), so I made her a new, longer one.
The gold one on her head was the original that Hayley made, and I followed her basic method.  It's strips of tulle and ribbon tied into a crocheted elastic headband.  Super simple, but it made Myra very happy!
It's good for twirling.  Although it definitely doesn't match the weird, too small orange romper that she insisted on wearing.
In other news...  Oh wait, there is no other news.  I haven't sat at my machines for over a week, so I have nothing to report except for the worst case of lost mojo that I have ever had.  Seriously, I even have had some time to sew, I just can't convince myself to do it.  Both maternity blouse and dress are cut out, but I haven't even fused interfacing or threaded the machines.  Here's hoping that the mojo comes home soon!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It just ain't workin'

So, after two muslins, it looks like I waited too long for the vintage Simplicity dress.  Sigh.  There is no way to maintain the sleek style lines of the skirt with this baby belly!!  I won't inflict pictures of the muslin on you, but needless to say, there way no way it was going to zip up in the back...  Mitch tried.  But, I got a perfect fit in the bodice, and it would be too sad to let that go to waste, so I'm thinking I'll do a real maternity adjustment, and make it into my first maternity top.  Don't worry though.  That dress WILL be making an appearance next spring when I have my body back!  In the meantime, I have been contemplating fabrics for a top version of this dress.
They are all three stretch poplin, each with about 4% lycra, so a pretty generous stretch.  I'm leaning toward the white one with the embroidered lilac flowers, but solid pink is so versatile...  Which one do you like?

In the meantime, I'm going to go ahead and cut out BWOF 07/2009-104, which I have wanted to make since I got this issue last year!  With the waist shirring, I think it will have a nice forgiving fit through the summer and it looks nice and cool.
This is the fabric I am planning for this dress.  It is another embroidered stretch poplin, although the embroidery is a bit more subtle than on the lilac poplin above.  It will go nicely with the nautical theme of my 6PAC.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

FO: Threefold Blessing Shawl

We're home from our weekend away, and while I didn't get any sewing done, I did manage to finish my first ever non-dishcloth knitted project!!
This is the Threefold Blessing Shawl from the Prayer Shawl Companion, which I got for Christmas.  No, I am not a quick knitter...  I made it for my mother, as she loves wraps.  I hope it keeps her cozy in overly air conditioned offices.
Here is an up close picture, so that you can see the interesting pattern.  It is really simple, since that is all I am really able for at the moment, but I think the pattern makes it fun.  The basic design is to knit three rows, then purl three rows, but it is knit on two different sized needles, which makes the ribs variable sizes.  I knitted it with Lion Brand Homespun yarn, which while pretty, wasn't a great choice for a beginner.  It split like crazy and just dissolved when you cut it, making fringe or tassels impossible.  The fuzziness made it difficult to see my stitches when I had to fix errors, although the other side of that coin is that any unfixed errors (and I'm sure that there are some!) aren't visible.

It was fun to make!  Next up is a Red Riding Hood cape for Myra.  There is a bit of shaping at the neck, which should be a good way to test my skills, but otherwise it is just stockinette and garter stitch, which I think I can handle.  Hopefully I can get it done by the winter!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Monthly Roundup - June '10

Well, another month has come and gone, and it's time for me to tally up...  This month has been a difficult one for me.  This has definitely been my hardest pregnancy so far (aided and abetted by the two active youngsters that keep me going), and my sewing has really suffered.  This month I cheated a bit by re-making some old favorites and sticking to mostly simple designs - with the exception of the Fantasia dress.

1) Simplicity 2520 skirt for me
2) Sew Chic 9005 dress for me
3) Kwik Sew 2881 shorts x2 for Mitch
4) McCall's 5560 dress for Myra
5) Butterick 4222 PJ top for Logan
6) New Look 6638 PJs for Myra
7) New Look 6932 PJs for Myra

The sad total: 10 items; 2 for me, 2 for Mitch, 1 for Logan and 5 for Myra.  I sewed 15 yards, only 4.25 of which was from the stash.  Fortunately, I haven't bought any fabric that wasn't immediately put to use this month, so at least that is headed sort of in the right direction.

The only new things I did this month were on the Fantasia dress, where the bodice was fully interfaced, which I'd never done, as well as the lapped side seam zipper.  At least there was something!!

The pregnancy also necessitated some changes of plan, since fitted clothing just isn't working for me right now.  I'm actually thinking of resuscitating my 6PAC, since it was almost finished, and replacing the Colette Ceylon dress with BWOF 07/2009-104 (which I already traced and have fabric for!).  The dress is basically just a very wide A-line with shaping at the waist done with elastic shirring, which seems to me like it would be forgiving to my changing figure.  For the Simplicity 2936 blouse, I think I will instead make New Look 6807 in a pretty electric blue rayon jersey.

Right now I am working on vintage Simplicity 9446, which I have been dying to make, and want to have for the summer.  I'm planning on the maxi length with short sleeves in a lightweight lawn that just floats.  
It is quite sheer, so I'll be underlining it with batiste.  I'm working on tweaking the fit and shaping in the bodice right now.  It's been slow going.  I'm not sure why, but I think I'm a bit afraid of this dress.  My first muslin was quite snug in the bust despite a small FBA.  (Insert witty comment about maternity curves here.)  I also think I'm going to convert the vertical bodice darts into gathers.  They look a bit pointy as darts, and I think that underbust gathers will be more graceful.  Otherwise I am going to try to be faithful to the design and construction techniques.  Should be fun!  I won't get to it today though, as we're heading out of town for the weekend.  I'll be back to the machines on Monday.  For those here in the States, have a safe and happy 4th of July!