Monday, July 30, 2012

Vogue 1027

This dress waited in my queue far too long. I'm not sure what my holdup was. It has a ton of positive reviews on PR and Elizabeth's versions are amazing. In fact, I totally copied her brown version with this one.
The pattern is Vogue 1027. Write that down (or click the link and order). If you do not have this pattern in your collection, you neeeed it.
The dress itself is a surplice bodice with a half circle skirt, kimono sleeves and waist tie. The waist is designed to be slightly above the natural waistline, but I am high waisted, so it sits right at my waist.
And it has pockets. I have recently discovered how essential pockets are in a day dress. These could be a smidgen deeper, but they hold my keys and phone admirably while I chase kids at the park. The fabric is a lovely ITY knit that came from Gorgeous Fabrics.
The bodice is shaped with two pleats on each side, as well as the wrap. It is cut with the grain parallel to the wrap, which I think makes a big difference in a woven wrap in reducing the tendency of the bias to stretch out, but I don't think it makes a ton of difference in a knit. The pattern doesn't instruct you to stabilize the wrap fronts at all, although I think this would be a good idea. For this dress, I bound the front edges with self fabric, which I interfaced with Pro-Sheer Elegance to stabilize it. This helped tame the binding strips, but also prevents the wrap from stretching out.
The binding really turned out nicely on the neckline. The interfacing really made a huge difference. I also bound the sleeves, but that makes them a little snug, so the next time I will do a plain hem on the coverstitch.
For fit, I noted that many of the reviewers on PR felt there was excess ease in the waist particularly. I found this to be true as well. I generally cut a size 12 for my lower half, and a 10 with a large FBA for my upper half. For this dress, I cut a straight 12 and had to take in the waist 2 inches all around. It fits comfortably, but there is still about an inch of ease at the waist. I also did not remove the hem allowance on the wrap fronts when I bound them, which effectively raised the neckline 5/8 inch. The neckline is PERFECT this way. I can honestly say I have never had a wrap dress fit this well. I am thrilled.
Hmm, my turnout isn't what it once was.
The style of this dress reminds me strongly of the dresses my ballet instructors wore when I was a young thing. I found myself "dancing" through my day as I wore this dress. It's amazing the effect a dress that makes you feel pretty can have. I held my head higher, smiled more, and basically had a great day, despite the fact that I had a miserable head cold. I'm going to make a few more of these.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ottobre 03/2011-11

Duncan has decided that diapers are fun to remove, and elastic waist pants and shorts present no challenges to the little nudist, so we've been dressing him in overalls and rompers, which gave me a good reason to sew this one.
The pattern is #11 from the 03/2011 issue. It's another one that I wanted to make as soon as I saw it. 
I did make a few changes to the design. I really dislike back closures on baby and toddler clothes, and the original design had a back zipper. Instead, I switched the neckline with a envelope style (from the Happy Animals tee, #12 from the same issue) so that I could just pull it over his head. I also omitted the interfacing in the waistband panels, since I needed those to stretch over his shoulders. I cut the back waistband and tee on the fold.
The fabrics I used were all given to me, so this is pretty much a free garment! Even the button was left over from another project. The tee is a printed interlock from Joann that my mother had left over from a project for my nephew, and the denim colored knit as well as the ribbing used for the binding were given to me by a friend when she de-stashed.
So, laugh now. Y'all, I seriously thought all those snaps were blue!! I need better light in the sewing room. Once those suckers are in, there is no getting them out, so Duncan has a mismatched snap. 
How cute is that kid?? I did make them a little bit long. If his rompers are too short, he reaches his little hand up there and sneaks his diaper out the pant leg, and then I don't notice until I find the diaper. Or a puddle. These have elastic on the back leg to snug them up, and with the extra length we'll have to see if he can manage his trick. Little stinker.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ottobre 03/2011-26, the "Rosy Posy" dress

Can you stand one more girlie dress? This is the best one so far!
The pattern is Ottobre 03/2011-26, the "Rosy Posy" dress. When the magazine first came out last year, Myra was still too small for the smallest size, so I was thrilled when she grew into a 98 and I could make it for her.
The fashion fabric was a lucky Walmart clearance find. It is a soft, sheer voile border print and it was only 2 bucks a yard. So awesome! They didn't have much left on the bolt, so although I coveted it for myself, there was really only enough for a Myra sized dress.
The voile is super sheer, so I underlined the bodice and skirt in white muslin. I'm really starting to love a nice underlining. I catchstitched the hem and facings down to the underlining, so the stitches are totally invisible, but the hem and facing are both very secure.
The closure is an invisible zipper. It isn't completely zipped in the picture, but it does go all the way to the top. I'm pleased that it matched well at the waist, as I couldn't fudge at the neckline since the ric rac was already in place.
Speaking of the neckline, how stinkin' adorable is that ric rac?? It's a perfect color match for the darkest shade of purple in the print. I'm tickled with how well it went together. The sleeves are sweet, too. Just the caps are gathered, then topstitched to the bodice for maximum puff. The hems are elasticated.
Myra loves a good twirly dress! I'll be making this one again soon.
She has requested pink polka dots. Just like Minnie Mouse. And she has a birthday coming next month.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lily Bird Studio Summer Blouse for girls

I feel a little sheepish about this blouse. I have been meaning to make it up for ages, but other projects kept jumping ahead of it. I'm just not very good at sewing wardrobe basics!
And you can't get much more basic than a great white shirt! Myra has really needed this in her wardrobe, so that she can wear some of the garish printed skirts she loves.
The pattern is the Summer Blouse for Girls from Lily Bird Studio. I won this pattern in a giveaway, and so this is the only pattern I have from this maker. There are two reviews on PR for different patterns and both are very positive. I've been kvetching about writing this post, as I'm not 100% in love with this pattern. But no more, let's start with what I like!
The pattern itself was well-drafted and fit together as it should. The blouse is ADORABLE. The details are all wonderful and put together make a sweet top that Myra (and I) loves. The sleeve is too sweet - puffed and gathered and just as girlie as can be. I love the ruffle collar and the bound neckline is a lovely finish. The front and back yokes with topstitching are lovely and the doubled buttons are just genius. The instructions were full color photos of the process and very detailed. There are a few little construction details that could be tricky, but they are well described in the instructions. I also loved that she included instructions to finish the seams where appropriate.
Front yoke, sleeve and collar
So, the dislikes... This is such a personal pet peeve that you can feel free to totally ignore me, but the tone of the instructions was, in my mind, unprofessional. I felt talked down to, and I actually stopped reading the directions after the first page, I was just that annoyed. Standard sewing terminology is totally ignored. For example, the front yoke is called "top front". Erg. Also, there were next to no markings on the pattern pieces themselves. Not even grainlines, but particularly annoying was the lack of any indication of where to gather the back bodice into the yoke or the sleeve caps. In fact, there were no sleeve markings at all, not even at the shoulder point. Finally, there is no instruction to interface anything. The front placket is only a single foldover - not enough to support buttonholes well.
Snaps instead of buttons, placket interfaced with Pro-Weft
So, short version, I really like the blouse that resulted and I will probably use this pattern again, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone who is not familiar with basic blouse construction. Whew, glad to get that off my chest.
Anyway, cute blouse on a cute kid!
It's a winner from that perspective.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ottobre 03/2012-13

The parade of girlie dresses continues! Just a few more, then I think I'll need to sew some boy stuff.
This is Ottobre 03/2012-13, the "Hollywood Cerise" dress. I spotted it as a must-make when I first got my issue of Otto, and I'm not the only one, as there are already a couple of versions of it in the Flickr group.
Myra chose the fabric we used. Bet you'd never have guess that!
It is quilting cotton, but reasonably nice stuff, particularly the cupcake print.
As you can probably see, this is a ridiculously simple dress - cut on, kimono sleeves, simple fold over placket for the buttons, and a couple of patch pockets.
I added some glittery ric rac to the yoke seam, but otherwise let the fabric do the talking. The neckline and sleeves are both finished with facings; the sleeves with strips of bias that are topstitched down and the neckline with a shaped facing that I catchstitched to the seam allowances at the shoulder and front yoke seam.
It's a sweet, simple little dress that I think Myra will wear a lot, and a perfect design for some wild prints. You know you have some...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ottobre 06/07-9, 06/08-2 and 01/10-2

A very dear and very old friend is having a wee girlie child this fall, and that means baby girl sewing!! There is something ridiculously satisfying about sewing itty bitty girl clothes.
This little outfit comes from three different issues of Ottobre. The pinafore dress is from 06/2007, the top from 01/2010 and the leggings from 06/2008. Have I mentioned how much I love my Ottobre magazines? They are the best.
The pinafore dress is the star of the show here. I made it out of a couple of quilting cotton prints. I love the way that the bodice lining and the pocket binding are the same sweet polka dot fabric. I even found a fun ribbon with a woven in polka dot to tie it all together.
Isn't that pocket ridiculously adorable?! I love the sweet little gathers and the narrow binding.
The pinafore closes with snaps and I used some tiny vintage metal ones. I really like the way that Ottobre designs for real life with babies. So many of these wrap-style dresses from other pattern companies have ties, and they are such a pain to put on a wiggly baby! Snaps are much more practical.
Since the wee princess is coming during the colder season, I made her a few layering pieces for under the dress. The top is from the 01/2010 issue, and is a simple tee with a slightly wide, gathered neckline and gathered, cropped sleeves. I made it out of a super soft rayon jersey that should be lovely for baby - light enough to layer over, but still warm. The leggings are the basic leggings from 06/2008 that I have made several times. I made them from a soft but sturdy rib knit. I hope they keep her warm and cozy!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Butterick 4176

Man, I love sewing little girl dresses!! After taking 2 months to sew a wedding dress, then 2 weeks to sew a dress for me, it is such fun to stitch up a sweet little dress in 2 hours!!
This one is Butterick 4176. I've had this pattern in the stash for a while, but Ottobre other patterns kept distracting me and I never made it, but I really love all the sweet details it has.
The fabric is quilting cotton. I know, but it's the nice stuff - Lecien for Free Spirit. It's a sweet little strawberry print that is a warm shade of pink that looks really nice on Myra. I only had a yard, and I just barely managed to squeak out this dress. The binding is pieced from teeny scraps.
Speaking of binding... The pattern has the neckline finished with a bias facing, which I always think looks Becky Home Ec-y. Myra  has sewn this pattern several times and suggested a bound finish for the neckline, which I did and absolutely love. It is so sweet and pretty! In back, instead of the thread loop, I just extended the narrow binding into a bias loop. Pretty and easy!
I had these three "pearl" buttons in my stash, two large and one smaller, and I thought they were perfect for this. Myra really loves them. Since the front buttons are just stitched to a single layer of fabric, I reinforced them in back with two little circles of fabric. Hopefully that will keep them in place. The buttons don't look like they line up in this picture, but they do.
The sleeve is intended to be finished with an elastic casing at the hem edge, but instead I made a ruffle by stitching clear elastic 3/4 inch above the narrow hem. It would have been easier to make the casing, since the sleeve hem is quite curved, but the ruffle is so girly. I think it was worth the trouble.
Overall, I think this pattern is another winner. The style is more casual and free flowing, but it is comfortable and perfect for playtime.
It's even bike friendly!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ottobre 02/2005-12

My little princess is starting preschool this year, and all of her summer dresses are too short! Time for some back to school sewing!
First up is this little dress from the 02/2005 issue of Ottobre. It is design #12, the "linen dress" featured on the cover. I mostly chose it for it's simplicity, and because we have always had good luck with peasant style, elasticated dresses for Myra.
The fabric is from Fashion Fabrics Club. It was billed as a cotton shirting, but it is definitely more poly than cotton and is very sheer. It's pretty though, and that is all that Myra cares about...
The bodice details show a little of the construction. I added a little ribbon trim to the front bodice, as it was a bit boring on it's own. I was surprised that the lower edge of the armhole isn't bound with bias, but the plain hem looks good and was really easy to do. In fact, the whole dress, from trace to finish, took just over an hour to sew. Win!
The fabric was really too sheer on its own, so I underlined the bodice and lined the skirt with Imperial batiste. It adds a nice weight to the dress and keeps it modest.
It twirls nicely and Myra really likes it. There may be another in her future, or at the very least, the top version. Cute and quick are a win in my book!
Can we go to school now?