Monday, September 30, 2013

Kitschy Coo Reversible Zippy Hoodie

Myra has been in need of a new jacket, and since we had a cold snap here in Utah last week, I didn't have much time to knock something together.
Fortunately, the Kitschy Coo Reversible Zippy Hoodie goes together in a flash, so Myra didn't have a chance to get chilly at the playground. And you're in luck, since the Reversible Zippy Hoodie is one of the patterns you can get in the Sew Fab bundle! Only $29.99 for $200 worth of AMAZING patterns! Hurry over, the sale is only on for a week.
This is the third time I've made up this pattern (you can see the first two here and here) and I'm still amazed at how quickly and easily it comes together. I mean seriously, it's fully reversible with all seams enclosed and it only takes maybe 4 hours total to sew. So awesome.
Myra added her own touch to this one by designing and cutting out the pocket appliques. I'm pretty impressed with her creativity! As a bonus, the extra layer of fleece makes the pockets super warm.
You'll note she has her hands in them in all the pics. They are also lined with the fleece, so they're nice and soft.
The fabric for the shell is a fleece print that was given to me by a friend. The selvage says Joann. The lining and cuffs are interlock from Chez Ami. It's lovely stuff. Beefy and soft and an absolute dream to sew. I ordered the zipper from ZipperStop. I was really impressed how quickly it came. It only took two days to go from New York to Utah!
I made the 5Y size for Myra and the fit is great. I like that the length covers her backside and the waistband keeps the breezes out.
We both love how comfy the hood is. It fits her really well, and she has trouble with hoods in general. Big  brains, dontcha know.
Life on the playground can be tough, but Myra's ready to rock in her awesome hoodie!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall for Cotton: Vintage Butterick 7238 dress

It feels like I've been working on this dress forever, but it was SO WORTH IT!
I'm warning you now, I took a stupid number of pictures of this dress, and I'm going to post them all because I can. Sorry, not sorry. 
So, this dress began, as many of my makes do, with the fabric. My mother gave me this stinking adorable cotton print with vintage pattern illustrations all over it. Obviously, it had to become a 50s style dress! Then I saw that Lucky Lucille and By Gum, By Golly were hosting Fall for Cotton! It was a sign. I needed this dress!
It will not surprise you to know that I have a rather large number of pattern in my stash from that era, but when I came across Butterick 7238 at Vintage Martini, it was love at first sight. They were obviously made for each other.
The pattern is a fairly typical fit and flare 50s silhouette, but with a few unique details.
The most obvious is the shoulder yoke and collar. The yoke wraps around, shaping the shoulder and upper back area. The collar is cut onto the yoke and seamed at center back. It has a couple of darts, concealed under the collar, for shaping. The entire yoke is assembled, then attached to the dress with a lapped seam. The point of the yoke is actually supposed to be a functional button, but my muslin slipped over my head easily without it, so I just sewed it down.
There is a contrast band at the skirt hem, which is cut on the bias. I added bias cut sleeve bands as well.
In back, the bodice is shaped with darts and the shaping in the yoke. As a girl who has broad shoulders, the yoke is genius! It gives me the movement ease I need without any bunching. Love that!
The dress closes on the side with a zipper. Mine is lapped, and I did a shoddy job. Moving on.
I decided to add a little vintage touch inside and pinked my seams instead of serging them. 
For fit, I made a 1/2 inch FBA, then added another 1/2 inch of ease at the side seams. Thanks so much to everyone who weighed in on my muslin post! I do like the additional bust ease. I also shortened the left side of the bodice to accommodate my lower left shoulder, so that fits really well.
I added pockets and shortened the skirt about 5 inches. It was drafted to be closer to tea length and I wanted it to hit below the knee. The skirt is interesting. It's just a big ole rectangle, but the seams aren't at the side seam, rather they are slightly forward. You can see where I inserted the pocket into the seam. Not only does this make for a perfect pocket placement, it means the skirt has no side seams. Instead, there is a dart on the right, and on the left, a placket is inserted for the zipper. Pretty interesting construction!
It's also nice and twirly.
When I got started making this dress, I was really unsure if I would wear it much. I mean, it's adorable, but does a twirly 50s dress fit into my modern mom lifestyle?
After wearing it today, I have to give it a resounding YES! It's comfortable and easy to wear, and I don't think it's ridiculously costumey if I'm careful with accessories. I can do all of the mom stuff, even playing on the floor! The full skirt keeps everything covered. I may not step out in gale force winds though. Don't want a Marilyn moment!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fall For Cotton: Butterick 7238 muslin

I finally got myself in gear and put together the muslin for my Fall For Cotton dress. As a reminder, this is the plan...
I'm making the view on the far right, with the vintage ladies print as the main fabric and a solid black cotton for the contrast. I traced and tissue fit the pattern, and made a 1/2 inch FBA, which I rotated into the gathered section, and shortened the back bodice about an inch. Then I made a bodice muslin. (Warning: unflattering muslin pictures ahead.)
Here's how the bodice fits. There is basically zero ease at the bust, which I'm OK with, but the bodice is all bunchy and looks too long below the bust. It looks the same in back, so I was thinking I'd need to shorten the bodice all around. At this point, something told me I should attach the skirt and see what happens. Generally I don't bother checking the fit of a full, gathered skirt, but I'm glad I did this time.
The weight of the skirt pulls the bunchyness out of the bodice completely and I am really thrilled with the fit as it is! If I had shortened the bodice, I think I would have felt it was too short. I'm really glad I stuck that skirt on there! It made a big difference!
I think that wrinkle on my left is just me standing weird. I really like the fit in back as well. I can't believe how little altering this dress needed to be pretty nearly perfect. Woo-hoo!! On to the fashion fabric!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

imagine gnats Bess Top: Shirred up

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you've probably noticed that my typical aesthetic is fitted at the waist. I love the fit and cute details of the Bess top, but I tend to wear it like this.
I'm wearing it here with my Vogue 2657 vest to cinch in the waist. It also looks fab belted, so I thought it would be fun to add some easy waist shaping with shirring. I'll show you how as well.
Here's how it looks! Just a few rows of shirring make a big difference, don't you think? And so easy to do!
Once you have completely finished your Bess top per the pattern. For this one I used the tunic version, but any of the three styles will work. I think the dress would look awesome shirred! Try on your top and pin a wide piece of elastic around your waist, then blouse your top so that you like the way it looks. I actually did this on my body, but put it on the dress form for pictures.
Now mark the top edge of your elastic, using whatever method you prefer. I used my handy dandy Frixion pen.
Next, lay the top flat on your work surface and even out your markings. Some will look too high or too low. You want an even line around your top. You can connect the markings if it is easier to sew a straight line that way.
Now shirr away! If you haven't done this before, you are missing some serious fun!! Check out this great tutorial from Make It & Love It to get you going. Start by shirring a line around your top where you marked and continue shirring even lines below your first one until you have the cinched in area as wide as you prefer. Be sure to do at least 3 lines, or it may not be elastic enough. I used five lines spaced 1/4 inch apart.
And you are done!! Put on your top and strut your stuff!
And if you still want to accessorize or belt your top, the shirring keeps it nicely in place, so you aren't tugging on your hem or blousing out your Bess top all day.

Monday, September 9, 2013

imagine gnats Bess Top

I was so thrilled when Rachael contacted me to test out her newest pattern, the Bess Top. I'd seen some of her early versions on Instagram, and I just love the fun construction of the yoke and pleat at the shoulder. I couldn't wait to try it myself!
And it did not disappoint! This was such a fun top to sew! And it works up really quickly.
The pattern comes in three lengths - top, tunic and dress. I made the tunic length, as I intend to wear it with leggings and skinny pants. There are also two neckline options - jewel and scoop. This is the scoop neckline. I love that there are so many options for personalization.
There is a subtle hi-lo hemline, with the back just a couple of inches longer than the front. I like that it isn't OTT, which I think would have looked quickly dated, but still hits the trend.
The yoke construction is my favorite part. The back wraps around to the front and forms a yoke and as well as the front sleeve. There is an inset corner where the yoke becomes the sleeve. The instructions for sewing this made it very easy to get a nice sharp corner. The shoulder pleat is a nice, graceful way to add some bust ease. In fact, I didn't even have to make an FBA. Pretty sweet!
Another feature I REALLY love is the pockets!! One of the reasons my leggings don't get worn much is the lack of pockets, and this tunic totally solves that problem! The pockets are inserted right at waist height into the side seam. I was worried they'd add bulk, but they don't and they are so convenient. My leggings are getting a new lease on life!
The fabric I used is a printed poly charmeuse from FabricMart. I wanted something with some drape, since the top is unfitted and I knew I'd be wearing it belted.
For the edge finishes on both neckline and hems, the pattern instructs you to use jersey strips as a facing which is topstitched down. This worked really nicely - much like a bias finish, but with less fuss. I used a poly lining jersey, also from FabricMart. It's quite shiny, so it looks good with the charmeuse.
All in all, I had a great time sewing up this pattern and I'm really enjoying wearing my new top. Hurry over to her shop and get your own!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ottobre 03/2013-17 polka dot dress

On Myra's last day home with me before she started Kindergarten last week, I asked her what she wanted to do. She choose fabric shopping at IKEA! I love that kid. Anyway, she picked out a home dec weight cotton in red with large polka dots and told me she wanted a dress.
I think it was the perfect choice. It couldn't have turned out any sweeter.
The pattern I used is from the 03/2013 issue of Ottobre, design #17. The only change I made to the dress was to leave it unlined. The fabric is quite heavy and I thought another layer, even of Bemburg, would have been insufferably hot. Instead, I bound the neckline with bias.
I generally find that Ottobre dresses run a little short for Myra, so I lengthened this one to the next size line just in the skirt. That's a typical alteration for her. I like the length it is, but I also think the length as drafted would have been fine, so it looks like this style is a little longer than usual.
In back, there is an invisible zip, which lined up quite nicely at the waist. I also put a small button and loop at the top, concealed under the collar. I like the way the collar squares off at the back - a nice detail that is different from most peter pan style collars. I'm also pretty pleased with the way the polka dots lined up throughout the dress. In a print that large, a mismatch would have been pretty obvious, so I'm glad they behaved.

My favorite detail of this sweet little dress is the front "placket". It is actually a pair of pintucks pressed away from center front with decorative buttons down the center. Pretty sneaky, eh? The front is cut on the fold, which made aligning the dots super easy there. And I didn't have to sew a full placket, which made this dress pretty quick to sew.
Myra loves it! And it's great for dancing. Just don't tell her she looks like a Dalek... ;)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Burdastyle David Bow Tie

This project is actually from last month, but it took a while to get pictures, so you get to see it now. I actually have a ton of stuff to show you, since Mitch gave me a sewing day yesterday, but I still need to take lots of pictures. It'll come.

But today is about the tie. Mitch has been talking about switching from a long tie to a bow tie. The long dangly tie gets into everything. Anyway, I'd been kind of dragging my feet about making one. I was worried about interfacing and things like that. Finally, I decided to just bite the bullet and do it.
And he likes it! It isn't perfect by any means, but I did learn a lot making it.
Here is how it looks untied. You can see that there are sliders in back to make it adjustable, which was the trickiest part of the construction. It was actually really easy to make, although turning the two halves of the tie was a little tricky. 
The fabric is a beautiful slubby silk, given to me by a good friend. For interfacing, I scavenged interfacing from old ties, but I actually think this was a bad idea. I was using regular ties, and the interfacing for the RTW bow ties I have since examined is much thinner and more flexible, so this one was nearly impossible to turn right side out and Mitch has difficulty getting it tied.
The thick interfacing is especially notable in the area of the sliders, which makes it really hard to adjust. In fact, it's so stiff, that it ends up being impossible getting it to the length that Mitch prefers. He can get it tied, but it is a little tighter than he finds comfortable.
For a first attempt, I think it's not too bad. Mitch really loves the fabric and I learned a few things that should make the next one great. Fortunately, I have a bit more of this silk for version 2.0.