Thursday, February 27, 2014

Retro Barbie gets all dolled up.

I've long had a bit of an obsession with these lovely vintage style Barbie dolls. I found this Solo in the Spotlight reproduction on Ebay for a song, and I had to have her. Sadly, she came without her black gown. Fortunately, dressing my dolls is what I do...
I wanted her to have a 50s day dress to go with her retro look. I have quite a few Barbie printed patterns, but none of them included a collared dress! And I really wanted to make a shirtdress. I finally found this shop on Etsy that specializes in patterns copying vintage Barbie outfits. Perfect! She has an impressive selection, but collars are still sparse on the ground. I found this pattern for a collared bodysuit and jean style capris that I thought I could work with.
And I do think this is a great collar! It's a classic one piece, faced collar. Barbie collars can be fussy to sew, as they are so small, but this one wasn't too tricky and the pattern was well drafted. I will say that the instructions were VERY sparse and I had trouble getting the PDF to print with the scaling correct. I ended up having to re-scale and tile it myself. A bit annoying, but the pattern was only $2.
One cool feature of the pattern is the back yoke, which is actually cut in one piece with the front. It took a little puzzling to figure out, as the pattern directions were a little inscrutable, but once I got it together, I was thrilled with how it looks. Although I could have done a better job matching my plaids.
As I mentioned, this piece is actually a jumpsuit, seamed at the crotch. I think this is brilliant, both for play and display as it keeps her top tucked in nicely. The front is closed with a single snap, and it is fairly easy to get Barbie in and out of. Nicely designed, vintage Mattel.
I have to give a little shout out here to Heather, who sent me these cute little buttons. Barbie scale buttons are surprisingly hard to find! These are absolutely perfect, and were in fact, the inspiration for her whole look.
The skirt is a basic, patternless pleated skirt. I drafted a rectangular waistband for Barbie's teeny waist, then hand pleated a rectangle of gingham into the band. I left the pleats largely unpressed, and I love how the body of the gingham gives this a nice full shape. It closes in back with velcro.
To complete her look, I fashioned Barbie a teeny tote bag with a scrap of the gingham, a bit of ribbon and some jewelry making rings. I also created the pearl necklace she's wearing. The sunglasses on her head are a reproduction pair I found on Ebay. I just love how the whole look came together. Sewing for Barbie is so much fun! She never complains.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Batgirl! Twirler skirt!

Y'all may recall several months ago that I had a chance to do some sewing for my sweet three year old niece. This particular niece happens to be in love with all things Batman and when I saw this shirt at zulily I had to get it for her.
But it seemed so lonely. It obviously needed a Batgirl appropriate skirt.
I know, right?! I totally need one in my size. I used black poly/rayon gabardine for the skirt and a lightweight voile for the applique. I'm totally thrilled I had a perfect color match in my stash!!
The skirt itself is pretty basic. I didn't use a pattern. It's just a rectangle. I based the width on the size of the applique and gathered the waistline with elastic. I really like to add a line of stitching through the elastic in a casing. I think it has a more professional look, and it prevents the elastic from twisting as well.
The applique is just an image I traced off the internet and affixed to the skirt with Heat and Bond. I went around the edges to finish with a narrow zigzag stitch, since the voile is prone to fraying. Those corners are tricky, particularly the ears. To give it a smoother look, I narrowed the width of the zigzag as I approached the point. Someday, I'm going to get an embroidery machine, but until then, I think this works pretty well.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Vogue 1378 Donna Karan pants

I've had Vogue 1378 in my stash pretty much since it came out. The top is cool, but these pants are amazing. For some reason I just didn't get around to sewing them.
And then Sara of The Pretty Pickle DID sew them! And I had to have them. Immediately.
Of course, I used a printed black knit, so all the seam detail is lost. This fabric is awesome though, amirite? It's metallic printed ponte from FabricMart.
Here's Vogue's line drawing. How freaking awesome are those pants?!! Donna Karan is brilliant.
I did make a few minor changes to the pattern. My typical changes for Vogue pants are to add an extra inch to the front and back rise and scoop out the rear crotch a bit. For these, I decided to use an exposed elastic finish that requires only about 1/4 inch of seam allowance, and the pant has a 1 inch allowance for the elastic casing, so Vogue pretty much did my alteration for me! Thanks! I do find that these are a bit lower in the back rise than I prefer. I'll raise them about 1/2 inch at CB next time.
Sometimes I have to add length, but Sara noted that they were drafted quite long, and my scientific method of holding the pattern pieces up to myself convinced me that the leg length was good. And it is.
The other rather major change I made was to cut my waistband elastic with negative ease (1 inch less than my actual waist measurement). Vogue wants you to add 3 inches to your waist measurement for your waistband elastic, but I'm pretty sure that's a recipe for failure. I like my pants to stay up, thankyouverymuch.
My favorite feature is the adorable front slit. It makes my legs look even longer, and my heels look even higher. Loves. So, what's keeping you from sewing this?? Worried about all those lapped seams, eh. Well, I took a few pics while I was putting these together, so hopefully that will help.

Today's Tip: Exposed edge construction lapped seams. This method is what I use when the fabric's raw edge will be exposed on the right side of the garment.
Start with the piece that will be on the bottom of the lapped seam. I used the pattern line drawing to keep track of what goes where. There are a lot of pieces to this pattern and many of them have a similar shape, so be sure to mark them well. On the bottom piece, I mark a placement line 2 seam allowances (in this case 5/8+5/8=1 1/4) from the cut edge.
Now lay the overlay pattern piece with the cut edge aligned with the marking you made. Pin it together with your pins perpendicular to the cut edges. Pin frequently so that the edges don't shift. Hand baste if it makes you more comfortable.
Stitch along the 5/8 seam line. It may help you to mark the stitching line 5/8 inch away from the cut edge on the upper layer. For this ponte knit, I used a triple stitch for this line of stitching.
Here is how it looks once it has been stitched. There is a raw edge on the right side as well as one the wrong side (not pictured). If you want to add some decorative topstitching, this would be the time. I used my coverstitch machine to add another 2 rows of stitching, one line of stitching on either side of the first one.
Once you are done with all the stitching, trim away any excess seam allowance close to the stitching. I like applique scissors for this step, as they protect the fabric underneath from an accidental cut. You can also trim away the excess seam allowance from the wrong side of the garment, if you choose.
When you finish, you should have a trendy, raw-edged seam!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ottobre 06/2010-14 fleece pullover

A couple of years ago, I made some fleece pullovers for Mitch. He wears them all the time, and Logan expressed a desire for one of his own.
Fortunately, that request was easily granted, and my cool dude got his own cuddly pullover.
The pattern is Ottobre 06/2010-14, which is featured in the magazine on a toddler, made up in lots of coordinating prints. I thought it would be appropriate for a bigger kid in solids with just a bit of colorblocking. The black fabric is a super snuggley wool fleece that I scored a FabricMart about a year ago. The blue contrast is a soft interlock that I've used on several projects before.
My favorite element of this design is the neckline treatment. The collar and zipper area are all cut in one piece, so there are no annoying seams, and the zipper tapes are fully enclosed within the collar. It's a very neat finish and also very comfortable.
There are only a few other seams in the top, but I topstiched them all down so they would be non irritating. Topstitching helps control the loft of the fleece here as well and I think gives a more professional look.
I think this is absolutely awesome on him, but I'm not sure how much it is going to get worn. Logan doesn't generally like to layer his clothing, so we'll see. It was a fun make though, and I'm glad I discovered the pattern. I'll certainly use it again for the other kids.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Vogue 8919 batwing-ish top

After my Sammy Cami, I still wasn't up for a big project, but I also didn't feel like making up another TNT. Instead I hit up my lately neglected Big 4 pattern drawers and pulled out this pattern.
It has interesting style lines, but still is very simple, with only 4 pattern pieces.
This is Vogue 8919, which is actually a dress pattern. I thought it would make an amazing top, so I shortened it by cutting it off at the hip line.
I added a neckband, rather than Vogue's turn and stitch hem at the neckline. I never have been happy with that finish. I did all my topstitching with my coverstitch, using a chain stitch. It keeps the seams nice and flat, but still has plenty of stretch.
The changes I made for fit were actually pretty minor. I blended from a 10 in the shoulders, to a 12 at the bust. I also used the curved seam in front as a kind of princess seam, and added some space for the bust on the side panel. I make a lot of princess seam garments, so I kind of just eyeballed the amount I added. Whew! It worked!
I'm pretty pleased with the fit in back. I didn't make a swayback, although I probably could do a small one. I really like the length though and the fit through the shoulders and back is very comfortable.
I really like the slight batwing shape of the sleeve, and the trompe l'oil effect the contrast has. It almost looks like a black top with a shrug. The fabrics are both ponte knit. The leopard print is from and the black is a Maggie London knit from FabricMart.
And I love how totally versatile it is! I felt totally punk rock cool pairing it with my faux leather and ponte skinnies, but still classy and elegant with a matching ponte pencil skirt.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Iconic Patterns: The Sammy Cami

I had kind of a rough week last week - sick small people who shared their germs, no sleep, y'all know the drill. Once the 100 day stuff was done, I couldn't decide what I wanted to work on, but I knew it had to be something pretty effortless.
Thank goodness I had already printed and assembled the Sammy Cami pattern! (Not that it takes long - 6 pages, yo!) I traced the two pieces quickly, added a cheater FBA to the front piece and went to town!
Here's my superhero pose, cuz y'all, this baby was done in like a half hour!! Talk about instant gratification, and who doesn't need a dozen or so camis in their closet??
Here she is, without the shrug. Totally pro looking, right? The pattern, as I mentioned, is the FREE Sammy Cami from Iconic Patterns. The fabric is left over from this top and I love that I got to use it up. The shimmer is so fun. This pattern takes almost no fabric - perfect for using up little scraps.
Close up, the neckline and straps look awesome. True confessions, I used my coverstitch machine with binder attachment, but the pattern includes instructions for getting this finish with your regular sewing machine. Second true confession, I was in a hurry and twisted one strap when I was attaching them. Oops. But I'm wearing it anyway. The jersey is soft and I can't even tell the strap is twisted when the top is on.
Other than my FBA, I did add a couple of inches (like, 2) of length. I like my camis long, and I have a kind of long torso. I could still have gotten away with it as drafted, but I do like this length.
I went a little light on the FBA, since I didn't want the armholes to gape. They don't (barely), but I could probably use a bit more room in the bust. I'm thinking I'll add some width and ease it into the armhole binding. Otherwise, I'm pleased with the fit.
But the total best part - the straps aren't too long!!! I have never, ever in my life had a RTW cami with straps that I didn't have to tie up or rig to cover the girls, and isn't that the whole point of a cami?!?! I'm totally going to make up a bunch of these in every color.
Worn with, Jalie 2908 jeans and Tanit-isis vintage shrug (another free pattern!).

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ottobre 01/2014-25 100 day dress!

When I asked Myra if she wanted a 100 day shirt, she told me no. Silly Mom! She wanted a dress, of course.
A pink and purple and lace dress. With sparkles.
As you wish.
I used a pattern from the latest Ottobre, 01/2014. It's a drop waist, drop shoulder, simple dress that I thought we be good for embellishment as well as comfortable on the playground.
The lace and bling are in the form of an applique, which is black nylon lace over the same purple jersey used for the bindings. I added 5mm hot fix crystals to write the "100" in a random assortment of coordinating stones.
The pockets were an afterthought addition. When I finished the dress, I felt like it needed something to tie the lace in to the design a little better. I polled the usual social media outlets, and a lace ruffle or pockets were suggested. I thought both would be cute (although I was leaning toward ruffle), so I asked Myra, who voted for pockets. I went for a girlie gathered and bound pocket.
Myra loves the pockets and I love how they tie in the lace applique. Myra's been filling them with important things like her seam gauge and pincushion.
I think this sweet dress (and Logan's shirt as well) are going to get worn long after 100 day. Yay!