Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pattern Review: Simplicity 1800 [Oonapalooza!]

halter maxi1

Pattern: Simplicity 1800, view C
Fabric: rayon challis from Metro Textile
Size: 10 graded to a 12 at the hip

How have I not sewn a maxi dress until 2014??  I am so in love with this dress and how easy and elegant it is to wear.  If I could have a closet full of maxi dresses I would...well maybe not a whole closet, because I do like to show my legs in the summer, hahaha.

Sewing this dress coincided nicely with Oonapalooza month - you know, "What would Oona make?" (could we all get W.W.O.M. bracelets?).  Loud, bright colors and a funky print? Check.  Saucy silhouette that's classy at the same time? check and check.

halter maxi2

This pattern is part of Simplicity's Amazing Fit collection, which I'm a fan of - any pattern that offers different pattern blocks based on body type is a win in my book, especially when it comes to fitting the bust.  It's hard to tell with the paisley print, but the bodice is constructed with princess seams that continue down into the skirt, which make bust fitting really easy.  I was very happy that I didn't need to alter the bust when I tissue-fit the slim pattern block, woohoo!  That rarely happens.

halter maxi3

I'm planning on making the other views of this dress for the fall, with sleeves, and I have a feeling that the overall dress may fit better with those versions - here's why.

The directions instruct to make an elastic casing at the top of the bodice back pieces, which I thought was odd for a halter dress, but the intention is for the elastic to support the back of the dress.  It didn't work so well, even after tightening the elastic - the back bodice did not fit snuggle against my back.  In retrospect, I should have taken in the back bodice pieces and the side seams of the dress to get a better fit.  However, I just don't think this piece was drafted correctly for a halter style dress, and instead was a cropped version of the regular back bodice piece.

I also had to make small tucks in the top of the bodice by the straps to prevent the top from gaping open - this wasn't evident as I tried the dress on during the sewing process.  I ran into this problem before with another halter dress I made, and it was an easy (and invisible) solution to the fitting problem I had.  The problem stems from how the straps lie - they collapse and move in a bit when wearing and don't support the top of the bodice, causing it to gape.  When they're adjusted to lay in the correct position, the bodice is flat against my chest.  My theory is that if I make the other versions, the dress will lay correctly because of the sleeves supporting the neckline and fitting properly, and I won't have a problem with gaping.

halter maxi4

The skirt is pleated in the front, which makes this dress great for eating a big meal...however it also makes me look a little preggo from the side!  A soft fabric is definitely best for a dress this style, anything stiff would make the skirt look like a tent.

halter maxi5

The way the pockets incorporate into the seam lines is genius, it's like a little surprise, especially with a busy print.  They're not too deep, but I can't help putting my hands in them as I walk around.

Isn't this fabric gorgeous???  I bought three yards with the intention to make a Sewaholic Lonsdale dress, but since the paisleys curve in one direction, and the Lonsdale requires a print that is mult-directional, it wasn't meant to be.  No matter, I'm absolutely in love with the garment that this fabric turned into

Did you sew anything for Oonapalooza Month?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pattern Review - Lane Raglan [Hey June]

lane raglan4

lane raglan2

Pattern: Lane Raglan by Hey June, from Indiesew.com
Fabric: Cotton sweatshirt knit from Mood Fabrics
Size: Small

It may seem odd to sew a sweatshirt in the summertime, but when the nice folks at Indiesew asked me to try out some patterns from their site, I couldn't pass up trying out the Lane Raglan sweatshirt.  Summertime in New England is fickle, and a short sleeve sweatshirt like this is something I can picture layering on in the evenings this summer on vacation in Maine - I'm actually wearing it over a tank top in these photos.

lane raglan5

This is such a great pattern, and is really the raglan sleeved top I've been searching for!  I've seen many versions of this shirt all over sewing blogs (my favorites are the ones Cut Cut Sew makes) since it's such a good base for different design elements and changes.  Make it out of a drapy knit with contrasting sleeves for a flowy baseball-style shirt, or a beefy fleece for a cool weather sweater.  I like how there's a good amount of ease in the size small, but I could go down a size to make more of a fitted top.

lane raglan3

I know this is going to be a TNT pattern, and it's great for an instant-gratification project - I think I made this in an hour, including the time it took to cut out the fabric.  To "summer-ize" the sweatshirt, I cropped the sleeves and rolled up the bottom twice to create a 2 1/2" cuff above the elbow.  Then, I stitched the cuff in the ditch along the sleeve seam line so it stays put when wearing.  I like the contrast of the wrong side of the knit showing outside, the texture is cool looking.

lane raglan1

The sweatshirt knit is from the third floor at Mood Fabrics in NYC - Oona is right, the third floor of Mood is a truly magical place.  This fleece is really different from fabrics I gravitate towards (I never sew with cream), and has a cool marled texture throughout.  It's so comfy to wear, and I can't wait to wear it more often once fall weather arrives.

Disclaimer - this pattern was provided to me for free from Indiesew.com

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fabric and Sewing Happenings

Cambie so far, just hanging out on my dress form. #sewing #dressmaking

Well hi there, Blogland, just poking my head in here to say hello and what's up???  My whirlwind of travel for work is finally over (for the time being) and I'm now home for the next week before I pack up to head to PA for vacation at my parent's house - boy, do I need a vacation!  I've been missing my sewing, since it's been few and far between in the last two weeks, but I wanted to share what I've been cooking up so far.

I *finally* made a Cambie after my failed attempt last year, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I just need to sew the hem, which is all wonky right now - hence why I'm procrastinating on sewing it, haha.  I think the sides need to be taken in a bit to get a closer fit, but I'm also liking that it's not super tight on me...we'll see.

I think this dress will go along with the theme of #oonapalooza this month: maxi length, bright colors, and a saucy halter neckline. It will be complete if I manage some inappropriate pattern placement. #sewing #sewcialists

This paisley rayon was also supposed to be destined for another Sewaholic pattern, the Lonsdale dress, but just as I was about to cut out the fabric I realized that the print is directional - the paisleys either curve up or curve down, depending on which way you look at the fabric.  With the need to have the skirt pattern pieces flipped to fit onto the fabric,  I would have had the paisley print going one way on the front and another way on the back - I'm glad I caught it!

So now, I'm using this gorgeous fabric for Simplicity 1800, another pattern from their Amazing Fit collection - I really like this collection of patterns, it makes fitting so easy when you pick out pattern drafted based on body type (I'm making view C, the halter maxi dress).  As I was cutting this dress out last night, it occurred to me that it's perfect for the Oonapalooza sewing theme this month - it's loud, a maxi length that Oona like to wear, and I just may manage some inappropriate pattern placement!


Other happenings:

That's it for now!  Off to squeeze in some more sewing this evening...TGIF tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Organize Sewing Machine Needles With a Pincushion

needle pincushion text

If you're like me, you have few different sewing projects going at the same time - a knit dress, button-down shirt, skinny pants... you get the idea.  With different projects comes the need to switch to different needles depending on the type of fabric being sewn, and sometimes it's hard to keep track of which needle is which, which one has been used, etc.

My trick - I use a tomato pincushion to keep track of the different needles I use.  Each section is designated for a specific type of needle - on this pincushion, I have a section for universal, topstitching, ballpoint, stretch, and hand sewing needles.  With a Sharpie, I mark the name and the size of the needle, too, so I know if it's the right size when I'm looking for a needle to use.  You may find that for your personal use, you need more than one section for ballpoint or universal needles because of the varying sizes - I have two sections on this pincushion to keep my universal needles organized, for example.

I also go one step further and mark down on a Post-It I stick to my machine the date I began to use a particular needle in this pincushion and what projects I used it for.  This is a handy organizational tool when a needle isn't used a lot, and isn't quite ready to be tossed out for a new one.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Weekend Sewing - Back at the Machine

Sewing room

After about a month of taking a sewing hiatus, I sat down at my sewing machine and serger today - hooray for the first day of summer putting me back in the mood again!  I cleaned up all of my loose patterns, redid my bulletin board with patterns I want to sew soon, and organized my thread box - ahhhh.  And the best part is that I already had a project cut out and ready to sew, which you can see in the front of the photo on my ironing board - can you guess what I'm making?