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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: McCall's 7085 | Neoprene Jersey and Mesh Sheath Dress!

McCall's Pattern 7085 - Neoprene & Mesh Sheath Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!  All fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
I've been obsessing over neoprene fabric for a while now.  And it seems like the more obsessive I became, the better the fabric is now.  Neoprene isn't as thick and stiff as it was a few years ago.  These new and improved lighter weight "neoprene-like" fabrics are a dream to sew with and perfect for structured garments.  Which is why I picked this black/ivory abstract neoprene jersey.  Talk about hard to get!  I stalked this fabric for weeks.  It sold out and all of a sudden it was back!  
McCall's Pattern 7085 - Neoprene & Mesh Sheath Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!  All fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
I knew it would be the perfect fabric for this dress.  See, it all started back with this one:
I tried this Elie Tahari dress on in a fitting room and fell completely in love with it.  But the $428 price tag made me weep.  I examined the dress inside and out and immediately made up my mind that I would be making my own version.  And I was pleased as punch when my neoprene jersey arrived because it was exactly the same type of fabric as my inspiration dress!
McCall's Pattern 7085 - Neoprene & Mesh Sheath Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!  All fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
For my pattern, I chose McCall's 7085.  This pattern was perfect, down to every single dart!  I used view A, which is just two pieces -- the front and back.
McCall's Pattern 7085 - Neoprene & Mesh Sheath Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!  All fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
I cut the size 12.  Since my garment is not hemmed, I only had to add 2 inches to the length.  
Lapped Darts on McCall's Pattern 7085 - Neoprene & Mesh Sheath Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!  All fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
All of the darts are sewn lapped.  And the side seams are also lapped.  This is a new-to-me detail that I snatched from my inspiration garment.  I guess I very rarely make anything that uses fabric that doesn't ravel and doesn't require additional measures for seam finishing.  It looks simple, but it took a lot of meticulous effort to achieve this effortless look.
McCall's Pattern 7085 - Neoprene & Mesh Sheath Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!  All fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
The body of the dress is basically cut as a one-shoulder style, topped with this Italian Black Diamond Nylon Mesh Netting.  This was my first time working with mesh and I didn't know what to expect.  This mesh was not as coarse as the mesh on the inspiration dress, but it still turned out well.   I've never done any type of applique sewing.  Again, a new step for me.  But I think it turned out well.  
McCall's Pattern 7085 - Neoprene & Mesh Sheath Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!  All fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
I finished the neckline with a satin 1/4" double fold seam binding.  And just did a rolled hem for the armhole.  The first time I tried it, I bound the armhole too.  Since the other armhole is the unfinished neoprene jersey, there was a noticeable difference to me.  It didn't feel right.  So the rolled hem added an unfinished feel to that side.
McCall's Pattern 7085 - Neoprene & Mesh Sheath Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!  All fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
Mesh is very unforgiving if you make an error.  If you try to pick a stitch loose?  Good luck with that.  I butchered the mesh the first go round and had to remove it and do it over.  Not fun removing zig zag stitches from neoprene jersey either.  But I must take a moment and pat myself on the back and dust the dirt off my shoulder for matching that print down the back!
McCall's Pattern 7085 - Neoprene & Mesh Sheath Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!  All fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
The mesh is also added to the bottom in an asymmetrical cutout way.  And the hemline is left unfinished.  This was a fun dress to make.  It did take a little longer than I anticipated.  But it allowed me to release some pent-up creative energy that I had unfortunately been repressing for a while!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Black and White Gingham is What I'm Craving! #FashionFriday

bhampton
Lately, I've been noticing gingham everywhere.  Not just any old gingham, but black and white gingham.
DVF
Every size too.  I've been seeing it made in everything from classic button down shirts, sleeveless princess seam tops...
mytheresaprgirl
Bustier tops and ruffle skirts...
myshowroomblog
Jacket and shirt mixed print combinations...
awedbymoni
And in pants.

I'm starting to feel that it's calling out to me.  So I'm on the search now for the perfect black and white gingham print.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Joy of Sewing!



I'm sure I've spoken about this time and time again.  But the more I grow in my sewing and as a human, the more I have the need to refine my personal sewing mantra.

See, let me begin...

Since I've been an adult, I've been married and a mother.  I'm 44 years old.  My oldest child is 25.  I've been married for 23 1/2 years.  Everything I do in life revolves around family.  Every decision I make pretty much has to be filtered through someone else.  Every minute detail has to be based on how it will affect them.  Except for sewing.
Sewing is mine.  All mine.  It's the only aspect of my life where I have complete autonomy.  I have one hundred percent creative control.  I never have to take into consideration what anyone else thinks.
I get to pick the pattern.  I get to buy the fabric that I love.  I pick the colors that I love.  I get to decide whether or not it will be lined.  I choose the seam finish. I pick all of the notions.
I handpick the buttons.  I choose the brand of thread I want and my favorite types of needles.  And when I get to execute my perfect vision of the garment that I want, it's joyous!
Sewing has always been my escapism.  It's my refuge when life is difficult.  It's a place that I would probably choose first, even on a beautiful warm and sunny day.  I get to walk into my studio and turn on the lights, turn on the machines and turn on my iron.
There is nothing like the thrill of spreading out a beautiful piece of fabric that I chose, onto my cutting table.   Then putting in that fresh blade into my rotary cutter and the anticipation of making that first cut and being giddy with excitement throughout the construction phase and seeing that vision come to light is almost like birthing a child.

I'm a true creative in this aspect.  


Monday, April 20, 2015

Pikolinos Maasai Project #BelkScene

Have you heard of the Pikolinos Maasai Project?  I had vaguely remembered reading about it a while ago.  I follow Olivia Palermo fashion-wise, I remember seeing her wearing very strikingly beautiful African statement necklaces.  And I came across some links regarding the project she was working on, which is this.  
The object of the Maasai Project is simple:  to draw attention to a unique culture and its values, which are deeply rooted in family and nature, to promote the importance of the Maasai Mara, and to offer hope for a sustainable future."
Belk has an awesome relationship with Pikolinos Shoes who have partnered with the Maasai Tribe in Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania.  Meet William Kikanae, Leader of the Maasai Tribe.  Yes, I got to meet a real African Chief, and practically gushed like a fan girl.

We got to chat for a moment, and I asked him first, how he became the chief.  He explained to me that even as a child, when out with his peers -- they would always put him in charge.  He said he was always selected as the team leader.  And it spread over into adulthood.  He said that his community recognized that he had good leadership skills and a good heart and made him the chief.  He believes that women are equal to men.  That they they should have the ability to earn an income in order to care for themselves and their families.  He is also the project leader of this collaboration.  His wife Lilian Ole Pere is the project coordinator in Kenya.  She also advises the women and helps them manage their money.
Each sandal tells a story of the Maasai women, their families, their hardship and their determination to get ahead.  More than 1,000 women participate in the Maasai Project earning a stable salary – something that up until now had been reserved exclusively for the men. But most importantly, the work they are doing allows them to preserve their culture and lifestyle, and as a result of the income they receive, more than 1,000 Maasai families can access basic needs such as education, food, and medicine.
This collaboration is empowering and employing women and providing the means to create and fund a school for the over 150 Maasai children enrolled. Over 1600 Maasai families have fair wages and a stable income.  The Pikolinos Maasai Project has proven that fashion is more than frivolity.  It's a "vision of hopes and dreams that tells stories and builds a better future, a sustainable future."
And here is a close up of my gorgeous Maasai necklace that was gifted to me from Belk and Pikolinos.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Inspired by Instagram | 70s Flare!

I live on Instagram.  It's a great source of inspiration.  I consider it the "quick and dirty" side of blogging.  If it weren't for the fact that I sew and I have more than a few lines to say about a project,  and I like to include links, I'd consider using my IG account full-time.  And because I'm very visual, I rarely read blog posts unless I'm truly interested in what the person made or is wearing and I need to know the details.  Or perhaps there's some sort of interesting story going.  And I know plenty of others do the same.  I can tell based on the questions that are asked in comments.
Today's inspiration is taken from New York Times Fashion.  They're a great source for highlights of runway shows and fabulous street style, hence the above photo.  By the way, that's blogger Talisa Sutton, who was heading to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia in Sydney.  
What instantly grabbed my attention about her look was her top.  I made my similar top back in September and paired it with a black guipure lace skirt.  I had always intended to wear it in a casual way.  I'd been waiting for Spring weather, because with the full, flared sleeves, I didn't want to fight with coat sleeves.  I'd almost forgotten about it until I saw that fabulous reminder in my feed a couple of days ago.  Her top is by Australian designer Ellery.
And for the flared jeans, I pulled out my Jalie 2908 jeans.  I made these jeans six years ago and they've held up remarkably well with washing and wearing.  I'm even impressed.  They've since undergone alterations.  I'm a couple of sizes smaller than I was at the time.  But since I put in so much work into the construction, and I was quite proud to say that I made a pair of jeans, I couldn't bare parting with them.
Do you use Instagram?  Do you find inspiration for fashion and sewing there?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Review: Butterick 5182 | Mikaela's Senior Prom!

Butterick 5182 Prom Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!
This is such a bittersweet moment for me.  For those of you that have been reading my blog from the beginning, you all have witness my tiny baby girl grow up over the last 10 years.  I get emotional just flipping back through all of the previous post.  And now, my last little one attended her senior prom last night.
Butterick 5182 Prom Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!
For those of you with daughters that have hit this chapter in their life, you know that picking the right prom dress is major.  You can't just grab something off of the clearance rack.  It has to suit her personality.  There are some girls that will want their big Cinderella moment.  Or some that want to look sexy.  And others that will take that moment to be as daring as allowed.  And then you have the ones where their mothers are trying to live vicariously through their daughters.  Since Mikaela is neither a princessy girl or one that will dress overtly sexy, she said that she wanted to look like Jessica Rabbit, have Veronica Lake-ish hair but with her on spin on it.  I thought "Modernized Old-Hollywood Glamour" and this is what we came up with.
Butterick 5182 Prom Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!
I decided on Butterick 5182, view B.  The fabric is from Hancock Fabrics.  It's the BFF Prom Stretch Satin in Melon.  The hand of the fabric is very lightweight and drapes beautifully.  If you want to emulate a silk charmeuse look without the price tag and with fabric wider than 45"?  I recommend this one.  It worked perfectly for the fitted bias-cut style.
Butterick 5182 Prom Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!
I cut the smallest size of the pattern, a size 6.  I had to remove about an inch and a half from the bodice down to the waist.  I had to add inches to the length of the skirt.  It does not account for heel height.  I added a total of 4 inches: one inch at the waist and right around knee level, I added three more.  There is no lengthening line marked.  How I did it was to add the length above where the skirt began to flare.
Butterick 5182 Prom Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!
For the lining, I used a stretch mesh in the coordinating color.  
Butterick 5182 Prom Dress - Erica B.'s DIY Style!
And for a bias-cut, I allowed the dress to hang for over 24 hours before I hemmed it.  It is important to allow a bias-cut garment to hang for the fabric to fully collapse by allowing gravity to have its effect.  If not, it will essentially grown and your hem will become wonky and uneven.   And for my hem, I fused it.  It created a great finish and also added weight so that the hem would hang perfectly to the ground.
Here is a closeup of her shoes and clutch.
Here a few pictures of Mikaela and her friends.
They all looked gorgeous and it was fun photographing half a dozen giggling teenage girls!
And my favorite group shot!  A take on Solange Knowles' Vogue wedding shot.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Review: Vintage Simplicity 9704 | A Polka Dot Halter Wrap Dress!

Erica B's DIY Style: Vtg Simplicity 9704 Halter Wrap Dress made in Ralph Lauren Polka Dot Silk Crepe from Mood Fabrics.com
I've been really having an eye for vintage patterns lately.  I especially like the ones from the 1970s.  This one is dated 1980, so it still has that late 70s vibe.
Vintage Simplicity Patterns 9704  - Halter Wrap Dress -- Erica B's DIY Style
This pattern is Simplicity 9704 - Jonathan Hitchcock for Reuben Thomas front wrap dress with pleated front closing skirt and curved hemline. Tie neckline.
Erica B's DIY Style: Vtg Simplicity 9704 Halter Wrap Dress made in Ralph Lauren Polka Dot Silk Crepe from Mood Fabrics.com
I knew that I wanted to make this dress in a silk crepe, so when I started my search of fabrics I lucked up on this gorgeous Ralph Lauren Dark Blue (more like cobalt) Polka Dot Silk Crepe from MoodFabrics.com.  The hand of this fabric is incredible. 
Erica B's DIY Style: Vtg Simplicity 9704 Halter Wrap Dress made in Ralph Lauren Polka Dot Silk Crepe from Mood Fabrics.com
For my vintage pattern, I used the size 14 -- there is only a single size in the envelope.  The size seems to fall more in line with a modern size 12.  And I was glad of that because I didn't have to make a single alteration to the pattern.   
Erica B's DIY Style: Vtg Simplicity 9704 Halter Wrap Dress made in Ralph Lauren Polka Dot Silk Crepe from Mood Fabrics.com
Silk crepe is my favorite fabric and I live in silk pieces during the spring and summer.  And this fabric is exceptional.  The weight of it made it so easy to cut.  And I sewed it as usual with a Microtex needle. 
The bodice is self-lined and the skirt is not.  The skirt is sewn at the center back and I used a French seam.  The sides of the skirt are shaped with curved darts.  And I used small snaps for closures.  I also added one to the center front of the bodice to hold it together to prevent a major wardrobe malfunction.
Erica B's DIY Style: Vtg Simplicity 9704 Halter Wrap Dress made in Ralph Lauren Polka Dot Silk Crepe from Mood Fabrics.com
Since the inside shows, I'm glad I made a French seam.  And the curved hem is done with a narrow hem and creates a beautiful drape.  This pattern was so easy to make, I feel I will make another one before summer is over.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Pretty Girls Sew!


 Check out the April 2015 Newsletter from Pretty Girls Sew!  If you're not reading this, you're surely missing out.  I love to see my favorite sewing bloggers elevate.  And these ladies truly out together a great publication.  Make sure to check them out!