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Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: Vogue 9031| The Flippy Hem Skirt!

One of the biggest trend this season is "The Flippy Hem Skirt".  I had to do some research to figure out what this style is actually called.  At first, I thought a-line.  But it's not quite. 
Vogue 9031, view B is a combination of a pencil skirt, because it's fitted through the hips and an a-line skirt because of how it flares out below.  
This pattern is designed with panels which makes it perfect for mixed media.  That's why I chose to add lambskin leather to the sides and the rest was done in more of the pearl cotton from this post.  It's hard to see, but I think in the picture below, the sheen gives the leather away.
I cut the size 14 and added 3 inches to the length.  I wanted it to fall below the knee because hey, it's boot season!
All of the pieces matched up and went together perfectly.  At the seam intersections, I added small pieces of fusible interfacing and stay stitched on top of it for extra reinforcement.
The skirt is unlined, but my fabric is heavy enough to not allow any show through.  The waistband is finished with a facing and I used an invisible zipper.  Notice right across the back, there is pulling.  I'm assuming that's from the pressure of sitting on those intersecting corner points.  But I'll live with it.  The pattern recommended leaving the hem unfinished.  And with a fabric that frays pretty heavily, it was a win-win situation.
One thing I did notice is that by the time I returned home, I felt that the skirt had grown in the waist.  So I'll be taking it in a smidgen.  I love the way this skirt turned out.  I really needed a fall white skirt.  It was a definite hole in my wardrobe that needed filling.  And I'm sure I'll be making this one again.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Review: Simplicity 1427 | A Shocking Pink Tulle Skirt!

I had been dreaming of a tulle skirt since spring.  Especially when I saw Kelis' fabulous skirt in The Coveteur article, that I posted about.  I mentioned my apprehension regarding such a whimsical piece.  I do dressy... but never whimsical... that's simply not me.  Even I at times, question how a garment will fit into my wardrobe and my lifestyle.  Where in the world would I wear a tulle skirt, particularly a BOLD fuchsia one?!  How impractical, right?
Wrong!  You know the perfect time to wear a bright, bold shocking pink tulle skirt?  To a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Pink Party -- sponsored by the North Central Alabama Susan G. Komen and B-Metro Magazine!  
Of course I used Simplicity 1427, view C.  I knew I wouldn't make a ball-length like Kelis', so the midi length would be perfect.  Remember back in the day, we called that "tea length".  I had previously read some negative reviews on this pattern.  So I *tried* to work this pattern with an open mind.  I tried too...  So here goes:  First for view C, I cut the size 14.  You need over 14 yards of tulle.  Thank God for how cheap tulle is per yard!  And over 4 yards for the lining which I used satin fabric.  So this ended up being a $50 project.  For those of you that don't sew and wish to have a custom skirt like this made -- DON'T even think of scrunching up your face when you're quoted a price.  A lot of labor goes into this!
I've never had a problem with slow sewing projects.  As a matter of fact, I actually love them and I'm so glad it's fall so that I can get into some tailoring projects.  But what I don't like are fiddly and tedious sewing details.  And working with tulle and having to make gathers falls under fiddly and tedious.  Also, hemming a wide circle skirt.  Yep, that's pretty tedious as well.  I hated that and literally suffered through it.
Let's talk about how this skirt is constructed.  Now, if I were making this skirt on my own I can see why you'd need that amount of tulle and why to do it in layers -- for the fullness.  But what I don't understand is why cut the tulle into sections and THEN sew it back together.  The first pattern piece (why do you even need a pattern piece???) has you cutting out 8 pieces of 60" sections of tulle, and sewing 4 sections together twice, that will create 2 sets of gathered circle skirts that will be layered atop each other.  My question is what's the benefit of adding the seams?  Those two layers are sewn onto a yoke (center picture below) and the lining.  Remember that part.  
The next pattern piece is a little larger than the first and you do the same thing all over again.  These two layers are sewn onto the waistband and all of this is sewn to the yoke and first set of layers.  The finished look is the first picture above.  Why is the yoke needed?  I think this part is what threw off other people that made this.  I didn't find it confusing, just unnecessary.  
But even after the weird construction method and details, I was pretty pleased with the way the skirt turned out.  I guess the end justifies the means!  And who knows, I may even make one in black!  Here are some shots with friends from the event:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: Vogue Patterns 8945 & 8916 | Black & White for Fall Nights!

There is just something so classic and elegant about a black and white ensemble.  And I just can't get enough of these wardrobe staples.  There are so easy to mix and match with other pieces in my closet.
And one of the things that I've been craving most is a black guipure lace skirt.  And why not a white top with dramatic sleeves to pair with it!
For the top, I used Vogue 8945.  It's actually a pattern for a dess, but I love the sleeves... so why not a top?  I cut the size 14 and I only used the front darts.  I didn't make the darts in the back because I wanted the top to fit a little boxy.  I plan to wear it with pants and to leave it untucked.  My fabric is this unusual Italian Pearl Solid Textured Cotton Blend (Content: 53% cotton, 26% nylon, 16% rayon, 5% linen).  
This fabric has a crisp hand, similar to a bottom weight linen.  And it's woven with glossy threads.  I found a that a very sharp Microtex needle worked best for sewing this.  This fabric has no stretch at all, and it would also work well for tailored garments.  And it would make a divine full skirt!  
My skirt is Vogue 8916.  I used Bemberg lining from my stash and cut the lining in the size 14, straight from the envelope.  I added 3 inches to the length of the skirt so that it would fall below the knee.  I felt a midi length would be much more elegant.
My fabric is Black Cotton Guipure Lace.  The fabric is 36" wide.  I cut it on the cross grain.  I eliminated the darts.  For this particular guipure lace, the motifs are smaller.  So instead of working around the motifs in the seams, I just cut the seams straight.  And since this lace is so delicate, I chose a skirt with a waistband.  I underlined the waistband with the lining fabric and used silk organza from my stash to stabilize it.  And for the hem, I cut around the motifs at the selvage line.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mikaela's Homecoming!

So, this is Mikaela's final high school homecoming dance.  Final high school homecoming... allow that to sink in.
So for this year's look, she wanted head-to-toe black.  She gave me an idea to springboard from:  black dress with side cutouts.  I knew which pattern I would start off with:  New Look 6211 - SUEDESays.  I cut the size 4 and graded to the size 6 at the waist.  I also used the waistband from this pattern.
For the skirt, I choose a simple a-line design.  We wanted to keep the overall look to a "skater dress" style.  I picked the skirt from New Look 6243. I cut the size 8, because that's the smallest size offered by this pattern.  And it lined up perfectly with the waistband.  I shortened it by 3 inches because I thought an above the knee length looked better.
For the fabric, I used the SUEDESays Rosebud lace black from Jo-Ann.  I underlined the bodice with a stretch satin so that the sheen of the fabric would show through the lace.  The neckline, armholes and cutouts are finished with bias tape.  I also used the the stretch satin for the waistband.  
I didn't underline the skirt.  I wanted the pieces to hang free.  For the stretch satin lining, I used horsehair braid in the hem so that the skirt would have fullness.  For the lace, I left it unhemmed.
You all should know by now that I have an affinity for exposed metal zippers.  And at every given chance, I'll add one!
Mikaela and her date looked adorable!

And also during Spirit Week, there was Toga Day.  Now surely you know I wasn't sending her to school draped in a bedsheet.  
I used Simplicity 3647.  This fabric has a lot of ease, so I cut the XS.  I lengthened by 3 inches, because she was still going to school and I had to make sure she was within dress code.  My fabric is a lightweight broadcloth.  I used a Greek key trim and gold rope to finish the look.  
It was really quick sew and a great alternative to a basic toga.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Andrew Marc - Fall 2014


Have you checked out Andrew Marc lately?  You should!  Andrew Marc is known for their fabulous luxury leather jackets.  They offer a variety for both women and men.  When I think of Andrew Marc, I think of an edgy but luxurious biker jacket.  And I do love a great leather jacket.  They are one of my favorite things to throw on during cooler weather.
Andrew Marc Casey jacket.  This asymmetrical zipper style biker jacket is in one of my favorite colors of the fall - burgundy.  This jacket would look great paired with everything from a pair of tailored classic tweed trousers, a pencil skirt, a dress to a pair of jeans.
I love any garment with "mixed media".  And the Julie jacket is ponte and leather-trimmed.  Can you say chic and comfortable?  This jacket could easily take you from the office to evening.
The Haley jacket which is made from calf hair and leather is an absolute show stopper!  It's casual but elegant.  And it would be great as a topper for formalwear to everyday wear.
If leather is not your thing, Andrew Marc has your covered... literally.  I don't own an anorak but I've been wanting one for a couple of years now.  And this one is perfect!  Army green is a hot color for Fall 2014 and this would be a perfect wardrobe filler.  This jacket is "utility luxe" at its finest.  I love the fur-lined hood and the removable rabbit fur lining.
Andrew Marc also carries ready-to-wear pieces.  And this Isis perforated bonded leather dress with a contrast trim is one of my favorites.  Don't you just love a fitted bodice and flared skirt?  I sure do!
The Charli shirt which is georgette and organza steals it's appeal from menswear.  But the fabrication keeps it feminine.
I love a pair of fun, loose-fitting pants.  And these Lena cotton-silk blend pants fit the bill on style and a relaxed fit. 

Andrew Marc has selections for you whether you are looking for something fashion forward, or simply need a coat or a jacket for warmth.  And they also have options for a great look underneath!

ALL opinions expressed are  my own honest opinions and are NOT influenced by any form of compensation.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: Simplicity 1366 & McCall's 6757 | A Crop Top & A Metallic Pencil Skirt!

So, I've already begun to sew with fall in mind.  And a crop top and metallic pencil skirt are great wardrobe additions for this upcoming season.
So let's start with the top, Simplicity 1366.
For my version of a crop top, I chose this length.  Contrary to belief, crop tops do NOT have to be tight, knit or midriff-baring.  And for a daytime-appropriate crop top, I'm choosing to wear mine loose-fitting with a high-waisted fitted skirt.  The sight of a sliver-of-skin is completely unnecessary to get this look across.  My goal is to look chic and hip without looking like I'm heading to the beach.
This top is a great basic to have in your wardrobe as a simple pullover woven.  The size 14, sews perfectly out of the envelope without any alterations.  I used this rayon (which is possibly a challis) that's the perfect weight for a blouse.  
My skirt is McCall's 6757.
For this skirt, I cut the size 14 and I added 3 inches to the length.  This pattern started out so promising until I got to the pockets.  Welt pockets can be daunting, but these instructions were overcomplicated and even the illustration in step 13, is backwards.  I had to figure that out the hard way.  My seam ripper was working overtime for this project.  But I made it work.  In case you choose to make this skirt, here is a quick tutorial on the welt pockets:
As instructed, interface the welt area on the wrong side and transfer the markings.
Interface the welt pattern pieces as well.  And create them by folding the welt in half, lengthwise and pressing.  And stitch along the raw edge.
Prepare the pocket facings.
Now, here is where things got fickly.  The instructions would have you sew the facings on the opposite sides of where they should be.  But when you match your markings, this is how it should look.  I know it may look strange, but it will make sense shortly when you turn your work to the other side.
This is how the opposite side looks at this point.
Slash your welt line and clip at the diagonal corners.  BE CAREFUL and DON'T cut the pocket or welt.  And turn the pocket facing to the inside.
And once the pocket is finished, this is how it looks.
Yes, it was pretty daunting, but the results were great!
My fabric was pretty cool as well.  As soon as I saw this gold foil denim on the bolt in Hancock, I knew it would be a skirt.  The fabric sews like a regular denim.  The only thing is I wish it had at least a little bit of stretch.  And it creases a lot from sitting. One day, I shall learn to levitate to prevent that!
And I used a gold exposed zipper.
And per usual with any pencil skirt pattern I use, I peg the hem. I just don't like when pencil skirts flare at the bottom.  Is it a pencil skirt or an a-line skirt?  I do this by taking in the bottom 4 inches less than the widest point of the hip.  Even with the welt pocket hiccup, I think this is a cute skirt.