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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Review: Closet Case Patterns | Nettie Bodysuit!

Let me start by saying that this is my first PDF pattern.  The idea of piecing together sheets of paper like a puzzle and THEN cutting out the pattern pieces didn't appeal to me in the least.  No matter how fabulous the garment it would produce. Until I saw the Closet Case Patterns - Nettie Bodysuit.
A bodysuit?  With a low scoop back?  Um, yeah!  That is so me!  Maybe it spoke to my inner Beyonce... 
...because it definitely caused me to breakout in a rendition of "Single Ladies"!
In my stash was already a nylon power knit with 4-way stretch.  I dropped down 2 sizes than what I would normally cut.  What makes this pattern so easy is that basically you can use only your fashion fabric with minimal notions.
Everything I used is from my my notions drawers.  I stabilized the shoulders with clear elastic.  I omitted the snapped crotch and just sewed that part up.  Since I made the low back version, I don't have a problem with peeling down to use the restroom.  And I created a shelf bra.
The pattern provide excellent instructions on constructing a shelf bra with a cutting line already placed on the pattern piece.  In case you ever want to add one to a bodysuit or a top, here's how:
  • At around 7.75 inches from the top of the armscye in your bodice front pattern piece, fold your pattern.
  • Cut out your shelf bra in either your fashion fabric, a nylon tricot (that you would use to line a knit garment) or mesh.
  • Cut a piece of 1/2" elastic 85% of the width of the bottom of the fabric that you've cut out for the shelf bra.
  • Fold your shelf bra in half lengthwise and mark the half point.  Fold that in half to mark for the quarter.  Do the same with your elastic.
  • Match the markings.
  • Stretch the elastic and sew with a wide zig zag stitch.
I love this bodysuit pattern.  It has made me a PDF pattern convert.  I'm pretty open to trying more now.  I attended a fashion show at Saks Fifth Avenue I wore my bodysuit with a my black and white wool pinstriped pencil skirt - (OOP) Vogue 1092 by Tracy Reese.  This is an old one.  But with my original fabric choice, it's a classic -- hence the reason I was able to pull this out of the closet.  And since this fabric has absolutely no stretch, the fit is now perfect!  And my tweed and leather bomber jacket -- Burda 7210, that I made last year.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

#ThrowbackThursday Pattern: Vogue 8138 | A Bold & Graphic Cardi Wrap!

I look at patterns and instantly decide whether or not they have staying power.  If it's a classic, if it's a garment that's going to be cyclical or if it's a trend that probably won't come back around for another decade or so.  
And that's the reason why I still have this cardi wrap pattern: Vogue 8138 (long out-of-print), that I made in 2008.
I had run across this tribal print heavy weight, almost sweater-ish knit fabric in Hancock.  It was a 2.25 yard remnant.  I knew immediately that I wanted to make a cardi wrap or some kind of cocoon cardi.  I had previously made a couple and I searched for this one to find the pattern number so that I could pull it from the cabinet.
This pattern went from the envelope to final press in less than an hour.  It's a great quickie!
The temperature recently dropped here and we're in the midst of sweater weather and this is something that'll I'll be reaching for often.  And I see cardi wraps on everyone here.   
A cardi wrap, knit top, jeans and boots is practically the uniform here during this season.  And it'll be mine too!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Review: McCall's 6886 | A Glitter Sheath Dress!

I'm still on my mission to fill in wardrobe gaps in my closet.  This time, I added a long-sleeved cocktail dress.  This is something I most definitely needed.  On cool nights when I go out, I hate having to wear a coat or a jacket.  I'd rather make a mad dash from car to venue.  Or if I have to park and walk a block or so, I'll have something on my arms and I still won't have to keep up with a coat or jacket on the inside.
I'd purchased this fun glitter knit fabric from Hancock.  Sparkle gets me everytime!  And I paired it with McCall's 6886.  This pattern has been made many, many times and it's beyond versatile!  This design can easily go from casual to eveningwear, depending on the fabric selection.
I cut the size 14.  I could've gone down another size, but I wanted the dress to just glide over the body.  I didn't want a full-on bodycon look.  I used view B, and shortened it so it would stop right at the knee.  Being that this is glitter fabric, it sewed pretty well with on my machine and serged with with ease.
I did my research on how to not leave a trail of glitter.  After I was done with the dress, I sprayed it down with hairspray.  And that seems to have minimized the falling glitter.  And for washing, I'll just turn it inside out and hand wash it.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Review: Vogue 9032 | Tailored Black Trousers!

Fall wardrobe building and closet hole filling is in full-effect!  I'd mentioned on my Instagram last week when I was started these pants that I was in dire need of a pair of basic black pants.  I've lost 30 lbs and almost all of my pants are falling.  I know there are worst problems to have, but I wear a lot of black and these are a basic need.
I needed a pair of pants that would be machine washable.  So this stretch gabardine that I picked up at Hancock fit the bill.  I also wanted a flat-front style with pockets.  And I wanted them to be fitted but have flared legs.  I sometimes shy away from full blown wide-legged pants.  They hang from the hips and make me look wider than I am.
So I picked Vogue 9032, view C.  This view even recommended using a stretch woven.  So I was already on point with that.  I cut the size 14 and lengthened them by 5 inches.  I need a 36" inseam to wear with heels.  And I would always wear heels with this style pant.  What I really love about these pants are the princess seam detail!
Here are some quick shots of the pocket details that I caught as I was constructing these.
I am a fan of pants pockets that connect to the center front like this.  It gives a smoother look.  And with any pair of pants with a fly front, I always refer to Sandra Betzina's method.  It works perfectly every single time.
Wearing: jacket: Burda 7210 and top: Simplicity 2054.

This is a great pattern.  Even though I'm not a fan of pleats, I may give the other view a shot as well.  I really like the idea of a pair of wool culottes.  And I'm in search of more stretch wovens, because I'll be making this view again, real soon!

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.