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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: Simplicity 1696 | Printed Pants!

I bought this great Rebecca Minkoff fabric from Mood Fabrics because, well... because it was pretty!  I'm so particular about prints that when I find a printed fabric that I love, I'm almost giddy.  I can usually track down the RTW finished products of a particular designer fabric, but I had no luck with this one.  But I know that Rebecca Minkoff does prints really well and I decided that this one needed to be pants.
This pattern is Simplicity 1696.  And before I even start, I'm going to tell you right now that these will be made again.  I love this pattern!  It's already been added to my TNT list.
I cut the size 14 in the average cut.  I added 3" to the length. This pattern is drafted with 1" seam allowances for fitting.  I probably could have cut the slim version, but I liked being able to really tailor this for a more personal fit. I eliminated the carriers, so I had to take in the waist a lot.  
For the order of construction, the front pockets are done first...
 and then the fly front...
 and the zipper.
Okay... when I got to step #14, I used the Sandra Betzina Easy Fly-Front Zipper method.  And I added the underlap at step #19.
And this is how they turned out:
And here are the faux welt back pockets:
So, when I saw this pattern (without reading first), I thought those were real welt pockets.  Cool... I haven't done any in a while and I thought it would be great practice.  Well, they weren't real and I was a little disappointed.  *Womp, womp*  
That was the only downside to this pattern.  But I will find another pattern and make a great pair of wool trousers with REAL welt pockets for fall.
Blazer is Simplicity 2446, reviewed here.  This is my TNT blazer pattern until I find one that's more incredible than this one.  And the top is the Vogue 8815.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: Vogue 1392 | Being Ladylike While Walking on the Wild Side!

When I saw this pattern when it was first released, it instantly went onto my list to pick up during the next pattern sale.  And I happened to run across this beautiful panel print -- Black and White Jaguar Printed Cotton-Polyester Jacquard (sadly, it's already sold out) and knew that it would be perfect for this dress!  
Okay, so let's talk about this pattern!  This is Vogue 1392 - Kay Unger.  This is a beautifully designed pattern and it's listed as "easy".  Well, it's not difficult, but there are A LOT of steps that take this dress to the next level and makes it not just another dress.  And here's why:
First of all, this pattern requires quite a few notions.
I cut the size 14.  I added an inch to the bodice and two inches to the skirt.  
The border print was really easy to line up.  (When print-matching, you MUST cut the fabric on a single layer and NOT on the fold.)  I just had to decide how I wanted to use it.  I cut the front bodice pieces so that the larger print would flow to the back.
The pattern *suggested* that the bodice pieces be interfaced with fusible interfacing.  Since I had silk organza, I decided to underline instead.  Some people hand baste using silk thread.  But hey, I'm lazy so I machine basted.  Notice that I did the darts as well.  When you underline, both pieces of fabric are now treated as one!
Have you ever wondered how dresses like this one, that are not knits stay in place at the shoulder?  With an elastic strap, that's how!
And it's secured to the lining with a French tack (or chain stitch).
Here's the inside.  Don't you love seeing the inside of everyone's garments?  I do!  Let me tell you about my lining fabric.  This is my first time using a twill polyester lining and I like it!  It's really cheap ($2/yd).  So I think I'll be using it more often!
I love dresses with pockets!  
Here is the organza petticoat and the lining for the skirt.  The silk organza is sewn with French seams and finished with a narrow hem.  
The dress is hemmed by using seam binding and hand sewn.  
All in all, this dress went together beautifully.  There were beautiful touches added that you just don't get in a lot of patterns.  Full skirts are so of-the-moment and I feel that the organza petticoat would be welcomed addition to add body to the fullness.  Now let me tell you about the craziness that occured as I was getting dressed to actually wear this!  Remember I had mentioned that I was going to be a panelist at Bloganista?  Well, that was for Saturday morning.  I finished this dress around mid-day on Friday.  I tried it on to check the fit.  It was fine.  On Saturday morning... right before I was due to leave (I'd even allotted myself an hour for photos), my husband had just zipped me up.  And as I sat down to put on my shoes, the worst imaginable thing happened!  I felt my zipper separating and the feeling of air hitting my back almost made me cry!  But hey, I'm a seasoned seamstress, right?  We know how to deal with these sort of things, RIGHT?  So I did a quick 15-20 minute replacement.  Cool.  I still have a little time left.  
This guy is the greatest!

My husband zipped me in the dress once more.  And guess what?  The damn same thing happened again!!!  I didn't understand why.  I've never had this happen before.  I've put invisible zippers into dresses made of heavier fabric and bodices with way more substantial foundations.  Bad batch maybe??  By now, I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown! My husband grabs his keys and asked what he could do to help, where he needed to go and what he needed to buy.  Sure I could've switched dresses.  But I wanted to wear THIS dress.  Look at all of the work I had put into and there was no way I was going to be defeated. So I sent him out to get a metal zipper.  I bet that sucker was going to hold.  And it did!  I made it to my conference just in time for my panel!
Even after the zipper fiasco, I still love this dress.  And it was definitely a great story to tell throughout my day!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: McCall's 6988 | The Capri-Blue Neoprene Mesh Dress!

When I saw this fabric, it immediately caught my attention.  This is Capri Blue Nylon-Silk Neoprene I wasn't sure about it, so I swatched!  If there is every a "questionable" fabric that you aren't familiar with -- swatch first!  And I'm so glad I did.   
I don't think the picture accurately details this fabric. It's a textured honeycomb patterned, capri blue neoprene material is layered on top of a pastel blue knit, combining to make a thick, three-dimensional material with a nice one directional stretch. And the fabric content is 79% nylon, 21% silk. It's absolutely amazing.
The fabric is from designer Thakoon Resort '13 Collection.
The fabric sewed well.  However, I do feel that the steam from my iron caused the fabric to grow.  I had to take the dress in a little.  And it also felt a little looser as I wore it, while getting in and out of my car, and sitting for a period of time.  I'm hoping that washing and drying will adjust it back.
With this type of fabric, I thought a metal exposed zipper would be best.  There's a lot of mesh going on here for a zipper to get caught in.  And I wanted my fabric away from the teeth.  I used interfacing at the zipper insertion area.
My pattern is McCall's 6988, view A.  I cut the size 14 and lengthened by 3 inches. With the thickness of the fabric, I choose to not use the facings.  Nor did I add any interacing to any areas other than the zipper.  For the neckline and the armholes, I just folded the fabric back and hemmed it.  
The seams didn't require any type of finishing.  And I was able to just leave the hemline raw.  
I wore this dress on Monday to a fashion event at Belk.  It was for their Fall 2014 preview.  I'll tell you more about that later!  When I attend events such as this, even though it's "fashion-forward", I sill consider it to be a professional setting.  So this dress fit the bill and I received so many compliments on it!  And I'll probably be using this pattern again!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review: McCall's 6515 | Striped Palazzo Pants!

Wide-legged pants are back.  And I really like this pair.
McCall's 6515 is a great pattern to interpret this trend.  
I cut the size 14 and lengthened by 3 inches because I plan to only wear these pants with flat sandals.  It was really easy because there is only the front, back, waist bands and it has an invisible side zipper.  I probably cut, altered the pattern and sewed these up in less than 2 hours.
The pattern suggest a narrow hem.  And since I used this lightweight, drapey poly crepe (I *think* I bought this fabric from Hancock Fabrics.) -- the narrow hem was sufficient.  These type of pants are meant to "flow".  If I chosed a woven (or even a fabric like a ponte), I would go with a wider hem.  I think this is a great pattern if you're on the palazzo pants wagon this season.  And I also think that view A, would sew up beautifully in a ponte or a double knit.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

SWOOZIE’S AT THE SUMMIT TO HOST CAMP SWOOZIE’S!

Miss Alabama Presents Southern Ideals to Inspire Confidence and Class in Tweens

Birmingham, Ala. - Confidence and class with a little bit of sass! Swoozie’s at The Summit introduces a fun way for girls to learn about classic Southern traditions with Camp Swoozie’s on Tuesday, August 5 from 1pm to 3pm. Miss Alabama 2014, Caitlin Brunell will host young girls as they explore their Southern roots and how to become the ultimate Southern girl. Four 30-minute sessions will focus on embracing these ideals, including crafting the perfect thank you note, how to wrap a gift, personalization how-to and a surprise, just-for-fun portion of the camp.
 
“It is important for young ladies to know what it truly means to be a Southern girl. Swoozie’s is looking to provide them with the confidence needed to have good manners and embrace their Southern roots, which is something that will never go out of style,” says Ashley Plank, Marketing Director for Swoozie’s. “We want to make manners fun again starting with young girls embracing ideals that are important to past generations. By personalizing something as small as a thank you note lets others know you care and the extra effort goes a long way.”
Camp Swoozie’s registration starts Friday, July 11 with limited availability of 25 attendees. Spots will be filled on a first come first serve basis. Camp Swoozie’s is a free event. Parents are welcome to attend the event with their children.
 
For more information on Camp Swoozie’s, contact Ashley Plank at ashleyplank@swoozies.com or visit the Swoozie’s website at www.swoozies.com.
 
ABOUT SWOOZIE’S
Swoozie’s is an upscale, specialty retailer specializing in unique gifts, stationery, invitations, greeting cards, and personalized products that celebrate significant life events.  The Atlanta-based retailer has eight locations in seven states along with an e-commerce division. Swoozie’s, brick and mortar and online, are designed to be a one-stop shop for women of all ages who love to give, celebrate, and entertain. To learn more, visit www.swoozies.com or connect with us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Swoozies

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: McCall's 6744 | An Ethnic Print Summer Dress!

I've had this pattern for a while and finallly decided to make it.  I'm going to add this one on my list of patterns that I could kick myself for not making sooner.  What's wrong with me? 
This is McCall's 6744, as if you need the number.  It's been reviewed many times.  If you google the pattern number, you'll be dazzled with all of the fabulous versions of this dress.  And versatile it is!
I love the shape of the dress.  It's the perfect design to pair with a great fabric choice in which it doesn't mind taking a backseat and allowing a great print like this one to have the leading role.
My fabric is from Mood Fabrics and it's by the fabulous designer Thakoon.  I've already had a love affair with his prints and this one falls right in line.
As beautiful as this print is, this is a tissue-weight, cotton jersey.  So that meant to me, that it must be lined.  When I posted this on my Instagram and Facebook page, I was surprised as to how many people weren't aware that knit garments could be lined.  Or what fabric to use to line them.  First and foremost, NEVER, EVER line a knit garment with a woven lining!  You'll end up with hurt feelings when your garment that you've put time into constructing will not fit!   Here is the perfect lining for your knits and jersey garments.  And Hancock Fabrics has their lingerie tricot which is also a good option.
I love this little dress.  I know that I'll probably almost wear it out before the weather is cold!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Review: Simplicity 1430 | Yellow Shorts for Mikaela!

First of all, for those of you who have been reading my blog since forever -- can y'all believe that Mikaela will be 17 in a couple of weeks...  that she drives now and will be a SENIOR in high school this year?  She was a tiny little 8 year old when I started the blog.  I see her everyday and I still have "WOW" moments!
It seems like just yesterday I was sewing girls' sized patterns for her.  Now I'm cutting a Misses' size 8 in these shorts!  
This is Simplicity 1430.  This is a great pattern that sews pretty well straight out of the envelope (well, they did for her shape).  I only had to take in the darts a little extra to at the waist to prevent gaping.
I can't find the exact fabric on the site, but I bought it at Joann's.  It's one of their Sew Classic Bottomweight fabrics and it has stretch.  It's not a denim... more like a stretch cotton-blend twill.  But it sews great and presses nicely with a crisp finish.  And this fabric is perfect for any casual yet tailored garment.
One of the cutest details is the double button closure.  And they're finished with a 1 1/4" hem.
I can't tell you if the instructions are good because I didn't read them.  I've made more pairs of pants than I can recall.  And I've mastered the front fly zipper installation.  But this is definitely a well-drafted pattern that I personally feel a beginner could handle.