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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vogue 1029 - This Summer's White Dress!

Project Details:

Pattern: Vogue 1029 (OOP) - Michael Kors

Pattern Sizing: 6-20, I cut the 14.

Fabric: White Ponteroma (72% polyester/24% rayon/4% spandex) - from Hancock Fabrics

Description: Close-fitting dress with front drape (wrong side will show), cap sleeves, gathers form drapes around body, shaped hem and invisible zipper closing.

When this pattern was first released in 2008, I didn't like it. I mean, I REALLY didn't like it! BUT I bought it anyway because (1) it's by Michael Kors and (2) I can't resist designer patterns. It's a must that I collect them. So it sat in my collection for the last 3 years. I was looking for another pattern not so long ago and ran across it and thought "why not"? I pulled it out and read through the instructions and VOILA! The rest is sewing history.

I love the lines of the dress. It's a t-shirt dress with a kick! I didn't have to make any alterations because the length was perfect.

For the neckline and the sleeves, I stabilized them before hemming with interfacing. For the drape and the hem of the skirt, I left them raw.

All of the ruched seams are stabilized with a lightweight stay tape. I mentally toyed with the idea of eliminating the invisible zipper and I dismissed it quickly. This is more of a stable knit and I felt it would be a nightmare trying to squeeze into this dress. Just the though caused me to hear seams popping!

I think this dress is just really visually appealing. There's a lot going on, but not in a tacky sort of way. IMO, I think this dress should only be made in a solid color. Could you imagine seeing it with ALL of it's detail in some wild print?! HORRID!

This is a very unique dress and I'm glad I dug it out to make it. One of these is all I need.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Another Mission Maxi!

I'm officially in love with this pattern! And that hardly ever happens. I very seldom repeat one. So I can say this is OFFICIALLY my TNT maxi dress/tank dress. I wore this dress (and the other one) and I've received so many compliments!

This time I made the version with the the godet. I made it in Stretch Rayon Blend Jersey Knit Stripes Heather/Light Blue/Lavender and it's 85% Rayon/18% Polyester/ 2% Lycra. I love this fabric because it's very lightweight with and amazing drape and it's incredibly flowy!

For the binding, I just used the wrong side of the fabric which is a solid heather grey. I would have loved to have gotten a better stripe match where the godet is sewn but I didn't have enough fabric. But I'm still pleased with it!

I make no promises on whether or not you'll see another!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Mission Maxi Dress!

Project Details:

Pattern: The Mission Maxi

Pattern Sizing: 2-18, I cut the 14.

Fabric: Striped Rayon blend knit (63% rayon/34% polyester/3% lycra) - Fabric.com

Description: “A soft free flowing maxi dress sewing pattern with plenty of options to choose from: tank top maxi, halter top maxi, and godet back maxi. Views A and B can be made as tank tops too! The pattern booklet includes a glossary of terms, metric conversion chart, and illustrated instructions in color. Full size pattern pieces in sizes 2 to 18 accompany the booklet.”

This is a "new-to-me" pattern company so before I made the first cut, I read through all of the instructions in their entirety. And they're really good! There are lots of illustrations and tips for working with knits that a beginner could follow. As a matter of fact, a "beginner" would benefit greatly working with this project. They'd learn a lot!

I love the racerback style. Very much like the RTW maxi dresses hanging in stores. I really like the way binding is sewn on. So NOT like the Big 4! The way it's done is very RTW. And it makes the sewing go a lot faster. And also since this is a knit, I didn't bother hemming. It's not like it'll fray. And plus, I've been seeing soooooooooo many RTW knits (especially at stores like BCBG Max Azria) that leave their hems raw... even the sleeves. Plus, I think they drape better without a sewn hem. For the summertime, I'm all for speed sewing... I have things to do!

And the only alteration I made was lengthening by five inches! I'm tall and I like my maxis long!

And for kicks, I decided to copy my black Helmut Lang dress since I like it so much. Now I don't have to wear the black one everyday!

I used the pattern for both dresses. And I learned that it reacts differently to different fabrics. The first dress was a rayon "blend". The green dress is a rayon lycra knit. I had to be really careful with the green dress. I noticed the neckline and the armholes "growing". So if I were to make this again, I will stabilize the neckline and the armholes with clear elastic.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Copying is the greatest form of flattery!

I love to get inspiration from fabulous bloggers!

Image from The Coveted

Jacket, The Gap; Dress, Helmut Lang; Shoes, Jessica Simpson.

Sometimes... I shop!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vogue 1039 - Red Cigarette Pants!

Yep... I chopped off all of my hair!

Project Details:

Pattern: Vogue 1039 OOP - Donna Karan

Pattern Sizing: 8-22, I cut the 14.

Fabric: Stretch Cotton Twill

Description: Pants have side front slant pockets, upper inside pocket, contour yoke with back tab, invisible zipper closing and topstitched trim, above ankle length.

Trendy much? LOL! I've been hit by the bright colored pants trend! I read a lot of "street style" fashion blogs and all of those fashionistas have indulged in this trend. I've been seeing brightly-hued pants everywhere and I wanted some too! I can be such a follower! And I also wanted my pants to be a nice transition piece that would carry over into Autumn. So I chose the ankle pants style.

This pattern has been in my collection since... well... since it first debuted. I was never in love with the tunic. A little too maternity-ish for my taste. But I finally found a use for the pants! But to achieve the look that I wanted, it took quite a few alterations.

First, I cut the size 14. I had to do my usual lengthening of around 3 inches. I knew exactly where I wanted the pant hem to fall. The leg was not slim enough. I removed 2 inches from each leg, grading out to the hipline. Also the rise was way too long. I shortened it by 1.75. I noticed that the only other review I could find said the same exact number. And being that the pants are high-waisted, the waist was HUGE! I took around 2 inches out. So it seems as if I probably should have cut a size 12 and just graded out in the hip area.

I will not make this one again, but I'm looking at the new Vogue skinny pants pattern. I would ONLY recommend this one if you (1) already have this pattern because it's out-of-print; (2) know exactly where an ankle pant is supposed to stop on you and (3) are willing to make LOTS of modifications to get the fit right.

Photography by my husband

Thursday, July 14, 2011

DIY Clay Bangles!

From my recent post, you guys now know I'm a Pinterest addict. While on there I found a great tutorial on how to make your own clay bangles from polymer clay. Next step? I headed to Michael's of course!

What I bought:
  • polymer clay in different colors
  • an acrylic finishing glaze
  • a small paint brush
What I needed:
  • a bangle bracelet
  • a cookie sheet covered in crumpled (but smoothed out) aluminum foil

We just used a butter knife to cut the clay. It comes with marks in it.

Roll the clay between your hands to create tubes, any size you want. And intertwine two so it looks like a candy cane and roll them out with the palm of your hand.

Wrap around your guide bangle and smooth out the connecting ends. Bake in the oven on 275 for 20 minutes. And let cool completely before you move them.

And you can glaze them if you like!

This was a fun project for Mikaela and I on a rainy afternoon. Unlike silver, gold, tungsten, copper and other popular jewelry materials this was very easy to work with and relatively cheap. While the polymer clay is no tungsten carbide it definitely seems durable enough to last for awhile. I think it would make a decent ring or necklace pendant if you wanted to take the time to play around with the material!  

Don't be surprised if you see more of these popping up!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Erica B. is getting some press!

Vogue Patterns Magazine - August/September 2011

ASG Notions - Summer 2011

This article entitled "The New Sewing Enablers" features just about everyone on my blogroll. If you are an ASG member, you can access this online now.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Burda 7354 - White Tunic

What can I say? It's Summer and I love tunics and white! And I love QUICK projects! The days are long and beautiful. Who has time to be in the sewing room when you can be getting in that family quality time? Not I! LOL So quick and easy projects are what I'm looking for right now.

Project Details:

Pattern Sizing: 10-22, I cut the 14.

I've had this pattern for a while and also the fabric. With the sheerness of the fabric, I thought it would make a great top.

I made this right out of the envelope, with no alterations. I know... a rare occurrence.

I love the tunic style, the bandeau neckline and the sleeve tabs. I opted to just add elastic to the waist instead of ties. And the neckline is finishes with binding. When the belt is removed and it's not as blousy, it works great as a swimsuit cover.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Simplicity 3796 - Silk Drawstring Pants

Project Details:

Pattern Sizing: 8-24. I cut the 16.

Fabric: Brown Silk Crepe

I made these pants a couple of months ago and I'm just now getting around to writing a review. They were really quick to cut out and sew. I added around 5" because I like my pants LONG! And I made a 1" hem.

The instructions only suggesting adding some sort of drawstring... I used a thin grosgrain ribbon with beads on the ends. I wish I'd also added elastic. I've noticed the pants "growing" as I wear them and I have to keep on re-tying them tighter.

Here is a closeup of the front. I really like the pockets. Or maybe I should say I really like the way the pockets "look". And the silk crepe is like wearing PJs all day!

Here is the back. Notice that they have a yoke that creates a 'V' at the center back like jeans.

This is a great pattern and perfect for a quick pair of pants that I highly recommend.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Do you PIN?


Oh... I can invite six people! Let me know if you'd like one.

The Pleated Maxi Skirt

I've been seeing maxi skirts everywhere and I wanted one too. They seem pretty simple to make, so I didn't bother seeking out a pattern. From the ones I've seen in stores, I knew I wanted mine to be 45" long. That seem to be the ideal length. And possibly longer depending on my heel height.

I used the plissé fabric that I'd talked about. And since I'd never worked with this kind of fabric before, the Threads "Designer Techniques" issue was very handy.

I basically cut two pieces of fabric that were 42" wide. If you're wondering how I came up with that width? I saw a skirt in the store that was around those dimensions. The pleats run from selvage to selvage. Since this fabric does not fray, I didn't bother finishing the seams or hemming. And I added elastic at the waist. I thought the fabric would be difficult to cut and work with, but it wasn't. I found a ballpoint needle worked best.

And it can also be pulled up and worn belted as a dress!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

I'm officially back!

Well, I say "officially" because I've been home for almost 3 weeks, but I'm just getting back into the sewing groove. I needed something sorta easy to jumpstart the mojo. So I picked this:

Project Details:

Pattern Sizing: 10 - 24; I cut the 14

I made this using a white tissue weight linen, which I felt was the perfect weight for this type of tunic. I didn't have to do a FBA, but I did lengthen it by 2 inches. I wanted a true tunic style. I really love the bib front and the shirt-tail style hem. And I also used French seams.

I accessorized it with a multi-color strip necklace and turquoise necklace that I bought at a shop near me. And my silver hoop earrings, stacked bangles, a red skinny belt and red Dolce Vita wedges.

Being that it was 100 degrees today, I couldn't imagine wearing this with anything other than my Old Navy 5" shorts!
photography by my husband...