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Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: McCall's 7203 | Back-to-Black Jumpsuit!

As much as I've been enjoying color, I couldn't stay away from black too long.  And as I start thinking about fall clothing, a black jumpsuit was needed.  My previous black jumpsuit made in matte jersey is too big now.  And since I hate alterations more than anything, it made sense to just create a new one for a new season.
I picked McCall's 7203.  My fabric is a black poly crepe that I found at Hancock.  It was mixed in with suiting fabrics.  It has the feel and drape of a 4 ply silk crepe de chine.  It's slightly translucent, but not enough to require lining for this jumpsuit.
For the jumpsuit, I cut the size 12.  It's loose-fitting and has about 4" of ease.  I lengthened the bodice by an inch.  I wanted a little bit of blousing.  And the pants by 3 inches.  These pants are cut short... Keep that in mind if you're tall.  If I make this again, I'll probably add an additional inch or so.
When I bought this pattern, I was most fascinated by it being drafted for medium weight wovens and it has a button front.  I didn't read the description nor did I notice it is dropped waist.  That waist seam was a little lost to me in the print on the envelope cover.  The rise of the pants looked short to me as I was sewing them.  But it's a cute detail.  I'm glad I inadvertently slipped this style in on myself.  Because I probably would've never bought it.   I'd never been a fan of dropped waist styles, but I really like this!
One of the best things about custom sewing your own wardrobe is making every single selection.  For something as simple as this little black jumpsuit, I still didn't want it to be plain.  I used these beautiful black and gold glass buttons from Mood Fabrics that I've had for a while.  They were the perfect way to add a small amount of embellishment and a touch of luxe.
The armholes are finished with a bound facing.  And the pants are tapered with elastic at the ankles.
Style tip:  If you want to add color to your monochromatic look, use accessories with print and color.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: (OOP) Vogue 1288 | Shake, Shimmer and Sparkle!

Erica B.'s DIY Style: (OOP) Vogue 1288, Made using fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
Vogue 1288 has been on my to sew list for a while.  So long, that the pattern is currently out-of-print.  I knew from the beginning that I would always make this dress using a sequin fabric.  It was just meant for it.  Then I ran across this perfect Blue and white Pailette Sequin Fabric at Mood Fabrics.com and is also my Mood Sewing Network post for this month.  So it was all was kismet!
Erica B.'s DIY Style: (OOP) Vogue 1288, Made using fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
I cut the pattern size 12 and lengthened by 3 inches.  
Erica B.'s DIY Style: (OOP) Vogue 1288, Made using fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
The sequin pailettes are sporadically placed on a polyester mesh backing, so I decided to underline it with this polyester stretch crepe de chine.
Erica B.'s DIY Style: (OOP) Vogue 1288, Made using fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
But when I tried it on, the sequins on the seams allowance were way too scratchy.  I know a lot of recommendations are to remove the sequins on the seam allowance.  I tested out swatches to see how it sewed.  And a Microtex needle sewed through the sequins like butter.  And to resolve the scratchiness, I used the remainder of my my white poly crepe to line the dress.  
Erica B.'s DIY Style: (OOP) Vogue 1288, Made using fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
I felt my fabrics had a significant amount of stretch, so I omitted my zipper.  
Erica B.'s DIY Style: (OOP) Vogue 1288, Made using fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
The overlay part was really easy, and just as the name suggests, an "overlay".
Erica B.'s DIY Style: (OOP) Vogue 1288, Made using fabric from Mood Fabrics.com
It's sewn with no lining and a raw finished hem.  And instead of using the instructions from the pattern, I didn't use the seam binding.  I allowed the sequin fabric to create finished edges.
And I did't have to hem the dress.  The raw edge was perfect.
Styling tip:  Sequin dresses are grandiose attention grabbers by nature.  So accessorizing should be minimal. The dress will always be the focal point, so there is NEVER a need for statement jewelry.  I wore silver accessories and no necklace was needed.  I wore strappy sandals that would pull colors from the dress and carried a simple white clutch.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Keeping it Cool and Colorful!

In my ongoing effort to keep adding bright colors to my wardrobe, here are another pair of brightly hued trousers.  We're going to go ahead and call these Pre-Fall!
I cut the size 12 at the waist, because they're really high-waist, like really.  And graded to a 14 at the hip.  I added 4 inches to the length because I feel that wide-leg pants are most flattering on me with high heels.  I couldn't ever see myself wearing pants cut on this style with flats. 
These are probably some of the quickest pants I've ever sewn -- only three pieces: front, back and waistband.
I don't like pants that zip at the center back, so I moved my zipper to the right side.  It's just something so awkward about having a zipper there in pants.  Dresses and skirts, I don't mind.  But pants?  No thank you.
I always stabilize my zipper area with fusible interfacing.  And I'm completely lazy when it comes to changing out the thread in my serger.  It's been white thread in there for months now.  Unless the seams will be visible, I probably won't worry about it.
These are quick pants that can easily be made up in a ponte or double knit and are just as comfortable as yoga pants.
Style tip:  For these high-waist pants, I chose not to tuck in.  I don't think high-waist pants with a tucked in top is the most flattering look for me.  I wore my pants with Sleeveless Linen White Tee from Loft; and my favorite white pumps which have become my summer neutral.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: New Look 6290 | Tailored Printed Shorts!

This summer, I'm loving shorts.  Okay... I'll be honest:  I'm loving my current toned legs in shorts.  I've worked hard and earned the right to be showy and vain.  I'm almost 45.  My time is limited, but I've yet to age out of shorts!  The skin on my legs and knees is still tight.  Not to mention our heat indexes this week have been in excess of 100 degress.  I'm wearing as little as possible.  I'm having a moment and enjoying it.
My shorts are New Look 6290.  I wanted a simple pair of tailored shorts that would highlight my great fabric.  It's the same fabric from McCall's 7162.  It's a medium weight, non-stretch woven.  I  cut the size 16 in this pattern.  As I previously mentioned, for me New Look patterns run smaller than the Big 4. 
 I added an inch to the length.  Yes, they were even shorter... the envelope is liar.
I moved the zipper to the right side.  I don't like center back seams zippers on pants.  And I used seam binding on the facings.  For a simple sewing project such as this one, I still like for the insides to look nice.
This is a good pattern to have in your collection with the skirts, pants and shorts... all made in simple drafts.  These shorts are NOT for everyone though.
Example: Jennifer Lopez's look on the right is the perfect way to have a fun, frilly and girly look without being overexposed.
Styling tip: My personal tip whether it's shorts or a short skirt or dress is to stay covered on the top, as I did wearing my Vogue 8907 top.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: Simplicity 1158 | The Printed Jumpsuit!

Simplicity 1158 | The Printed Jumpsuit! -- Erica Bunker DIY Style!
I love jumpsuits, that's no secret.  But as of late, I've been adding color to my wardrobe.  And this gorgeous Poppy Abstract Stretch Viscose Jersey from Mood Fabrics.com screamed to me to become a printed jumpsuit.
Simplicity 1158 | The Printed Jumpsuit! -- Erica Bunker DIY Style!
For my jumpsuit, I used Simplicity 1158, view B.  I cut the size 12.  I lengthened the bodice by an inch.  And I lengthened the inseam by 5".  When wearing heels, I like a 36" inseam.
Simplicity 1158 | The Printed Jumpsuit! -- Erica Bunker DIY Style!
The Simplicity instructions were perfect.  I have no complaints.  The construction and style is very similar to a RTW jumpsuit.
Simplicity 1158 | The Printed Jumpsuit! -- Erica Bunker DIY Style!
But the only thing I found that I needed to adjust was the armhole.  Mine was a little too low, with my bra peeking out and I had a little bit of gaping.  I took mine in.
Simplicity 1158 | The Printed Jumpsuit! -- Erica Bunker DIY Style!
The neck tie is pretty much lost in the print, but it is a cute detail.  And the wrap effect back is perfectly drafted to keep my strapless bra appropriately covered.
Simplicity 1158 | The Printed Jumpsuit! -- Erica Bunker DIY Style!
This is a great pattern which produces a garment that is both appropriate for day or night.  I love the elongating wide-leg silhouette.  I went back and forth with myself on whether or not to make the self-belt or to add a RTW belt.  I went with the sash.  It's great and waist defining.  And since it's not attached to the jumpsuit, a RTW belt can always be substituted.
Sewing Tip!  Even though this is a jersey garment, I still interfaced my 1.25" hem.  It gives the hem weight and ensures that the garment will hang properly to the ground.
Style tip: With a garment as heavily printed as this one and with a high neck to boot, there really is no point of a necklace.  It would just get lost in the print.  I accessorized with large filigree gold earrings and bold bracelets.  I carried my current favorite summer wicker pineapple clutch and punctuated with a white pump.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Review: New Look 6271 | Printed Shorts!

I found the most perfect and quickest shorts pattern ever!  After a project like my white blazer, I needed a simple, palate cleansing project so I decided on printed shorts.  And I choose New Look 6271.
This pattern is so simple that I made two pairs at the same time.  One thing I did notice is that this pattern runs small.  Where I would normally cut a size 14 in Big 4 bottoms, I cut the size 16, the largest size in this pattern for these shorts.  
Maybe I haven't sewn enough New Looks to be familiar with their sizing, because I was a little thrown by that.
The only alteration I made was to lengthen by an inch.  The striped pair of shorts is made in an Aztec Stripe Poly Crepe de Chine.  I used a black crepe from my stash for the contrasting waistband and ties.  And the navy pair is made in poly crepe also.  I couldn't find the fabric on the website.  These fabrics were on sale for 50% off and I had a coupon for 20% off my entire purchase.  So it cost next to nothing to make these.  And they're cool and breezy.  And during the summertime, I love anything that can go from washer to dryer to wearing, without ironing.  As much as I have to stand over a hot steam iron during sewing, I hate ironing clothes.
Sidenote:  The top is McCall's 6287 which is out of print now.  It was almost in the giveaway pile.  I've been seeing cold-shoulder tops, dresses and jumpsuits everywhere.  So I decided to give it another season.  And its peacock blue color was perfect for these shorts.
Style tip:  A cute top, shorts and sandals is the perfect summer uniform that can take you from day to evening.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Review: Simplicity 1421 | A White Blazer for Summer!

I've been needing a new white blazer in my wardrobe for a while now.  I'd made Simplicity 2250 three years ago, and I nearly wore it to shreds.  A white blazer is a much needed necessity in my closet.
This time I wanted something a lot crisper and much more tailored than its predecessor.  That Black Chic brought Simplicity 1421 to my attention when she announced a sew-a-long.  This pattern has been on my list since it first came out.  I had the larger size in my stash, but since this is a fitted style blazer, I ended up having to repurchase the smaller size range.
Let's talk construction!  This is an unlined jacket with cup sizes.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Not necessarily...  My fabric is a bottom weight stretch cotton twill from Joann's.  I cut the size 14, instead of a 12 with a C cup, because I'd read reviews where others said that the jacket was really fitted.  And even though the jacket is white, the weight of the fabric allows for it to be worn throughout the year with our mild climate.  I needed to make sure that it wouldn't be too snug to layer over a long sleeve shirt or a lightweight sweater.  The alterations I made to the pattern was adding an inch at the waist, and an inch to the sleeve length.
I've made a LOT of tailored jackets and coats throughout my sewing career, so I never use commercial pattern instructions... I have my own methods and loads of other resources I pull from.  I did however glance at the instructions for the seam binding to see if the pattern was draft already or if the seam allowance would need to be trimmed.  It was drafted correctly.  
For the front pieces and the front facings, I blocked fused them and then cut them out.  All of the front and back pieces went together perfectly.  You would think an unlined jacket would have a less complicated construction than a lined one.  Well, I guess that's a matter of opinion based on the type of seam finishing you choose.  I used a bound seam finish.  A bound seam finish is when the binding is wrapped around each raw edge and sewn in place with one line of stitching, as opposed to two stitchings with a Hong Kong finish.  Quicker, but still a tedious process.  And I used pre-packaged double fold seam binding.
Next is the collar.  The collar is drafted like any tailored collar, with an upper collar, cut in one piece and the under collar cut in two pieces on the bias.  Since the collar has a bound seam finish, there is to need for "turn of cloth".   
The seam binding is cut from the same fabric as the jacket fabric and took a little maneuvering to get good finish on the corners.
The pattern suggested the patch pockets be unlined but interfaced.  Well, I wanted lined pockets, so I drafted a lining from the pattern piece.  
Here is the lined pocket.
The pocket is pinned in placed...
and edge stitched on to the jacket.
The facings are sewn, the jacket is hemmed and the seam binding is applied to the jacket.
And I went ahead and made my buttonholes and sewed on my buttons.
My sleeves are also finished with bound seams.  And I always, always interface the hems of jackets!
This pattern has a RTW style sleeve vent.
And here's the mitered corner.  The hem is stitched by hand.

I had read where some felt that the sleeves were difficult to set.  Well, I came prepared to do battle with my fool-proof TNT method.  Since my jacket is unlined and I opted against shoulder pads, hair canvas is too itchy to use for this jacket.   
I used two 2" x 12" bias strips of silk organza.  Not polyester organza, but silk organza.
And set my sleeves with hella pins!
Side note:  Am I the only one who struggles with finding matching buttons in multiple sizes?  It's always an adventure and Mikaela is usually with me, making fun of me and not understanding why it's so hard to find buttons.  But I lucked up and found these.  I really wanted gold buttons.  I love how they look on white jackets.
I love this jacket already.  I love the way it turned out.  And I'm sure I'll get much, if not more wear out of it than my last one.  And to follow-up on what I mentioned earlier, I think that a standard lined tailored jacket sews up a lot quicker than this one.  All of the seam binding, inside and out took a lot of time.  I could've sewn and bagged a lining quicker.  But it's different than anything in my wardrobe and I did techniques that I've never done before.  Isn't that what sewing is supposed to be about, continuous learning?  And I'll be talking about these shorts in my next post...