Monday, September 30, 2013

Kitschy Coo Lady Skater Dress in Royal Blue

i love this dress pattern! this is the Lady Skater Dress by Kitschy Coo. i finished it last week and wore it out over the weekend. it's easy to just throw on and look put together. it would also be so comfortable for traveling. i used a royal blue ponte knit on sale from be careful if you use a ponte because they don't all have a lot of stretch and might not work well, because this needs a knit with a decent amount of stretch. but the ponte i used was fairly stretchy so i gave it a go. and i think it worked out well!

the fabric was labeled "medium weight" and i think the weight of the skirt is pulling the bodice down a bit, so i'll probably raise the waist up a little on my next one. maybe an inch. on the sleeves i ended up taking 1.25 inches off the sides of each because the sleeves were too loose, but that's probably a "me issue" because of my lack of biceps. on the next one i'll try taking a wedge out of the center of the sleeve pattern piece beforehand to see if that works better.

this was actually my first time using a pdf pattern to sew a garment for myself. i've used pdfs to sew some baby clothes and purses, but those had only a few pages. the pages of this covered nearly all of the empty floor space in my sewing room, but it really wasn't too bad. i found that it was quicker to just trim the right and bottom sides off of all of the pages and then layer them and tape together. 

be sure to transfer all of the markings on this one! confession: sometimes i'm lazy and i don't transfer all of the markings. well it kicked me in the butt this time. there is a very important mark on the neckline that shows where the center of the neckband will meet. i sat in confusion for a good ten minutes before i looked back at my pattern piece and found the mark that i forgot to transfer to my fabric, oops! but it worked out! and the neckline looks super awesome. 

i already have my fabric picked out for my next lady skater dress! i'm going to do the 3/4 sleeved version because it's finally starting to get cooler here. and i'm using a patterned knit fabric that's not my typical style, but i think it will be fun, yay!

Friday, September 20, 2013

sewaholic saltspring dress and a mini wardrobe malfunction

honestly i was on the fence about the saltspring dress pattern when it was released. reason being - the tiny straps meant i'd have to go strapless bra with this, which i avoid when possible. i've seen versions with thicker straps and considered that option. but what pushed me over was seeing all of the lovely versions everyone has been posting. plus the fact that many people said you could omit the zipper, yay! and i had a couple drapey fabrics sitting in my stash just waiting for a pattern like this.

so i finally broke down and ordered it. thank you Pink Chalk Fabrics for the super quick free shipping. (all of their patterns ship free within the US). you know i love some free shipping.

as soon as the pattern arrived i actually stopped the project i had already started so that i could start this one. i traced my pattern onto swedish tracing paper (love!) and omitted the center seam allowances on the back skirt and back bodice pieces and cut those on the fold, omitting the zipper. i did a straight size 8 to fit my bust and waist measurements. because the skirt just flares out, i ignored the fact that my hip measurement is not in line with a sewaholic size 8. so my skirt feels a bit too wide and full. next time i will grade the skirt down to a 2 in order to more closely match my hip measurement.

i fully lined the dress bodice and skirt using some white cotton voile that i got on super sale from the outer fabric is a blue and white paisley type print from joann's. it's very slippery and kind of shiny so it's probably some sort of poly blend. also i used clear elastic for the waistband (also from, which i like better than regular elastic now because it's less bulky and it has good recovery.

it was a really quick project. i traced my pattern and cut the fabric last week on sunday night and by wednesday night i was hemming the dress. a little spray starch does wonders when hemming fabric like this and also when pressing the straps.

speaking of straps. that is a sad point. before i started sewing the dress, i skimmed through the sewalong that was posted on the sewaholic blog to see if there were any tips that might be helpful. i vaguely remembered something about trimming the ends of the straps closely on the inside to reduce bulk. with this fabric. bad idea. or i guess i just did an awesome job of trimming closely! ha ha. next time i will definitely not trim those straps down much at all, and i will do a lot of back and forth reinforcing stitches where the straps meet the bodice points.

so here's the story. last friday night i decided to wear the dress to go out with some girlfriends. well i drove to my friend's place and then when we were leaving her house to go out, i sat down in her car... and snap. my strap popped. i had knotted the straps so that they wouldn't come undone, and i know they weren't too tight because a few times they started to creep down my shoulders, so i probably could've tied them tighter. but it must've pulled on the strap too much when i sat down, so the left strap came unattached from the bodice back. first i considered tucking one or both straps down into my bra and pretending the offending strap didn't exist. then i decided to go back inside my friend's house in search of a safetypin, but no luck. plus that probably wouldn't have looked so good anyway. instead i ended up borrowing one of my friend's dresses. sadness. so my saltspring barely made it out of the house.

plus, slightly embarrassing that my me-made dress came apart, since my friends knew i made it. i felt like that reflected poorly on my sewing skills. but thankfully, friends don't judge, so they didn't think anything of it. at least my strap didn't come off when we were somewhere more public! yikes. so when i got home i hand sewed the strap back on and reinforced it like crazy. and then i went back and did a ton of hand stitching to reinforce the other straps too.

so hopefully next time i wear this dress out, it'll make it further than the car! ha ha. have you had any wardrobe malfunctions while wearing your sewing projects?

Monday, September 16, 2013

blue green colorblocked knit dress

i want to sew with more knits, but i haven't been thrilled with the knits at the chain fabric stores nearby, and ordering knits online is a gamble. if you remember, the last striped knits i ordered online ended up feeling slinky almost like a swimsuit, but i used them anyway for my stripey dress. so this time i wanted to pay attention to fabric content and weight. i wanted something mostly cotton for that soft feeling, with some stretch for a nice recovery, and something at least medium weight. i didn't want to end up with something tissue thin.

so i ordered 1 yard of a green michael miller knit. at almost $13 a yard, that's around the top of what i'm willing to spend on a yard of fabric. (and a $20 yard of fabric for me is a splurge.) but i'd rather pay a little more and get something i like, than cheap out and then be unhappy with it, because that would be a total waste. but what am i really going to do with just 1 yard. i really wanted to make a dress. i'd need closer to 2 yards. the green was now out of stock (but it looks like it's back in now) and even if it was, i'd risk that chance of getting fabric from a different dye lot and it might not be exactly the same green? so wheels in my head spinning, i decided to color block it. i thought a navy blue would look good with this green. so i ordered this navy blue michael miller knit. note that both times, of course i ordered several other things to push my orders past the $35 mark so i could get free shipping. you are so clever with your free shipping offers.

well what i received was not really navy. it was more of a royal blue. in fact it was almost exactly the same color as the royal blue ponte knit that i'd also ordered. usually i'd be like, who cares, close enough, but i wasn't sure how this blue would look with this green. and now that the dress is done, i still wish it was a darker navy, but such is life. but i will add that's customer service was very helpful and even sent me a refund on the navy, when i contacted them to check and make sure there wasn't a mix up because the color was so different from what i saw online. and i know that colors on computer monitors can appear differently, so i wasn't expecting a refund or anything, just verification that i was sent the correct fabric. anyway thank you for restoring my faith in customer service. esp. after the nasty lady at joann's... i promise i'm not a crazy demanding customer, but i know that people should be treated civilly. hopping off my soapbox now.

so this dress is a similar shape to my stripey dress, but i re-drafted the top to change the back. the skirt is 2 rectangles with 2 narrower rectangles sewn and topstitched to the bottom. i was very careful to get all the seams to line up. and i added pockets. i just used the same pocket pattern piece i made for my last dress. overall i'm happy with it. it is Super-Comfy. i love this fabric. it's exactly what i'd want in a knit. thank you michael miller! (although i wish you made your navy darker.) i used the clear elastic that i also ordered from and i like it a lot more than the regular elastic i'd been using. it's a lot less bulky, and i'm using it on the lady skater dress that i'm working on right now.

i wore this dress to work last week and then out to dinner with friends. it's not exactly work-wear, it's more like weekend wear, but i got away with it since our department is business casual and with a sweater (since the AC is freezing) it's less weekend-y. i got zero comments on it, which at my office is a win! ha ha, the women around me all know i sew, so they're always asking me "did you make that?" but no one asked me about this dress, so i'm thinking that means it looked store-bought. that's what i'm telling myself anyway.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Butterick B5748 for a wedding

this dress is one of my favorites things i've sewn. i really love how it turned out. the pattern i started with is Butterick B5748, which i posted about here. i think my favorite thing about this pattern is the way the back of the bodice scoops down. i didn't do the full lining that the pattern calls for, i just drafted my own facings. this fabric had a nice drape and was opaque enough that a lining wasn't really needed. i only had 2 yards total, so after cutting the bodice and facings, there was not quite enough for the very full skirt included in the pattern. i shortened another skirt pattern and it worked out just fine. i also copied some pockets off a RTW dress in my closet and added those because i thought pockets would be a plus. i wrote a little more about the construction here if you're thinking of trying this pattern. 

i'm sure i'll make this one again! i think i'm starting to do a better job at pairing fabric and patterns that work well together, AND result in something that i'll actually wear. i'm taking a little more time to really think things out before i get started and being pickier in my fabric choices. and plus i've  realized that i don't need the pattern company's instructions to sew a dress. so that's a confidence boost since i've been sewing for only a little over a year now. i'm riding on a little sewing high from this dress and have already cranked out another dress (yet to be blogged) and nearly finished yet another dress that just needs a hem. seriously i have been making some time to sew every night. and enjoying it! - which is the whole point, right.

but look! the back of my dress made it into one of my friends' wedding photos!

aren't they cute! and they got married at the same location we used, so that was kinda fun to see the ceremony from a guest's side rather than as the bride.

i managed to get a friend to snap an iphone photo of my husband and me at the reception. he was a groomsmen, hence the suspenders and boutonniere (not his usual choice of attire).

and just for you, i attempted a 10-second-delay self-timer photoshoot. ohhh my, the outtakes were pretty ridiculous.

i really need to invest in a better camera. and one with a remote. oh and a tripod. i'm using one of those fun bendy gorillapod things on my point-and-shoot. it's sad. actually what's sad is that i did a senior thesis in photography in college (developing in a dark room, the whole shebang) but my super nice vintage manual camera with all the lenses and tripod were stolen when our house got robbed. sad face. but enough on that.

oh and just in case you are wondering, thankfully, no, our entire house is not wood paneled -just the laundry room that leads onto our back porch. our house was built in the 50s, and actually the paneling in this room has kinda grown on us. i'm calling it "charm." 

one last shot of the back of the dress, which is probably the best part. although some friends were more impressed by the pockets. either way, i'm happy!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Little Dress Kits - Adorable Car Dungarees

i don't have any small children or babies of my own, but plenty of pregnant or new-mom friends, so i was super excited to win a giveaway on Stitch and Witter's blog! plus who doesn't love sewing baby clothes - they are so small and cute! and eat up much less fabric.

the giveaway was for a sewing kit by Little Dress Kits - check them out they are super adorable! and look they have an Elephant Print Dress coming soon! swoon. i got the Car Dungarees Kit for ages 6 to 12 mos, so cute. my friend's baby boy is turning one and having a party on Friday, so i thought these would be perfect. she said "no gifts" but who follows that? i couldn't resist. also i checked with the aunt, who says the baby boy is on the small side, so i think they should fit.

but to be safe i decided to do a 3/8 seam allowance instead of the standard 5/8, to give it a tiny bit more "growing into" room. what i didn't consider is that the front and back pieces have a center seam, but the lining is one piece, so if you don't do a 5/8th seam allowance and you don't adjust the size of your lining, then the lining and the outside fabric will not line up. oops. that's what i get for not following the rules.

so i went back and fixed it and all was well in the end. anyway the kit includes all the fabric you need, matching thread, buttons, a label, pattern pieces and an instruction booklet. and the pattern pieces are peel and stick! how cool is that? i'm now wishing all of my patterns came as peel and stick. no pins needed! the instruction booklet was very clear, and i had no problems, other than my seam allowance goof up and the fact that i was doing speedy sewing around the first shoulder strap and couldn't navigate the curve. did that one like five times. learned my lesson and slowed down and the other straps were fine. the fabric is a navy corduroy with blue gingham for the lining, and little red buttons, plus a tiny car button for the pocket. so cute! thank you again Little Dress Kits!