Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cali Faye Gardenia Dress - 3 times!

Oh, it feels so good to sew and take pictures and write a blog post!!

First, thank you all for the lovely comments on Ashley and Darrin's engagement. They are so excited. And her ring is exquisite :-) The wedding date is now February 21, firm, which is nice. More time to enjoy the engagement feelings and activities.

Gosh, I've been sort of absent for a while. But recovering from being unwell for 6 months has taken some time and lots of rest. But I'm so much better. Feels so good. I'll put a little info on what happened at the end of this post...

Meanwhile, what a super cute dress. I found this on Kollabora, just zipping along looking at projects. And ordered the PDF download right away (there is a version for girls as well). I can't find a line art pic anywhere, so I'll try to describe: the front bodice is two-piece, with a slight sweetheart seam below the neckline and a raised front curve. The back bodice has a dipped curve ending just around the waistline. And the dress has nice 3/4 length sleeves. 

The bust conundrum:
Incredibly for any pattern, this one comes in sizes XXS - XXL - but that is a little misleading :-) The associated bust range is 30" - 39.5".  Whose bust - that of the dress, my bust? What size to use? A clue from Cali Faye: the model's bust is 33.5", and she is wearing a size Small, bust 31.5". OK, I followed suit. My bust is 37.5", so I drafted the size Large, bust 36". And it worked - but I do wish pattern makers could be specific on this point.

(Before I forget, for reference, I'm 5'7 1/2" and wear a size 14/40 just about all the time).

This mid-weight cotton/spandex from Girl Charlee (love, love) is a great weight for this dress. I only made two changes changes on this first version:

  • Added an inch to the skirt length. 
  • Lowered the curve of the front bodice edge by 1" at center front, cured out to the side seams. It would be great for a baby bump the other way, but IMHO, looks nicer a little lower.
I was very surprised that the bodice, front and back, was long enough for me. I am accustomed to adding 1.5" inches for my height - might be a caution for short waists...

I love this dress! While in JoAnn's ages ago, I found a piece of camo cotton/lycra knit (and haven't seen it since, in the store or online). And I've wanted to sew it ever since Angela of Collected Yarns made her camo maxi in August. Voila!

On this version I removed the sweetheart seam from the front bodice, drafting it as one easy piece, and used elbow length sleeves.

And now it's jingle bells time! Again from Girl Charlee, a cotton/poly knit. 

This was fun. Ciao! Coco

A little info on what kept me down...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Here comes the Bride!

Ashley and Darrin are engaged! 

I should have posted this sooner (like 2 or 3 weeks ago) but there's been a flurry of visiting, looking at dresses, then at patterns and fabric, and calling back and forth. A few tears. Lots of thanks for many blessings.

My heart is full. I am so very happy for these two wonderful people who enhance my life and love one another so well.

Ashley and Darrin met 3 1/2 years ago, and the sun seemed to shine on them from the beginning...

First Date

Believe me, I was thrilled. Ashley is such a warm and outgoing person, friends everywhere, but that special one seemed just over the horizon...

Darrin is special. Fun, serious, loving, quiet, responsible, dependable, loyal, and very caring. 

He puts a smile on my girl's face every day. And she puts one on his as well. 

Wedding day is January 31, and yes, Ashley and I are making her dress together! More on that later...

Bye for now, Coco

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Burda Style Athletic/Bomber Jacket!

Gosh, it seems like forever since I posted.  I just haven't been well. Short hospital stay the first week of October, and it has taken a while to get back on my feet. Aargh.

When I came home, Ashley and D. 'moved' the loft downstairs into the dining area, and I've actually enjoyed a little sewing. And today Emile took on some modeling for me.

This bomber jacket is so cute - Burda Style calls it an athletic jacket, maybe because the sleeve is not set-in. I've been wanting to sew one for months, but just couldn't settle on a pattern.

Burda Style 05/2014 #110

I finally chose this pattern, out of the many out there, for a couple reasons: it's unlined, and it has a round neck with no ribbing. I think the ribbing on my neck would make me crazy :-)

I also thought I might be able to adapt the band on this pattern for a button band, since I don't use zippers. In the end, I just redrafted the front edge:

  • I extended the front and front self-facing by 1.5" to form the button band area. 
  • And added the 'classic' button square at the ends of the waistband ribbing.

Another change I made...I ended up using faux welt pockets. I originally sewed in the pocket bags, but didn't like them. So chop chop!

Inside views..

I used a corded denim, which is a little stiff at this point after only one washing. It's a little ravelly, so all the seams are serged or bound.

Loving these button snaps...

Behind every good button snap there's a good tool, and believe me, this one is worth every nickel it cost me. It does all the work - I'm so excited to have this hunk of metal! Many many thanks to Anne, at Clothing Engineer, who has a wonderful review and tutorial on the use of this fantastic tool.

Pres-n-Snap, from Sailrite
15mm ring snaps, Pacific Trimming

I'm going to put snap buttons on everything!!

One last sewing note. I didn't go for ribbing - I used remnant cotton/spandex jersey knit for my cuffs and waistband - works like a charm. 

This was an interesting project, but it turns out that this grey jacket doesn't match anything in my wardrobe! So funny...

Ciao! Coco

Monday, October 13, 2014

'Round the World Blog Hop - from South Florida

Age 17, Crescent Beach, South Carolina 

Blog hop, be bop. Can't help myself. Dear friend Angela at Collected Yarns passed the baton to me this week. This is such fun! On to the particulars...

1. What am I working on?

My usual odd assortment! Cotton pillowcases for my daughter, PJ tops (I think of this as utility sewing, I seem to 'lose' PJ tops like others lose socks), fall pants and tunics, and a couple dress patterns. I'm also reconsidering a piece of faux fur that has bested me in the past. To overcome my apprehension of all that pesky fur, I'm considering cutting and sewing the whole thing in the garage.

I don't sew with a plan - I'm a joyfully retired technologies project manager. After 30 years of working to requirements, schedules, and expectations, I'm not going there! I'm enjoying my unfinished projects.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I live in south Florida, so I primarily sew garments that are comfortable in a perpetually warm climate.

I have skin sensitivity issues, so I focus on fabrics, designs, techniques, and finishes that take them into consideration. E.g., I can't wear hardware, fitted waists or close cuffs, so I'll alter a pattern with an alternative. I favor cotton, cotton blends, and polyester blends, anything with a long fiber. No animal fibers, because they always manage to work out of a weave.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I sew because I love to create in my head and with my hands. For me the entire process is calming, peaceful, and rewarding. And I blog about it because blogging is an interactive form of writing. My pen pals in the blogger community add incredible dimension, knowledge, and happiness to my life. They are creative, spontaneous, sharing, and charming people. Honestly, when I approached retirement, I had no idea that I would find this community and enjoy such enrichment in my life. Happy surprise.

With sister Susie and Mom
4. How does my writing/creating process work? Ok, here comes my project manager side...

Visuals: I take photos from the time I open a pattern through completion and modeling of the garment.
Background: I also take notes the whole time (I keep them in my Evernote pattern file).
Workup: I evaluate my photos in Photoscape and discard the ones the hundreds I don't think I'll use. I generally end up with a basic set of views, including the pattern line art. Photoscape and Picasa, both of which are free software, are the only editing tools I use.
Writing: I don't write a blog post until a garment is done, and then it just seems to flow. I try for a natural voice that's easy to read, so I break a lot of punctuation rules. I do try to be mindful of guidelines for reading level, use of white space, etc. I spell-check!
And I am truly bothered by the number of times I've used the word 'I' in this blog post!! 

I'm delighted to pass the baton to a talented sewist, writer, artist, and friend, who's been an inspiration ever since I started blogging in early 2012 - Mary at Biblioblog. Over to you, Mary. 

Ciao! Coco

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Tessuti Gabby Dress and rose petals

My final version of the Tessuti Gabby dress, which I used in my pursuit of a 60's-style tent dress.


Sewing notes - I drafted size Medium (I'm 5'7", 37" bust, 42" hip), and altered the pattern to be sleeveless:
  • Added 3" to the length, and marked a 1 1/8" hem allowance. 
  • Trimmed 5/8" from the side seams, beginning at the top edge and curing quickly into the existing seamline about 9" below the start point. It's important to keep the fast flare of the dress.
  • Trimmed the seam allowance from the front neckline to make it a little deeper and more narrow at the shoulder.  
  • Lowered the back neckline 3/4" at center back. Redrew the back neckline with a curve from shoulder to CB (it was almost straight across, shoulder to shoulder).
  • Made 2 shallow chest adjustments:
          - Moved the center front, which is cut on the fold,  1/4" past the fold at the top edge and cured the center line.
          - Marked and flattened a 3/8" dart in lower side of the neckline on both sides.
  • Changes for the sleeveless styling:
          - Shortened the shoulder seams at the armhole edge by 1". 
          - Cured down the front and back armhole edge to within about 1 1/2" of the bottom edge.
          - Scooped more curve into the armhole edge on both sides.

Fabric: Red Packed Roses cotton calico, JoAnns

Due to it's volume, a tent dress can look like a sea of fabric. To counter, I used contrast fabric for the armhole and neckline bindings, and added 1-piece, topstitched pockets ( love pockets).

These pocket are really easy to do and are great for full dresses and skirts. I looked everywhere for a tutorial to share, but no luck. So at the end of this post I've put a jump to a little more on this pocket.

Here's the muslin that tried my patience ( Fussy Post) It's complete, very wearable, and  modeled here by Emile. I'll admit that I'm not fond of it, and it will go with donations at year-end.

Cream Song Birds from Timeless Treasures, from Hancocks of Paducah

Since Emile is with us, here's a view of the neckline binding. I start by attaching the binding on the inside. Then I turn it over the neckline edge and finish it on the outside. I do the same thing with armhole bindings. This technique doesn't leave any little threads or stitched folds that can irritate my skin. 

In the end, I'm glad I stayed with the project, it leaves me with a good sloper for this dress style.

Ciao! Coco

The pocket I used,