Tuesday, May 19, 2015

BurdaStyle 03/2012 #108C Knot Front Dress

A fumble. I don't often write about a wadder (how depressing), but this dress is worth a look, wadder or not. I'm in a really fair mood this morning - but it's because I've already cried and fussed over this one.

I love this look! and had such high expectations. There are some really cute makes out there in blogger land. My favorites are this one by Deborah at The Tropical Sewist, done with an embroidered fabric. And these chevron print versions by Make Me Studio and The Selfish Seamstress .

And check out the RTW versions I found:


Dries Van Noten 

So I went for it. There was a huge investment in prepping this pattern. I used the download PDF, which meant I did a lot of paper cutting and taping (which I enjoy. I also love paper dolls, even now). Then came the drafting of the pattern pieces. The front piece goes from shoulder to hem - it's long and wide! Thank goodness the back has a separate bodice and skirt. The pattern also has lining and facing pieces. And, yes, it ate up 5 yards of 55" wide cotton lawn.

I finished the dress up to the point of basting the side seams, and then I stopped. Without a side zipper, it's too tight to fit over my dress form, but I can put it on over my head without a problem.

And actually it's very pretty. I just can't stand how it feels - it's the futzy, fussy knot business at the front! So I don't want to model it.

Because it is a nice pattern and might work really well for someone else, here are my sewing notes:
  • The pattern is sized for 'tall' ladies, perfect for me at 5'7". I sewed the 84, which is corresponds to regular size 42. I usually cut a size 40 in BurdaStyle, but this pattern is slim through the bodice and upper skirt, so I sized up. 
  • The back bodice is a little wide for me at the neckline. Maybe by 1/2", which could be fixed easily.
  • The front armhole is reinforced with a narrow strip of bias interfacing. Burda refers to this as Vilene/Pellon G 785. Mystery to me! I used 1/2" wide strips of bias-cut tricot knit fusible interfacing - worked fine.
  • I used Symphony broadcloth for my lining. A more slippery lining would definitely make the twist knot easier to form and adjust.

Front lining, also showing the interfacing strip on the armhole edge.
It was HARD to find the right side of my fabric, both sides have dense color.
I put a small pin on the right side of each pattern piece as I cut it out.

Front bodice inside

Back bodice inside

Burda gives this pattern an Intermediate difficulty rating, which I think is about right. The design is also available in a short version, BurdaStyle 03/2012 #108B, which also includes a free download PDF of the sewing instructions. The patterns themselves are the same. The instructions might be good reading ahead of purchasing the pattern :-)

And I'm off to other projects!

Ciao - Coco

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

McCalls 7164 More fun with summer pants!

Continuing the search for summer pants! McCall 7164...

So cute! Soft Surroundings has had these pants for a couple years, and I've always liked them. Now McCalls has a pattern that is almost a replica. I had to make these.

Here's the line art. Bonus with the pattern: full, loose pants and shorts. I love this!

The back side...just plain, elastic waist, easy fit.

Sewing notes:
  • I sewed View D in size M (12-14).
  • And added to the length, 1" on each of the gathered middle pieces, and 2" to the other pattern pieces. It turns out I don't need the extra length, and I'll leave it off on my next version.
  • The seams are faux flat-felled, as on the Soft Surroundings pants, everywhere except the inside leg and crotch seams.

  • The original crotch for my size was 27", so I added 1/2" to top edges of all pieces to accommodate my height (5'7") and personal measurements.
  • And I added 2" to the top of all pieces to create a cut-on waistband. I don't like the look of a flat waistband across my abdomen! I drafted the elastic casing all the way round and used 3/4" elastic to spread the gathers evenly, front and back.
  • No pockets - this fabric would show them too much.
And the fabric dictated a few more considerations. It is a rayon/linen (55%/45%) marigold yellow blend from Fashion Fabrics Club. It's not my favorite blend, but it has great drape, which is why it ended up in this muslin! 

After messing with the pants, and ironing every seam and stitch as I sewed, they were very LONG! I hemmed them, put them back in the laundry - and yes, they were shorter, short enough for sandals.

For these pics - ironed once again, so I'm wearing heels. aarrgghh. They are going back in the wash, I don't do heels, and they'll never see an iron again!

What's to love - these gathered insets...

And they are incredibly comfortable, different, kicky, out there...

Love them.

Now - a beauty note...

After Ashley's wedding in February, I decided to let my gray hair grow out. With the help of a product (below) that sprinkles in the hairline and really covers up any grow-out. You've seen it on me and probably didn't notice.

A week or so ago, I cut my hair back to all gray (my hair grows an incredible 3/4" a month...thank you, hair lords). And - no. With all the white scars on my face, and my fair skin, I had no features. So I re-colored my hair. But it is very short for me! 

It feels great! Not sure if I'll let it grow back, at least not during the summer. It has been in the 90's here for over a month, having short hair is so nice, so manageable ...

End of beauty note. Next - I just downloaded the new Hot Patterns Shirt-Tail Tee. And the In-House Kimono Tee. My stash beckons. 

Ciao! Coco

Monday, May 4, 2015

Me-Made month...at one swipe

May - again. I admit I'm really not into Me-Made-May. No offense meant, but I generally bypass Me-Made posts. Just a personal preference - I enjoy posts about sewing and what folks are making. I'm grateful for the Pattern Review contests - they encourage lots of interesting discussion, even in May.

However, in the spirit of things, I'm sort of joining in - and getting past it in one go. My wardrobe revealed. Aside from intimates, winter coats, sweaters, some jeans, and a couple vintage denim jackets, everything I wear is me-made. So...




Pants and tunics

PJ tops...

and bottoms and gowns

I'm the first one to admit that things get out of hand - no way can I wear all the clothes I make. I sew for the challenge, satisfaction, and joy. Like many sewists, I cull my wardrobe every six months or so, and donate.

And now - back to sewing!

Ciao! Coco

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Vogue 9114 Kathryn Breene ankle pants - what a blast!

Gosh, I love these pants! Funky!

This pattern from Kathryn Breene is part of the new Vogue collection for summer 2015. And I missed the pants view repeatedly when I cruised the collection on Club BMV. The main view is a skirt, and I wasn't interested. Finally, another look and my mouse-over flipped from the skirt to these pants. I didn't expect pants to be in the pattern!

I've been looking for new pant styles for summer, as I'm a little tired of my typical loose linen pants from past years. My first find was the Pattern Fantastique Terra pant pattern I sewed last month - they're great. And these new pants have something of the same vibe  and appeal - fresh, different, and fun.

Top - Cropped Grainline Studio Scout Tee

The pants were really interesting to sew and are not a one-day project. That gathered cuff treatment on the lower leg has 4 parts plus a tie! The cuff is two pieces, shell and lining. Basting the assembled cuff to the pants is much like setting a sleeve:

The two pieces comprising the balance of the lower leg are stitched together and sewn in with the cuff in one step. On the inside:

Sewing notes:
  • The pant leg is a bit voluminous, so I cut a size Small, redrafted to a Medium at the waistline. About 12" of curing from waist to hip. It's a good thing I used the Medium waist - it's only 39", which almost makes these wiggle pants for my 41.5" hip.
  • I added 1" the length of all the pant pieces, which gave me just enough for a 1" hem. 
  • Because I did not want to add bulk in the gathered waist, I drafted the top of the pants with a 2" cut-on waistband. I simply finished the edge, turned it inside, and inserted 3/4" elastic. The result is a very comfortable casing.

  • I am infatuated with the curved pockets from Vogue 8712 and used them again on these pants. They don't try to flop backwards at all - floppy in-seam pockets make me a little crazy. 

I'm so sorry my inside pics this morning are so grainy...blame the weather please. Plus red is a difficult color to photograph. The true color of the fabric, which Tango Red cotton/poly rodeo from JoAnns, is somewhere between all the views on this post. This is my first experience with rodeo fabric, and I really like it. It's like a poplin, very tightly woven with an almost indiscernible horizontal twill. The weight is perfect for these pants -  just heavy enough to define those leg flourishes :-)

Speaking of flourishes...the pattern has absolutely no instructions on how to gather and tie those cuffs. What an omission! So...First, I decided to use elastic inside the cuff, rather than the self-fabric tie that's included in the pattern. 

Then I made one tie, only 1/2" wide. I used 1/2 of it for an attached loop at the edge of each cuff. It would be cute with a single knot, maybe later or on another version.

Check out those 2 pleats on the curve of the cuff - great stuff!

I have a couple more fabrics in mind for these pants - I'm so happy with them. Oh, I'm also wearing Madden Girl sandals, my idea of conservative gladiators...they don't show on longer pants, so it's fun to use them with these. 

Bye for now! Coco

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

True Bias Southport Dress - new!

To open - thank you so much for the supportive comments on my last post. I'm feeling a bit better and have really enjoyed doing some sewing!

And look what I did - I sewed the new Southport dress from True Bias, using the embroidered lawn that I was contemplating earlier.

This dress is every bit as comfortable as it looks. The embroidery in the lawn gives it just weight it needs to drape smoothly, it doesn't have wrinkles because it is wrinkled, and it's very opaque, no lining required.

I actually bought the Southport because it reminds me of a vintage 70's pattern, McCalls 6544. I ordered the McCalls after seeing Sara's version last year on her blog, Mixed Emotions. But I've delayed sewing it because I knew I would do as Sara did, i.e., redraft the back, and probably the front as well, to minimize the neckline gathers.

Worth the wait...

McCalls 6544

The Southport has nice options, such as a front slit and two lengths. The long and short versions have separate pattern pieces for the skirt, which I like. And the bodice has bust darts - yea! The dress is drafted for a C cup, which works perfectly for me. The skirt is not buttoned, fine by me, I wouldn't have drafted the McCalls dress with all those buttons anyway.

Now - it's not perfect. In fact, IMO, the drafting on the Southport bodice, and the sizing, are, well, difficult...

I started with a size 12 bodice and size 10 skirt, based on the given measurements. On my initial draft, I made a number of changes:
  • The front shoulder looked funky - it flew up at the neckline and, indeed, did not match up with the back shoulder angle at all. This is a small but horrible drafting error, since the resulting shoulder would not work well. But it was easily fixed with a little redraft. 
  • My next change was to drop the bodice dart by 1 3/4". I always have to do this, but I've started doing it a little differently. Instead of boxing the dart, cutting it out, and moving it down, I copy it onto a square of tissue and put the tissue piece into place on top of the original pattern.  A little curing of the side seam and voila! On a multi-size pattern, this approach keeps the original dart lines available.
  • I knew, from the few versions available for online viewing, that the dress had high floppy-front-neckline potential. To adjust, I used a hollow chest adjustment on the inside curve of the neckline. Hollow chest adjustments are very personal depending on one's build, this one works for me on low, round necklines. And I think the term 'hollow chest' is hilarious :-)
Edited on 4/23/2015: Apology I missed this in my notes! An additional change I made - before I bound the neckline, I found the front neckline to be too wide and wavy. I folded the center front and ran a 5/8" seam from the neckline, curing to 3/8" at the bottom edge. This explains why my neckline looks more narrow than the pattern, line art, and True Bias site version.
  • Since the pattern is fitted on a 5'5" model, I added 1" to the bodice length, front and back. I was planning to add 1" to the skirt as well, but it is 43" long, plenty for my height (5'7"), with a generous hem.
Time out for a pic:

And back to sewing...
  • Once I had my bodice sewn at shoulder and side seam, I had very gaping armholes! and the width at the bust line was 1 1/2" wider than I expected. I took in both side seams by 1" (back and front). Much better and the bodice fit to the skirt perfectly. 
  • Finishing the neckline and armholes was simple - I used self-fabric binding for both. OK, it wasn't so simple. The embroidered fabric was way too thick for a binding. I cut out the bias and removed the embroidery from the pieces. It was so easy that I did the same for the drawstring as well. 
My cheaters:
  • Since the dress clearly slips over one's head, I eliminated the functioning button front and used a faux button tab. For the pattern, I cut the front bodice on the fold, using the center front marking. 
  • I noticed that the back and front skirt are basically the same, with just a little bit more width in the back. Since it is cut on the fold, I drafted only one skirt pattern, with two center back lines. Perfect.
  • Out, out, drawstring! I did put it in and then took it out. Instead I used 1/2" elastic in the casing and secured a shortened drawstring in each open end. It's sooo much easier to keep the gathers aligned around the skirt!

Maggy London embroidered lawn, Fabric Mart

And I love my new dress. 

Parting shots - orchids are blooming in the guava tree and on the ground. Oh, BTW, I saw Mr. Cuban Knight anole in the tree last week. He's huge, at least 20" long. The tree is blooming, but is some weeks from its fruit. Nonetheless, Ms. Squirrel challenged him (bad idea) in anticipation.

Cymbidium - about 11 years old, it's a frequent bloomer, really year-round.

Epidendrum radicans - a ground orchid and newcomer to the garden.
I bought one in a pot and split it into three for planting.

Vanda and one of my first orchids. This one is about 12 years old
and has been split and repotted. Two now!

A previous pic of Mr. Anole. He's hard to photograph, he slips away so fast.
But this time he froze when he saw me. Lucky shot.

Ciao! Coco