Tuesday, August 15, 2017

New Look 6340 in a Border Print

After I made my first version, I knew I was going to make another one right away.  This summer my policy has become "If I like it make it again as soon as possible!" Because when you change up the fabric and add an embellishment, non-sewists don't realize you're wearing the same dress/pattern!

I chose this border print for the dress because I wanted something different from the first two versions. Then I flipped the script by using the border print at the neckline instead of at the bottom of the dress.  It looks like I wanted it to in my head but it didn't occur without challenges.

Materials ~
For this one I used a cotton sateen border print from the collection.  The fabric wasn't tagged so who knows where it came from...though I think Fashion Fabrics Club...but I'm not sure. The notions are a little interfacing for the facings and the purchased white piping from Daytona Trimmings also by way of the collection. 

Pattern & Construction Information ~
As you may have noticed I added sleeves to this one which meant a few pattern changes. 

Let's start with the sleeves...
To make sure I added back the space that was removed from the sleeveless dress pattern pieces, I measured the two back & front pieces against each other. Using that as a measurement, I drew the extra space back, right onto the fabric. I probably should have made new pattern pieces but I don't believe I will make this version again...and if I do I have my notes here to remind me of what I did.

That settled ~ the next challenge became how to match the border print across the top of the dress. I wanted it to work from the sleeves all the way across the front and back of the dress. I ended up making and inserting three sleeves to determine which one would work best.

Option One ~
The sleeve cap had too much of the brown in the top which made the border print look really disjointed across the front and back.

Second Option ~
This one had less brown in the sleeve cap but was too long and looked matronly. That was something I could correct though by cutting off some of the extra at the sleeve hem.

Third option ~
Then I decided to try a total floral sleeve adding a piece of the border as a band at the sleeve hem. But the sleeve was too long and heavy looking so I rejected it.

As you can see from the pictures of the finished dress, I went with the second option.

Though honestly, the border print doesn't work as well as I would like across the front of the dress. I wanted it to match completedly around the dress and it doesn't. I'm acknowledging that upfront but I'm still wearing it!

I went back and forth over whether or not I liked the dress. My disappointment in how the border print works across the sleeves, how it looks like a house dress on the hanger...helped to let it hang for a few days before I finished it. When I did, I decided to add some white piping to the neckline and sleeve hems to give it some punch.

I'm so glad that I added the piping. It gives it a little more upscale look yet delivers the comfort I want.

A few pictures of the dress ~

Conclusion ~
Since I used a cotton sateen for this one, it hangs differently than my linen versions do. Also, this dress would have benefitted from a back opening because while it's not so hard to get on, it's a little challenging to get off because of the sleeves. Yet again, not enough to make me not wear it.

Parting Shot ~
My other parting shot pics have featured the girls but the boys were here too. Now while The Little Prince, Danny, never left the comfort of the airconditioning, the Littlest Prince, Joshie, did venture out with his sisters.

This is my last version of this pattern.  I'm putting it away. There are other projects that I want to work on. It's August so summer will be gone soon and I really want to make a few other garments from my summer sewing list.

...as always more later!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Marilyn Dress by Style Arc Patterns

This is the first Style Arc pattern that I've sewn even though I own a bunch of them.  It's taken me a minute to get on the Style Arc bandwagon because I had issues with waiting for a pattern to arrive from Australia. I know not very global thinking...but I'm an instant gratification kinda girl!

Anyway, as soon as the nested patterns appeared on Amazon, I bought several...and then several more...without sewing any of them. However, I've seen a few of these dresses on the Internet and knew that I wanted one for my wardrobe too.

First impressions...
The instructions are scant. The diagrams are scant. I believe you need to have some sewing knowledge to make this pattern. The dot on the pattern "instructions" suggests Medium skills and I would agree with that assessment. Also, the seam allowance is 3/8", it's very important to remember that!!!

At first I was confused by the stitching and cutting lines but after handling the pattern a little, I caught on. I read the scanty directions and then proceeded to go my own way.

Materials ~
A blue embroidered border print chambray by Telio purchased from fabric.com

24" invisible zipper
white corded piping
white rayon bemberg lining

Construction ~
There were a couple of things...

I didn't have enough fabric to make lined sleeves. So I used a white rayon bemberg fabric from the collection to line my sleeves.

I added an invisible zipper to the back of the dress, cause I hate button & loop closures. Which I'm so glad I did because it allows me to unzip the dress and step into it instead of wrestling with it to get it over my head.

I made a v-neck that is between the high and lower necklines the pattern recommends.  Because of that I had to make an adjustment to the front neckline facing also.

I added 3 1/4" to the hemline so that the dress would cover my knees. Since it's a border print that I wouldn't hem, I needed to make sure that was correct and was the source of much angst before cutting it out.

I added white piping to the neckline. The dress seemed too plain with all of the party at the bottom. The white piping carries some of that detail to the neckline.

I cut a size 24 but probably should have cut a size 22 because I ended up going back in and sewing 3/4" side seams to remove some of the width. Before I did that, wearing the dress felt sloppy and nightgownish and even now it's a very loose fitting dress. 

Sleeve Construction ~
The sleeve construction was particularly trying. I know I'm not good at puzzle pieces and the way the sleeves went together wasn't intuitive to me.  Also, scant instructions...so I had to sit and puzzle it out. I did eventually figure it out but it was dicey there for a bit. I made no changes to the sleeve patterns figuring that they were open on the sides and that would cover my bodacious biceps.

However, I don't like how open the sleeves are...they seem to flop around on my arms. I notice that Megret (Cookin' and Craftin') made the same observation. I checked Linda (DanvilleGirl) and Lara (Thornberry) posts and they don't mention it either so I wonder if it's a curvy girl thing?!

After sleeping on it, I added a bartack halfway down the sleeves. This does pull on the front a little when I put my hands on my hips but I'd rather that then the floppiness that was occurring.

Neckline Changes ~
As I mentioned above I added piping to my neckline to bring some color to the top...otherwise it was kind of bland. Also, I cut my neckline between the highest point and the lowest marking on the pattern. Was this a precise cut, hell no?! You do know me right?! *LOL* I just picked a point that looked like it would work for me and cut. It worked though! The piped neckline is one of my favorite parts of the dress.

A few pictures of the dress ~

Conclusion ~
I'm glad that I made the dress. Though I won't be making it again.  I could tell midway through constructing the dress that it was a one and done. However, the experience hasn't soured me on StyleArc patterns. I will definitely try out some of the others in my collection.

...and I'm hoping that during the next heatwave, I will turn to this dress because of the air conditioned sleeves and the loose fit. Those features will make it perfect for the humid, steamy, hundred degree weather we can experience.

This dress does fit into my plan to make as many denim/chambray dresses as I possibly can. I love the ease of wearing a good denim dress especially since it works in my office...and while I'm probably still a little more dressed than anyone else but I'm not over dressed.

I know that I said the border print NL 6340 would be up next but I have a packed weekend and I plan to wear this dress. I thought it appropriate to move this one up in the queue and share it now instead of later!

...as always more later!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A Black/White & Red Concord Tee Maxi

I really wanted a red maxi Concord Tee dress as my final rendition of this pattern. My original vision was a red scooped neck maxi with short sleeves and black/white check accents at the neckline and the sleeve hems.  As you can see that's not what I ended up with...

Due to a shortage of the red knit, I had to cut the sleeves from the black/white check accent fabric. This small change salvaged my vision. At first I wondered if I would like it. However, I really do love the final version.

The only change from this maxi dress and the other Concord Tee Dresses is the length. I added side slits from my knees down to make it easier to walk in. 

I used a red rayon knit from the collection which I think is from Fabric Mart but don't hold me to it.  The black 'n white check is also from the collection and I have no idea where it was purchased from because my accents were cut from a 1/2 yard scrap from my scrap bin. Although the knit was last used here in the granddaughter's back to school clothing.

I love the versatility of this pattern...and I guess I've really worked it out this summer! However, it's a real testimony to the pattern's great bones!

A few more pictures ~

Conclusion ~
As you can see, I'm thrilled with this last Concord T-Shirt Maxidress and I'm sorry to bombard you with pics but I really love how this one turned out! It's also soooooo comfortable.

I did end up making five t-shirt dresses from the Concord Tee pattern...even though the Flamingo Sleeve dress won't be able to be worn until fall. The way it shakes out is three of the t-shirt dresses can be worn during the summer - the rose print, the peach print and this one. The black & creme lace ponte with black lace sleeves and the flamingo sleeve dress will work both in the spring and the fall. So I covered the spring/summer season with these makes. I really am putting the pattern away now. *LOL*

Next up on the blog is the border print version of New Look 6340.

Parting Shot ~

...as always more later!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

New Look 6340 - Woven Summer Dresses

I bought this pattern during the spring to hold onto for summer sewing. Inevitably it gets hot, humid and sticky here and all I want are loose and flowy dresses to make it easy for a breeze (any breeze) to blow through the dress.

After a romp through the collection, I found two pieces of fabric that fulfilled my requirements for the dress. I wanted something printed, woven and lightweight. The two fabrics I chose fit the bill!

Pattern and Construction Information ~
- The pattern only goes up to a size 20 and I'm a good 22-24 with adjustments in the Big 4. 
- However, since it's a loose fitting pattern I used some of the ease from the dress to fit me. 
- I did add a 5/8" to the side front and side back pieces. 
- I also sewed the dress with 1/2" seam allowances from the waistline down.  
- The shoulder seams and the seams in the bust area all have 5/8" seam allowances. 
- Oh, be careful of the bust darts...make sure that they work for you because they are kinda on the low side. 

Those are my only pattern and construction changes. Here are my finished versions of the dress.

The Purple and Lime Floral Dress ~

This fabric is from the collection via Fabric Mart. Since this was the first one, I omitted the loop and button at the back that the pattern calls for and added a 12" invisible zipper in the back seam.  I hate button & loop closures so I ALWAYS look for a way to replace them.  However, the neckline is so wide, a back opening is totally unnecessary.  So I sewed the back seam closed for the next version.

I did add a ribbon that I'd saved from an old Godiva chocolate box as the tie for the back of the dress. Besides a little interfacing in the facings, that's all of the elements in this dress.

Here are a few photos of this version...

The Rogue Linen Print Dress ~

The fabric for this dress was bought during SewExpo 2016 from the Marcy Tilton booth. Because I'm extra, I added red piping to the neckline and armholes to accent the red print in the fabric. For this dress I omitted both the back loop & button closure and the tie. Even though I did buy some red grosgrain ribbon to use for the tie. I just decided after trying it on that I wanted a simple a-line dress. Adding the ribbon was one step too much for me.

Here are a few photos of the dress...

Conclusion ~
This is a really simple sew complicated only by my addition of the piping. However, these are great dresses for that time of the year in NYC where it's hot, humid and sweltering. Wearing a loose flowing dress is the only way to be comfortable in the heat. I also think that a great print is what stops these dresses from looking like house dresses. Of the two, I prefer the Rogue Linen Print, the piping gives it a sophistication that the first one is lacking. Also, I've already worn that one and it was so comfortable to wear alone or with a sweater in the air conditioning.

I have one more that I made using a great border print that I found in the collection when I was looking for these fabrics!

Parting shot ~
The girls were with me and my daughter while we took pictures. My daughter took this shot of us walking back to the house. If you can't tell pink is their favorite color and they always have some pink on!

...as always more later! 

Friday, August 04, 2017

Simplicity - A Step in the Right Direction

In January I wrote a post asking why Simplicity Patterns didn't apologize for some social media snafus regarding People of Color and how they marketed towards them.  Yesterday my girl Marcy, wrote this awesome post about Complicated Thoughts, that made me realize I should circle back around and give credit where credit is due.

See to me Simplicity has done an AMAZING job of adding diversity to their pattern covers for both vintage and regular garment patterns. I recently visited the website and was thrilled with the company's response to the sewists outcry.

Here are some examples:




Now I know to some this was a big addo over nothing and you're wondering why I'm bringing this back up. But to me, if you're going to criticize you should also acknowledge when the company has responded to your criticisms...and I think Simplicity has done a wonderful job of rectifiying this situation. I'm sure that this will be carried over to all aspects of their social media channels now too.  So kudos to Simplicity for thinking enough of the concerns of their consumers to change the optics. 

BTW, I spent quite a bit of time on the website and now I've got a list of patterns that I need to purchase and add to my pattern collection. Just when did Simplicity get so cool! *LOL*

...as always more later!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Catch Up...

July has been a weird month this year. It use to be that July was my most productive sewing month but the last couple of years, it seems as if my sewjo goes on vacation during this month.

I have been sewing, though. I have three versions of NL6340 to share, a new Concord T-Shirt hack and my first pair of wearable pants that I've sewn since I changed jobs. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to get everything photographed this weekend...which means that things have to wait until next weekend.

New Look 6430 in a border print

New Look 6430 in a Marcy Tilton print with piping

New Look 6430 in a floral linen print

New Concord Hack

Those were some teaser photos. They were taken on my iPad and sent to my sewing buddy for fit and sewing advice. Also normally when I sew, I hold all of these sewing conversations in my head that I want to share here. For some reason that hasn't happened either this month so there hasn't been a Question of the Month post.

Hopefully everything will get back on track in August.  Just wanted to keep you in the loop and let you know that I was still around.

I expect to have photos of new garments on the blog starting new weekend. Well at least I hope to!

...as always more later!


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