Sunday, July 23, 2017

The HotPattern Riviera T-shirt Starring...the Sleeves!

This may the season of the sleeve, but this HotPattern t-shirt design hit the trend a decade before it became a big, big trend! (Like my photobomber in the bottom corner? LOL)
I'm wearing the ruffle sleeve version from the HP 105, Riviera Once, Twice, Three Times a T-shirt pattern. It doesn't appear to be available any longer (on their website). The copyright date is 2005.
While I think the sleeves on this top are fun, fun, fun, there's a few things about the pattern I wasn't fond of.

First of all, there is only one piece that is used for both the front and the back.  I sewed it as is this first time, just so I could get a feel for the design and fit.  Next time, I'll make a new front pattern piece and do an small FBA.

Next, the neckline. Ugh. Do Not Like It At All. It's designed rather wide, as you can see on my dressform - GiGi, in case you haven't met :-)
After seeing how wide it was, I removed the facing, narrowed the neckline and restitched the facing. I probably went too far in as now the neckline feels too snug.
That's okay. I'm sure it will be just right the next time!

Can we talk about the neckline facing? Another dislike. It is so wide! But again, that's an easy fix.
I do like these sleeves!  And they were so simple to sew. It's just a rectangle stitched to the armhole opening.  I didn't even hem the sleeve edges.
The pattern is easy-to-sew and can be completed in about an hour.   I found it to be longer than illustrated on the pattern envelope and will shorten it next time.
The few dislikes with that the pattern were outweighed by how much I like the top. It's  a keeper and one that I'll sew again.

I leave you with a pic of me with my little sewing buddy.




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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Go with the Flow: Burda 05-2016-103 Blouse Review

"Oh, please, please, please pick me" begged the silk print blouse. "Aw, shoot, passed over again. I don't get it, I'm much more attractive than that boring old black top she's going to wear."

I'm pretty sure if this blouse could speak that's what I would hear when I stand in my closet debating over what to wear with my jeans. Don't get me wrong. I think it's a beautiful blouse!
The colors are vibrant, the silk fabric feels divine, and there are many understated details.

Such as the narrow neck bias binding that extends into front ties.
The soft pleats in the back sewn into the self-lined yoke.
The front pleats that provide fullness for the bust.
And my favorite detail (one that you likely wouldn't notice) is the center front placket with hidden buttons.
It might be easier to see in this picture, which shows my well used button cutter and board.
This functional front closure is not needed. After all, the blouse has a wide (and low!) neck opening and is easy to just pullover your head. But why not? I like that there's a little extra special detail to the blouse, even if I will never actually use those buttons.

So why don't I wear my beautiful silk blouse?  Because I find it too loose and flowy. Whenever I put it on and look into the mirror, it doesn't look flattering to me and I end up changing into something else.

See what I mean? There's a lot of fabric there!
Let's talk a bit about the pattern. It's from the May 2016 BurdaStyle magazine. (You can download the blouse pattern here.) When this issue arrived last year I marked nine designs that I wanted to sew, as it  was one of my favorites issues in a long time.  This blouse, number 103, was the first project I wanted to tackle.
It requires a lightweight fabric so I choose a silk that had been in my stash for a few years. The teal print was a Thakoon fabric purchased online from Mood Fabrics. I had originally bought the fabric for a project I was working on for Sew News magazine, but ended up choosing a different fabric for my final article.

I really liked working with the fabric, even though it had a tendency to ravel.  I didn't have quite enough fabric for the sleeve binding and ties, so I finished the sleeves with a casing and narrow elastic instead.
This blouse took some time to sew due to all the details.  And if you've sewn designs from BurdaStyle magazine, you already know the instructions are not always the easiest to follow.  That was especially true for this blouse in regards to the self-lined yoke.
 
This is how I stitched the yoke and lining to the front so the seam would be completely enclosed without hand stitching.  You may or may not find this helpful. I'm including it on this post mostly as a reminder to myself should I choose to sew this blouse again.  Note: I followed the sewing instructions to attach the yoke and yoke lining to the back of the top first.

Step 1: Baste the right side of the yoke to the right side of the blouse front, keeping lining free.
Step 2: Fold the yoke lining over and align to the basted seam.
Step 3: This looks odd, but stick with me, it works. Reach in and pin all layers together (the front of the blouse will be sandwiched in between the yoke and yoke lining).

Step 4: Stitch the seam and turn so the seam is inside of the yoke and yoke lining.
Step 5: Continue sewing the blouse per BurdaStyle magazine instructions.
I do yokes so rarely that I always have to stop and think about how to do this. I hope you find it helpful also.  Or perhaps you have an easier method!  If so, share in the comments!

If you choose to sew this blouse, you might want to go down a size, depending on how much ease you want. I used my usual BurdaStyle magazine size (I did do a small FBA). I assume there is a lot of ease because the blouse is meant to be worn tucked in, but those days are long behind me. That may be why I'm finding this fit much looser than I prefer.
Yea, yea, I know. It's an easy fix. Just eliminate some of the excess from the sides. I am going to do that - someday.  It's just that I prefer to sew something new instead of fixing something I've already finished! Maybe you can relate? I really should get on that so I can enjoy wearing this cute blouse.

Which I think is even cuter when worn with my adorable sewing accessory :-) .  She's getting pretty old so I enjoy having her pose with me. Whenever she's not sleeping that is.

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Triple Trend! The Floral, Ruffled, Cold-Shoulder Top, New Look 6490

The thought of combining three trends - floral print, ruffles, and a cold-shoulder - sounds like a hot mess doesn't it?  But it works!
I'm wearing New Look 6490, a pullover, lined top pattern that has options for cold-shoulder, no shoulder, long or short sleeves as well as a ruffle or no ruffle.

I choose a floral print purchased June 2016 from Craftsy, when they were still selling fashion fabrics. The 2-yard pre-cut floral ombre fabric cost me less than $10 and provided just enough fabric for this top.  Since the darker color was on both selvage edges, I cut the front and back cross grain so I could take advantage of it at the hemline.
I sewed view D, the version with the ruffle that extends from the front to the back neckline forming a "sleeve".  Here's the front.
Here's the back.
The neckband and tie front are both interfaced. The instructions call for all four pieces of the front band and tie to be interfaced.   I used a very lightweight interfacing (Pro Sheer Elegant Light from Fashion Sewing Supply - no affiliation, I just love the product). I think it worked okay on the neckband but the tie isn't as flowy as I'd like. If I were to sew this again, I'd wouldn't interface the facing section of the tie.


I wasn't very good at turning the neckband edges under so it's not completely even all the way around. But it's difficult to see, especially since my hair covers the band. The instructions have you attach the front ties to the neckband, sew the top edge, continuing on to stitch all edges of the tie, and ending at the slit at the front.  Next you trim, clip, turn, pin the turned under raw edge to the neck band and topstitch in place.  I choose to slipstitch the facing in place before topstitching.

The front and back are cut on the fold with a small slit front opening. The front ruffle is supposed to hang free, but I misread the instructions and sewed it into the front slit seam. No biggie, it works fine.
The edge is neatly finished with a lining.  I used a rayon Bemberg lining that I had in my stash.  It feels heavenly against my skin.
The ruffles are finished with a narrow hem.  This is how I do my narrow hems. I changed to a straight stitch throat plate for this step.
  • Press hem allowance to wrong side
  • Stitch very close to the edge of the fold
  • Very carefully trim as close as possible to the stitches (this requires patience!)
  • Turn again to wrong side
  • Stitch in place using previous stitches as a guideline
I need to press the narrow hem in place again as there's a few places on the back ruffle where it doesn't want to stay flat. 
 The only alteration I did to the pattern was an FBA. You really can't tell from the pattern envelope that this top has darts. Since there were already darts, doing the FBA was easy.

I love the look. I also like that I was able to combine three things I love (florals, ruffles and the cold-shoulder) and not have one trend overwhelm the other.
Will I sew it again? Probably not. But I will enjoy wearing this one!





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Saturday, July 08, 2017

A Walking Flower Garden aka My New Look 6467 Floral Dress

How lovely is this floral scuba knit? It fits in beautifully with the lush green foliage on the walking path behind our home.
This simple pullover knit dress is pattern New Look 6467.  This sleeveless floral number is my third dress I've sewn using this pattern.  I guess it now qualifies as one of my rare TNT (tried-n-true) patterns!

The pattern has neckline, sleeve and hem variations. This dress is view B, minus the short sleeves, which I decided to eliminate at the last minute. 
The fabric was a roll-end purchased from Emma One Sock, labeled 'garden collection' print 'scuba' knit. The colors are even more vibrant in person!  (Ha! This is my "hurry up and snap the picture" face!)
The dress is simple to sew, which seems to be my theme this summer. I was unable to do much sewing over the past few years and now that I have time again I'm leaning towards those instant gratification projects!

I did a FBA (full bust adjustment), slight forward shoulder adjustment, a sway back adjustment, and added 1-1/2" to the length of the dress. I wanted it above my knees, but still work appropriate.
As much as I loved the curved hem on the short sleeve, I wasn't sure if I wanted a sleeve.  I planned on wearing this dress during the summer months, and scuba knit doesn't breath!  I decided to keep it sleeveless and drafted a facing for the sleeve. I made it wide to mimic the wide neck and hem facings.
In an effort to eliminate some bulk, I used a lighter weight knit in a coordinating solid color for all of the facings.
The facings are all topstitched in place. I used a very, very narrow zig-zag stitch, since this was a knit. The neckline is wide enough that the narrow zig-zag stitch was probably unnecessary.
I really like the little curved hem detail!
Because the neckline is wide, I was able to eliminate the back zipper. However, due to my limited fabric (remember, it was a roll end so I had less than two yards) I wasn't able to cut both the front and back on the fold.
The first time I sewed this dress I added the in-seam pockets.  As much as I LOVE pockets, they only succeeded in adding bulk to my hips and I didn't include them this time around.
This is one of my favorite summer dresses!
I'm so happy that floral prints have made a comeback. I'm going to sew and wear them as often as I can while the trend lasts.

And I leave you with a very common outtake photo. My hubs *hates* taking pics for my blog and is starts snapping away before I'm ready and I'm usually saying "No! I'm not ready!"  LOL!






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Friday, June 30, 2017

Simplicity 8383 - Knit Floral Trapeze Dress

Tutleneck + no sleeves = love.
 I have a thing for sleeveless turtlenecks.  I'm not sure why, because turtlenecks, even mock turtlenecks, aren't necessarily the most flattering look on me.  Maybe in my mind I still look like I did in my younger days when I rocked that look.  No matter what the reason, my love of sleeveless turtlenecks drew me to this pattern - Simplicity 8383.

The pattern is a trapeze dress with options of a mock turtleneck (the version I sewed), a scoop neck, sleeveless or cold shoulder sleeves.

The pattern is designed for knits. I choose a floral knit I found at Hobby Lobby (which I recently discovered. Guess where I now buy my Simplicity patterns on sale for 99 cents?).  Even though the fabric base is black, the pink flowers said "hello summer!"
The dress has a center back seam and an invisible zipper closure on the version I sewed. Because the mock turtleneck is folded in half lengthwise and sewn to the neck edge of the dress before adding the zipper, the top of the zipper tape extends beyond the top of the mock turtleneck (left photo).  I turned the tape to the inside of the dress, tucking the tape inside the seam allowance and handstitching it in place (right photo).

The armhole is finished with a self-fabric binding.
I'll admit, when I first put the dress on GiGi (my dressform) I wasn't thrilled.  It reminded me of a muumuu dress. I put that thought out on Instagram along with a pic of the dress and received positive comments so I decided to put it aside for a day or two and look at it again with fresh eyes.  
In the meantime, one of my dear friends send me an email with a link to a Cloth & Stone dress on the Anthropologie website informing me that my dress was definitely NOT muumuu-ish and that the shape was right on trend.
Screen Shot of Cloth & Stone Dress on Anthropologie website
I was convinced. I did take some of the fullness out of my floral dress (and now I really want to sew a blue chambray or linen version!)

It's a comfortable dress.  Although it really is too casual for the office, I've wore it on really hot and humid day paired with a lightweight cardi to make it a bit less casual.

As far as pattern alterations go,  I did do a small FBA (full bust adjustment) and added 2" to the length of the dress so I wouldn't feel self conscious when I moved - like here where I'm trying to control two very curious dogs. 
For a dress I wasn't sure I liked, I'm pretty sure it will see plenty of wear this summer.

And my parting shot is me showing hubby that my arms are *finally* starting to get a little definition from my workouts.  Do you think anyone would think it strange if I walked around like this, LOL?
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