Sunday, July 29, 2012

What a Smart-dressed Florida Girl Wears After Lounging at the Pool

Did I say something the other day about Sewing Olympics? Hahahahaha! Instead of being inspired to sew, the swimmers have motivated me to do almost nothing more than lay poolside reading.

I accomplished nothing in the sewing room yesterday. Instead, I donned my swimsuit and went outside around 8:30 AM, gave the dogs a bath, brushed the pool, cleaned off some Rubbermaid bins that had been waiting outside for me to do so since I moved, poured myself an iced Diet Dr. Pepper, grabbed my Kindle, and lounged next to the pool until about 2 PM. When I got too hot, I jumped in the pool and swam for a bit, and then got back out and continued reading. Bliss. And slightly pink shoulders. ;-)

This morning, I went into the sewing room and finished the New Look dress (pics coming later - it's about to rain at the moment) and then dug out this nearly finished Vogue 8724 dress I started over a year ago and finished it off too. All it needed was the sideseams serged (smaller now - yay!) and a hem. Then I spent more time poolside. It's addicting, now that the pool water is FINALLY near 90 (what my wussy Florida self prefers) and I may end up with some real tan on my legs this summer after all.

Now I'm off to do some errands in my on-trend, if not eye-searingly bright, maxi dress and I'm hoping to get back into the sewing room upon my return to at least plan what's next and maybe get something cut out.

Friday, July 27, 2012

How could I forget?

Sometimes the brain does such weird stuff. THIS dress is the whole reason I was thinking about the Wearability post, and did I even mention it? Uh, nope. Sheesh.

It's been finished less than 3 weeks and I've already worn the crap out of it. In fact, I had to restitch part of the hem because I was wearing it when a sudden urge came on to move Tyler's boxes of stuff into the garage and I (how does one say this gracefully?) spread my legs too far apart while balancing on a ladder hoisting a box to a top shelf and, well, riiiiiiip. :-)

I've worn it to the movies/dinner with the girls, to work, shopping, and to the Dali museum with my sister (pictures of the museum to come soon). That's a lot of wash/wear for 2-1/2 weeks!

I'm definitely making this one again and soon, but I *will* fix the pattern mistake before I do (even though it doesn't bother me at all now in the finished dress). But even before that, I need to finish my in-progress New Look dress and then decide what I'm going to do with those lovely knit prints that arrived last week since I promised myself they wouldn't become stash.

I think tonight I'll watch the opening ceremony for the Olympics in the sewing room so I can do some dress hems and make a decision or two. Multi-tasking is my middle name. :-) Maybe I can get into the spirit and have my own sewing Olympics for the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


My sister is gone now but we had a great visit, after she finally arrived. Her plane was 5 freakin' hours late. I ended up going home to wait Friday night, and finally picked her up after midnight. We stayed up until about 4 AM gabbing and catching up. She did get a free round-trip ticket out of the ordeal so she'll be back soon.

Since there hasn't been any new sewing, I thought I would go through some past makes and report on the wearability factor. I always enjoy when other bloggers do this, so now it's my turn.

This recent make is definitely a regular in the rotation. In fact, I wore it Friday to work and to pick up my sister cuz I thought we were going out. It's pretty, comfortable, and flattering and I nearly always get a compliment when I wear it. The bra keepers I added saved it from hoochie status. Grade A+.

Since I altered this one smaller, it's also a regular both for the office with heels and dressed down with flats/flip-flops on the weekend. Another A+, especially since it now has a second life.

I wear this one regularly, just not as often as the previous two. I want to make it again but this time I will add a smidge more length above the waist because it feels like it rides a little too high front and back. Grade B+, which should turn into an A+ with a re-do.

Skirt remake and RTW top. I've worn this once and received a compliment. I do like it, but I hadn't liked my shoe choices for the outfit. But I've got some neutrals now so I should pull it out more. Maybe tomorrow? Grade B+.

I've worn this top exactly once, on my birthday in March - the day for which I made it. I probably will end up tossing the top as it's just too low and weird in the front. I like the idea of the style a lot though, so it might get a re-do in different fabric and with some pattern alterations. Grade D-. The skirt is OK. I haven't worn it only because it doesn't say summer to me. I'll see how it goes in the fall. Grade C for now.

I thought this was a D- or F when I made it because of the wonky pattern, but I wear the darn thing now almost every weekend because it's so easy to throw on, look decent, and be comfortable. It's bigger on me  since this was made last summer so I have to tie the ties tighter. I should make this again in a smaller size. New grade B+.

I have never worn this. In fact, I never even hemmed it. It's much too big for me now, but I gave it to my sister while she was here and she'll wear it, raw hems and all. It looks good on her. I wish I had snapped a pic. Grade F for me. But A+ for being gone from the WTF pile.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Look 6097: Almost Done

I don't know why it's so hard to get myself into the sewing room on work nights because once I'm there, I'm re-energized and I actually make progress.

The dress is almost done. All it needs is hems and a belt of some sort. I don't think I have enough fabric left for a tie/belt. I've just got some scraps loosely tied around me. Maybe I can do some creative piecing. Or I can look through the stash for a suitable solid brown.

Or I will buy one. This brown belt has seen better days and is too big anyway. I only put it on for an idea of a contrast belt.

Here's no belt and hands in the pockets. I still have a trail of elastic hanging down since I haven't trimmed it off yet. Attractive, no?

I probably won't finish this until next week. Tomorrow night I need to do some housecleaning in anticipation of my sister's Friday arrival. But there WILL be sewing next week because my new bright knit prints arrived today and the mojo is screaming.

Monday, July 16, 2012

New Look 6097: Wearable Muslin

My Simplicity/New Look patterns arrived in Saturday's mail. You should've seen the HUGE box that 6 patterns arrived in. Sheesh. But I digress.

I don't usually make wearable muslins. But since this pattern is straightforward enough, and I used my TNT Ottobre tee and Magic Pencil skirt as comparisons for sizing, AND I have brown/white and/or brown/ivory prints up the wazoo, I'm plunging ahead with real fabric. So this will either be wearable or it will be a wadder. And one piece of the brown prints will be out of the stash.

Even though the envelope has sizes 6-22 in the same envelope, the pattern pieces are not grouped all together so you can easily blend between neighboring sizes. What that means is I had to rough-cut the 3 groupings for each bodice piece (left and right are separate) and lay them over each other so I could have all the size lines visible through the tissue to blend between sizes. The waist edge at the front overlay was a little fiddly since it's pleated. I had to fold the pleats in place and then blend outward, make my blended-size cut, and unfold the pleats so the cut would include the extensions into the seam allowance. So, thumbs down to New Look for the non-consecutive groupings.

I had hoped to be further along but I had to re-do the neckline. Twice. Grrr. First I didn't stretch the clear elastic enough. Then too much. Then I was out of clear elastic so I just used regular 3/8" elastic and called it done.

Hopefully more progress will happen during the week after work since there won't be any sewing next weekend with my sister her visiting.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Little Shopping

Today was Walmart day. You know how I love me some cheap crap from that place. Remember these shoes I recently bought?

Well, I just love them. So today, I bought them in brown too. AND another duplicate pair in black because, well, they're WALMART shoes and they won't last and I've been wearing the heck out of the first pair. Now I can delay the inevitable a little longer.

I also bought this dress. Seventeen bucks. I'm loving dresses for work, especially now that I've let the pantyhose go bye-bye. It takes me 4 minutes to get dressed in the morning. Not counting the shower, hair, and make-up, of course. ;-)

The last interesting bits from the Walmart run this morning are a new bracelet and ring. Excuse the wrinkled old lady hand. Good god, when did THAT happen? Tonight is the first of what will be at least monthly girls' nights out with a few single friends from work. We're going to go see Magic Mike (because who cares about plot when you have half-nekkid men on the screen, and one of them is Matthew Mc - hi Belinda!!). Did you know it's set in Tampa? That will be an extra fun bonus, although I've heard they've taken liberties with location accuracy. Then we're going for dinner and drinks. I'm wearing the new jumper/dress and the new "jewels." But probably flat shoes to keep things more casual, although I may cave for the brown shoes above. And next weekend my sister will be here sans hubby and there will be more going out on the town. Yay, I *have* a life after all.

After Walmart, I fell off the fabric wagon and got these ITY lovelies from I'm in a brights mood and most of what's in my stash is earth tones. These WILL get sewn up before they become part of the stash. We still have MONTHS of summer to go, so once they're made into dresses, they will get plenty of wear.

Parting Shot: These goodies arrived from Japan from the Marine.The chocolates were melty, but still tasted fine. Oops. Did I just admit to eating them? All at once? ;-) Alex has taken over the beverages. I wish I could send him (Tyler, not Alex) on a Japanese sewing book/notions trip but I wouldn't know where/what.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

McCall's 6397: Modeled and Nitpicked

So here it is. I just finished hemming it, but I'm not done with it yet. The seams where the pocket panels join the skirt need more reinforcement. There's too much bias going on there (read below) and they'll want to bag out, especially since there's no way I'll be able to keep my hands OUT of them.

Overall, the dress is OK. But it kind of feels like I'm wearing a full-body girdle. But that's due to the fabric. I think I would like this better with a NON-stretch woven. I also think I used the wrong cup size. I automatically went for the D and it's actually a little bit baggy. Not so much that it looks bad, but I think I could do with less room. That's a first. Hah. Or maybe a 14 with the D Cup for the upper bodice instead of a 16.

Speaking of bias, I thought I would be "creative" and cut the side panels on the bias so the motifs would change direction. A nice thought, but it hardly shows. Except the nap (what there is) does lay a little differently so it does provide some slimming shadowing. I'll take it. There should be more of the effect, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

This is the same rear view from the other night because I forgot to turn around when I had the tripod out. Just keeping all the views together.

I wussed out on making my own bias strips and used what I had on hand, which was black. But it doesn't show and got me done a lot faster. The zipper is one of my purse zippers but it actually works with this very well, both for color and length. Fancy zipper application, eh? That's what you get when you omit the lining.

Now on to the nitpicking. You can see the pocket/panel seam above, and the underbust dart.

And here they are from the right side.

Do they line up as in the line drawing above? Here, let me answer that. NO, THEY DO NOT.

It's not due to any dart manipulation on my part or combining sizes. I got the pattern pieces out and checked them. I even checked the untouched smaller bust pieces and the problem is there too. It's simply a drafting error on the two pieces that make up the front of the skirt section. When sewn together, the seam doesn't align with the underbust dart. Which sucks, because that's one of the features of the pattern that I really liked. Plus, if the pieces were drafted correctly, there would be more of a slimming effect (which is WHY I liked it). Losing that illusion really ticks me off.

It's not the end of the world for this dress. It stopped me from topstitching up through the dart as I had intended, but no one who doesn't know better will know better. And I suppose I *can* fix it if I make it again. But I shouldn't have to.

The Internet Is a Very Dangerous Place

I was very good at keeping my debit card in my wallet when Shannon posted pics of her New Look 6802 dress, even though I've had that posting open on my lappie in a separate window for a week and keep sneaking peeks at it every day. I think I even have that fabric.

But then today, Cennetta posted pics of her make of Simplicity 2181 (aka It's So Easy 1849) and I just couldn't help myself. I ran to the Simplicity website. At work.

Not only did those two patterns FLY into my cart, but four other friends of theirs followed along. So, these six patterns will soon be landing on my doorstep.

I got the cheaper It's Sew Easy version, cuz I really just want this one style.

With and without sleeves, it's definitely getting made this summer.

I really like both views a lot.

LOVE this. It will probably be first up.

I know I already have essentially this pattern at least two times over, but I still can't resist a twist.

For the drape neck top.

So, yeah. The internet is a very dangerous place. For my wallet.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kwik Sew 3915: Modeled

I'll post pics of the dress and details on the pattern failure, but today I'm going backward a couple of days for the promised pic of KS3915 on me.

Can you see me here? I feel like I blend right in to my back yard. And sorry,  no jazz hands. This is kind of dressed down for me at work but it's Florida in the summer and everyone slacks off a little bit.

Close-up of the shoes. I love these, and it's been hard NOT to wear them every single day. They are soooo comfortable.

I'm not sure if I feel up to hemming the dress tonight. But if not tonight, it will be soon.

McCall's 6397: Nearly Done Sneak Peak

I'll be back after I've had some time to hem it, like it again, and become camera-ready. There's a major goof with the pattern, and I'm over it now even though it was impossible to fix post-cutting, but it will be a lesson to muslin the actual view I plan to make. Stoooopid McCall's.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

McCall's 6397: The Pattern Alterations

The pattern alterations went quickly and I'm now ready to cut bait and fish. Er, I mean, cut fabric and sew. The cutting will take somewhat longer since I will need to cut single layer for motif matching purposes.

Here's what I did, on the upper front piece: Raised neckline and extended its and the armhole edge 5/8"; split the underbust dart to a side dart and lowered the apex of the underbust dart a smidge; moved the shoulder seam back 1/2" (if you have forward shoulders, and I don't, this is a pattern for you).

For the upper back, subtracted 1/2" from where the shoulder seam lays (to match front adjustment); extended armhole edge 5/8"; a tuck in the upper back for my erect posture.

To address some comments from my last post:

Anon: "When you make the bust dart, what will determine the angle of the line from the side seam to the bust apex? Should the line be perpendicular to the grainline, or should the angle of the line begin much lower on the side seam"

Two things determined the angle I chose. First, I wanted the dart to point upward, and second, there ain't much space between where a dart would be and the empire seam. I just eyeballed it.

M-C: "All that's wrong with these darts is that they need to be a tad wider apart, ie truly below your bust, and also shorter. The pucker just means you're trying for a Gaultier effect on a non-conical breast :-)" 

The photo must have been deceiving because the actual dart placement is fine. It's centered under the girls. But you're spot on with the Gaultier reference. And Madonna I ain't. ;-)

Now I'm off to the sewing room again. If I put my nose to the grindstone, I could end up with a finished dress today. But I'm not counting on it since I'm so not a nose/grindstone kind of stitcher. Stay tuned.

McCall's 6397: The muslin

I went with this one, mostly because I thought the fabric I'm planning to use is better suited for a more closely fitted style. I still like the Vogue 8764 dress and will keep it on my short list, especially after reading Carolyn's review and revisiting her make. I forgot that was the pattern she used for her ponte knit colorblocked dress and I may just have to steal her idea use hers as inspiration.

I'm making the view with the front pockets and scoop neckline but I used the plain front piece for my muslin because it's easier. You know I'm all about the easy. ;-)

Overall, the muslin is pretty good. I need a few tweaks but nothing major. I cut the 16 for the bodice and blended to the 20 for the hips/skirt section. The hips are snug, but my fabric will be a stretch woven and not the sheet I'm using for my muslin and I think it will stretch out with wear so I'm going to keep the fit on the snug side of things. The neckline and armholes will need to be raised. They are good here, but that's with the seam allowances still in place. I don't think I will add the lining (too hot) so I will just finish the edges with stitched-down bias facings. This will also allow me to snug things in a bit too, which will eliminate the hint of gaposis I'm seeing.

This is a multi-cup size pattern and I have to say I'm not particularly thrilled with it in D cup size. White it technically fits, the darts are way too wide to end smoothly in the distance given. Can you see the puckers at the dart apexes (apexi?) in the pic below? (And how 'bout that jazz hand??) I think I really should take the time and rotate some of the underbust dart to an added side dart. I'm also going to need to take out a tuck at the upper back for my erect posture and I did make a square shoulder adjustment as I was cutting the tissue. Really, though, not too many fit issues for a woven pattern. I know I've been sliding my way through fitting lately with all the knits and I was a little worried I'd have to get all slash and spread on this one.

That's it for now. I'm know I won't finish the real dress tomorrow, but I'm hoping to get an early start and at least make some good progress. If this turns out like I'm thinking it will, I will wear it a lot this summer.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Kwik Sew 3915 Finished, and What's Next

Well, I pooped out Thursday and Friday nights and didn't finish my top until this morning, but it's done and that's all that matters. Here's how I plan to wear it. I'll get  a pic of me in the outfit after I've hit the shower. I think it makes a nice Florida summer outfit and I know I'll be glad to get this skirt back in the rotation.

The neckband gathers were only a little fiddly and that's mostly because (a) I needed to lessen the gathering distance vs. the pattern notches because I wanted a little more fullness where the gathers gather, and (b) gathers always mean a LOT of pins.

I didn't follow the construction instructions for the neckband, even though Kwik Sew instructions are always pretty good. KS instructed to first make the gathers and then join the inner and outer neckbands at the neck seam, which I did. Then you are supposed to tie off the gathering stitches at the bodice edge of the outer band and then stitch it single-layer onto the bodice. Then press the seam allowance toward the neckband. Then sew the inner band by stitching in the ditch of the first joining seam. That's really an OK method, but I didn't want to mess with my gathers that much and I didn't want the lump of the seam allowances *inside* the neckband, because in this solid cotton/Lycra knit it would definitely show.

So instead, I did my gathers, joined the bands at the neck seam RS together, flipped them RS out (pressed and understitched also per KS), and then pinned both outer and inner bands together and joined them as one. I then stitched the unfinished edges together so they wouldn't shift, giving me more control over the gathers, and attached the whole neckband unit to the bodice in one pass. I pressed the seam allowances outward and coverstitched. If I didn't have a coverstitch machine, I would've just topstitched once.

Above, you can see the inside of the neckband. Sure, you can see the seam allowances but who cares. It's still not an awful finish and it's a tee shirt, not a couture gown. And if I didn't use glaring white looper thread, it would blend.

As a final lazy step instead of trimming, I made a deep hem. It's lazy, yes, but it will also lay better in the long run.

So, next up is a dress. One of my coworkers has a couple of very plain (design-wise, not fabric-wise) sleeveless shift dresses. I really like them. They look so effortless to wear in our heat and  humidity and yet she still looks so pulled together. I couldn't copy them exactly because with my boobage, that kind of dress will hang like a tent off the girls and people will wonder when the baby is due.

I went through my on-deck pattern pile to look for a candidate for the dress in my mind's eye. Of course, I couldn't find EXACTLY what I wanted but a few have some potential. The first pull yielded these. Which I then whittled down for various reasons.

The two finalists are ...M6397, below, and ...

V8764, here.

Both are multi-cup sized, a definite plus. Both have minimal seaming, another plus for my lazy self, but enough seams to provide some shaping opportunities. The McCall's has pockets (yay!) and a cool vertical (slimming) zip down the front. The minuses are (a) the McCall's may need some neckline altering to make it a true sleeveless dress instead of a jumper (pinnie to non-Americans!) and do I already have a suitable zip??, and (b) the Vogue isn't sleeveless and that neckline may be too wide. I think these obstacles would be easy enough to overcome, if needed, and so now I just have to decide which one will be The One. Maybe I should go read up on them over at PR.

Parting Shot: My laundry room, as I wait for the parts to come to fix my dryer. Apparently Tropical Storm Debby fried its power supply when she took down our power and it needs some fixin'. These are Alex's clothes. I don't believe I've ever hung his undies on hangers before. ;-) My clothes are up next, but since I wear so many knits, they'll do just fine hanging dry. Truthfully, I should probably dry most of my clothes this way all the time. I am glad, though, that I have such a big laundry room here and that it came with these shelves pre-installed. Makes for easy hang-drying. (Outside, with our humidity, is out of the question. Clothes would NEVER dry out there.)