Friday, April 4, 2014

A Blue Floral Simplicity 2451 Skirt

Hello friends! 
They say "third time's the charm" and it must be true for this skirt pattern (although I quite like the first time and the second time too, so all three times are charms? That doesn't quite work...)  This is the Simplicity 2451 skirt pattern and I know I'm not alone in making multiples of this versatile design (ahem... Morgan... ahem ;)

Hey look at my smiling mirror face :)
This skirt cute pleats on the front with pockets, and darts for shaping in the back. I have only made Views C and D, the straight or tulip shape, in three various lengths. This one falls right in the middle of the other two. It's almost exactly between the C and D cutting lines on the pattern. It even has a tiny vent in the back! Not sure how useful that will actually be...

Here are the details:

Pattern:  Simplicity 2451 Skirt, View C/D

Fabric: Blue Floral Cotton Sateen, with a bit of stretch I think from Joann's but I don't really remember. I actually cut out and started this dress back in the fall (of '13) and then decided it was too spring-y and waited until now to finish it.... oh brother.

Notions:  9" Metal Jeans Zipper - Blue

Sizing: 14 at waistband (fits perfectly), graded out to an 18ish at the hips?  It started bigger and I took in a bit at the side seams and back darts. 

I have had the weirdest issues with this skirt on the back pieces in the last two versions. There seems to be an excess of fabric between the lower edge of the waistband and where it hits the middle of my bum - I think I need to adjust the dart shape, perhaps to account for the large curve outwards between my waist and bum? I attempted both lengthening and widening the darts, but it didn't exactly fix the problem - any thoughts on the issue?

Design Changes: As in the last two versions, I straightened the lower edge of the waistband. Just folded the pattern piece under so it was less of a curve. Also used an "exposed" zipper instead of invisible or lapped.

Construction Notes: The insides are quite cleanly finished with serged edges :) Skirt is unlined.

And now a few photos where you can actually see the waistband ;)

I would definitely wear this skirt with shirts tucked in or untucked, but this sweater is a bit bulky to go untucked. I imagined wearing these awesome yellow tights with it the whole time I was sewing it, but they turned out darker than I had imagined - super mustard and not so lemon. Oh well! And the striped Keds are a personal favorite - I really love stripes with florals!!! How about you? Any prints you love to pair???

Monday, March 31, 2014

Navy Hearts Sureau and Tutorial

Hello friends! Today's make is the Sureau Dress by Deer and Doe. We're going to go ahead and call it a wearable muslin, although it will probably never get worn due to the cheap cotton fabric I used to make it not being pleasant to wear whatsoever :( This was definitely a tale of perseverance - I spent a looooooong time attempting to fix the neckline gape and nothing really seemed to work. I ended up with these seams that kind of resemble raglan sleeves, which somewhat fixed the gaping problem, but the whole shape of the neckline is kind of off now. Next time I make this dress, I will redraw all this on the pattern piece before cutting, but hey! That's what muslins are for, right? ;)

Here are the details:

Pattern: Deer and Doe Sureau Dress

Size: 38 at bust, graded to 42 at waist

My Shape: Tall (6'), pear shape, narrow shoulders, long torso

Fabric: Quilting Cotton from Joann's - Navy with Cream Hearts

Size Alterations: None, really, except fixing that blasted neckline

Design Changes: Added cuffs / bands to sleeve - I just can't stand loose baggy long sleeves.


1. Cut out the sleeve. Cut a sleeve band / cuff on the bias - I used the button placket as my pattern piece, but you can measure around your arm where the sleeve ends to make it the perfect size - just don't forget to add a seam allowance.  I cut this piece on the bias to give it a tiny bit of stretch - that way it fits snugly around the arm but isn't uncomfortably tight :)

2. Fold the sleeve, right sides together, and stitch the side seam. Finish the edge.

3. Fold the cuff in half, wrong sides together, and press.

4. Unfold the cuff and put the short ends together, right sides together. Stitch this edge. Press open.

5. Stitch a long (I use 4 length) stitch along the hem of the sleeve, but do not backstitch at the beginning or end. Gather the sleeve end by gently pulling the bobbin thread from each end until it is the same length as your cuff.

6. Refold the cuff longways, wrong sides together. Match the seam of the cuff to the seam of the sleeve - pin.

7. Evenly space the gathers along the sleeve hem and pin to cuff

8. Stitch the cuff to the sleeve. Check for any errors, then finish the seam.

9. Turn right side out, remove any remaining visible gathering stitches, and you're done! :)

I absolutely LOVE the bodice design with the faux button placket and gathers - that is what motivated me to keep truckin' with this dress - I really do want to make it again, and work out the issues with the neckline. Also I need to make sure the zipper isn't too long, or stiff - it kind of makes the side of the skirt stick out funny on the one side - oh well! MUSLIN! :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ava Doodle Dandy

Hey Everyone! THIS IS MY 100TH POST!!! Perfect for blogging about something awesome... liiiiiike,

I'm sure by now you've seen something about this around the blogosphere, since the blog tour is HUGE (see below), and I hope you've jumped on board because it is AWESOME! I mean seriously...

Take These Five Independent Sewing Pattern Designers:

And this Amazing Charity:

Put them together and it's pretty much the best idea EVER (spearheaded by Jill and Rachel - these two women are amazing!) I mean yes, I am a little biased, being a seamstress and a teacher - I have even been sponsored though Donor's Choose! We got a very cool world drum for my music classroom that our school could not have afforded otherwise :) It's definitely a worthy cause, as if supporting the five amazing pattern designers wasn't enough! But there's not much time left! The deal ends Friday 3/21/14 at 8PM, EST (that's only 24 hours!) so get over there and support Perfect Pattern Parcel! Did I mention it's name your own price? :)

Perfect Pattern Parcel Buy Now

As part of getting the word out about the PPP, I made up one of the patterns: the Victory Ava Peplum Top. Gotta love those peplums! I have made the Lady Skater dress before and wanted to try something new. The sweetheart neckline, full peplum and cute cap sleeves caught my eye right away!

Here are the details:

Pattern: Victory Patterns Ava Peplum Top (c/o Perfect Pattern Parcel)

Size: Originally cut a 6 at bust, then attempted to recut to a 4, graded out to an 8 at waist

My Shape: Tall (6'), pear shape, narrow shoulders, long torso


Main - Atelier Brunette Like a Dandy Cotton Cambric from Anna K Bazaar, first seen by Jolies Bobines
Contrast - Ivory Tencel Shirting from Joann Fabrics - also used for my colorblocked Scout Tee

Size Alterations:

Originally I cut a size 6 for the bust, grading out to an 8 at the waist - the 4 and 6 are close in measurements and finished measurements so apparently I thought it would be better to not grade as much. However, after sewing the darts and side seams on the lower bodice pieces, I realized it was definitely going to be too big. I attempted to recut as much as I could to a size 4. It's still a bit wide, especially at the shoulders, but hey - live and learn.

Next time I will definitely be lengthening the bodice pieces - the waistline hits above my natural waist by almost 2"! Should have fixed that this time around, but I was squeezing every last thread to get all the pieces to fit on my fabric!

Design Changes:

I cut the cap sleeves out of the main fabric. Originally, I intended to make the neck binding out of the main fabric too, but decided against it in the end. I may use the extra piece to make a waistband and get that waistline where it should be! What do you think? Add a waistband or leave it as is??

Construction Notes:

The neckline. Ugh. Everything was going great... until the neckline. I have never sewn anything where you have to pivot like this and I got too eager and snipped in too close and made things even more difficult for myself. The final result is my third attempt, and I'm pretty okay with it. However, I definitely had a moment of OMG CAN I EVEN SEW!?! AM I EVEN ALLOWED TO CALL MYSELF A SEAMSTRESS WHEN I CAN'T FREAKING PIVOT?! trying to work it out the first couple times. I referenced this helpful picture tutorial from DIY Fox (what a cute blog name!) and it finally came together. I think I really just need more practice. Aaannd to not get snip happy with the scissors. I chuckled when I read Amy's post about the top and the neckline not being symmetrical, b/c mine is definitely the same way and it was driving me crazy. It made me feel better that (a) I was not alone and (b) It actually wasn't that noticeable on hers, so maybe it wouldn't be on mine.

Oh! And I serged the hem, intending to turn it under, but I kind of like the cream border - still deciding on this!

All this to say, everything went together really well except that darndit neckline. The main fabric is so cute and soft, I really like the contrast yoke and... Peplum! :)  After doubting my skills as a seamstress over that dumb pivot, it made me feel a lot better to realize that I am BOSS at sewing invisible zippers in a hurry - Yeah! :)  Do you have any tricky sewing skills that you are like "I ROCK AT THIS!"??? Have you / would you make the AVA pattern? How about the awesomeness that is Perfect Pattern Parcel? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and thanks for reading :)

P.S. Check out these bloggers for more Perfect Pattern Parcel Makes: