Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Purple Floral Maxi Dress

Hi friends! 'Tis the season for weddings! And boy howdy, we have had four cousins gettin' hitched this summer alone! Here is the dress I made for wedding #3 :) My sis has a fancy new camera and wanted to jump in on the photo taking, so enjoy...

This fabric is very special, as it was hand picked and sent to me from my beautiful friend Maude in Canada :) If you haven't been on her adorable and somewhat nerd-tastic blog, check it out HERE (Whovians for life!) Back to the fabric - it is a purple floral print on white with some brown/tan accents. The fabric is a type of chiffon, I think, but it is textured and kind of hefty, almost opaque! I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to work with.

Oh, and these photos are just plain ol' plain, taken on my point and shoot, by the hubs... ;)

Here are the details:

Pattern: New Look 6282 - Misses dress, with strap variations and maxi or high/low skirt


Main fabric - gifted from Maude :)
Lining fabric - white cotton "Daphne" - Joanns

Sizing / Alterations:

Size 12 bust, 14 waist
Size 16 hips

OKAY, so one should not assume that a pattern alteration will work for ANY pattern, just b/c it did on the last several... and a gathered skirt is not the same as an elasticized skirt.

For many of my dresses, I adjust for my larger hips by cutting the largest hip size and gathering it more to fit the smaller waist size. This has worked really well in some cases, but not this time. First, with main fabric and lining fabric, you've got a lot of poof there at the waist just from excess fabric - not flattering. Second, a skirt that is gathered by thread is not the same as one that is drawn in by elastic. In fact, this is not a "gathered" skirt piece at all - it should fit exactly to the waist of the bodice with no gathering required. I goofed up here. I was hoping for something slimming and flowy like my Anna maxi dress... instead I got flower poof waist!

Construction Notes:

Love the beautiful finish of the bodice neckline / straps with the lining - so professional and elegant! Just a word of warning - the straps are sewn on before the lining, so be sure they are exactly the length and placement you want. Otherwise it will be difficult to adjust later!

Serged most edges for a clean finish - tiny hem with topstitching for slits and hem of skirt


First of all, this dress perfectly matched the colors of my cousin's wedding, and she personally approved the fabric, so that's a win win!

The straps and neckline are so elegant, but not too low cut - keepin' it classy ;)

It definitely works better with a belt! Found a perfect one (cough, cough... the morning of the wedding, cough) at Kohl's to match the sandals and clutch (tassel) I already had!

That said, here are a few photos of the dress, sans belt:

And you can't wear a dress with slits and not try the Angelina pose...

And with that, I'm out! Peace!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Navy Polkadot Romper

Hey there peeps! Today I'm getting really trendy and showing you my (duh duh duh) ROMPER! Or jumpsuit, or playsuit, or whatever you want to call it. To be honest, any of those words still make it sound like something my 4 year old cousin would wear, but hey - it's fashion! ;)

I really love the fabric used for this garment - it is a navy and cream polka-dot peachskin, found in the remnants section at Vogue. That is one amazing thing about Vogue - their remnants can be up to 3 yards! This one was 2 1/2 yards, and 60" wide, so definitely enough for a romper. I think the color combo makes it a bit more "grown up" - I was inspired by these - photos - on - pinterest!

Here are the details:

Pattern: McCall's 6083, View D, with added tie belt


- 2 1/2 yards Navy and Cream polka dot peachskin fabric (60" wide)
- Fusible interfacing
- 14" navy invisible zipper
- Elastic

Sizing / Alterations:

- I sewed a size 14 (bust and waist), flaring out to a size 20 at the hips (would have gone with a size 12 bodice, but the envelopes are divided so that the size 12 bust and 20 hips are not in the same one)
- Added 2" length to the bodice and 4" length to the shorts
- Added quite a bit of flare to the legs to make them more flowy and full, like a skirt

Construction Notes:

- ADD A ZIPPER if making this in a woven fabric - I was given this advice when I posted a photo of the pattern on instagram (social media to the rescue yet again) and couldn't agree more! I added a 14" invisible zipper down the left side, and honestly it is still tricky to get on and off, but doable :)

- Clearly mark the wrong side / right side if it is hard to tell (this fabric was nearly impossible) - I made some very frustrating mistakes on what should have been a very easy sew:
- Discovered I had stay stitched the waist instead of the neckline on both pieces, and was sewing the pieces upside down
- Sewed the right front bodice wrong side out
- Interfaced and finished the wrong side of the left front bodice (so I had two beautifully finished right front bodices instead)
- Had to cut out a new left front bodice and.... almost made the exact same mistakes again!!!
Now I am in a few hours of hair-pulling-out sewing and decided that this garment deserved something special for all the trouble it had caused me, so I went online and ordered these babies, just for this romper ;)

Details: Shorts, Tie belt, and Side Zip/Pocket
To view larger, right click on photo and select "Open image in new tab" - go to the new tab and click on the photo to zoom in - this works for most blog post photos! :)
Wearability: Since finishing this garment two months ago, it has been worn a few times - here are my thoughts:

- It is super cute and trendy - the short length makes it perfect for spring/summer
- I just love the pockets and the tie belt
- The peachskin (polyester) does not breathe well, so if it is too hot I sweat a lot
- The front bodice is a bit too big, so I wear a cream-colored bralette underneath - for some reason I just don't like the look of a "wrap" bodice that has been pinned together in the middle
- I wonder if you could pull off a romper over tights for the fall/winter (like some people do with shorts)?

So what do you think of the romper trend? Would you wear one? Or sew one? What do you think about sewing "trendy" clothing vs classic garb? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

P.S. Photos taken in the boutique where I occasionally work :) It is filled with handmade artisan gifts!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Chambray Alder Shirtdress (with Pin-dots!)

Hi there friends! I'm sure you've seen the newest pattern released by Grainline Studio's genius designer Jen (that's a mouthful) - the ALDER SHIRTDRESS! I bought it the day it was released, as a PDF, because I wanted to make it RIGHT NOW. Once I realized it was fifty-one pages to tape together, I wished I had ordered the paper version, but oh well.... impatience wins the day again ;) There is an option to print to a copyshop, but the only place I've found that does it is Office Max, and it's around $12! No thanks - I'll get my tape.

In any case, I am SO happy I bought this pattern! View B, with the gathered skirt, is really what sold me on it. Those little details on a classic design, plus great drafting and awesome directions are why I own the entire Grainline studio collection (except the Moss mini skirt - not quite my style). When I organized my PDF's into binders, per Andrea's recommendation, Grainline got it's very own binder. It's pretty special :)

Here are the details:

Pattern: Grainline Studio's Alder Shirtdress, View B

Fabric: Chambray with Turquoise Pin-dot's by Lisette for Joann Fabrics

Sizing / Fit: I am 6' tall and pear shaped

- I made a straight size 8, with the gathered skirt pieces and length (hem) all around a size 14
- Added 3" in length EDIT: Only added 2" in length - my bad!

Construction Notes:

- Everything comes together so nicely! This is my first time sewing a collar or a button down dress and they were both pretty painless!
- I french seamed the side seams but had to resort to serging to finish the waist seam and seams along the center front - how you could pivot at the corner AND do a french seam is beyond me!
- The armholes and hem are finished with a seafoam green bias tape from my mom's stash - I discovered it was older than me! I love the look of it, and you can see it on the dropped hem in the back
- Everything is top-stitched with a turquoise thread that matches the pin-dots. I love topstitching!
- Added an adorable "Handmade with Love" tag from Sewaholic - these are the cutest labels around!
- I do have a safety pin between the buttons at the bust so there is no gaping - I had to space out the buttons a little more due to my added length. Next time I will buy more buttons and just add an extra instead of spacing them out
- EDIT::: I forgot to mention, I left off one of the pockets - I like the asymmetrical look a little better ;)


- This dress will be perfect for school - it is modest and "teacher-y" while still being stylish and cute
- The design of the dress allows it to sit "off the body" so it is nice to wear, even when it's sweltering
- I would like to add side seam pockets next time - they just make everything better
- The sleeveless design will be easy to wear alone or under a cardigan/jacket, and it's the perfect length for bare legs or leggings, so I deem this a year-round dress!

I will definitely be making more of the Alder Shirtdress! I'm not so sure about the straight view on my body shape, but I love the gathered one! And I think I've been avoiding sewing dresses in my stash that button all the way down (Darling Ranges, Bleuet, etc) but this has given me confidence in my button/hole sewing skills ;) If you are a little apprehensive about sewing things like the collar and buttons, check out Jen's Alder Sewalong, starting on Monday!

So how do you feel about sewing button down garments? or collars? Are you a straight or gathered Alder gal? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Thanks for reading :)