Sunday, April 24, 2016

Simplicity 8085 Orange Gingham and Possible UFO!

Be warned: I have not completed this dress as you will find out the reasons below. It may become another UFO (there definitely seems to be an X-Files theme going on here!) Also, we just got a new camera so there are A LOT of pictures on this post (thank you to my pho-tag husband).

So here is the nitty gritty on the dress!

But before the dress a doggy picture! We have recently moved into a new home, and I get a whole sewing room all to myself in the basement! Here is one of my little puppies Elvis that keeps me company. Notice how many beds he has out for him, spoiled much?

The Bodice-

The pattern was very easy to cut out. I added about 2" to the shoulder seam (bad idea as you will later find out) bc there was no other places I could lengthen the bodice. I wanted to make sure there was enough wiggle room in the arm hole to get my sleeve on comfortably. And being so tall I usually always add 1-1.5" to the bodice.

I created the pleats using the artist tape trick and reminded myself how rusty I have gotten with sewing. Apparently taking a year off sewing is NOT like riding a bike!

After I created the bodice pleats and attached them at the shoulder seam. I basted the sides to see how it would fit. I am always skeptical of a wrap dress fit that is held together with snaps. Like these better be some industrial strength snaps that would hold a sail down in a hurricane, and even then the snaps may not be strong enough to hold the dress on.  

Wanting to know the general fit of the bodice before adding the sleeves I "tried it on". This is an interesting dress because you put it on like a backwards bathrobe. After trying to get my husband to show me where the end tabs hit and how it wrapped I put it on my manikin to see the fit (now I am a little worried on how you even put on this dress). I am also concerned about the V at the back. I need to take out the side seams to 1/2" seam allowance (vs the 5/8") and I am worried the V will be too deep and it will show my bra, and who wants that?? (And this is the point I should have stopped and fixed the length)  

I basted on the sleeves i drafted using Simplicity 4116. The sleeve pattern had you gather the top, but I really dislike "poofy" sleeves. I just applied it to the arm opening. It was too tight to begin with. I have rather generous (I was trying to think of a nice way to say it lol) biceps so sleeves are always a pain. I unpicked the sleeve and tried again. The second time I added a line of basting to ease in the sleeve. I made some notes on placement, and third time was the charm with the fit.  Once I figured out how the sleeve went on I took it off and added bias tape at the cuff to match the other details of the dress. The remaining raw seam in the pit got folded over to match the seam allowance in the sleeve. 
Copied the sleeve from Simplicity 4116. I made it a bit longer as I like the top of my arms covered.

I wish I had mad sleeve setting skills!

I swear I do not sew in a real padded room, just an unfinished basement!
The Skirt-
I am not super pleased with how the seam is right in the middle of this skirt, especially with a pattern like the one I selected. It is too bad you can't cut the pattern on the fold but the skirt sweep is way too big. I basted the skirt to the bodice and then recruited my husband to help me test the fit. Trying to translate "does the right edge of the bodice reach the left dart?" into husband speech turned into "does this side hit that line on the left?" All was well in fit land so the skirt got put on permanently. 

After the "does this fit" dance with my husband I opted to use large hook and eyes for the 2 main closures. I figured if it took 2 people to test the fit, I may need to secure the dress with something a little more substantial than a snap.  And needless to say I wouldn't want a wardrobe malfunction on the dance floor! I used simple snaps for the 3 closures on the skirt. These really are only cosmetic as the 2 points at the waist band do all the structural support. I go and check how the dress would fit with the hook and eye closures and began to  question how anyone who is not a contortionist could easily get into this dress. I had to first do the inside clasp on without the sleeves up, turn the dress the right way, put the sleeves on, and then do up the second clasp. Not sure how one would do this with simple snap. 

Finally, the final details. Many people know I sew and when they find  "old" sewing items they gift them to me. Such was the case for these little snaps. Aren't they the cutest? I love vintage sewing packaging.  

I am also thinking that I am not going to tie a bow like the pattern suggests for the seam detail. I am worried that if I tie a bow my perfectionist will not like how it comes out and it may look a little bulky. But will do the bow trick I use for creating wreaths: make a fish shape and then put another piece of the ribbon, or in this case bias tape, in the middle. I tried to include a picture about what I am talking about.

So I finally  try it on again to make sure the snaps would sit correctly on the skirt. I was not pleased on how the outside clasp looked, on the pattern envelope it was one continuous line down the back, but mine has an unnatural turn. I am chalking it up to sewer error. This cress has a covered belt pattern with it so I am not too worried, maybe anther bow? After I got over the choppy line, I looked in the mirror and moved about. The back flaps looked like I was trying to take off! I tried to add a pleat in the back and it looked like I was just trying to fix a badly fit dress. I think I was in denial from the first fitting of this dress.  So I admitted defeat and put it away for the time being. I find if I take a break from a dress giving me a headache I go back at it with a better state of mind. So when I come back to it I need to  unpick shoulder, bias tape, and sleeve. Reduce the sleeve length at shoulder and ease sleeves back to fit the size adjustment. Then adjust the bias tape all the way down the back.

Unless all of you out in sewing-interwebs can think of some other ideas?? Anything?

Of note, my husband and mom think that this dress may cause a "flap" no matter if I even resize the shoulder seams because the dress has no real closures. Here is the picture of the flap I am talking about:

Ahhhhh my bra!! And a loose thread...  
So I have not completed the dress, I figured I would see if anyone out there had additional advise about the fitting, or if they think maybe it is the dress style. But here is the dress not hemmed and minus the cute bows.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Undocumented Projects

Ooo doesn't "undocumented projects" sound so mysterious and something you would see on the X-Files?? No? Hehe...

Although my life has felt like a bit of an X-Files episode and I have not been posting, I have not completely taken a break from sewing. I have done a few small projects here and there. I figured I would post them all in one spot.

First up, two creations using Simplicity 3688.

I would never have thought about sewing this skirt. It was frumpy and "blah" looking. But after seeing a few other ladies' creations I figured I would give it a whirl, and I am glad I did! The first time I made this pattern, in typical me sewing fashion I wanted to use a heavy fall-like material at the start of spring. There is top stitching throughout the front and it is just such an easy sew!   

The second time I made the skirt I used a cotton (which is good because it was in Las Vegas in the middle of summer). I used a heavy white top stich for the panels and really love how it came out. It is so flattering. In my typical hoarding style I had enough material to create a shirt to go with it using the Jasmine Collette pattern that I originally used here. I love the versatility of the two pieces that can be worn together for a dress look or separate.

My husband not looking happy about the picture!

Please excuse my hair in the below pictures. I am trying to grow it out (I chopped it off and donated it to charity) and I keep forgetting this length needs to be brushed after wardrobe changes. Also, it is snowing it up outside so you get to see the boring inside of my bedroom doors! 

Have you used this pattern before? I would love to see your creations! 

Second up, 60's vibe romper using McCall's 6969 

This pattern took a lot of adjusting. The proportions were off and I looked like one of the gals from Hot Dog on a Stick.... (you know the outfit I am talking about!). I used some super cute buttons from an estate of a seamstress that seemed to hoard everything. I am thinking they were from the late 60s. 


I created a tie belt to go with this outfit. I did not include the elastic waist as I believe this pattern instructed. I figured I would always wear it with the belt, so there is no need.  Some things of note for this pattern, the arm holes are very large. I usually have the opposite problem of having to make the armholes bigger, but that was definitely not the case with this pattern. I also extended the bodice about an inch (being so tall I always get cut off with rompers) and I had an issue with the button placement. I would definitely refine the button placement next time as I almost had a boy's boxer look with the bottom button (yikes). I am also not super pleased with how the crotch (I hate that word) looks in it. I flounced around making my husband and mom look at it, and they did not see any issues. Maybe it is a mental block with me and shorts...

The finished product: 

Overall, I would like to make this again to try to recreate a the 1940s 2 piece beach set look like the darling sets below.

Third Up, a novelty print skirt using Simplicity 3478

I really enjoy this skirt pattern. It is so flattering and so easy to work with when you are using a single direction print. And the love I have for novelty print is strong, so when I find a pattern that works, I hold true :) I originally made this dress using a stripe that went one direction. I wrote all about it here. This dress had pretty pleats throughout and because of the print on this skirt I decided to use the artist tape trick to keep super straight clean lines (I didn't want a wonky donkey!). Here are some pictures of how I set up the pleats using the tape:
I love how the lines are nice and straight. And for sewers like me who have ADSD (attention deficit sewing disorder) it is a nice way to keep track of what line goes where!

I went to the fair and got so many compliments on my skirt. have you made any parts of this pattern yet?
The burro skirt: 

Fourth, a novelty print skirt and blouse using Simplicity 2154

I have made this skirt two times now, and be warned- it runs big! The top on the other hand runs pretty true to size. I was a little miffed bc I cut the smaller size thinking it would follow the sizing of the skirt, so my "girls" are a little squished! But just like the set I made above in creation #1 I love the versatility of the top and skirt. My only real struggle with this outfit is finding a pale pink cardigan and shoes to go with it! 

Isn't this print just the cutest?? 

The top:
I should have extended the length of the top by about an inch or so. As you can see the darts do not sit quite right. I am not sure if I would have cut the larger size if the darts would be in the right place. But generally I lengthen all patterns by an inch or so. I had some major issues with the bow on this shirt. The material is a heavy cotton and I had originally put interfacing into the bow (I believe the pattern instructed to do so). The interfacing made the bow piece so hard and stiff I could not get it into the shape of the bow! Thank GOODNESS I buy fabric by the bolt not knowing what the project is I will be using it. I had enough fabric to re-cut the piece and did not insert the interfacing this time. The second attempt of the bow went much more smoothly. 

The skirt:  
This is an easy skirt pattern to follow (once you get the sizing right). I lengthened it a bit as I like my skirts below the knee. This skirt pattern would lend itself nicely to the addition of side-seam pockets as the zipper is at the back (I just may do this next time!)

Please excuse the lack of shoes and accessories. I wanted to snap a few quick pics to add to show you the skirt/shirt combo as I have not worn this outfit yet. It is snowing up a storm outside (YES, in April!) so you are subjected to the ugly bedroom door! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Horsehair Braid Hem Tutorial

I have seen mention of horsehair braid in various vintage sewing books and patterns, and always shied away from using it as the instructions on how to apply the braid were so confusing. While perusing Gertie's blog I found her awesome tutorial on how to use this braid. Now I am just thinking of what project I should try it out with. (Maybe the Simplicity pattern I am currently working on). I figured I would share the blog post to her page (plus it is a way for me to save it for later)!

 Here is the link to the tutorial:

Check out how she applied it to the RIGHT side of the fabric....

This is the picture of the completed project using the horsehair braid for the hem:

The link to the completed project that she used the horsehair braid is here: 

Have you used horsehair braid for a hem before? Any tips and tricks to use it? 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Simplicity 8085

After a long hiatus away from sewing I have decided I am going to try to start again with this pattern. I am hoping it is not as much of a mess as the Butterick wrap dress (I have attempted to make that dang pattern THREE times).  Have you sewn the Simplicity 8085 yet? How did it go?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Gold Member.... ok ok... just a Gold Dress

I made this dress back in 2010 when my sewing skills were still, um, being worked on. (I still have so much to learn, but I have come so far from learning off of YouTube). I love the material but the inside and slit of the dress was a bit of a mess. For our Christmas vacation I decided to fix it up and take the lovely dress for another spin. I love the simple lines and the little cape! I first wrote about it here.

Fabric: Christmas fabric (if you would believe it) for $1.50 a yard.
Pattern: Butterick 5032
Year: circa 1952 but it is a pattern reprint.
Changes: I remember the skirt from the waist down being VERY wide. I took it in a few inches. What lady wants their waist to look like a bubble?? On my revisit to this dress I shortened the slit. It was a bit too long for my liking.

I fixed all the seams on the revisit as well!  Sewing with this fabric taught me to always finish off your seams be it with peeking shears or serging. The first time I work it the little embroidery threads tickled the heck out of me!

I do not have any pictures with me WEARING the cape. Just fashionably over my shoulder! I wore a pair of Hollywood stilettos with the dress and my gold confetti Lucite purse.

Bra Top and Skirt

I love the look of PUG's bra tops but was not OK with spending $60 on one item of clothing. So I decided to make one. I also had some super cute new clip on earings that I wanted to match up with an outfit. So my stripy creation was born!

Bra Top-

I wanted it to look something like this: (not in polka dots)

And I got something that looked like this: (What do you think?)

The Facts
Fabric: Kona heavy cotton. $7 a yard.
Lining- Same as the outter construction.
Pattern: McCalls 6350. I love this pattern because you can select your cup size. Why haven't other companies picked up on this??
Year: modern pattern.
Notions: zipper that separates, boning, bias tape (I had to use some because I got in a jam with the hem).
Changes: Well, I did not make it dress :) and added thicker straps. I followed the manufacturers details pretty much to the T. I added about 3 inches to the length of the bodice. The added 3 inches was still not enough. Therefore I added the bias tape to hem the bottom of the top. When it came to adding the zipper I made a mistake and already understiched the very top of the, well top. So the zipper needed some magic (some shoving and pinning). It ended up just fine. The zipper top pokes me a little, but I am working on softening it up.

The Skirt-

The Facts
Fabric: Joann's discount bin $2 a yard juvenile cotton.
Lining- none. Red petticoat.
Pattern: Simplicity 3748
Year: circa mid 1950s (reprint of a pattern)
Notions: zipper (I am finally using some of my vintage metal zippers!) and interfacing.
Changes: Made the waist band wider.

The pleats took forever in this skirt. You hem it before you do the pleats. I think next time I would actually make this skirt a shorter. I wasn't sure if I liked the proportions of the skirt. Not sure if the fabric pattern threw off the proportions or what.

Bruce and Louise's trailer. Love it.

My accessories that inspired this outfit and inside the trailer.