Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2nd Spring Dress (self-drafted)

Here is my latest self-drafted dress. (I had to take a little time off from it, because some of the fitting issues were getting to me. When I came back to it, everything was magically fixed.) (The bodice is pulling a little in this photo, but I was in motion.)

Here is a detail of the neckline and sleeves. The neck has a little row of French knots around it to add some interest. I'm guessing the sleeves are called kimono cap sleeves. (Not sure what the proper name is. They are drafted as part of the bodice.)

Back of the dress. (I think I'm gonna make a belt for this dress. It can use one.)

  • 4 gore skirt.
  • invisible zipper down center back
  • cap sleeves
  • navy stretch poplin (long sold out from fabric.com)
It took me awhile to get the fit right on this, but that was mostly trying to figure out how to get enough arm motion from the kimono sleeves. There was also some extra fabric in the back shoulder that I wanted to get rid of. (The kimono sleeves [if that is what they are called] can cause some bunching back there.) I built this off my sloper, so most of the fit was already there. However, any time you change one thing, you run the risk of changing something else, including fit.

I'm pretty happy with this dress. I could have fiddled around with it forever, but at a certain point, you just need to make the dress. It's not fancy, but I'm learning something new with each self-drafted dress. Also, my last 3 dresses have been blue. And the skirt of my next one is navy. I'm thinking I need something a little brighter coming up.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Giveaway Winner

And the winner of the Lisette pattern and bias tape is . . .

Carolyn (commenter #1)

Carolyn, if you can leave me an email in the comments for this post, I will contact you and ship out your goodies!

Thanks everybody for playing!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Hi nice people. When I purchased my Simplicity pattern for the Lisette dress in the last post, I picked up another pattern, Simplicity 2245. This is another Lisette pattern with a cute tunic I wanted to try. However, I grabbed the wrong size (6-14). Thus, a giveaway item. I also have 7 yards of homemade bias tape that I made using this tutorial. Turns out I did not need that much for the armholes of my last dress. (It is amazing how much bias tape a 12" x 12" square will make.)

The fabric used for the dress and bias tape is a quilting cotton (Robert Kaufman: Hot Blossom) that I got from fabric.com a year or two ago on super sale. It has been pre-shrunk and is ready to go.

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this blog saying that you would like to be entered before Sunday March 27th at 11:00 pm (PST.) I will choose randomly and announce the winner on Monday. (If it is not easy for me to click through to your blog and comment/email you, please check on Monday to see if you have won.) This is open to both domestic and foreign readers.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Simplicity 2209

I HAVE A DRESS!! I finished something that I did not throw away! It fits me! I love it!

Ok. I can calm down now. I am just happy to have something that I didn't have to do endless muslins on or draft myself. I introduce to you, Simplicity 2209. (Mild action pose!)

Because of the busyness of my fabric pattern, I have included the line drawing from the Simplicity website.
I just want to say upfront that I loved this pattern. It was drafted pretty well, and I was able to fit it with no muslin. (I did give myself generous seam allowances to fiddle around with.) The crossing darts are the main feature here, although difficult to see in my version. Here is a close up anyway.

This dress is one of the new Lisette patterns, designed by the same person who does Oliver & S. (Turns out there is also a website where you can get more info.)

Things I liked:
  • Retro feel.
  • Very simple to put together.
  • Sleeveless makes it easy to fit as I sew.
  • The neck facings are extended to the armhole, which is finished with bias tape, so they facings aren't going to flip out.
Thing I don't like:
  • Normally I disregard the order of operation, but I didn't do that here. She has you insert the zipper at the end, and I wish I had put it in sooner. I hate inserting side seam zippers and I especially hate to do them after I have finished everything else.
  • I see a little gaping at the neckline, not sure if it is enough that I would want to pinch it out. I'll see how it wears.
  • The length was perfect for me with just a 3/4" hem. I think I'll add a little length so I can have a little more depth there. I like a deeper hem.
Things I changed.
  • I added a dart at the armhole, because it was super gappy.
  • I was between sizes, so I picked the smaller size and added a little on to the side seams. I could take a little more out, but I like a little extra room.
I am totally gonna make some more of these. I feel VERY cute when I wear this dress. (The jacket is not really my style, so I probably won't be going there.) As I get older, I am more sensitive to age-appropriate dressing. (With the caveat that I am fully aware I dress kind of funny.) A lot of the the vintage-inspired patterns that are being made right now, are really cute, but kind of skewed to a younger audience. (And with changes can be made to look more adult.) One thing I really like about this dress is that its age appropriateness depends more on the fabric than the style. (Although, I would be sure to check the length.)


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I'm still alive. I've been sewing for class and working on an out of class dress design. And I've been sick. (This is the worst culprit.) And I've been finishing up some ceramic pieces. Here is an example of my latest stuff. If this hurts your eyes (or offends your sensibilities) just focus on the sewing books in the background.

Giant squid in space (with dinosaurs)
Mixed media on ceramic (3/2011)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sewing Through the Decades: 60s and 70s

I haven't blogged in 2 weeks, because, while I have been sewing, I have nothing to show for it. My dress I am designing for class is going good, but slow. (Because I just work on it in class.) My princess seam dress needs to start over from the beginning, and the knit top I muslined from Simplicity 2554 was a disaster. (Me have a knit top disaster? Never!) (Always!) (Someday I will find a knit top pattern that I don't despise.)

I have a plan to make something that doesn't require endless fittings and muslins, but I'm not gonna talk about it because I don't want to jinx it. Not that I am superstitious. But seriously. It's been a while since I have had a successful project.

I am going to help myself not think about it, by posting my 60s and 70s patterns for the Sewing Through the Decades challenge. (I am so happy there is no deadlines for this. Right now, I am just having fun picking stuff out.)

My 60s dress.

I want to wear this dress every day. I want one each in black, brocade, and floral.

My 70s pick

I like the fact that the gathers under the bust are very small. Normally, I would not gravitate to this style, but I think there are a lot of things about it that might make it flattering on me.

Ok. Back to the struggle.