Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Advance 7931, Navy Corduroy Dress

This Advance dress is the first piece of some fall pieces that I'll be making this year.  I chose this pattern because I've had it for a while and never made it up, and I've been wanting a corduroy shirtdress since I saw one last year for sale on Anthropologie's website.  This one isn't an exact copy, but you really can't go wrong with a designer shirtdress pattern from 1956. 

This one is designed by Eddy George of Casual Time of California:

There are some nice details to this dress, and I'll share a few today and then we'll take a look at others when I work on the dress.  First, this dress has gathers for a nice shape in the back bodice and three darts for bust shaping in the front.  I've seen one and even two darts to shape the front bodice, but not three.  There are no side bust darts, either.

Second, the skirt has 8 gores and darts to shape the hip area.  This gives a much nicer, slimmer look than yards and yards of fabric gathered to a tiny waist.  I've done those sorts of patterns before and unless you're really slim, they visually add weight where most people don't want it.  This is better than even pleats, and yes I've done patterns with pleats and with the gore/dart combo and the gore/dart combo is the best of the three.  Third, notice that there is a front button placket - no side zipper!  Fourth, take a look at that shaped belt - that's a cool shape I hadn't seen before - we'll look more at that later.

I've chosen a navy fine wale corduroy for the dress because I happen to like corduroy, and it is a nice fabric for layering in fall and winter here in New England.  I can wear it with a turtleneck and tights or without or add a cardigan or not, too. 

There will be more details as we go along!  Tomorrow:  adjusting the pattern and cutting everything out. 

Parting Shot: First Day of School.  Today was the children's first day of school.  My daughter is now in 8th grade and my son in 5th grade.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Make The Look

Anthro's Frilled Eschelons Peacoat

Thank you all for the lovely comments on the red cardigan/jacket/whatever it is.  I think it will be versatile, we'll see!

This week's pick is another fall jacket/coat from Anthro, the Frilled Eschelons Peacoat.  Right away, I'll have to say two things:  one, that I like the blue color (Turquoise) better than the brown (Moss) and two, while all those ruffles aren't exactly me, I think they're different and fun.  I liked this jacket because it is traditional but has a twist to it, and will work nicely for fall and early winter before you really need to bundle up.  Of course, I know it is late August, but with school starting soon (tomorrow!) and fall just around the corner, this is the time to start thinking about or making coats and jackets.  I will be ordering wool this weekend for a coat - not this one, but I am getting the supplies here!

Now, to make such a coat, I've got two patterns that will work quite nicely, although they're not exactly like the original and will need some extras to make them like the original.  Butterick 5393 and McCall's 5759, although both are single breasted, they do already have a curved front that would work for this coat.  You'll need to add ruffles at the hem, as many rows as you'd like.  The amount of rows depends on your own taste and style - three might be too much or might be just right for you.  You'll also have to work out the cowl style collar, of course, you might not want that either and just go with how the pattern is already drafted. 

Butterick 5393:

McCall's 5759:

Of course, if you're confident in your pattern altering skills, you could take almost any double-breasted, princess-seamed coat pattern and copy the look.

For fabric, if you want teal wool look no further than Gorgeous Fabrics, who just happens to have some lovely wool also has a great selection of Shetland wools (on sale, too, another reason to get your fabric early!).

All photos from respective websites with links included.

Parting Shot:  New Project.  I've got a new project starting tomorrow and the pattern is already Wellie-approved.  If I can keep him off the fabric, I'll be doing good!  Details tomorrow.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Vogue 2989, Red Cardigan


I was able to finish the cardigan over the weekend.  Although hurricane Irene did come through, unfortunately for our neighbors in Vermont and New York, it tracked further west, so we did not have some of the worst rain, wind or flooding.  So, we're fine and I do hope that everyone else stayed safe, and will continue to be safe until the flood waters recede.

All I had to do was hand stitch the facing, finish the sleeve hems and add the hook and eye at the waist.

I'm happy with the cardigan and I'll see how it works with my wardrobe.  I think I'll be able to wear it many ways, both dressy and casual. 

Q/A:  From Fourkid:  When you say that you baste your seams, I was wondering if you mean baste by hand or by machine?  I baste most things for fitting purposes by machine.  I hand baste if the item is being made in a couture style, the fabric is difficult to work with or I need the precision that only hand basting needs.  This jacket in a stable knit doesn't fit that profile, so it got machine basted. 

Parting Shot:  Scarf Progress.  I've made decent progress on my scarf, with most of this being done over vacation.  When I got back, I purchased one more skein of yarn and when I get to the end of this skein, the scarf will be done.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Vogue 2989, Red Cardigan

Part Three

Well, I thought I would get this cardigan would get done today, but it didn't.  Between my daughter's friend being over to the house, lunch with the family and celebrating family birthdays, it just didn't get finished.  All that's left is the hand work on the inside and hand finishing. 

I should be able to finish this between tonight and tomorrow.  I will show this on Monday, if we have power, which will depend on hurricane Irene and what happens here in New England.

Parting Shot:  Cheesecake.  My daughter wanted a cheesecake with peanut butter cups for her birthday cake.  I used this recipe from, and just substituted peanut butter cups for the Heath bar.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Vogue 2989, Red Cardigan

Part Two

As I thought, so far, this has been a pretty easy cardigan to put together.  I've got most of it together, but basted both the seam over the arm and the peplum/waist seam to check the fit. 

The over the arm seam is important because I have narrow shoulders that sometimes don't fill out what is drafted.  I actually debated cutting a 6 through the shoulders instead of an 8 (which is my usual procedure with Vogue patterns), but settled on a straight 8 because I knew I could fine tune the fit later.  It turned out, after trying on the cardigan, that it actually fit nicely with no adjustments. 

I did need to take out that inch in the bodice length after all.  I just couldn't get away with it being the regular length this time.  That's ok, that's why it is a good idea to baste and try something on before making the seam permanent. 

At this point, all I have left is to hem everything, add the neckband and finish the inside of the neckband.  Should be done tomorrow!

Parting Shot:  Help.  It seems that I always need help in the sewing room!  What you don't see is Pix sleeping on the floor or Kiwi in the closet.  They're also around for mental support.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vogue 2989, Red Cardigan

Now that I'm back from vacation and it is almost September, I thought I'd start the fall sewing.  I've got more things planned, but the fabric for two larger projects (a coat and a vintage dress!) isn't here yet, so I'm going to start with some easier items.  I did find out today that I'll need to make my son a pair of black jeans, unless I find a pair in his size tomorrow.  It seems that while I was on vacation, everyone else was school shopping, hence a dearth of black jeans in my son's size.  Anyway.

I pulled out Vogue 2989 because I liked the cardigan and wanted something that would be either casual or dressy.  The peplum, of course, is an added bonus as I seem to like that design feature.  I liked the fact that the pattern is for knits, and since I had some nice red ponte knit already, it seemed like a good idea. 

The plan is to make this one as is, except to narrow that front band by 1".  Being petite, I'm thinking that with two of those bands, my whole front side would be covered as there really is no difference in width for all the size ranges of the pattern.  I'll probably need to shorten the neck to waist length, too, but I'm waiting on that change.  I don't always do that alteration - it depends on how the garment looks on me.  Sometimes I can get away with leaving it alone and giving an illusion of a longer body, sometimes not.  I'll baste and check when I get to that point. 

So far, it is cut out and the back is assembled. 

This should be a fairly quick garment to make since most of it will be constructed on the serger, so I'm guessing that it will be done by the weekend. 

Parting Shot:  New Shoes.  You know it is the beginning of the school year when the kids get new shoes.  My son has plenty of fashion tennis shoes, but needed at least one pair that was more athletic, so we got these.  His old ones are going in the trash - they survived the school year, the summer and one week of camp and it is time for them to go.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Make The Look

Anthropolgie Fair Lady Trench

So I know it is August, and we've still got a nice bit of summer left, but soon enough the weather will start to get cooler and we'll start thinking about warmer things to wear, including outwear.  If you're going to sew outerwear, August is a good time.  It might not be exciting to deal with yards of wool fabric while it is still hot outside, but you'll be smug knowing that your new coat is already hanging in the closet when October brings coat weather.  I thought I would start showing coats now, so that if you're inclined to make one, you can get a head start.

This week's coat is more of a lightweight trench, but I think it would transition nicely for fall before bringing out the heavy coats.  For those of you in the southern hemisphere and heading into spring, this coat would work, too.  This week's pick is Anthro's Fair Lady Trench.  I like this one because it has elements of being a trench while still following the lady-like trend. 

To make such a trench, I've found two patterns that will do the job, Vogue 8346 and Simplicity 2311.  Both are very close the original and if you want to do a little pattern adjusting, you make them more like the original.  The big difference is that the original has a waist seam, which allows for the lower skirt pattern pieces to be larger and gathered at the waist seam.  You can do this yourself with your own pattern pieces, remembering to add seam allowances when you cut them at the waist, while also adding width to the skirt for the gathers.  The original has large snaps, which is easily done.  It looks like you'll have to add the contrast trim to both patterns, too.  The Vogue is really a double-breasted coat, but I think that you could just make it as per the pattern without really have to change it to a single-breasted coat and not lose too much of the original inspiration.

Vogue 8346:

Simplicity 2311:

As far as fabrics, the original is made in poly blend poplin, and has just such a fabric, with a little stretch, both in a tan and navy if you want to stick to the original colors. 

All photos from respective websites with links included.

***Thanks for all the lovely compliments on my daughter's new school pieces!  I'm glad I got them done, because I will be on vacation from tomorrow through Tues. Aug 23.  I will see you all when I get back!***

Parting Shot:  New Scarf.  I've finally started a new scarf, and think I have found a suitable pattern for the Frog Tree Alpaca yarn that I have.  I've tried several patterns for this yarn and didn't love any of them, so I wasn't expecting much.  So far, this is ok.  I've adapted a neck warmer circular scarf pattern to be a straight scarf, the pattern is from Creative Knitting Jan. 2011, which I originally bought for a knitted hoodie sweater pattern.

Monday, August 08, 2011

School Wardrobe

Butterfly Skirt - Finished!

I finished up the butterfly skirt, which was pretty easy.  The ruffles needed to be attached - the bottom one was gathered and sewn to the bottom of the skirt base.  The upper ruffle was gathered at attached at the lines I had drawn on the skirt, as per the pattern.

After that, it was an easy matter to attach the waist casing, insert the elastic and finish it.

This was a really easy skirt and she's happy with it!  That is it for the school wardrobe, until maybe sometime this winter.  I usually make her a few things over the winter as she outgrows or wears out old pieces.

Parting Shot:  In the Bag.  My son got a bag from the local library for reading a required amount of books and Wellie has already claimed it.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Make The Look

Talbot's Matte Jersey Dropped Shoulder Dress

I had an occasion to be in the Talbot's Petite store in the Burlington, MA mall last week and when browsing and snooping through the clothes came across the dropped shoulder dress.  This dress looked awfully familiar.  Too familiar.  With the exception of a few details, like lack of gathers at the neck, it was exactly like the dot dress refashion that I made recently from Burda 4/11 #115.  Really, and in my mind, not quite as nice, since I had pockets and a bound neck and armhole - the Talbot's version does not have pockets and is narrow hemmed at the neck and armholes.   I also know I did not pay anywhere near Talbot's retail price for this dress.  Yes, you should go look at the price for this jersey dress made from two pieces of jersey and some elastic at the waist and no pockets. 

To make this dress yourself, obviously Burda 4/11 #115 would do.  If you don't have access to Burda, don't worry, I've got a couple of Big 4 options for you.  Either Butterick 5211 or 5644 would work to make a similar dress.  Butterick 5211 is pretty close, already has pockets and if you include a little extra length then you can add a waist casing and elastic.  Of course you could just add a belt and skip all that, too.

Butterick 5644, View B is another alternative, although you'll have to add quite a bit of length because this is a blouse pattern and adjust where that elastic and casing will be according to where your waist is and how much blousing you want.

As far as fabrics, there is a lot of lovely matte jersey out there, but even you if splurge and buy some of the lovely Italian jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics, at $20 per yard, you can still make this dress for less than Talbot's is asking for theirs.  Check out all her jersey here.  Bonus: your size right away and your color choice if black or red don't work for you.

All photos from respective websites with links included.

Parting Shot: Windows.  It was such a nice day, so each cat got their own window!