Pattern Review: StyleArc Brenda Blouse


Pattern Description: From StyleArc’s website: Brenda blouse is a great wardrobe builder, suitable for the office or for a casual look. Wear it with your jeans on the weekend. Features flattering V-neck line extending into a neat collar, front gathers and a ¾ sleeve.

Sizing: 4 to 30. I started with a 10
Fabric Used: Daisy Daisy cotton print (sold out, sorry!) from Gorgeous Fabrics (natch)

Machines and Tools Used: Started with the Pfaff at home, ended with the Bernina at the office. Also used the home Juki serger.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle. Pro-Weft Interfacing and Shirt Buttons by the Scoop from Fashion Sewing Supply, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, finally.

How were the instructions? They were fine. This pattern is drafted beautifully, so it goes together with no problems.

Construction Notes: This was a fitting challenge. You can see the post about it here: Muslin for the StyleArc Brenda. I don’t think I’m the only one. The back fits like a dream, as you can see from this picture on my body-double.

Back: No changes, and it fit really well.

The shoulders fit great. The side seams sat right at my sides and ran perpendicular to the floor. All was good. But the front needed some serious surgery to make it around my ribcage. I did a FBA, and I added girth to the front (sigh) to fit properly. In the end, I may have added a bit too much in the FBA. I folded out a bit of the gathering in the pattern after the adjustment, but I could take a little more. It’s minor, and anyone who doesn’t know fit really well won’t see it. But if I do this again I’ll take out some of the gathering at the bust that I added for the FBA to make it perfect.

It’s not bad, but I kind of overcompensated

Here’s a detail shot of the bust gathering.

The only bad thing that happened during this whole process had nothing to do with the pattern. My Pfaff desperately needs service, and took it out on the (otherwise pretty darned perfect) hem. The tension has gone all wonky, and the integrated differential feed mechanism is out of alignment and catching the fabric. There’s no way I was going to trust it with my buttonholes. So I pulled out the Bernina and used that for the buttonholes. Wow – can I just say? I understand why Berninas have the reputation they do. Those buttonholes are perfect.

Likes/Dislikes: Big love – the RTW proportions on this. Here’s a funny story for you. A while back I visited my BFAM Emmett. After giving each other hugs, he looked at me and said, “Did you make that blouse?” I had, and I was proudly wearing it. It was a pattern by another company. When I said yes, he said, “That placket is too wide.”

Can you just hear the whewwww whewwww whewwww deflating sound of a Mario Brothers video game? Yeah, that’s how I felt. Only a best friend or Brother by Another Mother, both of which describe Emmett, can tell you that and you know they are right. The fact is that most pattern companies get the width of plackets completely wrong. Here’s a graphic example. This is the pattern for the shirt I was wearing that day. The placket width, from the folded edge to the stitching, is 1 ½ inches:

When you consider that a good bra on someone my size gives you 7 inches or so between bust apexes, that’s a lot of real estate for the placket.

On the other hand, this placket takes up less than an inch, and it looks really good sitting… where it does.

7/8 inch finished width. What a big difference that makes!

A Small Tip that Makes A Real Difference I’ve noticed on some blogs (no worries, I never name names) that the most wonderful sewing can be undone by itsy bitsy teeny weeny little important details. One of which is failing to trim threads in your buttonholes. I have been guilty of this venal sin in the past myself, but now that there are sites devoted to people telling you to get off their (virtual) lawns, it’s just one more thing that may bring scorn on one’s head. In the interest of keeping my readers’ heads scorn free, here’s a tip – clip them threads! Here’s a before picture of one buttonhole on this blouse. I use a chisel to cut my button holes open, which does a beautiful job, but after a few buttons in/buttons out, threads naturally start making themselves known

Looks like a radish root. Or Pinocchio’s nose. Or something

Just taking a couple of seconds to trim those threads will make a world of difference, especially if, like on my blouse, your buttons contrast with the background of your fabric.

A trimmed up buttonhole – much better!

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I will definitely do it again, now that I have adjusted the pattern to fit me. And yes – I do recommend it. This pattern has great bones in general, but do make a muslin to get the fit you want. I was going to start a lecture about making muslins in general, but that’s a post for another day.

Conclusion: It took a little work, but I LOVE the results! I’ll show it on me when the weather cools down a bit, but for now you can see it on Mutt:

Now I kinda wish I had made the body double cover out of plain muslin, rather than chambray. Looks like I’m wearing a tee shirt. Oh well.

Posted in Emmett McCarthy, Fabrics, Reviews, StyleArc | 7 Comments

Every Once in a While, You Have to Say, What the…

And I did. Now this is on its way to me
DVF1549

Posted in Patterns | 12 Comments

Muslin for the StyleArc Brenda

After a rather lengthy hiatus, my sewing mojo has returned with a vengeance. Even the McCalls Shorts Debacle hasn’t stopped me. I have lots of ideas of clothes that I want to sew, and I’ve been really inspired by this online subscription I took out to a magazine aggregator. Suddenly I get to read all sorts of fashion magazines on my iPad before I go to sleep: Vogue, Bazaar, InStyle, W, More, Lucky, Allure, Self… The list goes on (and it also includes Entertainment Weekly and People, among others, for my guilty pleasure reading). It provides plenty of inspiration. It has also rekindled my desire to sew with wovens. I’ve been sewing tons of knits lately, because I love them and they are what I live in. At work, my uniform is usually jeans, a knit top, a jacket, and either sneakers or high heels, depending on what I’m doing that day. I love my uniform, but I want to add a little diversity. So for the late summer/early fall, I hope to sew up some blouses. The first one I’m working on is the StyleArc Brenda.

The Brenda is a long sleeved, darted blouse with gathering at the bustline. There are some doppelgängers out there in pattern land, but I really like StyleArc for their shoulder and upper-chest draft. So I pulled out my copy of the pattern (size 10, my usual) and cut out a muslin.

Since I’ve been working mostly with knits recently, it’s crucial to make a muslin of any garment that is made of woven fabric and reasonably closely fitted. And boy, I’m glad I did. I know that at my age, I will need to make changes to just about any pattern to get the fit I want. And this is no exception. I made the muslin straight from the pattern and discovered a few things that needed to be changed. First off, even though every StyleArc pattern I’ve made in size 10 fits me perfectly across the shoulders and upper chest/back, they don’t all fit the same elsewhere. Brenda is drafted for a much smaller person than I through the front ribcage. Here’s a picture of the original muslin on Shelley.

Fits Shelley great.

Shelley is a Wolf Size 6 dressform. Much as I wish I looked like Shelley, two kids, yumpty yump years and one bout of breast cancer later, I’m more like a Wolf size 10. As a side note, this December is (touch wood) my 5-year diagnosis anniversary. And my birthday is in December. Maybe I’ll save up and treat myself to a custom Wolf form. But I digress…

So I’m about two sizes bigger than Shelley. You can see that the muslin fits her pretty well, with not a lot of extra ease. On me, it sits more like this:

On me? Mmmmm, not so much

It fits perfectly through the back, and the side seams are in exactly the right place. It’s just the front that needs fixing. I’m not going to subject you to a picture of it on me in this iteration. That would be too embarrassing. One other thing to notice is that the bust darts come up WAY too high. They are at bust apex level, even on Shelley, who doesn’t have to worry about gravity.

Even before I had kids, they weren’t that high!

Also, If you look at the original muslin, the dart was positioned about 2 inches outside of where my bust apex (the little x’s) points are. So I decided to slice and dice. When I was a kid I used to think I wanted to be a surgeon – well, this is surgery, minus the blood and need to learn organic chemistry, right? Here’s the pattern after I made my initial incisions, but before I did all the resectioning:

Before…

Here it is once I got done with it:

And after, sigh…

Here’s the revised muslin on Shelley: much better fit for my real body.

That’s better!

There is still a little work that needs to be done. I need to add just a wee bit more room at the bust, but that’s easy now. I’ll also add the sleeves to the muslin tomorrow to check them out. Once I do that, hopefully I’ll be able to whip this up in my fashion fabric (a daisy print cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics) quickly and have a new blouse.

Tomorrow I’ll show you some of the construction methods that I use when I make muslins in general. But that’s enough for tonight. DH just put a Quentin Tarantino movie on.

Happy sewing!

Posted in Fit, StyleArc | 7 Comments

Pattern Review: McCalls 6930 Shorts

Also known as Ann’s Epic Fail, but soon to be a save, dammit.

Nice try, chica.

Let me take you through the steps first, then we’ll get to the subtitle…

Pattern Description: from McCalls website: MISSES’ SHORTS AND PANTS: Fitted shorts or tapered pants (below waist) have shaped waistband, side front pockets and back zipper. A and B: back pockets. C: carriers and stitched hems.

I made view A.

Sizing: 6-22. I made a size 14 (see below)

Fabric Used: Herringbone Linen (sold out, sorry) from Gorgeous Fabrics, of course. A remnant of another sold-out stretch charmeuse, also from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff home machine, Juki home serger.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, Pro-Weft Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, 7 inch zipper, two trouser hook/eyes, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Press That Bad Mamma Jamma, “J” or “L”?

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? They were good. I didn’t use them too much, but I did check them over and they seem quite adequate.

Construction Notes: I used my Pfaff to stitch all the seams, and I finished the seam allowances (this fabric is, like many linens, ravelly) with my home serger. I changed the zipper to a lapped zipper application, using the instructions in my 1980 vintage Vogue Sewing Book.

The pockets are even, and I’m going to fix that underlap

I used a charmeuse for the pocket linings:

Charmeuse lining is to the left

 

And the front,

I’ll tell you, my construction on these shorts was nothing short of excellence. Seriously. I got my mojo going and I finished every seam, pressed every detail, did elegant hand sewing in small areas and generally was smug as all get out about what a good job I was doing.

And then…

Likes/Dislikes: Here’s both a big complaint with this pattern and a major “Doh!” face palm moment at myself. This bugger runs BIG. REALLY big. Like, borderline huge. Shame on me for not doing a flat pattern measurement, but the last time I made a McCalls shorts pattern they ended up being a bit too tight. I had made a 12, so I figured the 14 would be fine. Wrong. The 14 is seriously about two inches too big through the waist. Shame on me for not doing a flat pattern measurement and assuming the pattern draft was consistent. Hah! My favorite ever boss, Joe, had a favored saying: “When you assume, you make an ASS of U and ME.” Joe was so right. I will do flat pattern measurements from now on. As it is, I’ll take in the side seams and be done with it. I don’t get too wound around the axle about summer shorts. After all. I live in New England. Summer will be over in, oh about 3 weeks.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Mmmmmm,no.

Conclusion: Good looking shorts. Check the pattern measurements against your own before you cut, or make a muslin. I didn’t do either and the little b*stards are Just. Too. Big. But they are excellently prepared! Here’s the front view.

Sigh…

Coda: Wildlife Among Us!
This evening, these two hen turkeys and their little drumsticks came wandering through our front yard. Hoover really, REALLY wanted to go chase them.
Turkeys 7-15-14

Happy sewing!

Posted in Fabrics, McCalls, Reviews | 4 Comments

Charles James at the Met

This is a long one, and picture heavy, so grab a cup or glass, sit back, and enjoy. :)

The iconic image of Charles James gowns photographed by Cecil Beaton

I was in New York for a series of meetings this week. Yesterday morning, I got a call about an hour before one of my scheduled meetings that the vendor was sick and couldn’t make it. That gave me a couple of hours to kill. Let’s see, I’m in New York, I have nowhere to be until noon. What to do? It took me all of about a nanosecond to hail a cab and head up to the Met, where “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” is on display. I had less than 2 hours, so I booked it right for the exhibit.

The exhibit is outstanding for the most part. It’s split into two areas. The first area houses the iconic James gowns: Tree, Butterfly, Four Leaf Clover, Swan and many others. These gowns are heavy. They weigh between 12 and 20 lbs. Vogue has a fun article about the comparative weights of several iconic James Gowns. For example, Tree:

Named after Marietta Tree, Mother of the model Penelope Tree

Named after Marietta Tree, Mother of the model Penelope Tree

Weighs 13 lbs, or as Vogue likes to say, about the same as an average sized watermelon. The Butterfly dress, which I am kicking myself for not getting a picture, weighs the same as 5 baby French Bulldogs. Speaking of which, Puppy Dress!!!!

I have never claimed to be anywhere near Charles James' abilities, but I do like French Bulldogs

I have never claimed to be anywhere near Charles James’ abilities, but I do like French Bulldogs

Swan

Swan, with like, a bajillion yards of tulle

Rather than blah blah blah you to death, let me just share the pictures I took. They allowed pictures, as long as you didn’t use flash. I only had my phone with me, so pardon the low quality.

Swan Back

As close as I could get to the Swan from the back. These dresses stood a solid inch away from the body

Back of the Tree

Back of the Tree

Green ballgown, whose name I didn't note

Green ballgown, whose name I didn’t note

Green ballgown with photoshopping to try to see it better

Green ballgown with photoshopping to try to see it better

Evening Dress 2

Evening Dress with velvet bodice and silk satin and faille skirt (color enhanced for contrast)

I cribbed this picture from the Chicago Museum site

I cribbed this picture from the Chicago Museum site

Something cool that the exhibit did was they had videos, camera shots and ‘x-rays’ of the innards of the dresses. They used robotic arms to highlight the areas they were describing on monitors, and they even (and this was totally cool) had one camera that delved under a dress to show the multicolored layers of tulle that made up the underskirt.

The silk and velvet Four Leaf Clover was there, as was this absolutely spectacular lace and silk version

Lacy Clover 1

The best video was the one showing how the lace was appliquéd to this gown.

Lacy Clover Back Lacy Clover 2
Here are some more pictures with some detail shots
Pouf Gown

Seaming and Hem on a Pouf Gown

This bridal dress was designed by Charles for a Modess sanitary napkins print ad. My, how times have changed…

Modess Bridal Gown Back Modess Bridal Gown
This dress was designed for the opening of a Georgia O’Keefe exhibit, and is meant to reference the female genitalia. Can I just say? I am no prude but I don’t need any literal references to the vajayjay running down the front of my dress.

Couture Ew

Couture Ew

There’s a reason that look never caught on, Chuck, trust me.

After the Iconic Gowns, the exhibit continues.
Temple of Dendur

On the other side of the museum, behind the Temple of Dendur (which is so cool, BTW) and down in the basement!
Seriously, the gowns are front and center, and the rest of his work is consigned to the cellar. The curators were trying to say something here. Maybe the curators were inadvertently imagining the wearers of his other outfits to be traveling by subway? Who knows. But in the (basement) Anna Wintour Costume Institute, the works displayed were in many cases, remarkably pedestrian. Coats, day and evening dresses, worn by the socialites of the day, and no doubt worn beautifully, but they were not iconic. They are not notable. They are not even memorable.

Evening Dress

Draped evening dress

Dinner Dresses

Dinner Dresses

Day Dresses

Okay, these day dresses were spectacular.

Coats

But this coat? Not so much

As I said to Phyllis, ‘These reminded me of Ethel Mertz and Mamie Eisenhower.’ I said earlier that the show was outstanding for the most part. The part that was outstanding was on the first floor, not in the basement. The coats, dresses and outfits – even the gowns, are of their time. They are a wonderful diorama of postwar chic. James is considered visionary, but his vision doesn’t translate across time. They are costumes that were worn by our grandmothers. Beautiful costumes, but costumes nonetheless.

While this may be more of an historical reference, the show is really worth seeing. If you can get to New York to see this exhibit, by all means do! It’s a great snapshot of American fashion history.

Happy sewing!

Posted in Fashion, Museums | 7 Comments

Quick Tip – Template for Fly Topstitching

Here’s an easy tip for your Monday morning. When I’m making a garment that has topstitching along the fly or a mock fly opening, I trace the stitching line on a scrap of pattern tracing paper. Then I pin the template to the garment’s front and stitch through the template along the marked line.
Fly Template
Once I’ve stitched, I tear away the paper. Voila!

For me, it’s easier and more precise than using tailor’s tacks, and it doesn’t rub off before stitching, like chalk lines can.

HTH!

Posted in Tips | 4 Comments

Pattern Review: BWoF 6-2009 120 Shorts

Wherein fabric gets switched, mistakes get made, saves are performed and ultimately all ends well…

Burda 6-2009 Shorts A funny thing happened on my way to the sewing machine. Fabric alchemy of sorts – linen changed to piqué!

Seriously, I went downstairs to put a load of laundry on, including my gray linen for these shorts, when what confronts me in front of the washing machine, but about 2 weeks’ worth of teenaged sons’ laundry. I was (and still am) unconvinced that said teenaged sons’ laundry would get done without maternal intervention, and since both of them were out of the house, I started doing load after load. Which meant that my laundry, along with my gray linen, got shuffled to the back of the laundry queue, and didn’t get done for a couple of days.

But I did have a yard of Blue Aster Stretch Cotton Piqué that was pre-washed and waiting for a project, so all worked out. The linen is now washed, and it will be the next piece I cut into, probably after I finish this post. Allons-y!

Pattern Description: Pleated, cuffed shorts with faced waistband and mock-fly front.

Sizing: 34 to 44. I made a 40.

Fabric Used: Stretch Cotton Piqué (sold out, sorry) from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course). A remnant of a long-sold-out floral cotton voile for the pockets.

Machines and Tools Used: Juki DDL8700 industrial straight stitch to start, then I finished it at home on my Pfaff and my Juki home serger.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, 7 inch zipper, 1 metal snap, 2 pairs of D-rings, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Press that Bad Mamma Jamma and Anything by the Pressinatrix, “J”? or “L”?, Stabilize a Crotch Curve with Clear Elastic.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, for the most part.

How were the instructions? Standard issue Burda, meaning they suck. These shorts are pretty well drafted, and as long as you don’t make any boneheaded errors (see below) then you’ll get good results. As it is, even with the boneheaded error it turned out okay.

Construction Notes: I made the shorts more or less according to the directions, though I threw up my hands and pulled out my 1980 edition of the Vogue Sewing Book to remind myself how to do things like mock flies and turn back cuffs, rather than trying to figure out Burda-speak.

I changed the curve on the crotch to more of an “L”, per usual for me. I used a length of clear elastic (not stretched) to stay the CB seam and the crotch curve.

I added ½ inch seam allowances all around, except for the waistline/facing, which were ¼ inch SAs. I sewed all the seams on a straight stitch machine. Because this particular piqué is rather loosely woven, I used my serger to finish all the raw edges.
Pocket and Seam Finishes
To reduce bulk, I used pique for the pocket that is visible, and a remnant of a lightweight cotton for the pocket piece that isn’t.
Pocket

Bonehead Alert! I know that I’m (in Boston parlance) wickid smahht. Hell, I got a 100 on the Mensa test. As an aside – really? Come on people, if I can ace that test a monkey can get into Mensa. But of course, I wouldn’t be a member of a club that would have me for a member.

Where was I? Ah yes – bonehead! I was happily chugging away, completely ignoring these pretty red tailor tacks I had put at the center front. I installed the zipper and fly, and I was pretty darned pleased with myself and my progress. Then I happened to look at the picture of the shorts. Hey, what’s that button doing at the top? Riiiiight. Faced waistband. Fly zip. Geometric awkwardness at best. Hmmmmm. That’s a boatload of stitching to rip out, and I didn’t have any more of the piqué to cut a new piece. So I improvised. I ripped out part of the facing and redid it.

That's what happens when I get cocky.

That’s what happens when I get cocky.


To keep things neat, I added a snap at the top. It’s not the most elegant solution, but it worked, and as Jim Blinn once memorably stated in a panel discussion at Siggraph, “Brute force is a wonderful methodology.”

The other thing to note is that for this pattern Burda actually gives you a hem allowance. The problem is that, with a fabric like this pique, if you turn the hem under, then when you do the turn back cuffs, you have 5 layers of fabric at one point. And when you’re wearing shorts with cuffs, that can be a lot of bulk in an uncomfortable place. So I cut the hem allowance off, serged the raw edge, sewed it using my sewing machine, then turned the cuffs. That helped a lot.

Inside view of the hem and cuff.

Inside view of the hem and cuff.

Finally, Burda calls for belt buckles for the side belt-tabs. I have several, but none of them were the right size, or the ones that were the right size clashed with the blue. So instead, I used D-rings for the time being. I’m going to New York this week, So I’ll get buckles there. Or maybe not, we’ll see.
D Rings

Likes/Dislikes: These are very cute. My husband really likes them. They are very comfortable to wear. They go together well, as long as you pay attention to your markings. :\

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I would recommend it. I’m not sure if I’ll do it again. JoAnn had a $1.40 sale on McCalls patterns this weekend, so I picked up a couple of shorts patterns that I might use on the linen instead. But I do like this pattern.

Here’s a sucky selfie. I never wear my shirt tucked in, but this gives you an idea of how they look on me.
And On
I realized after I took this pattern that the fly stitching had not caught the entire length of the facing – that’s why the fly flares out a bit. I hand-stitched the facing down invisibly after I saw that. Now there’s no flare-out.

Conclusion: A good, cute, summer basic that will work for lots of figures.

Happy sewing!

Posted in Burda, Fabrics, Reviews | 8 Comments

On the Cutting Table – BWOF 06-2009 Shorts

I discovered that, other than athletic shorts, I’m woefully short (pun intended) on summer shorts that are suitable to wear about town. I guess that gives me a project for the weekend. I thought about making another set of StyleArc’s Karen Walk Shorts, but I wanted something shorter. So I pulled out my old Burda World of Fashion magazines (now renamed BurdaStyle), and came upon this pair in the June, 2009 edition:

Burda 6-2009 Shorts

Can’t find an online image of it, so here’s a shot from the magazine.

I’m going to make it using this Herringbone Gray Linen from Gorgeous Fabrics

Which, coincidentally, is 25% off through July 6. Just sayin’

I’m busily tracing it off today, and hopefully by tomorrow night I’ll have a new pair of shorts. More later, and in the meantime,

Happy sewing!

Posted in Burda, Fabrics | 2 Comments

Pattern Review: Simplicity 1653 Amazing Fit Dress

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 9.33.16 AM

I really wish Simplicity would do something about their website. It is SO slow!

Pattern Description: From the website: Misses’ & Plus Size Amazing Fit knit dress in knee or calf length, surplice front with ties & 3/4, cap or flutter sleeves. Individual patterns for slim, average & curvy fit & B,C,D cup sizes for miss & C,D,DD cup sizes.

I made view B, the short sleeved version.

Sizing: 10-28W. I made a 12 D-Cup Average fit. I tapered out to 14 at the waist.

Fabric Used: Savannah Sunsets Rayon Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course!)

Machines and Tools Used: My Pfaff home machine and my Juki home serger.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 70/11 needles, ¼ inch elastic, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Check the Grain on Knits, Get More Mileage From Your Fabric, Pretty Much Anything From The Pressinatrix.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? They were okay. I didn’t really use them. Simplicity suggests basting the major seams wrong sides together to check the fit, then removing the basting after you make adjustments, then sewing your seams. I don’t like that approach. I would rather baste the seams right sides together and adjust from there. I think my way takes less time and gives equally good results.

There is an Error/Omission in the Pattern: Simplicity states in the instructions that seams are 5/8″ unless otherwise marked. In this pattern, they mark 1 inch seams for the sides, 3/8 inch seams for the shoulders and necklines. What they fail to mark, though, is the 1 inch seam for the front bodice and skirt. If you use a 5/8 inch seam, as you would assume from the instructions, your front and back won’t match up. Be sure to use a 1 inch seam when attaching the left front bodice to the front skirt.

Construction Notes: I lowered the bust dart on the left side. I used my serger to sew all the main seam lines.

It's hard to see, but the dart is pointing in the right place on me.

It’s hard to see, but the dart is pointing in the right place on me.

Pet peeve alert! For some reason, Simplicity has you purchase bias tape to make facings for the neckline. What the heck? Are we still in the 1970s? I swear, the Big 4 (V/B/M are guilty of this as well) cut and paste instructions that have been around since I was in high school. Talk about a Becky-Home-Ecky finishing technique. Grrrr…
End of rant.

What I did instead is cut a piece of ¼ inch elastic 2 inches shorter than the length of the entire neckline. I zigzagged that along the wrong side of the neckline edge, all the way around, then I folded the edge over and stitched in place, using a .5mm zigzag, 3.0 stitch length. The result hugs my neckline without any gapping, and gives a much better, more professional finish.

The elastic gives a nice snug finish.

The elastic gives a nice snug finish.

I used a narrow overlock stitch to finish the hems.

I actually kind of like this finish after all...

I actually kind of like this finish after all…

I didn’t get too wound around the axle about matching the print on the back. This print is busy enough that I didn’t want to make myself stir crazy.

Likes/Dislikes: This is a pretty, flattering design, and I love the multi-cup draft. And can I just say? I LOVE this fabric. It’s so comfortable and cool. I’m going to wear this dress when we go to dinner on the Boston Waterfront next weekend.

You already heard my rant.

Here are pictures of the dress on Shelley:

Front...

Front…

…and back

…and back

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I won’t make it again, but I would recommend it, with the caveats above.

Conclusion: This is a nice dress that looks gorgeous (natch) in this fabric. I think this would make a nice dressy-dress in a more formal fabrication.

Happy sewing!

Posted in Fabrics, Reviews, Sewing, Simplicity | 10 Comments

StyleArc Jacinta Maxi Dress, Take Two

I love the Jacinta pattern so well that I decided to make another version. This time I made the sleeveless view. You can see the pattern review for the sleeved version In This Blog Post. So what follows is a mini review that highlights the differences.

Fabric Used: Golden Snake Smooth Faced Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics. It’s the Fabric of the Weekend, so it is 40% off our regular price, but only through today.

Machines and Tools Used: Juki home serger.

Needle/Notions Used: 70/10 needles, pro-tricot interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, thread.

Construction Notes: I did a few things differently this time. I used the bias layout, which caused me some headaches. It has nothing to do with the pattern, it has to do with the fact that I cut out the right back three times before I got it right. The first time, I cut it geometrically perfectly but I didn’t realize that the “stripe” on the fabric is directional, so the sides were 180º flipped from each other. The second time, I cut it out a small but annoyingly noticeable offset. Third time was the charm. Thank god I own a fabric store! :/

Instead of making the neckline and armhole stays, as directed in the pattern, I interfaced the bindings with Pro-Tricot. This stabilizes the openings quite satisfactorily. I also did a rolled hem on my serger. I’m not entirely in love with it. I may re-hem it with a zigzag stitch later. We’ll see.

Likes/Dislikes: I love the fact that StyleArc drafts different armhole pieces for sleeveless versus sleeved. This one has no gaposis in the armhole. Yay! Now why can’t the Big 4 do that? It would reduce much frustration, and it doesn’t take up that much more paper.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I definitely recommend this pattern! I’ve made two of them, and I’m thrilled with how comfortable it is. I’m wearing it right now! I’ll try to get pictures on me later, but meanwhile here are a couple on Shelley.
Take Two Front
Take Two Back

Conclusion: This dress is so comfortable to wear. I just love this pattern! I may cut it down and make a couple more street-length dresses with it.

Posted in Fabrics, StyleArc | 4 Comments