Pictures! Tonight is prom, and DS the Younger wore his vest and tie. He told everyone who asked where he got it that I made it for him. 🙂
Pictures! Tonight is prom, and DS the Younger wore his vest and tie. He told everyone who asked where he got it that I made it for him. 🙂
It’s prom time! Between traveling and that, what little sewing time I’ve had has been devoted to others. I made a belt for my friend’s daughter using a pearl and crystal trim from M&J backed with black petersham ribbon. It doesn’t warrant a review, but I’ll see if I can get a picture on her tomorrow night.
The other thing I’ve worked on is a vest and bow tie for DS the Younger. I had an old pattern, Vogue 2826 (long out of print) that I have used many times before, but it didn’t have a vest, so we got him this one.
Pattern Description: From the website, MEN’S VEST, CUMMERBUND, POCKET SQUARE AND TIES: Vest A includes sizes S-M-L-XL-XXL and has welt pockets. View A and Cummerbund B are lined. Pocket Square C. Bias-cut Ties D,F are 3″ wide and Ties E,G are 3 1/2″ wide. Views F,G have contrast band. Bow Tie H. Pre-tied Bow Tie I.
I made the vest A and the “pre-tied” bow tie I.
Sizing: S-XXL. I made a medium at the chest and shoulders, tapering to a small at the waist. Oh, to be 17 and the swim team captain…
Available as a PDF? No
Fabric Used: Blue and gold printed quilting cotton. I know, I know. But he had a specific color in mind, and he wanted sparkle to it. This one fit the bill, so there you go. Lining fabric that has been in my stash for who knows how long.
Machines and Tools Used: Home Pfaff sewing machine.
Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, Pro Weft Supreme Light Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, buttons, hooks, eyes, thread.
Also, I’m not sure this is worth writing a tip for, but if you are ever working with a dark, or heavily patterned, low-contrast fabric like this one, a great way to find all the stray threads on it is to use a bright LED flashlight. It’ll reveal even the most matchy-matchy rogue threads.
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes
How were the instructions? They were okay. Just to try something different, I decided to use the standard Vogue instructions way of making welts, rather than my own Tried-and-True Method for Making Welt Pockets. You know what? The standard Vogue instruction way sucks. You are flying blind for much of it, making it difficult to achieve precise results. I ended up throwing out one whole side of the vest and re-making it using my way of doing welt pockets.
Construction Notes: Speaking of welts, I decided to narrow the welt on the pocket a bit. I found the narrower width more aesthetically pleasing. The pattern calls for sew-in interfacing, but I used fusible, and block-fused all pieces. I used a 2.5mm stitch length and 17mm buttonholes (automatic).
Likes/Dislikes: This is an easy pattern. I like the vest, and I think DS the Younger will like it when he tries it on. It’s not a standalone vest – it doesn’t have a back, just a back belt and halter, but it will look great under a tux. The tie is a faux-bow tie – it’s basically two rectangles of fabric that are pinched in the middle and tacked together with a band wrapped around the middle, then sewn to the neckband. I don’t care for that method. I’ve made real bow ties and I like those better. But this will do for a high school prom. I have enough fabric left over that I may remake the bow tie the “real” way for him.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? If the occasion arises, sure. This was a pretty easy pattern, it’s well drafted and it turned out nicely. I would prefer it in a nice silk, but hey, I wasn’t sewing for me. I wouldn’t make the version of the tie that I made here, though if you are in a time crunch and you need a bow tie, they don’t get much easier than this.
Conclusion: A good pattern, easy to sew. And I’m Hero Mom for making it for him! Here are some shots on Shelley, who has vastly different measurements than he does. I’ll get pictures on him tomorrow night.
This weekend I made myself another version of Vogue’s Diane Von Furstenberg 1549 wrap dress. As a side note, McCalls recently did a Very Good Post explaining why you are unlikely to ever see them reissue this pattern. To what they said, I’ll add that in the cases of other designers, the licensors who used to work with Vogue Patterns have been swallowed up by huge conglomerates like LVMH, Kering and the like, so dealing with their licenses can be taxing to a small to midsize company.
Anyway, back to me. I decided to make a second DVF Vogue 1549 wrap dress. I made a few changes to it, but not enough to warrant a complete review. Here are the particulars:
Fabric: I made this version from Walk in the Woods Smooth Faced ITY Jersey – Multi from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course). This is a much lighter-weight fabric than the First Version I made of this dress (a rayon doubleknit).
Changes to the Design/Construction: This particular jersey has a very fluid hand, and it is very soft. I omitted the cuffs and collar, which I thought might be too floppy unless I interfaced the bejeebers out of them. I cut the hem down to a 5/8 inch narrow hem, rather than the 3 inch hem in the pattern. I used a 5/8 inch narrow hem on the sleeves as well. I’ll probably push the sleeves up most of the time anyway. Other than those changes, I made this the same way as the first version. It went together very quickly, and this version looks a little less formal. This fabric is light-enough weight that I’ll definitely need to wear a jacket over it (Boston in January, don’t you know).
And why the Lorax reference? Well, check out the finished dress:
The other reason is because I plan to wear it to a meeting tomorrow night where I will speak for the trees. It’s town stuff, and not what I like to do, but I believe in wearing an impact outfit in situations like this. I’m saving the really big guns for the meeting where the town takes a vote. For that one I’ll wear the Red DVF.
When I was setting up to photograph this dress, DH saw it and said, “Wow, that’s a gorgeous fabric!”
Four dresses, 8 weeks and Wrapapalooza is officially a wrap! I made Very Easy Vogue 8646, StyleArc’s Tia, StyleArc’s Kate and Vogue/DVF 1549. First up, a table, since it appeals to the old Director of North American Sales in me.
And below are my thoughts on each, upside and downside…
Easy to make, well drafted, very quick to sew. Options including sleeved and sleeveless make it good for all seasons. And it has different bodice pieces for different cup sizes!
Runs very large through the shoulders. I made a size 12 and it still is too wide at the shoulders. Go down a size, at least. The pattern uses the same bodice pieces for both the sleeved and sleeveless version, so make a bodice muslin to make sure you don’t get gapping at the armhole if you make the sleeveless.
Very well drafted, goes together quickly. Since it’s a mock-wrap there’s no danger of your skirt blowing up in the wind. The size runs true for me (AUS size 10) and the shoulders fit well without any adjustment.
It’s more casual than the others, and less fitted. Also, since it doesn’t have a long-sleeved version it is a warm-weather dress, at least in Boston.
Very well drafted. Sews up like a dream, and goes together quickly. Good option for both casual and dressier versions (think ITY and silk jersey).
Because it doesn’t have a waistline seam, you might need to add a little length if you do a FBA.
The classic. Beautifully drafted, the instructions are fantastic. The end result is gorgeous on everyone I’ve seen make it. And it is the original, cult-inspiring pattern. Ha! Suck it! Neener neener neener!
Oh, is that ungracious of me?
Holy crap, the price! My son is going to take out a student loan because Mommy had to have this pattern.
A couple of things to know about wrap dresses…
One, you need to pay attention to the fit at the shoulder to get great results. This is one design that absolutely requires the shoulders to fit well, or it just doesn’t work. It is a forgiving design overall, but get the sizing right and it is great.
Two, do an FBA. I’ve seen a lot of wrap dresses recently where the wearer sticks a camisole underneath. That’s not bad, but all it takes is a good FBA to make it so you don’t have to “cover up”. It’s supposed to be sexy. Sexy as in, undo the belt to get the whole thing to fall off (bra-catcher and snaps aside). Putting a camisole under it kind of defeats the purpose. So fit the bust, folks. You and your SO will be glad you did. 🙂
Other Wrap Dress Patterns that are Available
I haven’t sewn any of these, so I can’t give you my opinions of fit, but these are some other ones that you can easily find in stores or online:
New Look 6349 – I lied. I did make this one years ago. Beloved by many, runs huge.
Christine Jonson Wrap Dress Loved by everyone who makes it – this is one that seems to always need a camisole.
McCalls Palmer-Pletsch 6986 – Interesting waist treatment and batwing sleeves. PP patterns have great fitting instructions.
HotPatterns Sarine Knit Dress – Reminiscent of the Tia, with interesting waistline and shoulder gather details.
As you can tell, I just love wrap dresses. I can see traveling with a week’s worth of these. They are easy, comfortable and chic!
In Other News…
Today was the annual Burger Burn at MICAA, a high school marching band competition. The UMass bands (Amherst and Lowell) perform exhibitions for this, and the parents make lunches for the kids, which is great fun. We got to see DS the Elder and his friends, and the band sounded great. However, after helping cook about 500 hamburgers, I don’t need to eat any for the next 6 months or so.
Today was also the annual Halloween parade at the town just north of us. DS the Younger marched in that, but he gave us the okay to go do the Burger Burn (next year we’ll skip the Burger Burn and watch him lead the band as Senior Drum Major). I think everyone had a great time. Lord knows we’re all pretty tired.
Last up, a couple of parting shots
First, Halloween is Friday, so my bat earrings are getting their annual fly-about
Next, Gratuitous Hoover Shots!
I finished my McCalls top, so I’ll review that tomorrow. In the meantime,
Phyllis suggested I take pictures of the dress in the light of day, since the flash washes out the colors. So here you go.
This is going to be my Thanksgiving dress. It is amazingly comfortable on. I call it my bathrobe dress. There are some features that make it even more comfortable. To quote Phyllis, “I may not agree with her [DVF’s] views on IP, but she is a great designer.” This dress looks great with boots, pumps and flats, so I’ll be able to wear comfortable shoes when I tire of killer heels.
I wore my Kate dress today, but I didn’t get a picture of that. The weather is supposed to go downhill until the weekend, but I’ll try to get shots of me in all the dresses when it gets better. I’ll do a wrap-up post this week. In the meantime,
Pattern Description: This is the original DVF Vogue pattern (long since out of print), of which the pattern envelope says: Front wrapped dress, 3 inches (7.5 cm) below mid knee or evening length, with fitted bodice slightly gathered at front and tucked at back into waistline, has fitted and flared skirt and attached tie ends that tie at side front or center back. Full length sleeves have pointed cuffs with button trim. With or without pointed collar. Topstitch trim.
Sizing: 6-16. I made a 12 with modifications to make it a 14 at the waist.
Fabric Used: Italian Rayon Double Knit in Heathered Rio Red. As Phyllis said to me tonight, “You have to photograph this fabric in daylight, because it is so much more beautiful than the flash shows.” So tomorrow I’ll photograph it in daylight. It is closer in color to the flat scan than any of the photographs.
Plus a scrap of Poly Matte Jersey in Persian Red
Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130 home machine, Juki DDL 8700 industrial. Ham. Shoulder stand.
Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11, Pro Sheer Elegance fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, clear elastic, buttons (see below)
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes!
How were the instructions? Great. Seriously, these were the golden days of patterns, so the instructions are thorough and understandable. Yes, they use slightly different methods than are in common usage today, but you still get great results, even if you adapt it for modern equipment.
Construction Notes: Unlike my other Wrapapalooza dresses, I decided to make this solely on my sewing machine, eschewing my serger. I have to tell you – I think that was the right choice, especially with this fabric. If I make it in a lighter knit (which I will) I will use the serger, but this fabric seemed to call out to me for the sewing machine.
I started with a size 12, adding a FBA and leaving the fullness added at the waist. I figure I can use the wrap to adjust if I lose inches at my waistline (alas, not likely).
One of the cool things about this pattern is that it has you affix your interfacing not to the facing, but to the main garment pieces. Not sure if that is better, worse or indifferent, but it is different from the way standard pattern instructions are written these days.
This pattern was released in the ’70s, long before modern construction methods. It advises staying the neckline and waistline with seam binding. Contemporary versions of DVF dresses are stayed with clear elastic, so that’s what I used here.
The pattern didn’t tell me to do this, but I decided to under-stitch the skirt facings to keep them in place
Per the instructions, I topstitched the bodice
I was very slightly short on the fabric I used, so I fudged the under collar, which turned out to be a happy circumstance. I used a scrap of ITY jersey, which added just the right drape to the collar.
I used buttons that my friend Joanne in France gave me. They are perfect!
The sleeves on this pattern have facings at the cuffs, which makes for a nice finishing detail
I originally planned to shorten the dress by about 6 inches, but I tried it on with the shoes I will likely wear with it and it looked great so I decided against it.
This dress is comfortable! I can see why it is such a hit and such a classic. It looks great on so many body types, and it’s not too low (after my FBA). I will be making a slew of these in many different fabrics. If you have the chance to purchase this pattern, do! You won’t regret it.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and Yes!!!
Conclusion: A fabulous dress, from a golden age, by an amazing designer. Here are pictures on Shelley:
This is one great pattern, and having sewn it, I can see why it has such a zealous following. Wrapapalooza has now officially finished, but believe me, I’ll be sewing lots of versions of the dresses you have seen!
Now just so you don’t think I’ve forgotten, we’re 2/3rds of the way through Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I haven’t been around much this month so you haven’t seen my usual pontifications about getting your annual mammogram. But dammit. Do it! I’ll have more later, but that’s your PSA for now 🙂
The first dress is a wrap! Ooo, yeah, my bad. But one week of September has flown by, and I managed to get my first of possibly four wrap dresses done. Voila, Very Easy Vogue 8486…
Pattern Description: MISSES’ DRESS: Close-fitting, mid-knee length, wrap dresses A, B have front pleats, back darts and flared skirt. B: three-quarter length sleeves with elbow dart and stitched hem. Purchased belt. Separate pattern pieces provided for A, B, C, D cup sizes.
Sizing: 6-22, with bodice variations for A, B, C and D cups. I made a 12 with a D cup.
Fabric Used: Circle Print ITY jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics (sold out, sorry)
Machines and Tools Used: Home Juki serger, Pfaff 2130 (It’s back from the shop – YAY!!!!). Ham, shoulder stand, sleeveboard and of course, Naomi the Naomoto and my ironing board. The Pressinatrix must be appeased, don’t you know.
Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needle. Thread. That’s it.
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes
How were the instructions? Vogue, Vogue, Vogue. I love you dearly, but… Can we please at least approach the 21st century? What is with the continued use of bias tape to finish the edges of knits? It’s not like sewing machines can’t handle sewing knits. It’s not like there aren’t oodles of videos and Tutorials on the Internet for better ways to finish edges. Let’s make a deal – you take that file from 1972 that contains the instructions for finishing necklines with purchased bias tape, and I (and the rest of the interwebs) will stop lambasting you for it. Deal?
Other than that they were fine.
Construction Notes: I used a narrow hem to finish all the edges except the sleeves, which I just finished with the hem treatment suggested in the instructions (2 inch hem with ¼ inch turned under). I do find that, when I tried on the dress, there is a bit of gaposis at the shoulders. It’s not a forward-shoulder alteration. It needs some fabric taken out evenly from the front and back at the shoulder/neckline intersection point.
Likes/Dislikes: Dislikes – Well, there’s the whole bias tape thing. Also, the armhole on this is LOW. I am really glad I didn’t make it sleeveless. I was tempted, but some pretty amazing storms blew through while I was working on this dress, and they ushered in beautiful fall-like weather so I opted to make the sleeved version. I’m glad I did. If you make the sleeveless version (or the sleeved, for that matter) I’d make a muslin of the bodice and check the armhole before you sew.
What I like? The shape. This is a very pretty silhouette. The neckline fix is easy to do and I’ll do that tomorrow. I also like the fact that this wrap sits reasonably high and doesn’t show a lot of cleavage. I’m going to sew a bra-catcher so I can wear it without ever worrying about gaping when I bend over. More on that later. I like the shoulder pleat detail:
I also just like the lines of this pattern. It’s quite flattering to a number of different figures. Here are pictures of it on Shelley. Please note that she doesn’t fill it out like I do. I stuffed a bra to try to approximate me a little better, but I’m not as skinny as she is. I’ll try to get a picture on me at some point.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I might, though I have 3 others in the queue to make first. I recommend it, with the caveats mentioned about the armhole and the hem and neckline finishing.
Conclusion: A good dress with nice lines. And it goes together quickly.
Hi everybody! This week has been a little bit crazy. Getting kids back to school, seeing DS the oldest perform in the first football game of the season, seeing DS the younger lead the band as drum major, and in between that, going on a buying trip left not a lot of time to work on Wrapapalooza. But I did manage to get the first dress cut out and mostly sewn. I’m making Vogue 8486 in a circle print ITY as the first dress. It’s close to being done, but not quite there. Here’s the bodice on Shelley:
The skirt is done and hemmed. All that remains is to attach the skirt to the bodice and hem the sleeves. Hopefully that will be done tomorrow. Til then…
I spent much of yesterday in my sewing room for International Cut Into That Fabric Day. How about you? Did you cut into something? Please share if you did! Add a link to your blog, pinterest or Facebook if you have it. Me, I finally sliced into an Armani stretch cotton that I bought before I started Gorgeous Fabrics. That makes it more than 7 years old. That’s past the statute of limitations, right? I’m not even sure where I bought it. I was a bit of a Tasmanian Devil back then, buying fabric wherever and whenever I saw it. Much of said fabric ended up in the hands of the local drama department, where I saw some on display in the high school musical this weekend! More on that later. In the meantime, I had all sorts of plans for my stash fabric.
The thing that flummoxed me about this fabric was the print. It’s a very large geometric print that, in the parlance of computer graphics is transformed 180º around the y-axis. That makes it both interesting and tricky to lay out. There’s a line down the middle of the fabric and the print mirror images, but upside down. I only have 2 yards of this fabric, so even if I drive myself batty trying to match the prints across, there is no way to do it across every seam line (I would need about double what I have to do that). So guess what? Every once in a while you have to say “What the f***” and that’s what I did.
I knew I wanted a dress. I thought about a simple sundress, with minimal style lines, but nothing in the pattern books or websites appealed. I love princess lines for the design possibilities, but those present pattern matching difficulties if you don’t have lots of fabric for your pattern layouts. So I ended up back at a dress pattern I have made before and love very much: Vogue 8787.
There was no way I was going to match pattern motifs, so I thought about what my designer friends do: screw it. I opted against going for a symmetric motif style. Besides, who wants chevrons pointing the way to heaven, right? So after laying my pattern pieces (which I mirrored and laid out with a single layer layout)
I moved them around to find an interesting and slightly astigmatism-jarring layout. I figure I might as well go for making the eyeballs vibrate with this print, right?
I cut everything in a single layer. It takes extra time to prep the pattern pieces, but not very much, and this way I had complete control over where the pattern pieces fall on the motifs. You can see more about this on the video Tricksy Fabrics.
The other thing I decided was to cut the midriff pieces from solid black… patent leather! I went back and forth, and finally decided that leather was a fun choice that would change the entire tenor of the dress.
In other news, DS the elder was home this week on college spring break, and DS the younger performed in the musical at the high school, “Grease”. It was a wonderful family week! Here’s a picture of him doing his big solo. He plays Doody, one of the T-Birds, and he plays guitar in several songs, including his solo “These Magic Changes”.
So, what did you cut out this weekend????
aka, War and Peace, the Pattern Review.
Pattern Description: From Vogue’s website: Close-fitting, lined, mock wrap, pullover dress has collar, neckline, front and back (bias) tucks, overlapped and stitched left front, right side front and back seams, no side seams, and sleeves with stitched hems and cuffs hand tacked and fold-back.
Sizing: 4-20. I made a 12
Machine(s) Used: Juki DDL8700 Straight Stitch
Needle/Notions Used: 70/10, Pro-Tricot interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, Tailors 1/2 inch shoulder pads from Gorgeous Fabrics, thread.
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, eventually.
How were the instructions? Baffling in parts. In fact, they omitted a crucial step, without which the dress looks just awful. I’ll explain more in the construction notes. Even without that step, the instructions are pretty hard to follow at times. This is NOT a pattern for either beginners or the faint of heart. You have to be really meticulous about marking, and about following the markings, sometimes seemingly blindly.
1 – Make a muslin
This pattern is a bit of a puzzle, and it reminds me of an Issye Miyake skirt pattern I made back in 1991. You can’t tell from the pattern pieces what the finished product will look like. You have to go on blind faith in parts. Unless you make a muslin, you can’t figure out where you need to adjust to make the fitting changes (FBA, in my case). Additionally, making a muslin will give you a go at a test run in constructing this. I found that invaluable, because the markings are a little confusing at times. I made mine from some (sold out) wool jersey I had left over from a project I made last year. I only muslined the font/back piece (it’s all one), the side and the upper front pieces, so I could get an idea of how the whole thing would fit through the bust and waist. I didn’t bother with the sleeves or the facings.
Once I had the muslin put together, I took tailor’s chalk and marked the garment where I needed to slash it for a full bust adjustment. I then transferred those slashes to the pattern pieces, as you can see here:
2 – Expect to go down a size Even the size 12 is not as closely fitted on me as I would have expected from the pattern photo. If I had gone with my ‘usual’ V/B/M size 14, I would have been swimming in it.
3 – Mark carefully, and carefully follow the markings
If you look at this picture, you’ll notice that the markings for the dart legs are not equal, and there is a note to stretch the shorter leg to match the dots on the longer leg. This is critical. If you don’t do that, you’ll end up with what I call “cigarette rolls” – wrinkles on your darts. I didn’t pay too much attention to stretching on the muslin. Thank god I made a muslin and learned my lesson!
4 – The instructions, as written in the edition I have, are missing a crucial step
I have talked with Vogue about this, at length, and after they saw my pictures they agreed, and they are going to fix it in the instructions. Wow – I are a game changer! 🙂
Seriously, though, there is a real problem that can ruin the look of the dress. Pictures being worth a thousand words, here’s the issue: The lower front facing extends beyond the lower front and the upper front facing. But nowhere in the instructions does it tell you what to do with that. I characterized it as a uvula of jersey.
The extension needs to be attached to the dress. After I sent the pictures you see above, Meg, the very nice lady at Vogue Patterns, got right back to me and said they would change the instructions to add, after step 31, to sew the extension to the front, under the dart (just like my hand drawing – yay me). Once that little mystery was solved, the rest was reasonably straightforward.
5 – Keep the instructions and the pattern pieces close at hand
I kept referring to the drawings on the page, and then cross checking them with the marks on the pattern pieces, to keep myself on track. I took my time, and it all worked out okay, but this is not something that you can just whip out in a day.
6 – The cuffs and facings are… funky
Yeah, the instructions have you attach the facings in an unusual way (overlapping seams), which is not a problem and reduces bulk. But the cuffs? Whoa. They have you take a Ralph Rucci-lite approach and attach the cuffs at four points on the sleeve with tacks. I did one with my attempt at a RR style bullion stitch, then I looked at the result, said, “Yeah, that will totally end up in my cereal bowl or soup. No.”
Instead, I attached it in a more “traditional” manner and turned it up.
7 – Hem this on a dress form, or get a buddy to help with the hem
With all the curvature, funky pattern pieces, and (in my case) fitting adjustments, the bottom of the garment was pretty curved. Do yourself a favor on this one and get someone to help you hem it. Or throw it on a dress form and hem it that way. You’ll be glad you did.
8 – Lining is optional
The lining on this is a basic tank dress pattern, that has nothing to do with the outer shell. So I skipped it. I’ll just wear Spanks underneath.
9 – Your fabric choice is critical to the success of your garment
I can’t emphasize this enough. This pattern needs a fabric with some body to it. Much as I adore ITY jersey, it’s too light. You don’t want a heavy knit, but a jersey with good body, or a rayon double knit will work well. If your fabric is too lightweight it just won’t work.
Likes/Dislikes: I love this pattern, despite the work that I had to put into it. It’s a fun challenge that I need to hone my skills.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I won’t do it again, because it’s a once-in-a-wardrobe dress. But I do recommend it, if you have the patience. Don’t try to slap it together. This is a diva pattern that demands attention to detail. But if you have the temperament and the time, this makes a beautiful dress!
Conclusion: Love it. Enough of my yammering, here are pictures:
On a completely separate note, tomorrow is a very big day. We’ll be taking DS the elder to college! So far, I’m excited for him. I don’t know how I’ll feel when we leave the campus without him. Of course, we’re just taking him to band camp. We come back next Wednesday to move him into the dorm. Big changes afoot!