Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Black Out!

I made this dress (McCalls 3926-- now out of print) quite a long time ago, using a length of cotton that was gifted to me. I never really wore it much.

I see now that it's because with its black colorway and cotton fabric, it looks like a Mennonite dress (especially when I had long hair which I wore in a braid...).

Plus I never really liked how the neckline sat on me originally. But, in re-evaluating some of my dresses, I wondered if I could fuss with this one a little to make it more wearable.

I just needed a quick hem -- taking off just over 7 inches -- and lo and behold, it is wearable, and I think quite cute now! I'm still not sure about the neckline though. I like it except when I try to carry my purse or anything else, then it all goes wonky. But perhaps that is because it's made of a fairly stiff cotton rather than something a little more flexible. If I decide to keep it I think I might open up a side seam and insert a pocket -- always useful.

PS - Excuse my crazy look in the photo: my husband was getting rather tired of taking multiple pictures of me in different dresses and was starting to pretend he was a fashion photographer, yelling "work it!" at me as people walked by. I had to laugh...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Repeat of a Favourite

I've made this New Look 6936 before, in a completely different fabric. I really liked the way it fit, and the way that the fabric choice really makes the dress. It's a simple pattern, really a 2 hour dress as claimed on the packaging! But this time I read through all the reviews at (a necessity for anyone who sews a lot, I think -- extremely useful).

Through the reviews I discovered some tips from others' experience. There is a lot of  ease in the bodice; I find in my first attempt, the shoulders are really wide and sometimes slide around, showing off my bra straps -- not that I mind but I have scandalized some of the old ladies at work ;) So like another sewist suggested, this time I cut the bodice a size 12 while leaving the skirt a 14. It fits much better.

I found this shiny knit fabric on sale a while back and hoped that it wouldn't be too busy to make a whole dress from. It is a bit wild, but I like it. I made View E this time. I'll most likely make one or two more dresses from this pattern. It's really easy and I like how easy and comfortable it is, though the next time around I'm going to add an inch or so to the length of the bodice so it sits a little lower. And I'm going to add a pocket. But I still like this quick, one morning project!

Two views of the finished product:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mad for Plaid

I've been having some fun with refashioning over the last couple of weeks (having time off regular work lends itself to more creative work!) I went shopping at the Goodwill to score a couple of dresses that I thought I might be able to do something with.

Exhibit A: this plaid beauty. I liked the fabric of this one -- it's a light, silky polyester blend of some sort -- but look at that 80's styling! I knew I'd have to chop this one up a bit, but thought there was definite potential.

First things first: get rid of the monstrous shoulder pads!

Just chop that whole collar off -- then turn the raw edge
under in a narrow hem and stitch down into a V neck. The
facings were a bit recalcitrant and needed some trimming
 and very definite pressing to stay put.

Then chop off 7 inches of puffy sleeve... you'll notice the close up
view of the black and gold buttons on cuff. Definitely
needed to replace those on the front of the dress,
with plain black shank buttons.

I also shortened it by an extra two inches. After all that chopping up and resewing -- with careful pinning and pressing, as the fabric is quite slippery and I wanted to keep those lines straight! -- I ended up with a much more modern look.You might notice that this dress has a self belt (and pockets! I love pockets). I wore the dress this week with a regular black skinny belt that wasn't so slippery, and also to break up the pattern a bit. I think it turned out fairly nicely!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mellow Yellow

This week I took advantage of a huge sale at my local fabric store and stocked up on some new lengths of various fabrics -- not like I need any more but it's always irresistible.

I have had this pattern (New Look 6602) for a very long time, and I've been wanting to make it up for a while now. I finally found the perfect fabric on the sale table, a nice cotton/linen blend that I've been eyeing for some time. I was able to pick it up for $2.50 a metre!

So I quickly ran up a dress, and it was quick -- this pattern is very simple but has two features I particularly liked. First, pockets, and then self-lined sleeves, which creates such a nice edge. It turned out a little too shifty for me, so I added a belt. I'm going to try again with a different fabric and remember to shorten it a bit so I can wear it shift style.

But I am pleased with the way it turned out. It's comfortable and cheery, and I love having pockets. A necessary feature for functional clothing!