Friday, September 20, 2013

Pretty in Purple

Lately I have been doing some quick refashioning of a few old dresses I've had for years, to see if I can salvage them and get some more wear out of them. Here's a 2 for 1 on purple fashion!

I love this dress colour & the supersoft fabric, but the shape! the size! SO 90s!

To fix this dress I planned simply to do a quick chop & that's all. BUT when I chopped then washed (for the billioneth time) it shrank! Just a touch but still, it looked tight in the arm area. So I used the  8 inches that I lopped off the bottom, opened the armhole a bit, and set in some sleeves. I always prefer sleeves for work clothes anyhow, just a personal preference. Not sure if the redo actually updates this one or not, though.

Not sure about this one. Certainly fits in with the
garden theme! But perhaps a bit small? Too dated?

Dress #2: The original sack o' fabric

Shorten by 7 inches
Trim the sleeve

Tie the little self-tie in front to add some
shape. Now I love it as a garden
 party dress :) This one I really love.
 It feels new and yet vintage-y.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

6095 Stripes!

This is the latest dress I made, from one of the new patterns I picked up in The Great Pattern Haul that occurred recently...

At the same time that I bought a handful (or two) of new patterns, I found a lovely grey & multicolour striped linen-viscose blend on the sale table. It was cheap because there were a few random & unattractive slubs* in the fabric that would need to be avoided -- but I thought I could make it work, and I really liked the muted tones and soft feel of the fabric. It kind of reminds me of those Guatemalan pullovers that everyone wore when I was in university, but I wasn't going for that kind of hippie student vibe, so picked the clean lines of New Look 6095 to counteract any similarity.

This pattern gave me some difficulties. The aforementioned slubs were a bit of a problem, but I was able to either avoid them or get them into the seam allowances, except for one right on the hemline! Argh. And although I forgot to take any construction pics, I laid this one out pretty carefully to keep the stripes straight, which seemed to work, thank goodness! I also tried setting the sleeves in flat, which worked really well -- love the technique when possible.

Excuse the wrinkles, I took this picture
upon coming home from work

But, I seem to always have problems with sizing -- I chose size 16 according to my measurements, but the bodice is just way too big. Even the skirt feels slightly large. In fact, it was so roomy that I didn't even have to put in the zipper! (thus avoiding one of those Basic Skills Of Which I Am Afraid)

Still, it's not too big to wear, but again, I must belt it. Perhaps straight/a-line shifts just don't work for me, but I keep making them... In any case, I love the feel of this one on, even if it would be a bit more comfortable to have the bodice a little less shifty and slidey as I move. But if I toss on grey tights and a grey cardie, or my deep pink blazer which catches the tone of pink in the centre stripe (which I did this week), or my dusty blue corduroy jacket which is the exact tone of the grey-blue stripe, the wide neckline is both hidden and anchored, and this will work great as a multiseasonal dress.

One element that I am particularly proud of is the addition of in-seam pockets. I love a dress with pockets so added some cheery ones here. I repurposed most of an old linen blouse that I loved but that was worse for wear -- saved the buttons and used the brilliant blue for pockets, which worked wonderfully especially as they are the same weight as the dress fabric. I do love them. This was a pretty easy pattern overall, though, and now that I can see (and hopefully fix) some of the sizing issues, maybe I'll try again.

*Slub: A characteristic often associated with contemporary linen yarn is the presence of “slubs”, or small knots which occur randomly along its length. In the past, these slubs were considered defects associated with low quality. The finest linen had very consistent diameter threads, with no slubs.  Today, however, the presence of slubs is considered appealing, and fashion dictates that even the finest linens have these slubs (via )

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Seems Suitable

Today's look features Butterick 5217, Misses Tops, view C.


I don't make a lot of tops, generally sewing dresses as my first choice. But I had a really nice scrap of lightweight men's suiting that I wanted to use and thought it would make a great shirt. The fabric is soft and light, a mix of dark and light brown with black and even a smidge of navy blue in there.

I decided I had just enough for this top -- but actually there was not quite enough, as I ended up making the inside back yoke of plain black cotton and having to bias bind the underarm with black bias tape rather than self bias...but since I mostly wear it with this sweater that doesn't matter too much.

Excuse the wrist brace, all that sewing you know!
 At least it matches...
You can notice the black bias
tape on the underarm area here

I like it a lot -- it's comfy and the fabric has a nice shimmer to it. This pattern, however, fits very large. The yoke and bust fit correctly, as I cut it to size at that point, but it really poofs out, thanks to all those square pleats, front and back. Perhaps it was because of my heavier fabric, but I find the back to be quite "sticky-outie" and if I make this again I'll likely reduce the fullness to only one centre pleat. But I like wearing this and always get a comment or two about the fabric when I do :) The yoke actually fits me, it is just pulling oddly in the picture below because of the weird way I am standing...

Here I am auditioning for the
front of a pattern envelope

So, overall a top that I like, but to make again I would choose a much drapier fabric and take in the fullness a bit. Don't really need a maternity top to add to my wardrobe!