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Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Flowers with New Look 6299




One more dress finished and worn this May! I also cut this one out a month ago, but just got it sewn up last week. I love this bright and crazy fabric...I stalked it at the fabric store for at least a year until it was finally on sale and I decided to go for it :) It is a cotton sateen with a nice stretch; quite heavy and very amenable to taking the shape I wanted it to.


I knew I wanted to make New Look 6299 when I first saw it. I like the shape of a dress that has no waist seam breaking up the line of the dress. Also I wanted to make something that was dependent on princess seams so that I could improve in my ability to sew them properly. I chose View A, with sleeves and collar. I hadn't even noticed until I got the pattern pieces out that View B & C have gored skirts. Hmmm, more ideas for later!

New Look Misses' Dress with Neckline & Sleeve Variations  6299
I adjusted the paper pattern pre-cutting with my regular above-waist shortening alterations, and also graded from a 14 at the neckline and upper shoulder to 16 across the bust and waist, to an 18 at the hips. I ended up taking in 1/2" along the bodice front princess seams, between shoulders and waist, and in the back I took the bodice princess seams in by 1" on each side. I'm not sure if it was the stretch of the fabric that necessitated so much taking in, or the weight, as the back sort of stuck out and sagged at the same time when there was too much fabric there. In any case, the princess seams do make for really easy adjustments. Once I'd taken them in I loved the way the bodice fit. The only thing I didn't do that I may do next time is to take a little bit of the length from the upper back (like 1/4 or 1/2 inch across the shoulderblades) as it puffs out a wee bit when I am standing normally, ie: with not perfect posture. But really, those are minor adjustments, as I love the way this dress fits now.


I decided on View A with the collar just to give this dress a little more interest. I like how high and large the collar is -- feels quite 60s. It has a button tab at the back that buttons over the top of the zip. I used a deep red button that matches the fabric well, but realized that it sits right above my yellow zipper pull, so might change it to a yellow button at some point. This is the first button hole I've made using my easy peasy new Janome buttonhole foot and wow, it really was easy. I was a bit nervous and made a few samples first, as I didn't want to ruin my collar -- not only was it a lot of work to get it made and attached, I also had no more fabric. I had squeezed the pieces for this pattern on to every inch of my long coveted fabric. So thankfully, no problems there.

I also love how the white flower ended up perfectly
centred at the neckline -- accidental serendipity


I also added side seam pockets, and ended up giving it just a small turned up hem as I liked the length as it was -- I had added a bit of length when cutting it out, I think an inch. It's very short on the model in the pattern picture, but I'm only 5"1' so simply by not shortening any skirt length it was already a lot longer than the original design ;)


I seem to be following quite a floral theme with my sewing this year. There's another in the queue that I hope to finish in the next couple of weeks that is also floral, so it looks like I'll have quite a bouquet of new dresses by the end of the summer.

What do you think of the floral trend? Is it for you? Or do you prefer other prints? Or maybe even... solids?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Me Made May: Part III

Nearly done with May already! I've been having such a great time sifting through my closet this month, as well as wearing the couple of items I've finished up in May. Lots to think about in my handmade wardrobe now.

This week I wore a mixture of dresses and tops, whatever I decided to wear that day. I also finished 2 dresses, one as yet unblogged, so wore those, of course!

Here is my last week of Me Made May's outfits --

Left column, top down:
Zsalya by Kate & Rose -- once again I was fortunate enough to have a theatre opening to wear this dress to -- it was the opening of Hamlet, which, though sounding cliched, is my favourite Shakespeare. It was wonderful.
New Look 6299, as yet unblogged

Centre: my cheerful I.T. Dress! (Simplicity 1419)

Right column, top down:
New Look 6217 yellow top
New Look 6095 grey dress

I hope everybody else is having a lot of fun with Me Made May as well. It's been really nice seeing everyone's style this month.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The I.T. Dress: Simplicity 1419


I had cut out this pattern -- the Lisette Simplicity 1419 -- in April but got distracted by other projects, like my Cambie and the Simplicity Jiffy reversible dress. But I've finally got back to this one and finished this week, staying up late to finish the hem so I could wear it the next day (actually I cheated on the hem and instead of hand stitching as originally planned I just used some Steam-A-Seam. Don't tell...)


This is the dress for which I cut out a skirt lining from a pink sheet, which was the instigator of my recent reversible Simplicity dress. I added underlining because this dotted fabric, while cute, was also quite see-through if I was standing in any kind of light. I love the underlining -- it makes the skirt stand out crisply and hold its shape. It also makes it less likely to blow up scandalously in a strong wind, as I discovered to my relief when I wore it this week!

A look at my Steam-A-Seamed hem, which
allowed me to press it up right over the
underlining  and even gather slightly to keep it
nice and  straight-hanging from the outside.
This dress fabric is a recycled sheet I found at the Goodwill recently, I think it's another IKEA branded one. Good quality cotton -- it has a light, crisp hand, and is quite solid, in the sense that I had to be careful with pins -- it resisted any slightly dull pins and didn't want to recover from any pin or stitching holes. That quality gives it a nice polished appearance though.

Fitted but with room to move comfortably
Back view. So close to
being perfectly lined up
I call this dress my "I.T." dress -- the dots look just like those buffering circles that spin every time you're waiting for your computer to do something! I was extremely pleased to find that the dots had lined up exactly at the front waist, except that it's more of an oval than a circle, but hey, it is pretty close :)

Centred dots!
I like the pockets, the collar, the shape of the bodice, the pleats -- I like all of this one. The only changes I made were small fitting ones, like shortening the bodice by 1/2", although I do wish now I'd have shortened the back bodice by another 1/2". It does feel like it sags a little in the back waist, sadly. Not enough to stop me from wearing it, but I know it could be better.

I also lengthened the sleeves -- mostly so that I could cut them on the preexisting deep hem of the sheet and have halfway self-lined sleeves with no extra effort. I also ended up taking off the button loop at the front and just leaving this open as a V (which I had shortened by 1/2 " so it wasn't so deep). When I had a button on and had it closed up, it looked just too frumpy on me -- funny how one tiny thing like that can change the look completely.

Close up of neckline - you can also see
my perfectly matched earrings here too!

This is the first Lisette pattern I've used, and I really like it. I thought that the collar might be a little too much, but as it turns out I love it, and it was the element that most people commented on when I first wore it.

The pattern was very easy to follow, with well written instructions and techniques that are simple enough even for a beginner sewist who is looking for a bit more of a challenge than a 'very easy' dress. The pattern also includes a little jacket that looks like it could be interesting too -- perhaps I'll try it eventually.

I enjoyed wearing this very bright dress on a rather blustery day. It brightened my mood as well as my wardrobe!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Me Made May: Part II

For this second Me Made May roundup, I did catch a few photos of myself in my outfits! Though I did have the entire week off work, so my outfits were much more casual than usual. I went with the theme of tops that I've made for myself. Actually, I didn't really have a theme, so much as a "these are my comfortable clothes" kind of week ;)

Here are the tops I wore in this week of all kinds of weather -- mostly clear but a couple of clear and chilly days, still!
Vogue 8495 OOP

Maria Denmark Kristen Kimono Tee
"Vintage" Butterick 5716
My standard: Kwik Sew 3559
A cooler day & an (unblogged) version of KS 3559
Vogue 8514 - which I always wear "backwards" now

New Look 6217, 2nd version
Simplicity 3790
Unblogged Sorbetto - just realized
I wore the exact same outfit last MMM!

There are a few more shirts that I've made that I could have worn this week as well -- it's so astonishing to me to see so many things I've made myself in my closet. Much more than I'd first thought.

I have also finished a new dress so will be wearing that this week and blogging about it shortly, too!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Simplicity 1356: Double Duty!

Simplicity Misses' Jiffy® Reversible Wrap Dress 1356I have been working my way through a few dresses over the last few weeks. This one -- Simplicity 1356 -- was not on The List to make soon, but I got out some pink fabric to cut a lining for the skirt of another dress I'm working on (with fabric that was much too see-through for my comfort) and suddenly I was struck by inspiration.

I had tons of the pink fabric...in fact, it was a king-size Ikea cotton sheet that I picked up at the Goodwill recently. So I thought that it would great to trial this pattern.

This really was a Jiffy pattern; I was able to cut and sew it over the course of a couple of evenings. I was going to use a bright white sheet that had blue and pink stylized flowers for the other side, but my husband looked at it and suggested another one instead, that was a gentler contrast.

The second side (the floral one) was a surprise to me. I used it, thinking I would mostly wear it with the pink side anyhow. But when it was done, I loved the look of the floral side, and have worn it that side out far more often thus far. And strangers stop me to tell me what a pretty, spring-like dress I'm wearing ;)

It's funny how that happens -- when I bought the floral sheet originally, I thought it was a pretty retro look but a fabric I'd probably use for linings. I really like it in this dress though, even though I rarely wear things with a white/off-white base.

The first time I wore this new dress, I was at work. I wore the pink side out, and half-way through the day I nipped into the bathroom and flipped it to floral side out. Then I waited for people to notice. Small things, I tell you!



Anyhow, sewing details. It was very straightforward. I cut a size 16 on the top and added a bit of extra at the hip and below, which as it turned out was completely unnecessary and in fact means that there's a bit too much fabric in the area at which it's tied. A little too bulky. If I make it again I'm cutting a straight 16. Because there is too much fabric going around, the bottom fold over edges are also lower than the centre piece. It looks okay when I'm wearing it but next go around I'll try to eliminate the excess to make it nice and even.

The only other alteration I made was to add some extra width to the sleeve, trying to turn it into a cap sleeve, as I really don't like plain straps like the original. I was semi-successful. I curved the line from my shoulder extension a little too far back into the armhole, so my sleeve looks a little peaked. Again, next time I'll make the extension a little smoother so the sleeve is less angular.


But over all I really like this dress a lot more than I'd expected, having started it as an experiment. It feels cute and fun to wear. One thing to note is that when you walk, the skirt flaps do flow out a bit so the other side is clearly seen. So if you do make it, choose two fabrics that complement one another well, because you're going to be seeing both, no matter which side you're wearing facing out. I'd also suggest choosing lightweight fabrics, as the double layer could get heavy quickly if your fabric is too sturdy.

This dress is a bit of an outlier for me, seeing as I'm not a frequent wearer of hot pink or pale florals. But I like it. It is always fun to change things up a little, and this dress is a quick effort that gives a satisfying result.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Me Made May 2015: Part 1

I've been playing along with MeMadeMay this year in a low-key way. I've been sorting my closet, looking at what I have, and don't have, and trying to wear some of the things that don't get as much airing.

What I've been terrible at is taking photos. So I'm going to catch up on two weeks of photos here, in a collage/montage of the Me Made items that have thus far made it out into the world. At least for the first 2 weeks of May!

First, the skirts -- for the first 5 days of May I wore skirts, only one of which I wear regularly. Here they are:



From left to right:

  • brown elastic waist skirt, never blogged - not really a pattern (made with thrifted fabric so see-through that I lined it and gave it an elastic waist for a quick make. There was just enough for a trapezoid shaped skirt)
  • Floral New Look 6977
  • Brown floral microfibre New Look 6843
  • Blue hand embroidered Simplicity 9825
  • Pencil skirt! (this New Look 6128 is the one that I wear a lot)


And the following days, I wore dresses. Many, many dresses.




Left to right:





Left to right:



Fortunately for the clothing rotation, we had a couple of really chilly days this month in which I was able to wear warmer clothes, including the red Vogue above, and this KS 4026 which I forgot to add to the photo as it is in the laundry room!

So the first 15 days were very dressy. Now with a couple of days off I've been wearing a few of my more casual outfits. More info later!

Some more sewing happening around these parts so a couple of newer makes will be showing up this May, and will shortly be blogged as well. One surprising thing I am finding is that I have many more handmade pieces than I'd realized. It's been a busy year!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Caved to the Cambie

Yes, I've done it. I have finally made myself a Sewaholic Cambie! I've always loved this pattern, and a month and a bit ago I finally caved and bought the pattern. A digital pattern, so I was a bit slow off the start, having to print and tape and trace...but the Cambie was worth it.

A summer dress for a summery day in MAY!
I used a recently purchased cotton print -- I am in love with black-based floral prints this year. I lined it with a lightweight black broadcloth. I probably should have gone all out and used voile but it was a tad expensive for my first go-round. Now that I know how much I freaking love this pattern, I will be willing to spend a lot more on really nice fabrics for the next try.


This dress took me a while to make, as I was hesitant at nearly every step. Lots new to me, but once I did each step, nothing was actually hard to do. I absolutely loved the technique to add the lining to the invisible zip first. It looks fantastic and is so much easier than hand stitching down the whole thing. I also really liked the little touches like the lovely pockets, and the inside waistband cut from fashion fabric instead of lining. It's so pretty ;)

Inner Waistband
Sewaholic patterns are drafted for the pear-shaped figure -- which I am, and boy, does it make a difference. I made Version A, with the A-line skirt, not the full one, and it is super comfortable and flattering. There were a few alterations that I made to the pattern. First, I took a half-inch tuck out of the back armhole of the right side. When I made a bodice muslin, the right side gaped quite a bit; another result of my wonky shoulder. I folded a tuck from 1/2" at the back armhole edge to nothing by about the middle of the right back bodice piece. Because there was no corresponding sleeve measurement to worry about this worked just fine. I ended up also tucking the sleeve/strap in by far more than the 5/8" seam allowance, at the final step. I think I tucked each in by just over an inch, but then I usually shorten between bust and shoulder so that makes sense. I absolutely love the way it fits.

I also broke out my blind hem foot for the first time on my new Janome. It took a few tries on scraps to get the feel for it, but I'm so glad I used it. I really didn't want a hem that was just folded under and straight stitched, as I felt it might affect the hang or look of the skirt. And since everything else about this dress is so nicely finished, I was going to hand sew the hem. But then took a chance on the blind hem and it worked really well.

Blind hem!

 I also used the correct invisible zip foot, new also, and it made ALL the difference. I can't believe this invisible zip.

My 1st invisible zip that is truly invisible

Next go I will also pinch out an inch at centre front; this time I took a tuck just beside each strap to reduce the front centre gape. My fabric is so busy you really can't tell. And, oh, of course -- the other alteration I made was to change the front neckline from a sweetheart line to a straight neckline. I just can't get behind the sweetheart shape on me.

Love this neckline!

Thankfully the Sewaholic Cambie sewalong posts had tons of extra info, like how to change the neckline, and how to attach the lining to the zip, both of which I read through a couple of times to get going. I found the pattern well made and easy to understand, and I simply love the full lining and all the really excellent details in this pattern. I'm quite proud of this finished dress, the first in my all-out attack on my stack of wished-for summer dresses!

Random shoe view :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Me Made May 2105


I can't believe it's May already! How did that happen? The last two weeks have simply zipped by. I've almost missed joining in on Me Made May! I participated last year for the first time and really enjoyed it. This year I'm not going to be taking daily pictures -- I didn't like that part so much, and since it is not a requirement I am dropping it :) But I am planning on doing this:


I, Melwyk of Magpie Makery, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear one me-made item each day for the duration of May 2015


I am also hoping to finish a couple more of my half-made outfits that are currently languishing in my sewing room and wear them before the end of May! We will see. It is fun to go through your own "me made" wardrobe and see what's there that you don't actually wear much, or find the places that you are lacking me mades! 

Happy May!