Sunday, November 9, 2014

Violet, Grey and Black Mini-Wardrobe

My daughter's 24th birthday is this month, and when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she said "Could you make me some new clothes?".  Music to my ears!  I've had a horrible cold all weekend and haven't left the house for 3 days because I've been so sick, but it gave me plenty of time to think about what I could make.  I napped a little, sewed a little, napped a little sewed a little. 

Serena started her first professional job last year, and she works as a food engineer in Chicago.  She can wear anything that she wants to work, but she really likes dresses.  She also has a long commute to get to her job, which involves about a mile walk each morning in the Chicago weather, plus standing outside at the train station every day in the bitter cold.  So, I thought I would make her some things to make that commute a little warmer, and still be fun and appropriate for a 24 year old engineer.  I started pulling fabrics from my stash, and a violet, grey, black theme started.

Then I went to my Burda magazines for inspiration, and came across this top and skirt set from the October issue.  I made the top out of a chevron print rayon challis, and the skirt from a dove grey wool gabardine. 

I think the top is really fun and she can pull from any of those colors for her accessories.

The skirt isn't completed yet- I still need to line and hem it, but I want it to fit her like a glove, so I'm going to wait until she can try it on.

I liked that top so much, that I pulled another polyester crepe from my stash to make a second one.  Both of these fabrics were "mystery bundle" fabrics from Fabric Mart.

I think that the skirt looks fine with both.  But if she likes the skirt style, I have a dark violet wool gabardine, that I'd make a second one from.  I just love this skirt shape too.  Ignore the wrinkles- that should go away when I line it.

She wanted some dresses, but I knew that they needed to be wash and wear and comfortable.  This is a Scuba fabric that I picked up at Hancock's.  I didn't even know it was scuba, until I started working with it, and then it dawned on me- this is too springy to be a normal ponte.  Also, it didn't absorb any water when I prewashed it.  It was dry as a bone coming out of the wash.  I think she's going to like this one.

I used the Winter Street Dress pattern from  I did add some darts to give it a little more shaping so the waist would be a little more fitted.

I wanted to make a top layer in case her office is chilly.  I had this houndstooth ponte knit, and used McCalls 7026.  
This is a zip front sweatshirt pattern, but out of the houndstooth, I think it looks more business casual. It can go with absolutely everything in this capsule!  It's got some really nice design lines to it- I think I'd like to make one of these for myself.

I had another ponte in the violet/black combination, and decided to make a second Winter Street Dress from it.  I put in side seam pockets in both of the Winter Street Dresses.  That's one of the advantages to making things yourself.  You hardly ever see a ready to wear dress with pockets these days. 
The scarf is a silk chiffon, that I bought a length of and made two scarves- I have one, and she has the other, so I know she can do this look!

I still have one more piece for this that I want to make and that's a full length coat.  But, I want to make sure that she'll wear one if I make it.  I have an idea of mixing some very dark purple wool coating, with a black and white houndstooth wool and some black leather.  Not sure how this is going to play out yet, but stay tuned!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Marbella Dress for November

Is your sewing palette influenced by the seasons?

Despite knowing what colors are supposed to look good on my complexion, I ignore that advice and sew fabric that feels like the season.  According to the 80's classic style guide "Color Me Beautiful", I'm either a Spring or a Summer, but those shades feel so wrong this time of year.  So, with Fall in full swing, I turn to golds, browns and greens.  My cornucopia colors. 

I received this stretch peachskin autumn toned print in a Mystery Bundle from FabricMart in May.  At that time,  I swear that I thought it was the most hideous fabric ever.   I was going into my summer color phase.  I almost made it into a muslin a few times, then almost gave it away.  But what a difference a few months made in my attitude!  When Kennis from Itch to Stitch asked me if I'd like to make her new Marbella Dress pattern, I knew I had to make it out of this fabric! 

The Marbella Dress is a sleeveless dress PDF pattern with sizes 00-20 and cup sizes A-D included.  I was a little skeptical about the cup sizes, as the designer said that the final garment measurements wouldn't change with different cup sizes.    She advises that you just choose the size closest to your bust measurement, and then use the pattern piece closest to your bra cup size.  That is different than most multi-cup size patterns that I've seen.   However, it worked!  Not just okay, but perfectly!  I think this might be the best bust fit I've gotten in a pattern without alterations!  Yay, Itch to Stitch! 

Another extremely convenient feature to this pattern was that you could print out only the size(s) that you need, using a layering option in the PDF file.  I'd not seen this before, and it really helps to increase accuracy in cutting.  Since I sew for my 3 daughters, who are all different sizes, I anticipate using this feature several times in the future.  

The instructions are extremely detailed, and for people that are new to sewing, these would be extremely helpful.  You will get a very well made garment from the methods that she uses.  That said- I did skip a few of the steps, just based on the fact that my fabric has quite a bit of stretch and body, and I knew that I could get away with a few shortcuts.   

You can make this lined or unlined, and I chose to not line it.  The peachskin fabric has a slippery, lining like feel to the wrong side.    I really am impressed with this fabric.  I hope that I will see more of it on the FabricMart website, as I'd like to try it in some other colors.  It's just incredibly soft to the touch.  And so far, not too static-y, which is one pet peeve I have with synthetic fibers. 

This time of year, I will probably need to wear it most of the time with a second layer.  I could have gone with a turtleneck underneath, but I chose to go with a cardigan from McCalls 6844  in a steel blue sweater knit.  This is more complimentary to my skin tone than the dress itself, but it blends well with the fall shades in the print.

Oh, and I don't want to forget to mention my favorite part- pockets!   I know, I know.  You can add pockets to any dress really.  But it is so nice to have it included in the pattern with the correct markings. 

I did lengthen the skirt section 1-1/2".  I'm 5'9'' for reference.  I also took in the waist and hips to fit a little more snugly.  Since my fabric has stretch, I could do that.  If I make it from a woven fabric, I probably would leave the waist and hips as designed for my size.

The pattern is currently on sale, until November 8th, so if you would like a great classic dress pattern in multiple sizes with great directions (and who wouldn't want that!), here's a link for you:  Marbella Pattern.  I hope that we'll see many more patterns coming from Itch to Stitch!

Do you sew colors that go with the seasons. or do you stick with a year round palette that flatters you?  What will you be wearing on Thanksgiving?

Happy Sewing!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween Costume Contest Voting!

Update- 11/4/14
This was a very close race.  The entries were all fanastic! The ballots have been counted, and the winners are:

First place-
Entry #16.  Max from Where the Wild Things Are.   Submitted by Judy Dunkin of Iowa

 Entry #10- Sally Stitches from "The Nightmare before Christmas"  Submitted by Kathy Centurino from California

Thanks to all who voted. All entries will receive a special treat from SewBaby for participating!

-Ann for SewBaby

Hi everyone!

The Halloween Costume Contest entries have been collected, and now it's time to start voting for your THREE favorite home-sewn costumes!  After you've scrolled through all of the costumes, please use the featured link to vote. The first-place winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to SewBaby, and the runner-up will receive a $25 gift certificate.   Voting begins today and ends November 3rd at midnight.   Good luck to all of our talented participants, and let the voting begin!!

Entry #1 - Anna and Elsa Princesses from Frozen
Submitted by Linda Rock, VA

Entry #2 - Pink Lion
Submitted by Kellie Haithcox, OH

Entry #3 - Dinosaur and Cave Girl
Submitted by Kellie Haithcox, OH

Entry #4 - Merida from Brave
Submitted by Lydia West, OH

Entry #5 - Elsa from Frozen
Submitted by Micki Smith Palmer

Entry #6 - Anna from Frozen
Submitted by Micki Smith Palmer

Entry #7 - Flight Attendant
Submitted by Kellie Haithcox, OH

Entry #8 - Circus Monkey
Submitted by Kellie Haithcox, OH

Entry #9 - Max's Wolf Costume from "Where The Wild Things Are"
Submitted by Christine Chin

Entry #10- Sally Stitches from "The Nightmare before Christmas"  Submitted by Kathy Centurino from California

 Entry#11- Homemade Knight Costume.  
 Submitted by Sally Burger Chapek from Ohio

Entry #12-Sally Stitches.
  Submitted by Susan Baca

Entry #13.  Homemade Pumpkin. 
 Submitted by Melissa Bauska of Washington state.

 Entry #14. Rainbow Brite. 
 Submitted by Nancy McCracken of California

 Entry #15.  Princesses Bella and Estella. 
 Submitted by Christina Lovers Dixon of California

Entry #16.  Max from Where the Wild Things Are.  
 Submitted by Judy Dunkin of Iowa

Entry #17.  Princess Aurora.
  Submitted by Veronica Filips from Texas

Thanks again to all of our participants, and thanks to all of you voters for helping us choose the winner!  Goodness knows, it would be impossible for me to choose!

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