Sunday, January 24, 2016

Vogue 1234 Sandra Betzina Dress

Hola amigos!  I've not posted anything for a while, and one reason was because I was out of the country, in beautiful Cancun, Mexico.  Before I left, I made a few things for the trip, including this dress, Vogue 1234.  This is a pattern by Sandra Betzina for the Today's Fit series.  It came out in 2011, and is still in print, which says something about it's popularity.  There have been numerous reviews for it on, and they all looked wonderful.  But, I never felt that I had the right fabric to make my version until now.

I used an ITY knit from Fabric Mart Fabrics that had a distinct stripe pattern.  I had to be careful in cutting this out, as the stretch of the fabric went across the stripes, which meant if I wanted it to stretch around my body, I had to place the fitted parts of the pattern with the stripes going vertically. 

Here's the cover of the pattern, where they used a stripe too.  What is deceiving about this photo, is the length.  I had read in the multiple reviews of this pattern that it ran very, very long, so I knew ahead of time to adjust it before I cut it out.  To get my version to hit as the same length as the model on the cover, I removed 5" from the length.  I am 5'9", so either this model is over 6 foot, or some shortening of the pattern was done.

Shortening isn't as easy as a traditional dress might be, as you can see from the line drawing that there are multiple sections that go out, and then narrow at the bottom.  So, to keep that shape, I removed 2-1/2" at about waist level, and then another 2-1/2" at the thigh level.  I had to do this to each pattern piece that would be affected at those levels, and then redraw the cutting lines to blend them together.

My print is pretty busy, so I'll show you some close-ups of the seams in a couple of areas. It's actually pretty easy to sew- the directions are very helpful, and if you like puzzles, you'll like putting it together.  I was a little concerned that the shape might be a little too avant-garde for my part of the world, but my family members universally gave it a big thumbs up.

Here's the back view.  Aren't the beaches in Cancun amazing?

Even with the shortening, I ran short of fabric, and had to do some fancy footwork in piecing the back together.  If you make this with a stripe, give yourself a yard or so extra to give yourself some room to play with.

If you like this shape, and don't already have this pattern, I'd get it soon! Five years is a long time for a pattern to stay in print, and you never know when it might be replaced.  Check out the other versions on, and you can see lots of creative variations.  I really love mine and hope to make more, now that I've got the alterations figured out.

Now, back to winter in Illinois....

Happy sewing!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Icicle Silver Slinky in Butterick 6247

One of my fondest memories of the holidays as a child was decorating the Christmas tree with silver icicle strands.  Does anyone remember these? 

I was reminded of them when I saw this metallic silver slinky fabric at Hancock fabrics spot the bolt table last year.  It was $2.89 a yard and I got 3 yards of it.  Slinky is what knits that are made of acetate are sometimes called, and the name fits it well.  The fabric just likes to slither away from you when you try to press it.  Thank goodness it doesn't wrinkle much! I don't want to give you the wrong impression- it wasn't that hard to sew with, but the pressing was really impossible. I've seen this kind of knit a lot in travel catalogs because of it's wrinkle resisting qualities.  It used to be very expensive to buy by the yard, but I don't see much of it around in the fabric shops these days.  Probably because it is just so slithery to work with!  Emma One Sock has some great tips for sewing with slinky here.

Anyway, I felt like I was getting a steal based on what I remembered this type of fabric selling for in the past.   I wasn't sure what I would make with it when I bought it,  but then I saw Butterick 6247.

I thought "How great would this be made up in the silver icicle knit?"! The pattern is a bit of a fabric hog and the view that I made takes a full 3 yards of fabric.  I made the medium, but added extra at the sides just in case this fabric was clingy. 
View D is really two separate shirts that you overlay one on top of the other.  Because slinky is so heavy, I stabilized the should seams of both layers with twill tape.  Next, you sew on the cowl collar and the sleeves.  I used the selvages for the edges of the front overlay so that I wouldn't have to hem them.  Then I serged the hem also instead of folding it under.  I cut off 2" off the underneath layer, so mine is possibly a little shorter than they intended. 

It's super, super quick to sew, and I think it will be warm enough for an Illinois winter.  I really like this pattern, and intend to look around for some other fabrics that would work for this design.  I suppose you could mix fabrics as well if you didn't have the full 3 yards in one.

I've been trying a new alteration lately that I wanted to share with you.   I got this idea after looking at the pattern draft of one of Connie Crawford's patterns.  In her sleeve draft the back of the sleeve cap is significantly longer than the front.  So, I've been slicing the sleeve to add length to the back and at the same time spreading the sleeve cap so that I can add a little more width to the bicep.

I think that this works for me because most of my arm bulk is in the back of my arm.  Then I add the same amount of length to the back.  

This part is similar to a high round back adjustment. This particular combination of alterations accomplishes two things for me- it keeps the sleeves from being too tight, and it really helps keep the neckline from sliding back,.  I've not seen this particular combination in any reference books, so I don't think it has a name.  If you've seen this before, please let me know.  Whatever it is, I'm going to continue using it because it's working great for me!

What are you sewing for the holidays?  Have you ever sewn with Slinky knits before?

Cheers to you during this holiday season!!

Happy Sewing!


Saturday, October 31, 2015

You're never too old for footie pajamas

This is my daughter, Ariana.  How old would you guess her to be?  I know she looks young, but she is actually 27.   And she still loves pajamas with feet. She's been asking me to make her a new pair for a while.  I've been putting the project on the back burner, and was in no hurry to do it.  So she made me an offer that I couldn't refuse.  "Mom- if I made a flourless chocolate cake, would you make me the pajamas now?"

Who could pass up that offer? She wanted them to be made of natural fibers, not polyester.  So, we found some french terry in the SewBaby fabrics that was perfect- thick enough to be warm, but breathable so she won't get too hot.

Finding a current pattern with feet that was designed for knits proved to be impossible.  There are several jumpsuit type pajama patterns, but none of them have feet.  And there is a Kwik Sew women's pattern with feet, but it was designed for woven fabrics.  She is petite, so I went back to my Kwik Sew children's footed pajama pattern and compared measurements.  She is 3 inches taller than the XL child's size, so I graded the pattern to be one size larger.  Voila, a perfect fit!  See- it pays to hold on to those patterns- you never know when they will come in handy!!!

 I used an orange zipper and turquoise ribbing to accent the colors in the print.

You wouldn't think that this was a stripe, but all of the circles are in a row, so you really do need to treat it as a stripe.   I tried to align the circles when cutting out the pattern, and it turned out pretty well!

For non-slip feet, I used this slipper gripper in red, also available at SewBaby.

The feet are cut out of both the fabric and the slipper gripper, so there is an extra layer of cushioning in them.  A package has enough for two projects, so now I've got to figure out who else might want either slippers, or another pair of these?

As you can see, she is in love with her new pajamas.  Isn't it nice to know that there are still things that Mom can do that a store can't quite duplicate.  Oh, and the cake was delicious too.  A fair trade.

Do you have grown-up children who still want you to sew for them?

Happy Sewing!

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