Monday, March 23, 2015

Vogue 8379 in a Striped Silk Jersey

Hello everyone and happy Spring!

This is the first time that I've taken photos outdoors since October.  It feels so nice to be outside again!  To celebrate the long awaited arrival of Spring, I just had to make a new dress.  One of the most versatile dresses that I think you can own is a wrap dress.  They work for all seasons- just throw on a jacket or cardigan in the winter, and you can make a wrap dress work all year long.  So for this time of year where the temperature is up one day and down the next, a wrap dress is perfect.

The wrap dress was made popular by Diane Von Furstenberg in the 70's.  Have you ever seen a real DVF Wrap dress?  If you go to the Wrap Shop you can see that the average price is $400, and all of the gorgeous variations that they offer.  The one thing that I noticed that they all have in common, is that they are made from silk jersey.

I actually tried on an authentic DVF wrap dress once, and found out what silk jersey really feels like.  It's a lot like an ITY jersey in feel, but it has a lot less stretch. The colors in silk always seem to be richer, and that makes the DVF dresses look so much more vibrant than others.  I really had my heart set on making a wrap dress from a real silk jersey, and as usual, FabricMart had the perfect fabric- a striped silk jersey in my favorite colors (see below for a close-up).  Looks a lot like my blog background, don't you agree?

My favorite pattern for this style is Vogue 8379.  I've taught a class using it before, and amazingly, every size and shape looked great in it!  I did have to make adjustments to the pattern.  I did a full bust adjustment, a full biceps adjustment, and added length to the skirt.  But after my adjustments, I got a much better fit than I could ever have gotten buying an authentic DVF wrap dress. The McCall Pattern company blog is currently running a Wrap Dress Sewalong with some great information about fitting this particular style.

Since my fabric was striped, I had visions of trying to match the stripes in a chevron effect at all of the seams.  But when I got it, I saw that the stripes were quite curved.  So instead of trying to match the stripes at the seams, I decided to just try to play around with the direction of the stripes.  Here's what my fabric looked like on the cutting table:

Since the bodice and sleeves are fitted closely, I decided to lay the back bodice and sleeves in the direction of the maximum stretch- which was horizontally.  I oriented the front bodice so that the stripes would line up with the direction of the wrap- almost a 45 degree angle.  The skirt was a challenge.  I omitted the seam in the back, and cut it all in a single layer with the stripes at a slight angle.   Then I tried to match the sides in whatever direction the stripes were going in.  It didn't turn out perfect, but I'm pretty happy with it.  It has a kind of ice cream swirl effect.

Lastly, I cut the tie and facings with the stripes going horizontally. My front facing does turn out (even though it's not supposed to!), but it looks intentional with the horizontal facing.

Of course, you do need to pay attention to the skirt when you are sitting, but there is plenty of overlap so that you can stay covered up.  And if it is a windy day, well, you might just want to wear another dress!

 Have you made a wrap dress?   What is your favorite wrap dress pattern and fabric?

Happy Sewing!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Wardrobe Sewing with Ottobre Woman

Have you started sewing for warmer weather yet?  I've been really enjoying sewing with the new Ottobre Woman issue.   There are twenty designs, and I've made up six of them so far, and I've only had it two weeks!  That probably sounds like a lot, but believe me- these are extremely simple designs!  Most of them have just two or three pieces, so I've been able to trace, cut and sew them in an evening. People talk about a running high- I'm on a sewing high- I'm in the zone and the endorphins are flowing.  Here are my pieces all laid out with some shoes and accessories:

I decided on a Spring color palette of white, dark blue, light green and taupe, with the fabrics heavy on natural fibers so that this will transition into hot summer easily.  I've got several pieces already that will blend with these, and my goal is to have something similar to a Project 333 closet.

My first project from this issue was #14- the Loose Fit pants. (All Ottobre designs have a number and name!)  These have pockets and an elastic waistband with multiple rows of stitching. I made them from a white stretch linen that is just luscious.  Great fit, super comfortable.  Can't wait to make more of this one.

Next up was #13- the Melange Knit cardigan.  The fabric was an acrylic navy blue/ white stripe sweater knit from Hancock fabrics.  This one is definitely a warm weather cardigan that is more open than a cool weather cardigan.  The center fronts do not meet or overlap, so there is less fabric used.  Mine turned out quite long, but I think that's because the fabric grew lengthwise.  My plan is that this cardigan will go with everything else, so I'll probably keep it in my purse to throw on when the air conditioning is too cold for bare arms.

This issue has several dresses, but I wanted to start with #16- the Optic Flowers Jersey Dress with pockets.  It has a dropped waist, banded pockets, and 3/4 sleeves.  I used a cotton/poly blend interlock from SewBaby- found here.  This washed up beautifully- very soft and substantial.  It's trimmed it with navy ribbing.  This is like a sweatshirt dress- very casual.  If you don't like to wear dresses because they are too dressy, try this one.  You won't feel like you are dressed up!

 I added 3 inches to the length, so it would hit just above the knee.   This is a dress that I can wear anywhere- very casual, comfy, and has just a little retro vibe to it I think.  Here it is with the cardigan.

I made two tops.  The first was #1- Grain Field.  This is a sleeveless swing crop top that is fitted at the bust and swings out at the waist.  It has a wide boat neckline, which I lowered 1-1/2" at the center front.  I like more open necklines.  I used a honeycomb floral navy voile, and lengthened it one inch.  Here it is with the #7 Swing and Flippy Skirt.

The second top was #10- Sculpture.  This one took two tries to get it right.  I first cut it out of a navy silk charmeuse because I thought it needed something with great drape.  Major fail.  The charmeuse didn't hold the pleats well at all, and the neckline stretched way out of shape.  The directions tell you to narrow hem it, and by the time my neckline was narrow hemmed, it just was a big squiggly mess.
Not to worry, I had another fabric with a little more body to try out.  This one was taupe linen, and the pleats held nicely.  I felt like the neckline was too curvy for the narrow hem though, so I finished it with a bias binding this time.  Good call, as this time the neckband lays nicely.  I'm in love with this one now.  The earthy color, the softness of the washed linen- ahhhhh- just makes you feel relaxed.   Each top took only one yard of fabric.
And lastly, the panel skirt is made from Swing and Flippy  #7.  The fabric is a sculptured floral stretch denim that I got from Hancock fabrics.    It is brushed too and feels really nice.  It has a high enough stretch factor, that I omitted the zipper and just went with an elastic waist.  My version has 3-1/2" extra length. I'm lucky that my fabric had stretch, as this baby is TIGHT in the tummy!  If I make it again from a non-stretch fabric, I'm sizing up.

I'm on Spring Break next week, and hope to get a few more designs sewn then.  If you are interested in this issue, you can order a copy at SewBaby!  We've sold out of our original shipment, but have more on the way, and you can reserve a copy.  I highly recommend it if you like simple easy to sew project like these!

Have you ever been on a sewing high where you could just sew on and on and on?


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Fling Sewing Contest!

Hi everyone!

Spring is in the air, and what better way to celebrate than with a SPRING SEWING CONTEST!
So gather your supplies and sew up something festive - you could win a $50 gift certificate from SewBaby!
Contest rules:
-You can sew anything you'd like, as long as your project is made using at least one product purchased from SewBaby (printed pattern, e-pattern, fabric, etc.)
-Post your photos to our Facebook page and specify what product(s) you used in order to be entered into the contest.
-You have until Monday, April 6th to post your submissions. 

So have fun, get creative, and show us what you can do! Good luck to all, and happy sewing!
Sew, what's new? Patterns, Ann's projects and more!