Liberty woes

I’m currently working on McCall’s 6750.

I’m making the sleeveless version, omitting the armhole facings.  I’m using Liberty Tana Lawn for the first time, as I got a single yard as a gift.

This colorway is Pepper E.

Anyway, I’m really starting to wonder if I’ve been misled, as this fabric is kind of terrible to work with.  Even using a walking foot, the layers shift and my stitches are uneven.  I tried rethreading the machine, cleaning out the machine, a new, smaller needle, different thread, changing the tension – the works, basically!  I really think it’s just that the fabric is so lightweight that it’s hard to control.  Is this just me?  Does my machine need to be punished with a visit to the shop?  I don’t have this issue with any other fabric, so my assumption is that I’m missing some vital bit of Liberty sewing info.  If I am, let me know, if not… well, I suppose I will continue, since I already sewed all 9 darts, and it won’t take long to finish.   I’m not looking forward to buttonholes!

Vogue 9005

Pattern: Vogue 9005, view A

Size: XS in the shoulders, medium at hips (for reference, my measurements are: 33-28-38)

Fabric: Lightweight rayon jersey from Fabric Mart

Alterations: I lengthened the tank portion only by 2 inches, and I reduced the armhole depth by 2 inches in order to combat stretching.

General Notes:

I always seem to be attracted to the strange tops.   Although I am perfectly aware that this looks a little bit like I’m carrying around a spare napkin, I love the style anyway!  I’ve been wearing more pants this year, particularly skinny jeans, and because I’m both pear shaped and have a long torso I have a hard time buying tops that are long enough and which fit in both the shoulders and hips.  Plus, as I mentioned, I like weird, arty, drapey things, which aren’t always in abundance in stores. I was attracted to this design right away, and I have an abundance of knit fabric, so I knew I had to make it!

Pattern instructions for knits don’t always make sense, as they are often written as though the fabric were woven.  This one wasn’t bad, really, although the tank does have darts, and I don’t like darts in a t-shirt.  The binding instructions were a little crazy – I opted to edgestitch my binding from the front and then trim it close in the back – you can’t tell, and bindings on knits are a pain.

The pattern piece for the drape is enormous, and I had to cut it on the floor.  It was actually rather simple to construct, although the directions had to resort to saying things like “sew as in drawing” when it was hard to explain.  All you are doing it creating the top and drape separately, and then binding them together at the armhole and neckline.  I didn’t copy the matching symbols because my fabric would not mark, and it worked out fine.

The drape, as you can see, hangs freely:

I had to shorten the armholes by 2 inches due to the weight of all that fabric.  The neckline is also rather deep, although I don’t have much cleavage so it works ok for me.  Anyone larger would probably want to adjust that.  I did lengthen the tank by 2 inches, and I did not hem anything.  I do wish that the bottom edge of the tank could be hemmed easily, but this fabric doesn’t take hemming well.

The drape continues onto the back:

As you can see, it tends to hang off to the side.  That’s ok, but I don’t think the back view on this pattern is the greatest ever.

I think this is an interesting pattern, and it was simple to make – I recommend it!

 

Simplicity 1419

Pattern: Simplicity 1419, view B

Fabric:  Mystery fabric from Joann’s

Notions: 22″ invisible zipper, contrasting sateen for collar and bias binding

Notes:

So, I guess I’m back!  The musical was brilliant, and I’m so very proud of all my students.  Next spring I hope to produce another!   Now that I’ve done it once, perhaps it will not consume my life.  I wouldn’t want to do anything else, and I am so very happy with my career!  But now I have a few months off, so I’m back to sewing again.  Well, I had to kick my husband out of my sewing room, which he had turned into a LEGO construction room, but never you mind.   I decided t0 start back with this pattern, a Lisette dress in a very retro style.

I bought this fabric at Joann’s, and I’m not sure of the content.  My guess is rayon/poly/cotton.  It does like to fray, but it will  hold a press.  I have wanted a striped dress for a few years, so I was happy to make this one!

I cut a size a size 12 in the bodice, blending to a 14 in the waist (my measurements are a 28″ waist and 33″ bust, if that helps anyone!)  Honestly, the waist is a little big, but I don’t like things that are tight, so I’m happy with it!

I didn’t follow many of the instructions, but I did use the zipper instructions.  Honestly, I can’t recommend them if you do view B (with the collar):

(I am very proud of my stripe matching – not perfect on the skirt, but excellent in the bodice!)  So, the instructions direct you to interface both the collar and the facing.  This results in a lot of bulk.  It then asks you to place the edge of the zipper tape at the seamline, and to later fold the tape over the seam line and tack it down.  Quite frankly, that’s a lot of bulk, and I would recommend interfacing only the facing, and finishing the zipper with a hook and eye to close.

I decided that I would rather just hand sew the neck together, so my dress lacks the button and loop called for in the pattern.

Sewing this dress made me realize how much I was missing sewing.  Hopefully I will be able to make some balance this year, so that I don’t have to disappear again!  I would like to thank everyone who emailed me, asking where I was.  Although  I wasn’t always able to reply, it meant a lot to me that you all remembered!  I’m really hoping to be here more consistently now, and to find more balance in my life.  Plus, look at all the awesome patterns I missed (planning post coming soon!)

But really, thank you, and I hope I haven’t been forgotten!

 

Simplicity 1614: stripes!

Simplicity 1614

Pattern: Simplicity 1614

Fabric: Rayon Challis (ebay purchase)

Notes:

I am seeing this high/low hem tops everywhere this season.  I made one last year, which didn’t turn out so well.  I didn’t like how much longer that top was in the back – I prefer the more gentle rounded hem of this pattern.  I also think rayon challis is a much better choice, as it allows the pattern to drape naturally.

Because my torso is incredibly long, I haven’t found any hi-lo tanks in the stores that fit me.  They all cut off in the front at precisely the widest part of my hips, and I don’t find that flattering on me.  I knew I would have to lengthen this top, so I added 3 inches in cutting.  I was worried that was too much, but it turned out to be just right!

I should probably mention that you won’t find this version of the top (rounded hem in with the front all one piece) in the pattern.  This version is cut in stripes on the front, but I taped the pieces together in order to have only one seam (the bust line, which is on all versions.)

I was really excited to use my striped fabric – I’ve had it for ages, but it was too overwhelming for a dress.  Imagine my dismay when I realized that the piece was actually vertical stripes!  No matter, I cut on the cross grain.  In fact, in order to get the stripes to line up I had to cut the yoke entirely off grain.  Luckily, that doesn’t seem to have caused any issues, but I’m sure it would in a more fitted top.

I cut a straight size 8, and I did not make any sizing adjustments (except the length) but for one.  I made the view with the single back strap, but after carefully assembling the straps I realized that the strap was really wide on me – several inches too wide!  Because it was already sewn into the seams, I ended up just folding under part of the strap and securing it under the armholes.  It’s invisible in this fabric!  I took out 2.5″ inches overall.  I probably have a narrow back:

IMG_2982

I am exceedingly proud of the back seam matching – I can’t even see it, can you?

On the subject of the pattern – it was generally pretty good, though I had one issue.  The pattern has you staystitch the neckline, but unfortunately the front neckline has a 3/8″ seam allowance, which isn’t marked.  Be sure to keep in to a quarter inch or it will show and have to be removed!

I think the pattern wanted a hidden bias finish, but I wasn’t thrilled with that on the neck.  The armholes have visible black binding, much neater imo!

In all, a very successful top.  I’m not done with tops for the summer, but I need to pause to make dresses for a few events I have coming up… look for that soon!

IMG_2999fix

Vogue 8856

Vogue 8856

Pattern: Vogue 8856

Fabric: Bamboo jersey from fabric mart

Notes:

I always wonder how companies choose the view they will sew for the pattern envelope.  In the case of Vogue 8866, they chose the simpler version (you can see it in the link above.)  If I hadn’t clicked through to look at the illustrations I would have never known about this version, and I would never have bought it for the plain t-shirt view.

I loved the skirted version.  Yes, ok, it looks a little like a dance costume, but so what?  I love dance costumes!  In fact, this particularly reminds me of a green number I wore while doing a dance to “The Sign” by Ace of Base.  Yes, it was probably twice as dorky as you are imagining in your head.

I was worried about sewing this up because of all the sharp angles.  Usually those are a pain to sew, but not here!  I was really impressed with the drafting.  Everything fit together perfectly, which is not always the case!  If you’ve never sewn something like this before the instructions might be a little vague (I think there were places that needed to be cut to the corner that were not listed in the instructions, but I’ve made enough of these to do it automatically.)

I think the style is very flattering.  It’s long enough to wear with leggings, almost long enough to be a minidress (I did not add any length to this one!)  I’m not really an enormous fan of cut on cowl necklines because I think they make me look a little top heavy, and this is no exception, but I still really like it.  If I made it again I would turn the cowl into a boatneck, because that’s a better neckline when you (like me) have little difference in size between your bust and waist

Let’s talk fabric choice:  I actually think this would be nicer in a more stable knit.  I used a medium weight bamboo jersey because it’s what I had, and I didn’t want to buy any new knits before using some up.  Bamboo jersey is heavy and stretchy.  I stabilized the shoulder seams, but it does still stretch out (especially in the back – the skirt is heavy!)  I think a ponte would work, or an interlock.  On the right hand side you can see the waist of my leggings through the knit, which is one of my pet peeves.  I will have to think carefully on what I wear underneath.

I did not hem the skirt, which I think it best for this style. I hemmed the neckline and armholes with a baby hem, as suggested in the pattern, but I think a bound finish might help to stabilize those edges even further (clear elastic can only do so much!)

I’m on a roll with tops – I have one more to complete this week!  I’m trying to get in my summer sewing this month, because I know when classes start in June I will have less time.
vogue 8856

Vogue patterns, Spring 2013

Yesterday was the longest workday known to man.   I got to work at 10 am (hey, that’s early for a musician!) and didn’t make it home until midnight.  So I was super happy to see the new spring Vogue patterns awaiting my return.

I think it looks like a decent crop.  There is a nice basic trench coat (which I won’t make, but it is nice!) and even a few men’s patterns.  There is, of course, some inexplicable posing, but there you go.  I can mock Vogue, but the truth is that they fit me the best out of the Big 4, and they generally have the most current patterns .

I’m thinking of joining Club BMV.  Does anyone have any feedback on that?  I feel kind of bad because I do live in driving distance of Joann’s.  But with my schedule the way it is now, I don’t have any time to.  Or rather, I do, but if I spend the time to do that I don’t have sewing time.  Or they are out of my size, or I can’t make the days they are on sale.  I think I’d rather just spend the postage.  Maybe it would keep me from buying shoddy Joann’s fabric as well?  Because I need to stop doing that.

Let’s start with the designer patterns.  Sadly, Donna Karan has let me down here.  I usually love her designs, but these are too fussy for me.  I do like the red one from the front, but not the back… and besides, I’ve sworn off pencil skirts for a bit.  Here is what I do like:

V1344

Vogue 1344, Rebecca Taylor

Go ahead, laugh at the “thinking” pose, because that model does it many more times.  This dress is really cute!  The details are lost in the print, so here is the line drawing:

Print

It calls for light fabrics (crepe de chine, voile) etc.  I think I would use a rayon challis.  I like that it’s lined.  Should make a great summer dress!

V1343

Vogue 1343, Tracy reese

I call this her “spying on someone around the corner” pose.  This appears to be a mock wrap style, which I prefer.  The pattern calls for crepe de chine or jersey.  I think this is crepe, and that’s what I would use.  Jersey might be a little loose.

Other Dresses

V8871

Vogue 8871

Not that you can tell from the modeled photo, but this dress has cute lines.  I like the middy length and the fact that it calls for a knit!  I’d use a lighter doubleknit or ponte.

V8872 (1)

Vogue 8872

According to the ladies on Patternreview, this dress (with the straight skirt) is a knock-off of a famous design.  I would be more likely to make this version, though I might make the top symmetrical.  I’ll have to see some completed versions first!  It is designed for wovens.  I am imagining a dark gray lightweight suiting for the body, and a contrasting band in the middle (I might use a color, as once I tried a contrast band out of black and it looked super homemade.

V8873

Vogue 8873

This is different enough to pique my interest – maybe in a plaid because I have no imagination.  The description reads : Dress has bias overbodice, fitted, lined bodice and back zipper.

What, pray tell, is an overbodice?  I’m assuming that’s the cowl bit, and the piece behind (looks like a dickie, sorry!) is the bodice.  I would assume that the overbodice attaches at the waist and sides to the back, so I don’t really understand the descriptions.
V8870

Vogue 8870

Hmm… maybe.  I think this looks breezy and fun as pictured, with cute flat sandals.  Of course, that totally ignores the fact that I basically don’t wear sandals at all, no way.  Especially not that kind, which I think make my feet look enormous.

Tops

V8881

Vogue 8881

I love this!  I lack tops to wear with skinny jeans and leggings in the summer – I pretty much only have sweaters!  I think you would need to take care and reinforce the neckline and armholes, otherwise the longer piece would stretch unevenly.

V8880

Vogue 8880

Guys, this isn’t even the same model, which means they were directed to do that gesture!  Anyway, I like that there are pleats instead of a gathered neckline.
V8877 (2)

Vogue 8877

Not setting the world on fire, but I want it to replicate a top I saw at Saks.

That’s it for now – I will buy the two designer patterns and the last top first.

 

Next project (and an award!)

I’m planning to make Vogue 1317 for my next project:

v1317

I bought the fabric a few months ago, and was inspired by Erica B’s finished project today.  I am going to make it in either the magenta/plum color above or this turquoise knit:

Double knit

I’m in love with both colors (the plum is much darker than it looks above, a very nice color for me.)  I’m planning to omit the lining and the back zipper.  I love ponte!

Thanks for all the nice comments on my last dress.  I wore it to teach at the university, and the college age girls loved it, so I guess that means it’s trendy!  I’m planning to take it on my trip – it’s quite warm!  I’m hoping this dress will also work out.

I also received a very nice blog award from Alison at Cats and Crafts.  She posed 11 questions, so I will answer them here:

  1. What other crafts do you do? I’ve been doing a lot of cross stitch lately.  I love it, but wish it wasn’t so hard to find designs that aren’t religious or country themed.  I don’t enjoy needlepoint or embroidery as much.
  2. What is your favorite food?  Sushi!  I love all Japanese food, but I’m a sushi addict.  A great place opened on my street last year, and it hasn’t been great for my budget!
  3. How tall are you? I’m 5 foot 8 inches tall.  True story, I grew 6 inches in college!
  4. What is your best physical feature? How does that affect what sorts of garments you sew, knit, etc.? I think I have a nice clavicle/collarbone area.  Yes, that’s a random thing to like.  I almost never make high necklines because not only does that hide it, it actually looks a little strange to me.
  5. Can you drive a stick shift? No, much to my husband’s chagrin.  He loves them, but I don’t see the point of adding something else to pay attention to.  I tried to learn twice and failed.
  6. What is your worst habit? I am a big coffee drinker.  Now that I’m working away from home I find myself at the coffeeshop every day (mostly Einstein Bagels, since that’s what we have in the student center.)
  7. What are three words you would use to describe yourself? Opinionated, introverted, sarcastic.  Things that don’t seem to go together, hmm…
  8. Do you have any random or bizarre talents? I don’t know that it’s bizarre, but I read extremely quickly.  I don’t skim or speed read, I just am able to read whole sentences in one glance.  I’m also a really good sightreader (in music) and I think the two are connected.
  9. Would you ever go sky diving or bungee jumping? (Or have you ever been sky diving or bungee jumping?)  Nope.  I am super risk averse.  I could not even imagine wanting to do those things.
  10. Who is your favorite fashion designer? I love Carolina Herrera.  Her designs are timeless and feminine, and I love how they work for all ages.
  11. What is the best advice you ever got from another blog?  When I was first learning to sew, Robyn at Yarn Crawl gave me some great book suggestions.  They enabled me to start my new (and current favorite) hobby!