Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Vintage wrap skirt and top

Along with a bit of fabric, I scored a few vintage patterns from FabMo.  Not only did I find a fabulous and timeless pattern (raglan top and a skirt with pockets!), but it was my size!  Check it out:
Totally something my mom would have worn in the 70s (right, Mom?).  Here's my version of the lady posing on the left.  (Clearly, I need to practice my unnatural posing skills!)  
The top is a raglan sleeve style.  While I like the style, the top itself doesn't fit great--it's pretty large (despite some alterations) and the neckline doesn't lay quite right, but I like the colors with the skirt, so I'll probably wear it anyhow!  The fabric is cotton knit from the remnant section at Britex.
The skirt is so much fun!  The fabric is a stretch denim in a wine color (from Joann's).  I've used this type of fabric before (pants, here), and it's so forgiving to wear and wash (no ironing!), that I had to snatch up this fabulous color for this pattern.
The only change I made was to add some belt loops to the front, so the ties would stay in place.
The ties come from under the back flap through a button hole in the waistband.
The skirt is fun and comfortable, and I even rode my cruiser bike while wearing it, so I suspect I'll be making a few more for the summer months.  I love vintage patterns!
Resewlution goal met: four garments in February (dress, blouse, and this top/skirt outfit!  Hurray!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Alma blouse (and sash loop tip!)

My first Alma blouse! Obviously, I'm already huge fan of Sewaholic Patterns, but this blouse truly sealed the deal for me.  With only a slight modification (my standard petite adjustment at the waistline), I cut a straight size 2 and the fit is perfect!
The fabric is a cotton shirting in black and orange stripes (!), but it was free during a visit to FabMo a few months ago.  With only a yard or so to work with, I ended up making the sash from white muslin. I like the contrast, actually!
I love the v-neck detail and little cap sleeves, but I'm also thinking about a silky version with the long sleeves and scoop-neck.  
So here's my big tip of the day--see those little loops holding on the sash belt?  It would have taken a trip to YouTube to remember how to crochet to make a length of "cord" for that, so instead I used my serger! 

Keeping the presser foot down, run the serger, pulling the strands, to create a long length of threads. Using a needle threader, thread a large-eyed needle and sew as normal to create a loop. Seriously, the easiest sash loops ever!
Now go out and make your own Alma Blouse!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Renfrew cowlneck in silky wool knit

With "winter" drawing to a close in Northern California, time is running short for sewing up the rest of the wool fabric I bought a few months ago.  At this point, I'm not sure I can pull off another pair of wool pants or a dress, and still get reasonable use out of them before they get moved into off-season storage.  But this fabric is lightweight enough to wear for a while, so it moved up to the top of the pile.
I'm not completely enamored with the print, but the fabric caught my eye immediately in a sale rack of vintage knits.  I was drawn to the sheen, and then was absolutely shocked that it wasn't silk.  Nope, wool.  Wool!  The most silky, lightweight, soft, flowy wool knit ever.  
I've made Sewaholic's Renfrew cowlneck before, but this fabric is better suited for the style of this top. I cut size 2 and I love the fit of this top: fitted, but not tight.  I need to try the other neckline versions!
After a few solid years of using my serger, I still don't love using the cutting blade while sewing. So since the Renfrew is designed with 5/8" seam allowance, I decided to trim 3/8" around all the pattern piece edges (except the cuffs and hems) so I could serge the seams without having to using the blade. Maybe sizing down to the 0 would achieve the same effect?
It's been a busy month, but this is my "February" garment (and I have another one to show you soon!).  

Sunday, February 02, 2014

First day of school, new wool dress (Vogue 8902)

I know, I know...I just had my first day of school.  But that was my own teaching quarter.  As it turns out, I'm also taking a class, and my first day of Patternmaking at a local community college began this past Tuesday!  Of course I had to make something to wear!
(Awkward arm angle to show the side panels :)

Twice a week, I teach my own lab and then drive to another school for Patternmaking class, so my new outfit still had to be professional.  For my sewing time, a single-garment outfit (aka, dress) is the way to go and I chose Vogue 8902 for its interesting design details.  This pattern has multiple bodices for various cup sizes, so I went with cup size A and planned to cut a straight size 10.  I completely spaced and cut the pattern size 8.  Yikes!  In the end, it was just fine, and I even took the sides in a bit.
The design of the dress is interesting--several panels make up the front and back bodice, and they are cut on different grainlines.  The pattern envelope even shows variations with striped fabric.  The result is a nicely fitted dress with some stretchiness, since the bodices and side pieces are on the bias.  Unfortunately, the result is also that the invisible zipper bows out a bit (at least for me, and I redid the zipper 3 times!).  Next time, I might underline the back bodice, with the underlining cut on the straight-grain, to stabilize the zipper a bit.
All the seams are topstitched as they are sewn, so that made fitting a bit more challenging.  Not only did I reapply the zipper multiple times, I also had to recut the back bodice top after I attempted to fit the dress by only taking it in along the center back.  In the end, recutting the back bodice, ripping out lots of stitches and taking it in along the sides worked much better!  
The fabric for the dress is incredible (and from Britex's remnant department!).  It's a very lightweight wool, which is slightly brushed and extremely soft.  It's gorgeous and perfect for this dress style. While the pattern calls for only lining the bodice (what is that about, anyway??) I lined the whole thing with nude-colored Bemberg (also from Britex)
It's not quite warm enough to go with only cap sleeves, so I wore this with a close-fitting 3/4 sleeved magenta cardigan and light pink sparkly flats.  
I finished this in January, so this is garment #2 for that month.  I'm ahead of the game with my "resewlution"!  And for those eagle-eyes out there, I got my hair cut by the time I took the last photo :)