Monday, February 27, 2017

Stretch lace tee tutorial

Did you ever consider that stretch lace could be used to sew up a simple tee shirt?  It just takes the right pattern and a few small sewing modifications!   Here, I've used this lovely stretch lace in "Naughty Navy".
When choosing a pattern for a stretch lace tee, here are a few guidelines:
  • Keep the number of pattern pieces to a minimum--a style with just front, back and sleeve pieces will work better than one with many style lines.
  • Bust darts are okay!
  • A jewel or boatneck would work best, but you can also modify a favorite pattern to have the neckline of your choosing. 
  • Look for a style without closures.   
  • A semi-fitted style would be most appropriate.
For my version, I used Vogue 8151 pattern, (apparently out of print, but I found it in the store) but here are some others that might work well, too:
In addition to the stretch lace fabric, you will also need about 3/4 yd of lining fabric, in a lightweight knit (such as lightweight cotton, rayon, or bamboo knit).  Choose a contrast or matching color; here I went with this peachy knit fabric to highlight the design in the lace.

Step 1: Cut your pattern pieces (front, back, sleeves) from lace.  I made some fit adjustments and widened the neckline, but otherwise stuck pretty close to the size Small for this pattern.
Step 2: Cut the front and back pieces from your lining fabric.  No need to line the sleeves!

Step 3:  If your pattern has bust darts, sew them now in both the lace and lining.

Step 4: Sew the shoulder seams of the front/ back pieces in lace.  Then, sew the shoulder seams of the lining fabric.  I did not include 1/4" clear elastic at the shoulder seams, but it would be useful.  If you choose to apply clear elastic, sew it into either the lace or the lining (not both).

 Step 5: With right sides facing, line up the necklines of the lace and lining fabric.  Sew using a stretch stitch or overlock.  Lightly press on the lining side.
Step 6.  Now, treat the lining like an underlining.  Baste the lining and lace together along the both sides and the armhole to keep the layers together.  I used a simple straight stitch, but you can use a 3-thread overlock and then trim it off as you overlock the side seams together later.  
Step 7: Sew in the sleeves, easing the curve if needed.
Step 8: Sew the side seam, from wrist to hem, trimming off your basting stitches as you go.
Step 9: Hem the sleeves and top using a stretch stitch, double needle, or coverstitch machine.  

Step 10: Wear your beautiful creation, dressed up with wool pants or a pencil skirt, or dressed down with jeans.   Easy!

Many thanks to Britex for providing the fun lace fabric!  

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Bronx dress for the first day of school

After seeing SBCC's new cowl-neck addition to the Bronx dress pattern, I couldn't resist.  I loved the look of a classic skater dress with a bit dressier neckline and elbow length sleeves.  If I were teaching, this style would be perfect every day....
But instead of teaching a lecture, this past Monday was my first day at WVC as a full-time student!   And I was lucky enough that the weather was (temporarily) warm enough to wear a dress without tights!  Yay!
I so appreciate that SBCC's patterns are drafted for us petite ladies.  It's so nice not to have to shorten bodices and hems!  However, when I sewed up the appropriate size (XS), the bodice didn't fit well across the shoulders (sorry, no photos!).  After looking at the pattern a bit, it seemed like the back armholes were a bit deep, at least for my broad back, so I took apart the bodice (cutting away the serged edges) and recut the back bodice to have a wider upper back.  It fits so much more nicely, but it could still use a bit more work.  It also looks like I need a swayback adjustment there!
I lucked out and ordered just the right fabric for this dress: midnight navy rayon-nylon ponte knit from Mood.  The weight is great for its structure and coverage, and it sewed up beautifully, but it's fairly thick, so the cowl isn't as drapey as it might be with lighter fabrics.  I also unwittingly matched the sample shown at the SBCC website.... :)
In the future, I'll alter the pattern a bit to increase the drape when working with this type of thick fabric.  (Notice my rainbow heart "Nicole" pin?  That's totally vintage 80s right there.)
The dress is an unbelievably fast sew, especially since I totally cheated and decided not to hem the skirt or sleeves.   Shh....I even left the back neckline unbound!  This type of fabric could handle it, since bias binding the neckline would have been super bulky.

I LOVE this dress!  I felt put together and comfortable all day, which made it so much easier to learn stuff :)