Monday, August 25, 2014

Some Basics

This may be my most favorite item I've ever sewn.  And it's so simple.  In fact, it was a really unexciting thing to sew.  A black sleeveless top.  Except for the pom poms, of course.  Yes, pom poms!  On adult clothes.  I'm a rebel.

I took all of these photos the same time I took photos of my Zoe dress. And I have to say, they are all pretty terrible.  I think I'm going to have to go back to the self timer if I can't figure out the focus with the remote.

Anyway, this black linen top is another version of Simplicity 1693.  Nothing much to say about it except that I absolutely love it.  I eliminated the center back seam and added the pom pom trim at the hem.  It has been worn once a week since I made it.  It has made me think a lot about the things I sew in terms of what actually gets worn regularly.  This top- check.

I also made a grey cotton jersey version of the Comino Cap Dress pattern by Kitschy Coo.  I like it, but I don't love it.  It's a simple cap sleeve bodice with an a-line skirt.  I think my fabric choice makes it a little frumpy.  However, it will get worn to work a lot.  I added in-seam pockets which was probably a mistake.  The skirt is not tight by any means. But it is also not full enough to hide the outline of the pockets.  I did not use the grey jersey for the pockets by the way. I am not a fan of knit pockets.  I used a black and white striped super stretchy twill.  I didn't get a photo, but you can see the stripe peeking out from the side.  Which is a fun little feature.  I added three inches of length since I am three inches taller than the height the pattern is drafted for.  I added one inch to the bodice and two to the skirt.  If I make this again, I'll scratch the length in the bodice and add it all in the skirt.

The neckline is pretty.  When I wear it to work, I will wear it with a little cardigan over it to dress it up.

After I made the Comino Cap dress, I had a big piece of grey jersey left.  This jersey is really thick and beefy.  Really good quality stuff from Mood.  My favorite kind of knit.  I really wanted a jersey skirt so I pulled out my half circle skirt pattern and sewed this up in about an hour.  Talk about instant gratification!  Elastic waist and a slight high low hem.  This skirt has also been worn once a week since it came off my sewing machine.

Notice a theme in my color choice lately?  When I wrote that post about all of my duds someone suggested sewing with fabrics that work together.  I know that is really just common sense advice, but it was sort of a light bulb moment for me.  I make a lot things that don't work together.  So I went on a small fabric buying binge (shhhh, don't tell J) and bought a bunch of black, white and grey fabrics.  And you know what?  It has worked.  A lot of my recent makes go together and are being worn regularly.  Anyway, I'll stop with all the black and white soon but it has been a nice way to beef up my wardrobe for going back to work.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Zoe Dress

I really wanted this dress to work.  Like really, really wanted it to.  But I think this is a case of trying to fit a square peg in to a round hole.  The style of this dress just does not suit me.  And I knew that before I made it.  I pushed on anyway.  I so desperately want to be able to wear sack dresses.  You know, dresses without a defined waist.  I know that is not everyone's cup of tea, but I love that easy, laid back, bohemian sort of vibe.  They look so cute on some.   I am realizing that I really need a waistline when it comes to dresses.  I can do a shapeless tunic, but not a dress.  I guess maybe it has to do with length.  Also, the armholes on this dress are not doing me any favors.  The back of the dress has dropped armholes and a slight racer back.  I seem to store nice little pouches of fat there under my arms (for winter ;) Not my favorite place to highlight.

This is the Zoe dress from Tina Givens.  I really enjoy her designs.  But again, not everyone's cup of tea.   I did have a few issues with this pattern.  Most of my issues were probably a result of fabric choice.  The pattern envelope stresses to use a lightweight woven, like voile.  I think most of Tina Given's designs are for natural fabrics, like linen, silk and voile.  I used a drape-y crepe de chine.  It's actually two different colors of the same print- black with ivory dots and ivory with black dots.  The drape works really well, but it is heavy.  Not only did I use a heavy crepe de chine, but I also lined the whole thing with a rayon batiste.  All the bodice pieces are underlined while the skirt has a free hanging lining.  I had to baste the underlining in by hand because of how slippery the fabric was.  It makes for a really nicely finished, but weighty dress.  The weight of the fabric pulled down on the bodice so much that I had to make some adjustments.  I sewed the back yoke/bodice seam in another half an inch to raise the armholes up and bit and then I chopped three (!) inches off the bodice.  To be fair, I believe the pattern is supposed to have a dropped waist.  But that is another design feature that does not work well for me.  I really love how the pattern has a 1920's sort of vibe.  It is totally different from anything I have ever sewn before.  I also turned the neck and armhole bindings to the inside, just out of personal preference.

I shortened the bodice so that the hip yoke piece sat around my actual hips.  When I put on the finished dress, I liked it from the front.  And then I turned to the side.  Humph.  Can't do sack dresses.  See my stank face above.

I was done at that point.  I wasn't sure how I was going to take in the waist seam, or if I even should.  I put the dress on a hanger for another day.  Later that weekend, I saw a solution on someone's top out in public.  It was all I could do not to stop her in Target and ask if I could examine the back of her shirt up close.  She was wearing a long tunic button up shirt.  But the back was cinched in with a button and a loop.  Have you ever seen that before?  I was inspired.  I came home and ripped out the waist seam of my Zoe dress and added a button and loop.  The difference is subtle from the front, but it makes a world of difference from the side.  And I could technically wear it unbuttoned if I decide I want a more shapeless look.  Still not sure how I feel about it, though.

The two photo collages below show the dress unbuttoned, and then buttoned.  It's not a huge difference.

Anyway, I'm on the fence.  Other than my issues with whether or not this dress is flattering, I really liked sewing it.  I love the piecing.   Everything fit together perfectly, except I did need to slightly gather the skirt to make it fit the hip yoke.  Just every so slightly.  For now, I'll wear it with a denim shirt tied around it.  Or a cardigan.  And maybe I'll figure out a  solution for the armholes later on.   Or maybe I'll just change my mind and decide I like it as is.  Definitely a pattern I want to revisit next summer in a voile like the pattern suggests.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Oh Yes I Did

Oona made me do it.  Yes, that is blue fringe dangling off the hem of my crazy kimono.  If you can't beat crazy, you better join it, I say.  The kimono, not Oona :)- 

Also still haven't figured out how to hide the remote.  So it becomes a prop.

I knew my crazy kimono was missing something.  And I actually thought about fringe.  But then Oona solidified my decision with her suggestion in the comments.  I shortened the hem and added the blue fringe.  You better believe I love this thing now.  No, it's not one of those gauzy and ethereal kimonos I envisioned.  But it is fun.  I still haven't figured out exactly what to wear with it.  My aunt suggested some wide legged trousers.  That may be something to consider in the future.  For now I like it with jeans and a tank top.  And this maxi.

Arg, why am I so out of focus?  I thought I figured the focus part out.  Any suggestions?

My other contribution for Oonapalooza is this top.  It's the same pattern from my last post.  I decided to go for a peter pan collar again.  I think y'all boosted my confidence that it was ok.  They are both growing on me.  And I wanted to use three different prints.

Yes, that's right.  Three different prints.  We all know that Oona is a master of mixing prints so I decided to take a page from her book.  Although I feel like this is really safe print mixing for some reason.  The back is that same thrifted rayon I made my first dud version from.  The front is a leftover scrap from my last maternity dress.  And the collar is another scrap in my stash from way back.  I love it.

Happy weekend, friends!