Successful Failure? B6554

Summer sewing?  But it’s fall!  Yes, it is even fall here in Florida, but summer warmth is still part of our days.  This dress started as McCall 7745, and ended up as skirt.  Last May I determined that I really liked view D of McCall 7745, and purchased the yellow viscose/linen that became a hi-lo skirt.  When the fabric arrived, I changed my mind and ordered a lovely blue print Hawaiian rayon challis (Tori Richards) to make the dress (fabric from Fabric Mart).

McCall 7745, view D

The reviews for McCall 7745, view D, were overwhelmingly negative, so I made a muslin for the bodice.  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to adjust the muslin.  It was too big through the bust, but with no wiggle room at all to lift the arms!  I gave up and switched to view B, but wasn’t thrilled about the design.  It had too much flounce for me.

Butterick 6554

Butterick 6554, view B has a very similar feminine silhouette but a little less frilly, so I thought I would try again.  I spent some time tweaking a muslin, and then it was time to leave on vacation for summer – and I hadn’t even cut anything out.  Three weeks ago, I thought I would pick up were I left off, and cut it out for the Luau we were throwing.  I didn’t finish in time for the Luau, but I did finish it for my kid’s school carnival today.  And I hated it!

I must have misread the markings I had transferred from the muslin to the pattern tissue. And I’m convinced that wrap dresses with raglan sleeves are not a flattering look for me.

Without any hesitation, I cut the bodice off and stitched on a grosgrain waistband with hooks and eyes.  Much better, very comfortable, and still feminine without being too girly.

We’re thinking about a vacation in Portugal next summer – so even though it’s cool enough for a sweatshirt here (in the morning), I’ve got something to take with me!

Pictures:

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Before pressing. I had a bad feeling about it. Trying it on confirmed it.  This long-waisted gal can’t wear this wrap dress.

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Much better!

Turmeric and Black (Vogue 8882 & 1620)

I joined two trends that I’ve seen over past year in this skirt/top combination.  First, I chose a mustard color for the skirt.  Second, I made the skirt in a hi-lo style.  Since I jumped onto both trends, you can rest assured both will be out of fashion soon, if they aren’t already.

Originally, I purchased the “turmeric” linen/rayon blend from Marcy Tilton to make McCall’s 7745, view A:

But multiple attempts to fit the bodice in a muslin failed.   From what I’ve read on the web, this view (but not the others), has some real problems.  For me, the sleeves were too small, with no ease and no room for natural movement (among other things).  I abandoned the project.  (I do think this view would work in a stretchy knit, and those that looked best were, in fact, sewn with knits.)

I got it in  my head that I wanted the high/low skirt, and just needed to pair it with a top. Thus, Vogue 8882 (view E, c2013) and Vogue 1620 view B, c2019).

The top:

I think this top was an afterthought for Vogue to include in the Tom and Linda Platt coordinates (Vogue 1620).  The description:  “Loose fitting top has front slit and back neck opening with hook and eye, neck and armhole binding and top-stitching detail.”  The fabrics are not broken down between the suit and the blouse, with the following suggested for both: “crepe, jersey, satin back crepe.”  Hmmm.

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I chose a cotton silk blend woven I purchased way back in 2013 from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It has a satin weave, so mimics a charmeuse, but with more body and easier handling.  The blouse it self it very simple, but consider your fabric choice.  I think I made a good choice, but having made this, I would do the following differently.

  1. Skip the top stitching.    It’s done to finish the seams on the inside and along the front and back slits.  But with this fabric, and probably any other drapey fabric, it doesn’t work.  In fact, I should have loosened my tension even more, since I got puckers!  I did the edge stitching on the front and back first, then the top stitched the back.  I didn’t like it, but couldn’t remove it without damage.  I only did the top stitching around the opening in the front as a result.
  2. Consider narrow facing around the arm holes for a cleaner look.  And the way they ask you to do the binding doesn’t really work.  You wrap the binding around the 3/8 inch seam allowance remaining, but the strips for the binding aren’t wide enough (I trimmed to 1/4 inch seam allowances to compensate.)
  3. Interface or reinforce the strip of binding in the front that attaches the left and right bodice.  It’s cut on the bias, which means it will continue to stretch…

 

Otherwise, I like the blouse.  I may make another one in the future, with these thoughts in mind.

The skirt:

There is absolutely  nothing complicated about this skirt (view E, V8882).  However, if Vogue is going to give me fabric allowances and layouts that are single layer, then please give me both pieces/ halves, especially when they are really large.

The only recommendation I would make about this skirt is that perhaps an inside button is needed at the waist closure:

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A note about the fabric:  it’s a viscose/linen blend (65% viscose).  Marcy Tilton bills it as having the drapey-ness of viscose, with the structure of linen, and less wrinkling.  I bought it for the drape, color, and tightness of weave (very nice piece of fabric).  But it wrinkles like it’s 100% linen.

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Channeling Roman Holiday: M7906 & NL6407

I’ve been sewing – a lot.  I have multiple projects nearly done, and several more on the horizon.  I’ve been making up for lost time.  And I’m not very interested in stopping to blog about it.  But, none-the-less, here we are.  This was the outfit that got me to spontaneously buy a new (but still basic) sewing machine.  It also strongly reminds of me of ingenue Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.

Having thin, attractive models sells patterns!  And this is true of the very popular McCalls 7906.  I made the view the model is wearing, but I’m heavier – and so was my fabric choice, a stretch cotton sateen.  I knew I needed some new white shirts/blouses, so I paired it with New Look  6407, view E, in white silk faille.  Both fabrics are from Gorgeous Fabrics.

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McCall’s 7906:  midi button front skirt: There’s not much to say about this pattern – it’s very simple to construct.  The instructions are good and the style is very popular right now.  It is roomy, comfortable, with pockets.  I’d say there are really only three challenges to this pattern, easily surmountable.

First:  make sure you measure and mark your pleats carefully.  This will just make it look nicer.  They are stitched flat for the top 3.25 inches.  It’s a very sharp look.  Second:  the carriers.  I’ve never done them before, so this was new to me.  I’d say I was only semi-successful in doing them well. More practice.  Third: buttonholes.  Okay, this isn’t really a challenge, but my machine is a 4-step buttonhole, and it doesn’t like to go backwards.  They always turn out hideous.  No exception here. What’s the point of perfect, precision stitching only to be marred by ugly buttonholes?  After this, I bought a new machine, one that does automatic buttonholes in several styles.

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Bathroom selfie, with a RTW blouse.
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Back view, with RTW blouse.

The fabric is a stretch cotton sateen, so it’s actually a little loose on me, but super comfortable to wear (I cut a size 14).  I like the skirt, but I see it as more of a running errands skirt than a work skirt, at least in this configuration. Or, wear to work on casual days.

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Ugly buttonhole.

New Look 6407:  view E, short sleeve fitted shirt with banded collar: I love this shirt.  I don’t like the fit.  I’m making it again, in the same fabric, if I can get it.  This was made on the new machine, and wow, wow, wow.  It has speed control, which means I made fewer mistakes, and was far more precise in my stitching!

I’d never worked with silk faille before, and it’s difficult to press. Think of it like a good wool suiting and use a clapper.  I didn’t here.

Again, I’m really happy with the construction – I like my own work (if not my pressing).  How did I miss the fit so badly?  I tissue fit – and it suggested that I should make a 12, grading out to a 14.  No issues with torso length, which I usually have.  Tissue fitting also didn’t indicate an issue with the bust darts.  But this is a fitted style, and I should have done a 14, easing to 16 (sigh), especially with silk faille, which doesn’t like stress on the seams.

The bust darts are way too low.  I’d say this was an issue for me, but you can see it on the dress form too.  I like this pattern and style enough to play with it in the muslin a bit before remaking it.  So, as much as I love the shirt, it’s not flattering to have pulling at the waist, and excess fabric under the bust.  I’ll donate this version.

And the button holes?   OMG, they were so much easier.  The right size, perfectly shaped, rounded button holes.  Evenly dense throughout.

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The skirt needs pressing.  I wore it to Tampa last week, and it got crushed in the car.  I only gave it a cursory pressing for pictures.

I bought a Janome again, this time the JW8100. It’s a beginner’s computerized machine.  It has definite flaws, but I’m going to sew on it for a month before giving you the pros and cons of this machine.

Florals for Fall: Rachel Comey V1170

Take that Miranda Priestly (okay, she was deriding florals for spring…).

I had hoped to finish this some time ago, but this time of year is busy for most people (and pesky little colds get in the way).  I know, I have so many skirts, but I’m always looking for a new style.  I’ve had Vogue 1170 for a while now, and even muslined it over the summer.  I plan to make the top as well, but I have a bit of Christmas gift sewing to do…

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Pattern:  Vogue 1170, Rachel Comey.  Misses top and skirt.  This post is about the skirt. From the pattern: flared skirt has front and back seam details, back invisible zipper and wide waistband.  I’d say more of the “flare” is on the back side, but that may be because I added 2.5 inches to the length.  Other details – you can do Hong Kong seams, as directed, but I serged.  The hem is interfaced and faced. The skirt has tiny little pockets, but I left these out (non functional pockets add bulk imho).  The wide waistband is also high.  The bottom of the waistband sits at the natural waist.  Some not so great photos after wearing front (left) and back (right):

 

Fabric:  A gorgeous stretch cotton sateen that I purchased a couple of years ago from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I love it.  Dark, dark navy with those purple flowers and green leaves… easy to work with, too.

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Nailing that corner? Not so easy.

Construction:  This one is pretty straight forward, and relatively easy to make.  The only real challenge is sewing those corners on the front.  It took me two tries on one of them, after nailing the first one.  I made a size 14 with no further adjustments (except length).  I do wish I had given more thought to pattern placement, as I’ve got a bunch of busy-ness right on the derriere!

I’ve styled it here with a navy silk jersey tank from 2 seasons back DVF, my leather coat from Ecuador (2004!), and last season Sam Edelman riding boots.

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Dirty mirror. And yes, the 7yo left his towel and clothes on the floor.  I’m trying to teach him to pick up after himself.  I gave in later in the day and put them in the hamper.

The flowers and fit on this skirt make me happy.

In the details (Rebecca Taylor V 1199)

I realized I have a few items I’ve made recently that I haven’t blogged. It’s because somehow, I messed up the fit on these items (or didn’t like the style).  So, a few more mistakes, but for all three, I’m definitely going to do them again!!

IMG_3578A skirt!  Should be simple, right?  That’s what I thought when I decided to make this Rebecca Taylor skirt (V1199) last August.  Done in a day? Sure!  I didn’t pay attention the details at that moment.  The details make this skirt special.  Most I like (but not the fitting detail).

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This skirt has tiny little single welt pockets, a wrap around the waist tab, raised waist with notch detail at the back waist, and is vented.  One detail I missed is the grosgrain edging on the tabs (and ended up not doing, as I didn’t like the match with the grosgrain I bought).

 

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The fabric?  All cotton windowpane plaid from Philip Lim, that I purchased at Emma One Sock as a remnant. I love the fabric, but it does fray.  Next time I tackle welts with this type fabric, I must remember fray check.  I lined the skirt in black silk crepe de chine.

This wasn’t hard, and I managed decent looking welt pockets.  The directions were solid.

The final detail I missed?  This skirt narrows from the hips.  I did my typical fitting adjustments for a skirt, not taking into account that narrowing.  I need more girth through the buttocks and thighs.  So, as much as I love the skirt, I’m going to be donating it.

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I will make it again, but I will need to make those adjustments!

Oh, and did I tell you that I despise working with chiffon?  The vampire dress will be sleeveless.  It’s still in the 80s here anyway.

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Black & White (McCall 7600 & Vogue 1247)

Leftover fabric, a new pattern, an old pattern, and keeping it simple:  I love the outcome.

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The top:

The pattern for the top is Nancy Zieman’s  color block top (M 7600).  It’s really super easy and the directions have little tips for sewing knits. When I first bought the pattern, I didn’t realize it was for knits, but I think you could easily adapt this pattern for woven fabric too.

I made view A.  I originally cut a size 14, given how everything else was fitting lately, but when I basted the top portion together for a test run, it was way too big, so I cut the entire top back down to a 12.

I used the same black rayon doubleknit from Gorgeous Fabrics as the dress I just made, plus some of the off-white she had in rayon doubleknit.  The remainder of the black and white are reserved for a color block dress for the fall.  This fabric is luscious: it has body and drape and feels good on the skin.  I’m not fond of working with knits – the stretchiness and rolling are annoying.  Double knits are more stable though, so I tend to choose them over jersey (and if I buy jersey, it tends to sit in the closet).

There isn’t much to the construction of the top – though I made some changes.  First, I left off the embellishments.  Second, as described, the armholes and neckline are bound.  I didn’t do that.  The rayon is heavy and I felt the binding would distract/detract.  So, I interfaced the edges, serged them (trimming 1/4 inch), folded over 3/8 inch, pressed carefully and slowly topstitched. I did the same with the hems.

The final change I made was to pick out the top stitching under the arms (it’s actually forward on the top, toward the center seam by about 3 inches, as you can see in the picture. I had my doubts when I was doing this finally step.  Sure enough, when I put it on, the drape was compromised.  I was worried about wardrobe malfunction, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem (though it might be on a larger-breasted individual).

In the end, I find the top cool, sophisticated, and flattering (despite the lack of shape). I’ve worn it a few times already.

The skirt:

The skirt is one I’ve made four times now – the ever popular Rachel Comey (Vogue 1247). Funny, I never blogged the other three skirts.  I used the last of the black cotton sateen (with stretch) from the old Gorgeous Fabrics that I used for the not-great Pucci pant.  Of course, sateen reflects light, whereas the black rayon absorbs it, so the two blacks really don’t go together… but I’m okay with it … for now.  And this makes black skirt number 6 in my wardrobe.   A staple!  – different styles, fabrics… and two are near retirement.

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I did this quickly – it’s an easy skirt – making a few changes from the original.  First, I used the serger to finish my seam/hem edges, rather than binding them.  I’ve done both, and I’m indifferent on this skirt, with this fabric, so I went simpler.  Second, I’ve eliminated the pockets.  For some reason, they poof out weirdly on my, so only one version of this skirt ever had pockets.  And finally, I added six inches to the length.  This skirt is only 15 inches in length in its original form, and I wanted to be able to wear this to work, too.

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Impossible to photograph black.

One other note: I cut this out starting at a 12, adding 1/4 inch to each side (total one inch to the circumference).  Since the difference between a 12 and 14 is about 3/8″, I originally sewed 1/2 inch seam allowances (total 1.5 inch circumference).  The skirt was too loose, so I went back to the regular seam allowances.  I think the difference (and what I failed to take into account with the Pucci pant) is that the fabric has some stretch.

Yes, more wardrobe staples, and black/white can get boring, but I’m working on things I can wear for a trip to NYC later this summer.  I don’t want to pack a lot, but I want to look chic.  I can add bits of color here and there to change things up.

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Repeat: Paco Peralta’s 8-gore skirt

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I love the fit and flattery of the ivory wool skirt that I made last January from Paco Peralta’s 8 gore-skirt pattern so much, I made another one in linen.  This skirt is so easy, and I always receive so many compliments.  I wore this version yesterday to a ladies’ luncheon and it was a hit.  I took the selfies after the luncheon, so please excuse my wrinkled self.

The fabric is from Marcy Tilton – the dogwood linen.  This a beautiful and easy to work with fabric.  I lined it with white cotton batiste.  The only difference from the previous version is that I moved the zip to the left side, and used a hand-applied lapped zipper.

The very wrinkled top is Vogue 9187, blogged here.

PS: Marcy Tilton is having a sale, that ends tomorrow night (5/11/2018), and of this moment, this fabric is still available!

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Just realized I took this in front of the dogwood.
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Dogwood linen, in front of the dogwood tree.