Alice & Olivia in Silk Georgette (Vogue 1245)

I celebrated every success with this top! My “sewcation” is over and I have two things left to blog – this blouse being one of them. Both items are redos of earlier failures.

Back in early 2018, I wrote about my attempt with two soft silks. In late June, I decided I wanted to finish a UFO- this time the teal silk georgette off the shoulder blouse from Alice & Olivia. The version I had started was wonky and stretched out. I thought I had enough fabric leftover, but I was a bit short. After a couple of hours, the teal was in the trash.

But some how, I got it in my head that I really wanted this blouse. I didn’t want to order new fabric; after a search through my stash, I found this stunning silk georgette in royal blue from Gorgeous Fabrics. I think I purchased it in 2016, but it wasn’t in my spreadsheet. A single layer layout later I was ready to start.

I noticed a difference immediately between this fabric and the teal (from a discount retailer). It felt more luxurious. It didn’t shed when I cut into it.

Still, I didn’t want to ruin the fabric so I researched the options for stabilizing the fabric. I finally settled on spray starch (I did each edge right before sewing). I tested before to see what would happen- staining while working with it, but not permanent as it washed out in cold water.

I still got a little rippling and distortion, it mostly pressed out. I did have some issues with very thick french seams under the arms and keeping the edge stitching even at the top. But in general, stabilization meant this was an easy and fast make.

I love it! And it has received compliments. I have paired it here with the pattern runway white shorts.

Summer time! (New Look 6483; Marfy 1913; Pattern Runway Sweet Scalloped Shorts)

Whew, long title.  I almost didn’t blog these four interchangeable items, but I love how the Marfy top and white shorts came out.  I had to share.  These two outfits make use of old fabrics (the tops) and new (the shorts).  And I now own three pairs of non-running shorts (all Pattern Runway). (Everything was worn and washed a few times before picture time, my pressing needs some work!)

Top: New Look 6483 View C

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I need more tops in my wardrobe, so one day while browsing at JoAnns, I picked up this New Look pattern.  It’s pretty basic, and pretty easy.  I meant to make view E, but cut out C by mistake.  The fabric is a leftover linen print (Marcy Tilton) from when I made this summer dress a couple of years ago.  When I was cleaning out my fabric closet, I found I had one more yard.  The fabric has a bit of body, but works with this loose-fitting top.

I had no problems with the instructions, and I will repeat this basic, but with modifications.  First, the neckline is higher than I expected, but you don’t need the button/loop closure (or hook/eye) in the back, at least for views C, D, and E.  Second, I don’t really find the straight hemline with split side seams a flattering look for me, so I may convert the hem to a curved shirt-tail hem next time.  Third, I suspect the boxy look will be more body conscious with a drapey fabric (recommended on the envelop).

Top: Marfy 1913 Repeat

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Marfy 1913, from the website.

I loved the Marfy top the first time I made it – but I didn’t wear it often because it felt small.  I must have washed it and shrunk it.  When I compared it to the pattern pieces to make this one, it was much smaller than the pieces!

This time, though, I did add some width.  Unconventionally, I added width at the center front and center back at the fold line (shifted the pattern off the fold by 1/4 inch). I also added two inches to the length.  Once again, I didn’t gather the hemline with elastic, but left it to tuck in to shorts/pants/skirt.

The fabric is a silk cotton voile from Milly that I purchased in 2014 from Gorgeous Fabrics. It was softer and more sheer than I wanted for the original project, so was stashed.  It was still sheer and soft, of course, so I decided to line the top with an off white silk crepe de chine.  This made finishing the keyhole/slit opening in the back as well as the armholes far simpler.  I LOVE THIS TOP!  It’s pretty on, cheerful in the very, very, hot sun.  It even held up to a complete drenching when I was caught in a downpour at my son’s outdoor swim practice last week.

It looks way better on me than in these photos (but too lazy to do even a bathroom selfie):

Shorts:  Pattern Runway Sweet Scalloped Shorts Repeat

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I loved the first version of these (and still wear them). I’ve been meaning to make another pair for some time.  I made two pair.  I really love the very clear instructions, and I like the use of differing seam allowances (1/4 inch and 3/8ths inch) to eliminate trimming (which I rarely do evenly). I made a size medium (I wear 14 in big four, often larger).  I also love the flattering lines and good fit.

I didn’t do the welt pockets.  I started with the navy shorts, intending to do the welt pockets, but the fabric had too much stretch and all my stitching lines for the welts were warped and wavy (even with interfacing).  I wanted to get these done, so I carefully picked out the work and moved on.

The navy shorts are a cotton twill from Fabric Mart fabrics.  The fabric was super inexpensive, with more lycra than I would like.  I struggled at times to manage the stretch.  The fabric is what it is, and makes a fine pair of shorts.  And yes, it looks like I need to press them again (ditto for the white).

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The white shorts are amazing!  This “pique texture” white cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics was perfect for this pattern.  (I bought it early June, so I think there is still some left).  I love the Milly/Marfy top with the white shorts!  So summer!

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Beach/Pool Cover-up: New Look 6575

My fifth summer in Florida, with the beach close by and a pool in the yard, but I’m only just now getting around to making a beach cover-up.  This is in part due to my indecision on what I wanted.  Finally, I have something, and I’m quite pleased with the result.

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I chose New Look 6575 and modified it.  This 2018 Simplicity group release has no description, but the lines looked workable for me.  I originally bought it to make a tunic, but was worried about the low neckline. I made the medium since I definitely wanted a loose look.

It recommended challis, chambray, cotton lawn, double georgette, gauze, soft linen and silk types.  I chose a very inexpensive rayon challis I purchased from Fabric Mart.  It’s very shifty, and printed off grain, so I didn’t use it for the project originally intended. I figured it wouldn’t matter as much here, though I wasn’t able to match the pattern very well.

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I added trim:  a beautiful embroidered cotton lace from Joyce Trimming.  I ordered two widths and hand-stitched them together to create the width I needed.  I ordered 4 yards and used all but a couple of inches!!!  (And the cut was generous.)  I replaced the front band on view B, and added the lace to the completed sleeve and shirt hems.  Adding the lace effectively lengthened the cover-up to just above the knee.  It adds a bit of modesty, without making it too boring.

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The directions for this were fine, though I deviated at several points. To add the lace to the front, I sewed a 5/8ths narrow hem to the front (stay stitch first!).  I then stitched the lace to the front pieces.  I added the fabric band to the back neck, then stitched the shoulder/upper sleeve seams.  Then I applied the facing for the back band.

The other change was to the casing.  I  stitched the “waist” with the 3/4 seam as requested, but rather than the convoluted method they suggested, I serged the seam together, pressed down. Finally, I top stitched 1/2 inch away from the waist seam to create the casing.

I was right! This is very low cut – below the point of the bra.  Perfect for a swim cover-up, less so for everyday wear.  I was surprised at how flattering something that low cut could be on me though.  And I love the finished product.

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Comfy Summer Dress: Vogue 8645 (OOP)

It’s hot and humid in Florida in the summer.  But I’m headed to NYC for a few days, where the canyons can be just as miserable.  What do I need? – a simple, pack-able dress.  I bought the fabric with a long maxi in mind (before the trip was planned), but decided the pattern wasn’t right. I asked the fasters on the RTW fast FB page about a few options, but in the end, decided against a maxi.  Enter Very Easy Vogue 8645 (c 2010)IMG_0007.

This is a loose-fitting pullover dress, and without the sash and shoulder ties, strongly resembles some of the dresses on the Zulilly ads I see on my FB feed.  The dress is comfy (has pockets),  and I expect to make another, but with some modifications.  I was too lazy to try to do selfies, so the pictures don’t really show how cute the dress is.  The v-neck is relatively modest, compared to some v-necks from Vogue.  The ties hold the fabric tighter against the skin, so the likelihood of a wardrobe malfunction is reduced.

The fabric:  a sold out viscose challis from Marcy Tilton.  I love the colors in it, but I’ve never worked with this type of fabric.  It’s very soft, and very drapey.  I will consider buying another viscose challis (especially for this pattern) now that I have a better feel for the fabric.  I decided that a maxi in this floral could over whelm me, so I went with the shorter version of the dress.

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I lined it with a cotton/poly batiste I bought from Susan Khalje.  It’s softer and drapier than cotton batiste, but in the end, I still think it’s a bit too heavy and crisp for the viscose.  I will go with a silk CDC or forgo lining it next time.  If I skip the lining, I will use narrow facings for the neck and armholes.

By  the way, the pattern recommends some crisper fabrics – batiste and handkerchief linen – but you’ll get a far different look.

Changes I made: I didn’t make many changes. Of the three that I did, two I will keep, the other go back to the original plan.  I like that I did a narrow machine hem for both the lining and the dress – it’s a cleaner finish in the viscose.  Second, I did not top-stitch the neck and armholes – I didn’t think it would work with the viscose.  I decided to hand apply the lining to the dress, because I  don’t always get a good result in the approach recommended in the directions (sew at arm holes and neck, pull  through shoulders, then finish shoulders).  I used the couture method from Susan  Khalje which I have used successfully before.  I don’t like the result as much this time (and doesn’t seem to be worth the effort, given the shoulders are hidden by the tie on straps).

A new dress (front on left, back on right).

 

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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.

Updated Vintage: Vogue 1213, part 1

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So I fell in love with an embroidered linen, on line.  Bought it, and then had to consider how to use it.  I knew I wanted a skirt, but I needed a pattern with simple lines.  I had had my eye on the top for Vogue 1213 (Lanvin-Castillo) for some time (the jacket too).  I thought I could make a work and heat friendly version of the the skirt and blouse.  One day I will make the jacket, not for a suit, but for jeans.

Lo and behold, I went to make this, and was missing the directions.  I made an appeal and Kate of Fabrikated emailed me photos of the directions from London.  I love our sewing community!  Thanks Kate!

This is an easy, easy skirt: front, back, pocket, waistband.  I didn’t really need the directions for the skirt.  But it was nice to know that I had planned to do the pocket the same way.  You see, the pocket is hidden in that front pleat!!

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The pockets were cut in batiste. I’m basting the pocket to the fashion fabric, right sides together.  The center line with pins is the cutting line.

I still had to do a muslin, as the pattern I had was for someone teeny tiny.  I needed to add 4 inches of girth.  I ended up adding most of it to the side seams, but did shift the center back and center front off the fabric fold by 1/2 inch (one each each total) to shift the darts and pleats to the right place.

I was also watching Susan Khalje’s Couture dress on Craftsy and decided to try out a few things:  the way she cuts out the fabric and uses stitching lines – not cutting lines, how she marks the backing fabric/underlining, and her hand stitched lapped zipper.

 

So the details:

Pattern Description: Vogue Paris Original 1213 by Lanvin-Castillo. “Slim skirt has side front pockets.”

Fabric:  Embroidered linen (white on black) from Farmhouse Fabrics.  Underlining (and pockets) Japanese cotton batiste from Emma One Sock that’s been stashed for some time.

Pattern Sizing:  Size 12, but the old Vogue 12, with a bust of 32 and hip of 34.  I wish.  See above.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, but the linen isn’t as drapey, and mine is shorter on me. I’m still not sure I like the length, but I’ve got some room to play – and when I do the blouse I’ll post a photo of me in the outfit for comments about the length (hits me mid/lower knee).

Instructions? Great – though I only half used them. I’ll really need them for the blouse.  I love the old school directions.

 

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The hidden pocket

What do you like or dislike about the pattern?  Clean lines, simple. The pocket hidden in the pleat is really cool – it’s not really on the side, but further in on the hip.  They aren’t that deep/big though, so don’t expect to stick your heavy keys or smart phone in there.  I also liked that this skirt is underlined, rather than lined.  I’ve come to prefer this treatment.  It gives the fashion fabric a little something extra, and with linen, reduces wrinkling. I forgot to add in the original post:  when I traced the stitching lines onto the muslin, I noticed the darts were ever so slightly curved – not straight angles.  It made for a much nicer dart, skimming over the curve of the body.

 

Pattern alterations or design changes?  I changed the sizing.  I hand inserted a lapped zipper.  I did serge the seam edges and didn’t give myself enough to do a proper lapped zipper, so I had to insert/baste in some grosgrain, which solved the problem, and stabilized the hip curve.  I also sewed the waist band on according to her out-of-print

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The lapped zipper, with grosgrain added to widen the seam allowance.

book.  There you staystitch the waist, baste grosgrain in place, sew the waistband on, fold it over the grosgrain and finish as desired. The inside of the waist band (facing) is serged, and I sewed it in place by stitching in the ditch.  I finished my edges with the serger instead of hand overcasting.

 

 

Would you sew again? Recommend?  Sure.  I haven’t made a skirt with an actual waistband in a while, so let’s see how I like that in the Florida heat.

Conclusions:  A simple skirt, with a fun pocket that allowed me to work on fundamentals in couture.  While I didn’t apply everything I’m learning from couture classes/books, I think what I did do helped considerably:  from the muslin to the backing to hand placing the zipper.  I feel I improved my skills and I’m happy with the final product.  Surprisingly, I found all that basting quite meditative.  The end process is a skirt that I really love that I feel I did a great job on.  Even though it took longer than normal for me to make, I enjoyed every step of it, which is nice.

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Pictures don’t do it justice.  It doesn’t fit the dress form; on me, the waist sits flat and does not flare out.  A new dress form?  Or just time to go outside for pictures? Or find someone to take pictures?

 

 

 

Retro & Floral with Vogue 2778; Wearability of the Donna Karan Shirt (Vogue 1440)

IMG_1194Every once in a while, I see a fabric I have to have, and snatch it up. Wait, that’s all the time.  But sometimes, I see something and know exactly what I want to make and even make it up fairly soon after it arrives.  This is true of this floral pique cotton I recently purchased from Marcy Tilton.  When it arrived, I almost changed my mind – it would make a great bath robe too! But I saw a pencil skirt, and it leaped into the front of the project queue.

IMG_0684I’ve made Vogue 2778 before – it’s a 1991 Ann Klein pencil skirt.  I didn’t blog the first time(s) I made it (I made one in the 90s too), but liked the overall fit and feel of this skirt, so I reached for it again.  From my previous experience, I knew I wanted to lengthen it, so I added three inches.  I considered going for midi-length, but didn’t.

IMG_1226There isn’t much to say about construction – it’s a pretty basic skirt.  I switched to the invisible zipper, which I feel I have mastered.  I cut a size 12, but sewed half inch seams to give a bit more ease (I’m not quite a 12, especially in the waist, but definitely not a 14).  The fabric has a fair amount of stretch and is fairly substantial, so I probably didn’t need the ease.  Still, the pattern called for underlining (and this needed underlining, because I wasn’t confident about the recovery on the fabric – didn’t want saggy butt after a wearing or two). I didn’t have anything on hand with stretch, but I did have an amazing, easy to sew silk CDC from Gorgeous fabrics (more ivory than white).IMG_1234

If I make the skirt again, I’m going to change how the facings are done.  Here, it’s about a two inch facing, but needs to be slightly longer to hold the high waist comfortably in place.  It’s also underlined, not interfaced.  I didn’t do that though – I was concerned about bulk, so I used the CDC interfaced with the pro weft medium interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply.  No bulk, but the waist crumpled a bit after a full day at the office (and four of my nine hours today was standing).

IMG_1229I paired it with the Donna Karan top I finished last week – Vogue 1440.  Not the best choice, but I was running out the door this morning and the other tops needed pressing.

As for wearability, Vogue 1440 is SOOO comfortable.  It was 88 degrees

Whoops, the shirt might suffer a wardrobe malfunction if you don't stand still!
Whoops, the shirt might suffer a wardrobe malfunction if you don’t stand still!

today and I was super comfy all day, indoors and outdoors. It doesn’t really look great tucked in with the high waist skirt, though.  And, it has a slight modesty issue with the button placement – at least if you are like me, doing presentations all day and don’t want to worry about flashing folks.  I’m a small b cup, and the top button hits right at the bra band.  I’m going to need to adjust this on the next version and add a modesty snap to this version.

Early morning photos, with no help on pictures with the phone – well, my little boy tried to help as you can see in the last one.

Hey, my photographer is only 3.5!
Hey, my photographer is only 3.5!