Sunday, May 19, 2019

My New Favorite Dress Pattern

I may be a dress convert. This one took me right around the corner. Or the bend.

In the last few sewing sessions, I've made some tunics that were - let me be honest - dresses. Yes, dresses. How can this be?!

The one I just completed is based on a 2018 issue of Sew Confident. I had made the swing tee with neckline and sleeve mods, so I was pretty sure I would like it lengthened.

Lengthening sounds pretty straight-forward but I actually learned something from their lengthening process. If I had simply added inches to the bottom, it would have been voluminous. So I'm glad I had the tutorial.

The tutorial also contains interesting pockets constructed by drafting a side panel and pocket, so well worth the read. The pockets were a little fiddly. I'm not sure I marked enough dots as my pockets are about an inch lower than they should be. Or maybe the fabric stretched.

This version is a toile. My target fabric is a purchase from the Alabama Chanin store in Florence AL. I visited with BSF Ginny and purchased a lovely navy blue knit to make a dress. As you may know, that organic-grown-spun-and-knitted-in-the-USA cotton jersey is danged expensive. As it should be. I'm not quite ready to cut into it. I'm thinking this design would be good though.

This fabric is a poly-something I purchased in Charleston years ago from a tiny fabric and alterations shop right on King Street. I think it disappeared under the weight of high rent as the edges of downtown Charleston gentrified. The fabric reminds me of our many trips there to visit our daughter over the last couple of decades. This is a benefit of stash, yes?

It is a cooperative knit - no curling, no slipping, just a little stretching. I had to play around with needle (ball point), thread (poly, since this is poly), throat plate (straight stitch), and machine foot (mostly walking foot) to get the stitches pretty.

I'm very pleased with this dress. I had occasion to wear it to the reception for an art show I'm in. The show is titled Fiber and Folk at the new Alpharetta Arts Center. These two pieces were juried in. I'm so excited!

I like this dress so much that I made another one.

This is a piece of rayon knit I purchased in Seville Spain several years ago. I think I had a tunic or tee in mind when I bought it. I just barely squeezed this dress out. I omitted the pockets so it was a very quick make.

Now I might make it with the original target fabric - my expensive Alabama Chanin knit. I am not tired of wearing or sewing knits yet, but I will be when the real summer heat arrives.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Cottage Shirt, but longer

This is sort of a dress. It's the Cottage Shirt, from the Sewing Workshop, but lengthened per a 2018 issue of Sew Confident.

I made it as originally published first, except I omitted the collar. I often omit the collar on a shirt with both the collar and stand. It's just a lot cooler during hot weather, I think. I love that first version, partially because of the gorgeous light weight linen. Also I love the deep hem that gives it weight and perfect drape.

I've decided I like this version too. It is a little different. It is comfortable. And the fabric is a gorgeous cotton ikat I purchased from Linda Lee when she came to Atlanta to teach. It was a dream to sew.

To avoid distracting show-through, I used solid white cotton batiste for the collar band facing, as well as the yoke lining. 

I made an attempt to chevron the back and failed. I'll re-do this part, with a single piece of fabric on the bias. Or maybe not. That is one thing I love about sewing my own clothes. I can make adjustments as the spirit moves me.

As usual I held my breath after completing all buttonholes except one. You know the one, right? The collar stand can be a stinker. I carefully trimmed the seam allowances for it and used my clapper to make sure it was as flat as possible. I've learned to use the manual buttonhole on my Bernina, rather than the automatic button hole for this spot. It worked!

As I worked (and worked and worked) with this ikat, I learned that there is virtually no symmetry in it. It was impossible to match the side seams AND the front, so I chose the front. Sort of.

I do love this piece of fabric. I think I have enough left to make some pretty placemats for the kitchen. But that won't happen until I fix that yoke!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Grand Sewing

This week I introduced grandchild number last to the joy of sewing. He's 3 1/2. Like his siblings and cousins before him, he started by standing to my right, removing pins as I approached them. He learned how to put them in the magnetic pin holder and how to snip threads.

Of course, this is never complicated sewing, but it is a kind of joyful sewing, just being together.

Truthfully, I made major portions of these projects while he napped.

I suggested a back pack and he approved. He suggested a lunch bag and I approved.

After we finished he packed his lunch and his back pack. We marched into the sun room and played school.

In related news, we inserted zippers with sergers during my neighborhood group, Sew Incredibles. Another quick project - thanks, Rita!