24 May

Aloha Party Dress

My MIL is getting married next month and my kids will most likely be part of the ceremony. It will be a pretty casual affair, and seeing as we live in Hawai’i, I thought it would be fun for the kids to have matching “Ohana Wear” (aloha shirt and mu’u mu’u).

I found what I thought would work well, but by the time I returned to the store several months later, it was gone (darn economy). We checked some other stores, but realized that, duh, I could sew up exactly what we wanted.

Katja rejected a more traditional ruffly-look mu’u mu’u for a party dress silhouette. The pattern (McCall’s M6020) had variations with sheer overlays, and a petticoat underneath, but I simplified it to just the basic dress. I really liked the integrated band and back ties, but Katja insisted that she didn’t want ties in the back. So, I skipped the band and made a separate sash that she can tie wherever she wants, or skip all together.

The sash will make more sense when brother’s shirt is done, because it matches his fabric (he would have nothing to do with the purple fabric).

09 Aug

The Socialite Dress

I jumped on the bandwagon and made Anna Maria Horner’s Socialite Dress. I’d call this more of an after action report than an actual pattern review, but here goes.

My interest in this dress was piqued by my happiness with AMH’s Multi-Tasker Tote, and my desire for a simple, cool, dress to throw on when even shorts and a T-shirt seem too hot and restrictive. I liked what I was seeing in Flickr groups, but wondered if the dress wouldn’t be even more comfy in jersey. Not long ago, I found a hawaiian-ish striped cotton jersey in the remnant pile and decided that I’d give it a go. If I hated it, no big loss.

The pattern states finished garment sizes, so I wrapped myself with a tape measure and decided that XS seemed right up top, but was a bit snug around my hips and butt, so I adjusted the pattern using S for the lower half, plus added an extra 1 1/2″ to the length. I adjusted and traced the pattern, and sewed the entire dress in an all-day sewing bee on Saturday, proving it’s simple, straightforward construction. Having sewn many garments before, I thought the instructions got a bit wordy, especially when it came to making the ease gathers where the dress attaches to the neck yoke. In my mind I knew what I needed to do so it was tedious to still be reading about it three paragraphs later. However, for someone who’s new to sewing or making the cross over from quilting straight lines to making a garment, I totally get why the instructions aught to be so specific. I made the dress with the pockets, but no belt since I had a leather one I already own in mind. I used a stretch needle and the stretch stitches on my sewing machine.

The result? Quite possibly the world’s most comfortable dress! It’s maybe a bit big around the butt after-all and the stripes make it look more like a beach cover-up than a serious dress, but I’d definitely wear this around the house or on a beach/pool day. In fact, I’ve had it on all day today.

I had brought a pile of indonesian style fabrics my SIL had given me from The Netherlands to the bee, with the intention of making a skirt from one of them. When we unfolded them though and saw that one had a lovely panel, we decided that it really wanted to become a Socialite dress too. So I made this today. I left out the pockets, not wanting to add hip bulk (though they are so fun to have) and since the fabric had a lovely finished edge, I just aligned the bottom of the original pattern with the fabric edge. This version was quite possibly the easiest dress pattern ever. But it doesn’t fit the same.

I tried it on mid-way through construction and it seemed tight across the back. So, I spread the gathers out over a wider area of the back yoke. Finished, it fit better, but feels tight under the arms. It did, however, fit well around the butt.  At first, I was frustrated that the pattern fit so poorly, but then I realized that all my issues could probably be solved just by going up a size. 

In conclusion, I think I’m an overall XS if the dress is made with a knit, and overall a S if it’s made with a woven fabric. (I’m about a size 6 in off-the-rack fashion, sometimes a 4.) Unfortunately, I don’t have any more of that pretty indonesian panel, so rather than making  the dress again, I think I’ll just take off the arm hole facing of this dress and re-do it with a slightly longer arm hole. (EDIT: Done; and the fit is much better!) I’m going to keep an eye out for a pretty floral print in a cotton jersey (and won’t limit myself to sale and remnant fabric this time) and make another knit dress though. I’m not crazy to make three of these am I?

13 Feb

Garment Sewing

Today is “Sewing Blog” day.

I’ve been on a roll with garment sewing. I’d been setting aside larger bits of fabric and grabbing patterns I like for a while now and it was getting out of control! Time to make stuff and get a few piles off the floor.

First up: Pajama Pants. I used this pattern, because I liked the packaging (I’m a sucker). I had won an obscene amount of fabric from Tia by commenting on her blog a while ago. One of the fabrics was just too bright for me, too bold for my artwork, and too black for Katja. But just right for pajama pants! It wasn’t quite enough fabric for the full length, but luckily I did have just enough of something coordinating in my stash, and I’m short.

Next up was a jersey dress. I really needed something easy to throw on and relatively cool for our new climate. I see ladies in dresses like this all the time, but can’t seem to find ones that are the right combination of color, fabric content and sleeve length/neckline when I go shopping (admittedly, I’m a lousy shopper). I grabbed a pattern I liked at Walmart of all places, and found a nice 100% cotton jersey online. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, so I’ll keep my eye open for more jersey and make another one eventually.

The most recent make is a blouse from an Asian-inspired border print. I loved the idea of the flowers growing up from the hemline.

This was a pretty easy pattern, so I didn’t think it through as I should have and it’s taking me more time and redoing than I expected. It still needs buttons and button holes, but I’m losing steam. I’m not sure if this will get done.

As a reward for sticking with my schizophrenic posts, here’s a detail from a new-ish quilt. I’m really pleased  with the tons of free-form hand quilting. Seems more and more shows these days want “virgin” quilts that haven’t been shown publicly (and blogs count) so I don’t know when I’ll show all of it.