Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Simplicty 8014 - Rain Cloud Shirtdress!

I'm back with a new dress! 

Like I said, I have been super lazy and using commercial patterns for about a year now. This one is a shirtdress by Simplicity -- pattern number 8014.

I did a mix of multiple views to create my perfect shirtdress. I technically cut a View C but used the collar in View A and D. I think I made my cuffed sleeve and sleeve tabs differently than the pattern asked me to do, but I do what I want. Haha. 

Best of all, this dress already had a pocket bag pattern! Many times, I will create my own if there is enough room in the skirt portion.

I also had to change the grainline of the yoke on my pattern (ie. cut it the opposite direction). Normally, you would cut your back yoke on a shirt or shirtdress on a crosswise grain because it prevents stretching out and gives your garment more stiffness/structure. 

Well, that simply wasn't going to work with a one-way print! I would never hear the end of how I "cut it wrong" by anyone while I was wearing it.

Ta daaa!!! I cut a size 10 and really didn't have to make any adjustments except to hem length (of course). I probably took off only 2 inches or so and hemmed it with a 1 inch hem like I do on most hems.

This pattern has a LOT of pieces but I feel like that's typical with shirtdresses. It wasn't complicated, just a lot of steps. If you're someone who wants a quick sew, this pattern probably isn't for you. I sew very quickly, but this one took me a little longer. 

Let's talk about the PRINT!

It's these super cute smiling rain clouds!!! 

I saw this fabric and instantly knew I had to have it. I ended up with the last 3-ish yards of it from fabric.com! The print is by Riley Blake and called "Greatest Adventure" by Cinderberry Stitches. 

I like how the fabric is a PERFECT weight for a shirtdress. It was the exact weight I had been hoping for -- a thicker cotton that almost feels like a denim but.... not. Amazing! 

I'm so excited to have a go-to shirtdress pattern now in my wardrobe! I absolutely love shirtdresses and I never find good ones at retail stores. Now... look out for more shirtdresses! 

Next, I am working on McCall's "Learn to Sew" capelet (although I am WAY past the "learn to sew" stage.) I have created a lining for it since it didn't come with one. That's one of my biggest pet peeves! I cannot wear a jacket of any sort with NO LINING. I made a super awesome lining in my Burda jacket last year and the wool Burda coat the year or so before that. It made and it is a thousand times better than if I had just made it without one. 

Coats/jackets are actually my favorite things to sew and I am looking forward to the way this next one is going to go together!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sewing Knits without a Serger - New Post on The Art Shake

Hey everyone!

Just a reminder to stop by the other blog I contribute to -- a West Michigan-based blog called The Art Shake. This month, I show you my process and testing tips/tricks to sewing a knit garment entirely without a serger!

Don't miss it!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Burda Dress #121 with Marbled ITY Stretch Fabric

New week new dress?

That's kinda what's been happening lately! I've just been having fun cutting out sewing patterns and making them up. I mean, why not?!

The latest dress I finished was Burda's Fitted Sheath Dress #121 from June 2015. I have (no joke) had this dress design printed up and posted on my bulletin board for almost a year now and I finally made it!

 I've been working far more with stretch knits lately and this was a perfect pattern to keep up on my skills with. It was simple, easy, and super-quick to sew up!

What I love about this dress is that the fabric I chose was a horizontal print and with the way the pattern bends in shape to accommodate the rouching, the print essentially becomes vertical up at the bodice portion. So cool! The fabric is an ITY stretch knit from fabric.com. It was very easy to cut and work with! I will definitely look out for more ITY stretches in the future.

I have a little over a yard of this left and I definitely need some new tops. I might make some more of the same top from the New Look pattern I used a while ago for my Viewmaster top for leftover fabric!


Something new for me to sew up in any pattern was a gusset. This is less so the kind of gusset I am used to seeing in pattern making books and feels more like a styleline. Either way, I unnecessarily confused myself with it somehow until I walked my pattern along. I think the notches/seam allowance threw me off while sewing (maybe I was tired?) but I felt like such a dummy after walking my pattern and seeing exactly what I wasn't doing right.

Pattern flat sketches.


See the gusset?! They really are a nice touch to an otherwise very simple dress. 

 The shoulders also do a nice accidental almost-chevron too! 

I didn't make a muslin on this one -- totally just wung it. I cut a size 34 (I could have been ok with a 36 too) and the only edits I made were making the neckline higher, taking about 4" off the bottom hem, and instead if "making a backing strip", I used the clear elastic I used for my stripe rouch top from earlier this year to get the gathers to stay put. 

Weirdly enough, I sewed this dress primarily on my sewing machine after fiddling with my settings and testing on scrap pieces of fabric. I do own and use a serger, but I used the serger here to finish off the edges and then sewed the rest on my machine because.... why not?!

I used a zigzag stretch stitch to keep the fabric stretchy and then did a faux cover stitch with a double-needle on the sleeve and bottom hems. I think how to sew stretch knits on your machine will be my next blog post on The Art Shake so you can see in-depth the process I have been using come September! 

This will be a fun one to wear! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

New Post on the Art Shake - Fabric Design

If you have missed any of my posts, be reminded that I also occasionally post over on a West Michigan-based blog called The Art Shake! A new post just went up today.

This month, I will be showing you my process for using your hand-drawn creations, putting them into Photoshop and making a seamless repeat pattern! I will eventually be sending this print off to Spoonflower and making a top out of this print!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Butterick B5209 in Bare Nopal Gloom

This dress was around 4 years in the making...

I remember buying this pattern (I wrote "Sept. 2012" on the pattern packet). But at the time, I didn't use commercial patterns really at all because I went to fashion design school and thought that if I did that, then I really should be making my own designs up and not using someone else's patterns. I made my own sewing patterns for every single thing I made from around 2004-2014-ish!

This is still something hard for me to accept: the fact that I have transitioned to using primarily commercial patterns versus using all of my pattern making skills that I worked so hard to gain. (I still have all my books, blocks, tools, etc.) I'll make something if the mood strikes but it's so easy and fun to customize with commercial patterns.

That, and I am having wayyyy too much fun with all the stuff that's out there!

This dress is Butterick's 1947 reproduction pattern called B5209. I see many, many people have made this pattern out there and it's awesome! I like the sleeve version of this one though I have seen a few sleeveless versions online out there.

This dress is easily the prettiest dress I have EVER made. You know me -- I tend to make quirky 1960s dresses in crazy colors, color blocking, loud prints, etc.

For this one, I was going with more of a Rifle Paper sort of look; pretty, feminine, slightly retro but still contemporary. I think I made it happen!

The fabric for this is from fabric.com and is called Bare Nopal Gloom, designed by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery fabrics. When I got this fabric in the mail, I almost cried because it is so gorgeous! Seriously.

It's a super lightweight voile fabric that is absolutely perfect for hot summer days like in the month of August in Chicago. While I did wash my fabric prior to sewing, I am SO SCARED to wash this dress!

Knowing me, it will get caught on something dumb in the machine, spin out, and rip to shreds. So I'm thinking I will have to hand wash this one until I am ready to take a chance on it.

 I did do a muslin on this one prior to sewing (below) as I was far too timid to just use the pattern out of the envelope for this one in particular. I usually wing stuff like this (why buy a pattern if you need to do multiple fittings anyway?) but really.... I should take the time to do muslins.

 You can hardly tell the edits I made but on the midriff part, I shortened it about 3/4" as well as took the hem up about 2" for a grand total of 2 3/4" off the entire length. (For reference, I am 5 feet tall!) I almost always make a size 10 and that's exactly what this one was.

My actual measurements are more like a size 12 (the 26 1/2" is exactly what my waist is) but it seems that I somehow prefer less wearing ease?

Sidenote: I feel bad for the person who bought this pattern because it says "easy" on it and then struggled their way through it. Because even at my advanced skill level, some of the directions on this one were confusing and the way the instructions were written out for both views kind of in one row were confusing.

I definitely was able to work it out, but I perhaps would have attempted to construct the bodice lining and the self pieces differently.  There is only a side zip on this one.

 But yeah.... this dress is gorgeous. I also love Art Gallery fabrics, so I will be ordering more from them. Hopefully, I will make at least 2 more iterations of this dress someday!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Burda's Vintage Jane Dress

It's been so long since I've done a blog post of any kind.

I don't really know what my excuse is aside from just.... life. Not making as many garments as I once did (although I keep buying patterns and fabric for the next projects). I finally have decided to take a page from the book of some other bloggers and just take photos of things I make in my sewing room instead of wait for a good day to take them in a scenic place outside.

Sure, scenic is nice but.... it's not always possible.

So here we are! I finally cut and sewed Burda's Jane dress (which has also been done for like a month now). The pattern packet I made for it said I printed it in January. Yikes.

There are a few minor things that bother me about this pattern. I didn't make a muslin (as always) and because of that, on me the bust darts are far lower than they should be. (See if you can tell in the photos).

This dress also particularly makes me feel a bit boobalicious somehow. See below.

  I think it just might be the white contrast. Maybe? I can't tell. I haven't gained any weight (if anything, I lost about 5 lbs since I lived in Michigan and on a 5 foot girl, that's significant enough) but perhaps it's my bra? I've been wearing the same brand/design for YEARS now, so maybe not that. Could be that I just got used to how I look in loose, flowy clothing in my everyday life and forgot what I actually look like beneath all of that.

Here's the back! (See below.) 

 I also feel a bit like Veruca Salt in this dress, but that's ok since she's from one of my favorite movies. My demeanor is the complete opposite of hers though!
I also made this dress in a stable but soft ponte knit although the pattern is technially for wovens. I've been doing far more stretch knits lately and I am loving wearing the garments far more. I do love a good woven shirtdress every now and then but as most of you know, our modern wardrobe doesn't usually consist of those types of fabrics.

You can, however see in the background that I am working on a woven: a Butterick reproduction dress from 1947! Some of you on Instagram were surprised that I would deviate from my 1960s typical look, but I have so many facets that I don't always show on the blog.... or even on social media for that matter.

I fell in love with a fabric on Fabric.com produced by Art Gallery fabrics (specifically Leah Duncan) and had to have the fabric. The 1947 pattern I have had since 2012 and have never even thought about making anything with it until I found the fabric. (Head to @manicpop on Instagram and scroll through to find photos of me in my muslin to see a fabric swatch too!)

Here is Burda's Jane Dress on my dressform:

Another slight thing that bothers me on this dress: the circle part. I know what I did wrong though.

 You can't tell from this photo, but I had stitched it PERFECTLY on the inside. What I should have done? Dialed my stitch down from 3 to about 1. That way, when I flipped the lining part behind it to the outside for a clean edge, I would have been able to have a rounder circle. Next time!

Otherwise, the dress wasn't hard to sew and I sewed the majority of it on my serger due to the knit I used.

 Yes, there is a minor hole near the end of the zipper there, and yes it's been fixed since this photo! Shhhh!

And while we're here, let's show off my new sewing room!
We unfortunately had to move in May (which was a complete surprise.) There were issues in the apartment we were in and the management decided we would need to move out so they could fix said issues. That's another reason for not sewing as much: constant life upheaval. I know everyone deals differently but I need to be settled a bit more before I can sit down and sew.

We were lucky enough to have a unit open up in the same building and up one floor and the result is a much nicer apartment and even though the square footage of this sewing room is actually SMALLER it's laid out way differently so it feels bigger. Weird, right? 

 You can see a peek of that gorgeous Leah Duncan fabric for Art Gallery right there!

One thing I love most that I got only last year was a bulletin board. Just anything that I want ends up on here. Sometimes it's patterns I want to make, other times it's artwork that I printed, and some is artwork I've made or papercrafts. 

I also upgraded to a cube organizer instead of an old bookshelf that I had painted in my old backyard. This organizer is stackable so I eventually might buy a second one. We'll see, but for me that might be excessive. I do love the bright colors I have in it!

So that's the latest update. I can't wait to get working on the Butterick 1947 dress, but I'm also being lazy about cutting the fabric. Such is life. 

Have you made or plan to make the Burda Jane dress?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Burda Stripe Top and NOT Reinventing the Wheel

Hey guys! Check out a new Burda asymmetrical stripe top that I FINALLY finished making! 

I bought the magazine with this pattern in it over 2 years ago and while digging through my stuff, I found this pattern. I kind of yelled at myself like, "WHY haven't you made this yet?!"

Since I am playing with more jersey knit/stretch knit, this one was perfect. And the fabric from Fabric.com couldn't have been any softer, stretchier or nicer to work with! 

It sewed up really fast, but I was also really lazy with it, taking weeks in between to just hem the sleeves or bottom hem. No real reason why, aside from work being busy and I just wasn't feeling like jumping into my sewing room.

You can see on this side, I matched up the stripes pretty well but the other side (probably due to the scrunchiness on the raglan sleeve on the right side) is kind of a mess match-wise (below).

But no one really cares!! 

The thing is, I literally used to make ALL of my own sewing patterns up until about mid-2015. Why? Because that's what I went to school for and I thought that I should ALWAYS use my own, self-designed and measured pattern blocks, especially if I had the skill.

I thought I should always do things the hard way and I should ONLY be wearing my own designs if I was sewing anything. 

Now I realize that said thought process was quite self-limiting. There were so many things I could do/learn/cut corners with if I just used commercial patterns. Clearly, if I had a design for something that there was no commercial pattern available but I really wanted to bring to life (like the Petra Dress or the Sunrise Panel dress) then I made the pattern. 

But I REALLY made life hard on myself by ONLY making things 100% from scratch. And even then, when I made my own things from scratch, it was really all the commercial sewing patterns I used that got all the attention - 50+ likes on something I just bought fabric for and made or 12 likes on something I designed from scratch. It happened ALL THE TIME.

I really love pattern making, but sometimes it's just not worth it to reinvent the wheel if a pattern already exists and you can get what you want pretty quickly. Case in point with my high-waist 70s pants that I made last summer -- vintage Butterick pattern! 

Like I said, why reinvent the wheel if you don't have to? And yet, I had been doing that all along. I tend to do things the hard way for no reason other than the fact that it's the hard way and I want to prove to myself that I can do it. 

I also wanted to keep my skills in practice in case I finally was able to land a fashion design job of some sort (like after a decade that's gonna happen) and to have a rolling portfolio. Good idea in theory, but not a good idea if you're just going to make yourself absolutely nuts.

This fabric is super-cozy and I can see myself getting a ton of wear out of this!

Now I just need to find (or knock off/make?) a pattern for more pairs of pants like this pair of Mavi denim I have had for about 5 or 6 years now. I want them in like, 5 more colors for work!
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