Saturday, April 28, 2007

Summer Dress Continued...

Sometimes I out-smart myself and then, when I fix the problem, I figure it's good that I am smart enough to fix the problem but I wish I hadn't created it in the first place. Also, I should just accept the fact that I should cut the garment out in the 14 and give up on thinking I am a 12 in most places. sigh. But I really DO want to lose 10 pounds! wail.

What happened when I took up the bodice pattern pieces was that I raised the neckline a little but not enough and in the process, I made the armholes quite tight. I can fix the armholes but my bigger problem was that I cut out the pattern in the size 12 and the bodice barely fit around the bust on the dummy.
bodice on dummy
So I was glad I hadn't sewn in the darts in the back but I wasn't sure what to do about the fact that the front edges hardly met.
I may in fact end up taking a small tuck in the back of the bodice where the darts are because my waist is okay for the size 12. But it's not small enough for two full darts.
front band seam allowance
In the meanwhile, I pondered what to do about the front. I had to sew on an interfaced front band on each side of the front and I decided to take only a 3/8 seam instead of the usual 5/8 seam allowance. That might give me an extra whole inch to play with and I need every bit I can get. I also sewed the skirt to the bodice only at the front so I could play with the gathering and darts in the back later.
dress on dummy
It worked like a charm and when I put the dress on the dummy, I could get the front bands to properly overlap! Now I can adjust the back gathers and that part will be done.
dress back
Next, I want to go to the store to see what they have in the way of a flat ruffle that I could sew into the neckline (I might barely have enough fabric to make one but I thought I'd look through the notions first). I was thinking if they had something in the blue or the kelly green, I could sew it onto the neckline instead of just the seam binding the pattern calls for and therefore get some more coverage for the old cleavage. Plus, I will get some seam binding for the armholes and buttons and I'll be done.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Sleeveless Summer Dress

My new project is a summer dress. Inspired by A Dress A Day, I got some new dress patterns recently and have been wanting the try them out. Now that Summer is sort of near (today is rainy and NOT warm at only 10C or 50F), it seemed like a good time and I also have my new dummy (who I haven't named yet) so I can fit the patterns better.
summer dress
I wanted to try this New Look pattern 6587 in the sleeveless View D. It looked cute and would be nice and cool when it finally gets hot enough. Plus, View D showed a print fabric which reminded me of Dress A Day so I figured it would be a good match. Not wanting to waste however, I went through my stash and chose a fairly ... ugly, shall we say, cotton print for the "muslin" that I never make.

I thought I had already blogged about this print but I went back several entries and didn't see anything so pardon me if you've heard it before. Anyway, the fabric is a nice 100% cotton sateen ("sateen" now reminds me of Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge) but the print on it is weird, man. It sort of looks like tropical foliage but it's oddly abstract. And then there are the unexplainable blue blobs that remind me of the Horta on that episode of Star Trek. So why did I buy it? Yep, it was on sale! I really have to stop doing that.

The pattern calls for optional pockets but they way they are set up, I fear they would make the dress look like an old fashioned pinafore so I have decided against them.
summer dress
Now that I have the dummy, I actually pinned the paper pattern to the dummy to see how it might look. I thought that the armholes and the front neckline would be too low (showing bra under the arms and too much cleavage in the front) so I decided to take up the bodice pieces one half inch on the front and the back. I had considered waiting until I had the fabric cut out and then taking the bodice up at the shoulder seam but then everything else would be hauled upwards and so out of proper alignment. This is why I got the dummy in the first place so I got brave with the pattern adjustments. I haven't seen how it worked out, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that I made the right decision. I'll know soon...

There are also two vertical darts on the back of the bodice and I am leaving them unsewn until I can fit the bodice onto the dummy.
summer dress
Here is the bodice sewn together except for the shoulder seams. I am about to flat fell the vertical seams and it's easier to do when I can lay the piece out flat.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm back with baby clothes! Not for me (thank goodness)

All's well that ends well. It has taken me forever to get back to sewing and blogging but here I am again. Mum made a complete recovery which amazed us all but left us forever grateful for her strength of will and character, as well as the medical care she got while in hospital. Then, a friend decided to have a baby (or will, in May) so I got to go to the baby shower and so I made some of the cutest clothes imaginable - baby clothes.
Baby clothes pattern
Over many years, I have used this McCall's pattern 9331 to make the newborn sized clothes whenever friends of mine have babies. I think the first time I used it was for my nephew who is now 22 years old! I love the way the feet on the pants stick up and the hat is just the cutest. I figure the parents can put a t-shirt on the baby and then dress it in the little jacket that is called a kimono on the pattern.

I went shopping for the fabric with my mother after she had got out of hospital and she suggested we go for the pink (a little peachy actually) and blue flannelettes and mix them up, since we didn't know if the baby was going to be a boy or a girl. I figure a baby doesn't know what colour it is wearing so it would only be the parents who might object and these parents are pretty relaxed about that sort of gender-biased colour thing. And if they did mind the colours, they could give away the outfit that was mostly the "wrong" colour. I had also, in the past, made yards and yards of flannelette seam binding in white and I decided to use some of that up on this project.
Baby clothes feet
Since the pieces are so small, I had lots of options in cutting. I decided to make the bottoms of the pants feet in the opposite colours and to find matching bears for each. I chose the sleeping bears for the blue feet and the awake bears for the pink. You might have to click on the photo to see the large for detail.
Baby clothes pants
In this view of the inside of the pants, you can see I decided to flat fell all the seams for a nice smooth finish. I also used the white flannelette seam binding to encase the elastic around the ankles. The top of the pants will be elasticized also. Pretty cute already.
Baby flat fell
I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to physically manage flat felling the seam that made a tube out of the pants leg (and the jacket arm) as they were going to be so small. But I did! It was tight going but I managed to sew into the leg and turn around at the bottom and sew my way out again.
Baby clothes jacket
Here's a view of the jacket. I made the sleeves out of the contrasting fabric colour. All the seams are enclosed in modified flat fells. The jacket closes by using a tie on the inside and then a tie on the outside, after the front flap is folded shut.
Baby clothes
Here is a view of both pairs of pants, both jackets and the hat, after completion. You can see the feet - so cute! And the hat is two layers - one pink and one blue - so it is reversible depending on the sex of the baby.
Baby clothes
Finally, one last view of both outfits and the hat. Adorable.