Wednesday, September 18, 2019

I Love A Little Bit of Sparkle to Glam Up My Pilvi Coat


I love rich florals, earth tones neutrals and muted palettes. They are my go-to favorites. This year however, the metallic fabrics from Riley Blake Designs have made me rethink adding a little shimmer and sparkle to my wardrobe. The Glam Girl collection is a fun and feminine collection featuring ultra trendy rose gold metallic accents.


 

My immediate thought upon perusing this collection was fun and fancy Christmas ensembles for our family. When I suggested it to Little Miss, she had other ideas. She thought the fabrics were beautiful and needed to be made into something that would get regular use. She encouraged me to think about something I've been reluctant to make, but for whatever reason hadn't yet. She suggested I use the fabric as the motivation to get cracking!

I love sewing books but I'm not a fan of tracing patterns. I bought the book Everyday Style by Lotta Jansdotter when it was first released. I made a few projects from the book and I really enjoy them. The Pilvi coat is a project I  have long wanted, but never made. I delayed in part because of the joys tracing patterns, but also because of the Texas weather. As we are beginning to transition into cooler temperatures, I thought now would be the perfect time to make it.


I used the Black Dots Sparkle to make this unlined raglan sleeve coat. 


Once traced, the construction of this project was a breeze. It does not have set in sleeves or a lining making it a good starter coat project.




I omitted the suggested button in favor of making a pressed and tacked lapel from the facing.



To add a bit of interest, I added the Main Black Sparkle as an accent to the underside of the sleeve. It gives me the option to flip it up for fun contrast. 




There is so much shine to this fabric. It is saturated, intense and holds up well to washing. It gives a simple jeans and tank outfit an extra kick. 




Have you procrastinated on a sewing project because of a tedious part? I encourage you to do like I did, get over it! Make it! Love it!

Happy Sewing,
Bianca 

Late Summer Means There is Still Time for a Wildflower Boutique


Earlier this year, Little Miss completely hijacked my Blooms and Bobbins fabric for a tiered maxi dress. She has been out of the "dress phase" for a while and I was thrilled when she asked for a dress for twirling. Her dress was perfect and we loved it. I loved it so much I was envious that she got it and I didn't! That's what good moms do right? We sacrifice for our kids to have the best.

I knew my sacrifice would pay off because there is always more beautiful fabric on the horizon. Enter Wildflower Boutique by Riley Blake Designs. This collection called my name and the blue colorway of the main fabric was just what I was waiting for.


It was time to get the maxi dress of my dreams. This year, tiered maxi dresses are in all of the pattern catalogs. I have bought a few, but none of the current patterns gave me the "umph" I was looking for. I did a deep dive into my stash to find Butterick 5637. 

This pattern has been in my stash since it was released in 2011. I have reached for it many times, but the fabric contemplations never felt right until now. This pattern and this fabric seemed made for each other.


The construction of this dress was easy, with little to challenge an experienced beginner. I made the size medium and used the B-cup bodice. I measure at the C-cup, but based on reviews on Pattern Review, I decided to it scale down. This was a wise decision because the fit is perfect! My favorite feature of this dress is the gathered neck band.


As I said, it is an easy dress to make. I was however surprised at how long it took to come together. Gathering those tiers took a lot of time, but was completely worth it. 


It goes without saying, but I love a dress with pockets. It is especially true of those I don't have to draft myself. I used another print from the collection for fun contrast. 


The back of the dress has interest with the cut of the neckline and shoulders. It requires a racerback or strapless bra and closes with a standard zipper. I am 5 ft. 8 in. and wearing 3-in heels here. The hem length recommended by the pattern is the perfect length for me. 


This is exactly the dress I wanted to make and I feel exactly the way I wanted to feel wearing it! I feel like I'm wrapped in a garden bringing beauty with me with every step.


This pattern is out of print, but is available on Amazon, Etsy and Ebay. The fabric collection is current and arriving in stores now.

Happy Sewing,
Bianca 

Monday, August 26, 2019

If I Sew For Fall, Will That Speed Up It's Arrival?


School is back in session so, for all intents and purposes, Summer is over and I have Fall on my mind. The temperatures are in the 90's and it feels like 100's. I am retouching blog photos to remove sweat drops and shine from my skin. When that fails, I am doing double shoots at different times of day for usable photos. I am so over this season and I am ignoring all of the environmental evidence and shifting my sewing gears.

Seasonal projects that I worked on many months ago with Autumn debuts, are now being released. My Emerson Tote Bag which is a part of the Sew News Capsule Studio: Well Traveled Pattern Collection is live and available for download. The fabric choices, the layers and the transitional pieces of all of the items in the collection hint of cozy, relaxing and comfy times.

In addition to the capsule wardrobe pattern release, I have a cutwork embroidery project in the Fall 2019 edition of Creative Machine Embroidery. Everything about this issue is a far stretch from Summer creating it is a clear shift toward Halloween decorations and preparations. 

 Image result for Creative Machine Embroidery fall 2019
Looking at the forecast, I have no confidence that the weather will cool down significantly anytime soon. Despite that, my mind has made the shift Fall making. The new arrivals of fabrics at Nature's Fabric has me really excited and I chose a couple of the new prints to add to my stash. The first one I want to share with you is Fall Red Berries. It is a lusciously soft and cozy bamboo/spandex jersey with soft peach, cream and red tones. This is the first time I have sewn with this type of fabric and I love the way it feels. 

I had many pattern choices to consider. Some were exactly my style and others were a slight departure from my go-to. In the end, I decided to go with Mccalls 7973 in view B.
This dress is a bit different from my usual style, but I find the ruffle neckline and gathered sleeves so charming.
I considered making this dress in my favorite maxi length. In the end however, I decided against it thinking it may make me look too matronly. I used my sashiko inspired pattern weights and rotary cutter for fast cutting of the pattern and fabric. The construction was done on my sewing machine and serger.

It came together with ease with the exception  of the sleeve instructions. I initially had trouble understanding, seeing and differentiating the stitching and gathering lines of the illustration. These eyes aren't what they used to be! Eventually, I took a photo and zoomed in to see what I needed to do. Anyone else need to do this?

 
After completing the sleeves, I wasn't pleased with the light density of the gathers I got by following the pattern. I decided to make them more prominent with narrow elastic. After sewing the elastic in place at the top of the seam, I pulled it taut while sewing it down with a zig-zag stitch along the seam.


At the end of the seam, when the elastic is released, the fabric gathers perfectly. 

I love the sweet details of this dress.


I like how the neckline ruffles with cord tie ends frame my face. 


I can't resist a dress that has side seam pockets and I was happy to not have to draft them for this. Now that it is made, I am pleased with decision to keep the length as is.  I am on the fence about how I feel about the width of the side ties. I generally like them wider to cinch in the volume of fabric at the waistline. Considering that this dress is meant to be loose fitting and not cinched, I think I am okay with them as is. 


I am loving this transitional dress! The color of the print, the feel of the fabric and overall style came together as I hoped. 


Stay cool friends and happy sewing,
Bianca

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Take a lovely stroll through Lucy's Garden


The summer temperatures here in Texas are consistently hitting three digits! It is so hot that I have to balance combating cabin fever with braving the heat outside. With two creative book-loving kids, staying inside usually wins out. Thankfully, I have wonderful fabrics to play with, so staying in sewing is not a difficult choice for me.

The new Lucy's Garden collection by Riley Blake Designs has allowed me the illusion of a beautiful botanical garden while enjoying the comfort of the indoors.


I love the rich colors and varied patterns in the collection. My first choice was the teal colorway of Tile Teal design.


I thought is was a perfect fabric did a little sewing in my time machine using Vintage Very Easy Vogue 9185. 
1970s Halter Dress Pattern Vogue 9185 Maxi Dress Flared Tent Dress Side Pockets Bust 34 - product images  of

This vintage pattern is a shaped and flared tent dress with ankle-length and a knee-length options. You know I love a good maxi dress and will certainly revisit this pattern later for that length. I thought the scale of this print and the weight of the fine cotton would work well in the shorter length version. 


I love the large wing collar and button front opening.


Who can resist a dress with side-seam pockets? 


The halter back is new to my wardrobe, and I love it with this dress!


Tent dresses sometimes get a bad rep for their shapeless style. Despite the risk of unsolicited "Congratulations! (um, thanks?)" and "When are you due (the 12th of never!)?", I love absolutely them! They are perfect for Summer allowing for effortless style and much needed airflow on hot days.


This pattern includes a belt for cinching in the fullness at the waist if I choose.



This is a fun fabric, but it is not without its challenges in garment sewing. The fabric needed to be treated like a plaid or a stripe. Care was taken so the design alignment continued along the seam lines. Aligning and pinning through the top and bottom fabrics before cutting, helped with this.

         

I also considered the bust dart positioning with the layout. The design was placed so there was no unfortunate center flower placement at the bust apex.


The second project I made using fabric from this collection brought great skepticism and ire from my 10-year old. During the planning phase, she could not imagine a scenario where me wearing Lucy's Garden Main, with its' rooster motif would be appealing. She thought it was beautiful, but best suited for kitchen or sewing room accessories.


I considered her reasonable objection, but in the end, I opted to go with my gut. I am happy to report, that when she saw my gathered maxi skirt with thigh-high slit, her opinion changed. She can't be certain if she truly loves it, or loves my attitude and enthusiasm about it! My love of it spills over and that makes her smile.

I used New Look 6516 to make this fun maxi peasant skirt.


Image result for New Look 6516

This was a fast and easy project that is perfect for a beginner. To maximize my yardage, I made one small change to the lower panel. Rather than cut the fabric to size, I simply cut it on the fold and used the complete width of the fabric for each front and back panel. This added several inches to the circumference of the lower section. I gathered in the extra fullness distributing them evenly to the yoke.

          The skirt can be worn with a top tucked in for a high-waisted look,

or untucked with the focus on the gathers.



The side slit hits me just at mid-thigh. It is just the right height to be provocative without being immodest. It also provides the much needed ventilation when moving through these streets.  



Today is the first day of school for my kids. That event is usually the first marker for seasons changing and the transition to Fall. I am looking forward to a new season of learning for them and a new season reflected on the thermostat in the months to come. 

Happy Sewing,
Bianca





Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Something Borrowed, Something Different



Bright colors, large florals, bold prints in simple silhouettes make up my go-to style. As an introvert, I like to wear clothes that will serve as an ice-breaker in social settings. It makes it easier for me to engage if I have a conversation starter.

When I saw the new Something Borrowed collection by Riley Blake designs, I felt a tugging to take a departure from my usual choices and style. I felt the need to make a statement of a different kind, a softer more subtle one.



The muted colors and the small-scale fabric of the delicate design of the Floral Grey print spoke to a calm, summer state of mind.


I chose the new Butterick 6678 to pair with this lovely fabric.  
Image result for butterick 6678
I love the bodice and sleeve details of view A. The the weight of the cotton holds up well. I like the way it helps define the sleeves.


The pattern was a fast sew requiring no modifications for me. 

Laser-cut pattern weights are available in my Etsy store.
   
The pattern calls for an invisible zipper which is perfect to keep the print uninterrupted.


I finished it with a blind hem to keep the delicate print uninterrupted. 


I am so happy with this dress. It is a slight departure for me, but is still looks like it belongs in my closet. That being said, that Scallops Navy is calling my name.

Happy Sewing,
Bianca