Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Weird, Wonderful, or WTH? Vogue 1410

Sometimes I come across a pattern and just have to make it. Usually, I am all-in and know exactly what attracts me to it. Other times, I see a pattern and I am simply confused by it and therefore compelled to make it in an attempt to figure it out. Vogue 1410 caught my eye at a recent sale and I was intrigued. The structure of the skirt, the front closure and the variable hem length drew me in.

Vogue 1410
I read a few reviews of this pattern and took those into account when making this. The instructions were extremely easy to follow. I was a bit surprised because the dress looks more complex than it is. There are just two pattern pieces and 16 steps to complete the dress.

The suggested fabrics were: Stretch Poplin, Seersucker, Silk Dupioni, Lt.Wt. Wool Crepe and required 3 yards of 60 inch width. I am working through my stash, so I wanted to use what I had on hand, and chose a cream and tan linen.
Based on other reviews and my style preferences, I made several changes to the pattern construction.

I raised the neckline and armsyce to the height of the largest pattern size to give greater coverage. I cut the body of the dress to a 12, but I could (should) have cut a 10 with no problem.

Upper openings raised about 1.5 inches.

 I made darts in the back rather than the tucking they suggested.
I installed small grommets and used a leather tie for the front closure. 
    This dress is made with french seaming. They are inside anchor points for the buttons that are used to adjust the hem.

    Here is the completed dress with the hem variations shown.

Full Length

Midi Length

Knee Length

Mini Length
I like that I still do not know how I feel about it. Do I like it? Hate it? Is it weird and "look at me!" attention seeking or artsy? I do not know? I enjoy that about it. The versatility in the four hem lengths is delightful. My favorite hem is the mini length, it reminds me of the bubble skirts from the 1980's. I am not sure I like the longest length, it hits below my calf at an awkward point that feels a little wrong. 

This pattern is that is worth the effort for its' quirkiness. It has only 2 pattern pieces and is a fast sew. If you are on the fence, I say jump to the side of doing it. I sew as an expression of creativity and this one helps me do that in a little time.

So, what do you say? Weird, Wonderful or WTH?


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Snowflake Dress a nod to Elsa from Disney's Frozen

I recently had a private sewing student who wanted to make a holiday dress for her granddaughter. She wanted a dress made with  Navy blue, organza, satin, and a large bow sash. For our project, she chose to use McCalls 5795.
Mccalls 5795

This dress is fully lined, has a skirt overlay of organza and a flower and bow sash. It was tricky project for a newbie but, together, we ended up with a very satisfying result. Sorry for the picture quality on this one. This was a test size picture on my daughter, but you get the gist.
Mccalls 5795
Her project got me thinking about making a lovely holiday dress for my Little Miss. The McCalls dress was a lot of work with a lined bodice and three layers of heavy gathering in the skirt. This last fact made inserting the zipper more trouble than I wanted to venture into again. I chose instead to use Simplicity 5704 from my stash. I chose this pattern because it did not require full lining, but also gave various sleeve and neckline options. It was shorter than I wanted but that was easily remedied.

    Simplicity  5704
Simplicity 5704
On a recent trip to Walmart, I found snowflake organza in Turquoise Ice. Given that Frozen mania is still alive and well here, I knew I had to buy it. I paired it with white satin from my stash, I went to work.
Snowflake Organza
Taking inspiration from the McCalls dress I chose to use the organza as an overlay for the skirt and sleeves. I lengthened it to the length of the size 8 and made the rest of the dress is size 5. I also chose to use the sash from the McCalls pattern. The McCalls dress uses facings for the bodice rather than full lining. Here is the completed dress.
Snowflake Dress

Sleeve Detail

I cut the overlay 3 inches longer than the skirt.

I finished the hem with a 3-thread rolled napkin edge.

Every princess needs a tiara.
Best of all, it is great for playtime!

Project Breakdown:

Pattern and Fabric cutting time: 45 minutes.
Approximate Fabric Yardage: 2.5 Yards
Approximate Sewing time: 3 hours
Additional Elsa Inspired Dresses Seen here:
Grateful hugs, kisses and cuddles: Endless

Happy Sewing,

Monday, September 15, 2014

Zipper Phobic Snap Clutch Tutorial

I recently received an awesome package of goodies for the Flickr Swap for which I made this pouch. My generous partner sent me all the loveliness seen below.
In addition to the selvedge pin cushion, fabric basket, fat quarters, covered measuring tape, she included two wonderful pencil cases for my kids. These cases were such a hit with my kids! They open with a pull tap and snap closed like a magnet. It is perfect for little hands that fumble with zippers. 


I loved them so much I asked my swap partner where she purchased the magnetic closure. I was gobsmacked when she shared that it opens and stays closed using the metal from a hardware store measuring tape!  She told me of a pattern I could purchase, but I immediately knew I could figure out how to make another using her wonderful cases as an example. 

I made my grown-up version of the bag using fabric I received in a care package from a friend. 

Here are the steps I used to make it:

My exterior fabric is a mid-weight home decor variety that did not require interfacing. You may choose to stabilize light-weight fabric for added structure.
Seam Allowance= 1/4 inch

Cut a rectangle of fabric from your exterior fabric and a rectangle of fabric from the lining making the lining fabric 5 inches longer. This will give 2.5 inches on either side of the exterior.

Press a crease down the lengthwise center of the right side of the exterior to mark the center. Make a triangular pull tab from fabric of the lining by cutting 4 triangles. Stitch the pair right sides together, flip and press. Alternatively, you can use 3 inches of ribbon folded in half on each end. With raw edges even, pin to edge of center crease.

For the strap, cut 12x 2 of lining fabric. Stitch right sides together, flip and press. Fold and pin on edge on long side of exterior. (I positioned my strap too low. I suggest you pin yours in place at the top, not where it is pictured). Baste tabs and strap in place.

With right sides together, pin only the short edges of lining and exterior together. Stitch.Turn right side out positioning 2.5 inches on each side of the exterior creating a band. Press.

Top-stitch along the lining band 1/4 inch from edge of exterior fabric. Baste along one long side closing one end of the band creating a casing.

Cut 2 lengths of measuring tape 1.5 inches less the length of the casing. Use scissors that will only be used for this purpose as it will dull your "good" scissors. Tape the edges to prevent injury to you or damage to the fabric over time. Insert tape inside the open end of the casing. Put the curve side out toward the exterior and numbers toward the interior of the bag. Repeat on other side.

Fold the bag right side out aligning the top and with raw edges even. Stitch. This will close the other end of the casing. You are almost done and can give the bag a try.

Flip the bag inside out. Stitch the sides again enclosing the previously stitched seam, creating a french seam.

To create a boxed base, pull the bottom corner flat and mark a 1 inch deep line. Stitch. I chose not to trim it down here. The bag is large enough that it will not get in the way when using it.

 Turn right side out and enjoy!

This fun little bag came together fairly quickly. I love the fun of the snappy closure. This is a great project for newbie sewers and those intimidated with sewing zippers. I envision many variations of this bag. A change in fabric and lining options would make this suitable for men, women, and children. Can somebody say for holiday gifts?

Happy Sewing,

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Moroccan Stenciled Halter with Maxi Skirt.

The summer break is over and our home is finally settling into a new routine. It has been a difficult adjustment for me to change our waking and sleeping schedules to accommodate early rising for school. I got used to my children's daily naps as a chance to sneak in a bit of hand-sewing. 

You may remember seeing this hand-sewn reverse applique top with the asymmetrical hem seen below and blogged here.

When I stenciled that fabric, using the Moroccan stencil by Stencil Ease, I prepared  teal fabric for another garment. This time, I used the stencil to create the opposite effect of a texture filled applique design.

To get this look, I cut the pattern front twice and basted them together. Using white button and craft thread, I then stitched a running stitch along the lines of the painted shapes. I tied the threads off on the underside of the fabric so the the applique shapes are the only feature. When the top layer shapes were stitched, I cut between the spaces leaving a little bit of the unpainted edge visible. When washed, the edges will curl up adding to the texture.
I machine stitched the inside seams and then hand-stitched them down toward the back. For the binding on the armscye, I used a machine applied decorative stitch on 1/2-inch bias binding. I chose to use this method because this area is not a focal point and is faster than hand-sewing. It is more subtle than the hand-stitched binding on the cranberry and slate top above.
I paired this halter with a maxi skirt in the same teal fabric. I made it using a vintage Mccalls 4021 skirt pattern.

Of the two techniques,  reverse applique was faster to stitch. I was able to sew continually along the outside of the shapes and tie them off less frequently. I love both tops and this stencil. I plan to use it again to make a wrap for my many jersey maxi dresses as we transition into fall.

Project Breakdown:

Fabric cutting time: 1 hour
Stencil setup and application time: 2.5 hours.
Fabric Yardage: approx. 5 Yards
Sewing time: Top: 23 hours  Skirt: 2.5 hours
Thread: 2 Spools of White Button and Craft Thread 
One of a kind hand-sewn piece: PRICELESS.

Happy Sewing,