Saturday, November 22, 2014

Reverse Appliqué Jersey Dress: The Great Pattern Review Sewing Bee- Round # 3

So I, along with 24 other contestants, have advanced to the next round of the The Great Pattern Review Sewing Bee- Round #3. For this project, we have been given the Winter Street Dress, to make a dress using two knit fabrics. Both fabrics should be knits (printed or solid colors). There is no limit on how much or how little of the 2nd fabric you use, as long as its visible and enhances the garment.
Winter Street Dress Courtesy of Pattern Review
On my initial reading of this project and the rules, I have to say I was enthused. I am NOT a fan of PDF patterns with all of the cutting and pasting together. (I think I may have mentioned that a million times before). Additionally, though others look great in it, I am not a fan of this style of dress. I don't think the is waistline flattering on me. I do love the sleeve variations especially the slight flounce. Given a choice however, I would not have not have chosen this pattern.
Given my reticence about this round, I chose to rely on my old favorite sewing technique of hand-sewing jersey knit fabric. I thought the requirement to use two knit fabrics made this an awesome candidate for reverse applique. I briefly considered making my stencil, as I have done before. Given the time constraints, I decided against it. I recently purchased another fabulous home decor stencil from the same company that I used to make my Moroccan Halter and Tank top.  I had yet to use it and thought this would be a great opportunity.
Stencil image
The rules allow you to modify the pattern in any way you like. I was really excited about that. I wanted to accentuate the lattice work in the stencil. The front and back of the dress are cut as two pieces with box pleats. I decided to make the front and back pieces one continuous silhouette and eliminate the pleats. I have never done this type of modification to a pattern. I have a large  pattern stash. If I want a pattern in a specific style I simply look in my stash and find one that works. 

I thought the path of least resistance would be to change the pattern rather than working with the cut fabric. After downloading and cutting the pattern (grrr), I prepared it for my modification. I simply chose to pleat the skirt portion of the pattern and tape it to the upper bodies of the front and back pieces. This way I got the pattern to the size I wanted while eliminating the pleats.

I cut the medium to begin with, but graded down to the small.  My dress is constructed in a double layer of 100% jersey knit in cream and light green. The front cream layer of the fabric is airbrushed painted in an opaque gold paint. I stenciled the front in 4 sections with 30 minutes drying time between each painting. You can read about my airbrush in this long ago post.

Airbrushed along the edges because the centers will be removed.

Fabric stenciled in for sections and covered to prevent over spray.
Two hours later, it is all dry
This dress is embellished with the reverse applique technique. To achieve this effect, I basted the stenciled front to the green under layer at the arms and neckline. Using white button and craft thread, I hand-stitched along the outside of the stenciled shapes through the two layers of fabric.
Once the entire front was stitched, I cut the center of the shapes leaving about a 1/4 inch or so of the gold painted area.
Front of dress stitched with the centers removed.

I even like the back of the stitched panel.
Next, I sewed the front to back at the shoulders and side seams on my machine with regular thread. I checked the fit, and adjusted it at the side seams for a closer fit at the bust and waist. I serged the seams for a clean finish, pressed them to the back and felled them down with hand-stitches. A leather thimble was crucial to aid in sewing through six layers of fabric with the thick thread. 

The neckline of the dress is trimmed with 1.5 inch jersey bias binding folded in half. The binding was pinned, basted, and then secured with a hand-stitched herringbone stitch. This stitch was made using button and craft thread. The hem of the dress and sleeves are left raw and will curl in time.

Here is the completed dress:

Sleeve Detail

Solid back

Herringbone stitch on the neckline.
We are asked to explain why our garment should advance to the next round. Here is what I said:
This dress looks great on the many people who have made and reviewed it. I however, did not purchase this pattern because the front and back pleats and two piece front is not my style. I feel my modification is true to the original design while making it more appealing to those who passed on it for the same reasons I did. The fact that the modification is an easy fix further bolsters the appeal to those who may now be interested.

I made a largely hand-sewn garment in a fairly short time. I have made hand-sewn garments over the course of many months with impressive results. I am pleased that I was able to complete this dress with pattern modifications in a matter of days. I know many people have wanted to venture into hand-sewing projects, but are intimidated by the time commitment and perceived difficulty. I feel this project may inspire someone to see it is manageable and may encourage them to try something new. An impressive project focuses on the creator, while an inspiring project focuses back to the observer. I hope this dress achieves both of those things qualifying me for the next round. 

I am happy with this dress. I love the feel of the double layers of jersey. I am pleased with the way color scheme worked together. The sleeves are adorable and the length is perfect straight from the pattern. I love the texture of the reverse applique in this large scale motif. I will make this again. What do you think of an ombre dyed bottom layer?

We do not get feedback from the judges as to why we advance or are eliminated. I do not know where I stand. The results for this round will be announced in one week. I will let you know how I do on the Thanksimadethem Facebook Page.

Happy sewing,

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mildred, My Adjustable Dress Form Is Complete!

I have said it before, but it is worth repeating, I love it when a plan comes together. You may remember Mildred, my Acme adjustable dress form. She was generously given to me by a friend. She had been well loved and had some damage to her chipboard, jersey cover and her interior supports. In that previous post you can see a breakdown of what she needed and the first part of that repair.

Most of the repairs I made where made by trial and error and guesswork. I made a paste of shredded paper and Mod Podge to fill the holes in the chip board. 

On the portions that were broken completely, I supported the sides in the proper position, filled with the paste if needed and let it dry. Once it was dry, I Mod Podged  pattern paper over the filled seams and holes.

Once I was satisfied that the structure was sound, I looked in my stash to find a suitable cover for Mildred. It is in times like these that I know how hoarders are born. I found some lace scraps in my stash that until now could not conceivably be used for anything.  I cut it to size and discovered it was just enough to cover this form! It was confirmation that I should never throw scraps away, ever!

The lace is a large scale motif and the fabric beneath would show. I needed to cover the under layer with an attractive color. I decided on metallic silver spray paint. I went this route to kill two birds with one stone. Despite my cleaning the nuts, bolts and supports with steel wool, it was still a bit dull.  In addition to covering the fabric, the paint promised to cover existing rust and prevent more from developing in the future.

First coat of silver spray paint.
After the pieces were painted and dry, I applied spray adhesive to the back of the pre-cut lace and painted fabric side of the form and covered it. I allowed about a 1-inch seam allowance on all edges and wrapped it around the sides. I secured the overlapped edges with Mod Podge. I knew it would dry hard and adhere to the chipboard underneath. I was uncertain how the decoupage medium would affect the lace on the front. I wanted it to be secure, but not hard to the touch. My plan was to try it with only the spray adhesive and if needed, add layers of Mod Podge for fabric in time.

She started out as Mildred, but now that she is dressed in this sexy lace number, I have renamed her, meet Millie. She is repaired and standing straighter in her new loveliness.

She only took about 2 days of active work. I left her to dry and cure for a few days in between the work days. I made two minor time-sapping mistakes along the way. The first is not marking each piece and their position when I took it apart. I photographed them and thought it looked obvious which was right front, and left back and so on. The lace cover and coupled with the distraction of two children playing, it is not so obvious. In the end, it worked out. 

The second thing I should have done, was spray the nuts and bolts with a lubricant after the rust removal. They were clean but, a bit stiff to turn when I was putting it back together. The putting it back part requires holding many moving segments in place while tightening them. 
Close up of the upper body.

Lower body
This was a fun and satisfying project. I am trilled that I was able to restore her and bring her back to a usable and beautiful state. There is always a fear of ruining such a treasure, but I am glad I took the risk. Best of all, the friend who gave Millie to me is pleased with the result.

Happy Sewing,

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pattern Review Sewing Bee Round 2: Men's Dress Shirt Refashion

So, I have advanced to round two of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee. This round requires contestants to  refashion up to five dress shirts into a garment for an adult. Lucky for me, two weeks ago, I created a Pinterest board dedicated to refashions of dress shirts and was primed when the announcement was made. I went to my pin board for what had previously provided inspiration. Though they are great re-purposing projects, I thought they resembled the man shirts more closely than I liked. I wanted to use the fabric from the shirts and reference the source subtly.

I looked in my stash of shirts and found several that I could use for this project, but I wanted one more of another color. I hit the neighboring thrift store and found three shirts that made me change my plans. I saw two size 22 shirts in purple and one size 22 in blue giving me about 4 yards of fabric. Between these two shirts, I decided on a color block plan. (I am sorry for the color quality, I took those on my phone in too bright light.)
When I saw how much fabric I had, I hit my stash for a suitable pattern and found Butterick 9695.


 and Mccalls 4613 after my hubby suggested it needed more umph!
1970s McCall's 4613 Vintage Sewing Pattern Accessories Belts and Bags One Size

I set to work and here is the end result.

I kept the original hem of the shirts and added the button details to the collar and the obi belt.

I think my hubby was correct in suggesting the belt was needed.
I love the drama of the collar.
These are colors I would never have chosen without the confines of what was available at the store. I like them together.

I whipped this project out in a hurry! I had so many ideas swimming in my head that if I didn't just dive in, I would still be considering. I am glad to be done so I can relax. Here's to hoping I do well and move on to the next round.

Happy Sewing,

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Great Pattern Review Sewing Bee: Round 1

I am so excited! I have entered another contest on Pattern Review. You can read all the rules for The Great Pattern Review Sewing Bee by clicking the link. The first round project of this four- week challenge is to make an A-line skirt.  Given the time constraints, I chose to use Simplicity 2314 for the body of the skirt and Simplicity 7454 to add pocket details.

For fabric, I used Ikea Hildis 100% Cotton and lined it in grey fabric of unknown content. I was given it in an estate sale liquidation my guess is it is gauze. I would not have lined this skirt because of the weight of it, but for the contest I had to so I went with something ultra lightweight. Craftsy has a great tutorial "How to Attach Lining to an invisible zipper With a Sewing Machine", if you want to an easy way to do it. For a bit of creative interest, I added dark red piping to the exterior pockets and lower edge of the waistband.
Lining side

Red Piping

Here is the completed project in a motion GIF. Picassa, surprises me daily. It made it automatically. Now, if I can figure out how to edit that fuzzy one out.

I modified the pattern by adding three inches to the body and lining of the skirt. I omitted the center front seam and cut it on the fold for better flow.

Here's hoping I advance to the next round of the contest. If you haven't yet entered and sew quickly, there is still time.

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sewing Pattern Mannequin Wall Art

Ever get a creative inspiration that you simply need to execute? You get an idea and it gnaws at the back of your brain until you get it out. Recently, I acquired several half torso mannequins and got the idea to decorate them as wall art. I have ten more and many ideas for what to do with them. 

Here is the first one

She is made using vintage recycled materials. Her body is covered in the instructions and illustrations of out of print vintage sewing patterns. 

Her halter dress and shrug are made using the paper from the patterns. 

For the flowers, I used a combination of both types of paper giving a varied texture. For contrast, her belt is made using a double layer of vintage lace. Her highly textured skirt has a touch of whimsy by my curling the pattern paper.

 She is a great addition to my sewing space.

I am very happy with her! I am thrilled to get this tiny bit of creative energy out. I have many ideas for the other mannequins, not all sewing themed. I plan to make them and maybe sell them in a local boutique, in my Etsy store, or give them as gifts. I am not sure, but until then...

Happy Creating,