Friday, September 25, 2015

Ridiculously Easy Skirt in Ankara Dutch Wax

While waiting to  hear the results of the  PR sewing Bee round 2 (I did not win, but did advance), I needed a palate cleanser. I recently got another order of some Ankara Dutch Wax fabric and decided to play around with it.

I used Simplicity 1664 to try the skirt in a length I do not normally wear.
The skirt has a high wide waistband that I liked.

This was a very easy and a fast sew. Start to finish, this took about 1.5 hours including cutting time. I added six inches to the length and made a long sash to increase the width of the high waist. The sash doubles as a head wrap.

I am glad I made this. It was fast to make and allowed me to test a style I normally would not wear. I do not think this is my style of skirt. I think a mod, shorter silhouette, or a floor length maxi is more flattering for me. I would have liked more fullness in the skirt and think pockets are never a bad idea in a skirt. 

Skirt with belt tied in back.

Do not get me wrong, I wore this all day and was pretty happy with it. I am looking forward to styling it differently to make it work in the future. This fabric comes in six yard lots; I did not mind using it as a muslin for this pattern. I have enough left to make something that is more "me" later. 

Do you make tried and true garments or do you branch out to test new styles? 

Happy Sewing,

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Make The Fabric Your Own: PR Sewing Bee Round 2

So I have advanced to Round 2 of the PR Sewing Bee. The challenge for this round is, to "add surface embellishments to existing fabric... then make a garment out of the fabric(s) that you embellished." We have 10 days to complete the garment, photograph it and write the review. Obviously, hand embellishing a jersey knit garment is the first thing that came to my mind. 

The time crunch is a limitation, but if there is a round for me to do well, it is this one. I decided to make a reversible "Texas Springer" ;p cardigan using Mccalls 6844. I have made this twice before, so I did not have to cut the pattern or worry about fit issues. I decided to use a stencil I used once before to future save time. I decided to combine hand-sewn and machine sewn elements to add texture and interest.

I immediately got to work on my airbrushing, cutting and stitching. I have been sewing in every free moment of this week! I am ahead of the deadline and oh so tired! I have a long list of "must dos" to tackle, so I had to hustle on this one. 


I  used navy blue for the exterior, light blue for the reverse and green and white for the interior reverse applique exposures. Don't miss this, I used two colors under the blue! This is completely new to me and I have not seen it done before anywhere else (granted, I have not been looking), but isn't it AWESOME?!

The main base layer is green and the white areas are achieved with circular inserts placed strategically behind some of the pointed flowers. I then machine stitched them in place before adding the green layer. This layer is secured by hand-sewing around the flowers before cutting the centers out.  

With all of the loose thread ends from the hand sewing, the inside needed to be lined. I decided to make the cardigan reversible. I added an applique feature to the reverse side along with exposing the seams and cutting a rag texture into them. 

Just as cool on the flip side.
Applique on the reverse side.

A little shoulder interest.
 I have written a full review for the contest, that can be read here.

Happy Sewing,

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Improve Boring Wovens with Reverse Applique

Waiting, waiting, waiting! So we are waiting to find out who advances and who
has won the first round of the PR Sewing Bee. While I have a few “must sew” 
commissions that I am working on, I needed a creative break and decided to 
try a reverse applique process on woven fabrics using an out of print Muu-Muu 


I “made” my fabric to transform my fabric. I used a boring grey (I am from the Bahamas and this is how we spell it) colored cotton for the exterior of the dress.  I stenciled a design on the top fabric using blue metallic fabric paint. 

Once dry, I basted the cut fabric pieces together, wrong side of solid to the
right side of the print. I machine stitched around the shapes using cobalt blue
topstitch thread and an open toe foot.

I toyed with adding accents of white embroidery floss around some shapes. Given the style of the pattern, I decided it did not improve the overall look I was going for.
I am very excited with this result.


Such a pity to have to remove the middle painted areas. It is my fault for being lazy and not airbrushing, I used a pump spray with a less precise nozzle. 
Let it dry before removing the stencil.

Once all stitched, I cut away the middles leaving a little of the painted fabric along the edge. This revealed the blue, white and green Lissette print fabric beneath.

Cutting with extreme caution.

Reverse Applique Dress in Woven Fabrics.
I really like the fun of this neckline.
I sort of stitched it up per the pattern instructions. It had a lot of ease and was a bit more paper baggy than I liked. I took an inch from the sides and added back darts to adjust the fit. I reversed the opening to the back so as to not interrupt the pattern on the front. I made a ridiculously long tie for the back. I sometimes get dressed alone find a long tie easier to work with.


I left the back plain for contrast and speed.


Did I add pop to the drab grey or what?
Close up of shapes.

I had such fun making this! I was not sure how it would all work. I am thrilled with it! This was a test for future sewing exploits. I am still tweaking the process and have not washed it yet and am curious and excited to see what happens. I plan to make test other shapes, patterns and variations.  As I do more with it, and use different fabrics, I will keep you posted.

Happy Sewing,

Saturday, September 5, 2015

It's Pattern Review Sewing Bee Time Again.

I have once again entered the Pattern Review Sewing Bee. Every week, if we advance, we are given a surprise challenge with several days to complete it. It is a fun and stressful contest with fun prizes along the way. I am terribly competitive with myself, so a contest like this is always a character building experience. 

The first project is to sew a fitted blouse with set-in in sleeves. It must not be made from a knit fabric and not be of the pullover style. I was indecisive about what to make so I made two blouses.  One is definitely a traditional blouse, while the other is a bit more dramatic. 

Love the cuffs on this!

I made covered buttons and placed them horizontally for visual interest. 

I like the side slit and curved hem.

This top is a combination of patterns. For the body I used McCalls 5597 

and the sleeves of Simplicity 6110. If this top had fit the qualifications, I would have made it completely and the pants and skirt too!  Aren't they all darling?

Simplicity 5597

Now, the second entry possibility made with more of my African Ankara fabric: 

This one is made by combining Vogue 8866 for the full flounce and Simplicity 1425 for the body of the blouse.

 For the sake of the contest, you are to show your inside finishing. I trimmed the neckline, shoulder, and peplum seams with bias tape. For the underside of the flounce, I used a contrast cream colored fabric to add interest when it flips up.
 The shaping is achieved with princess seams in front and back darts

I am leaning toward entering the blue and white blouse. What do you think? There are many great entries, so we shall see who advances. Wish me luck :)

Happy Sewing,