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,

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,