Posted in sewing

Grainline Farrow Dress

My first Grainline Studio project was the Linden Sweatshirt (unblogged) back in the spring. I was generally underwhelmed by it on me and questioned if a Grainline pattern could even work on my figure. So, imagine my shock and awe that the Grainline Farrow Dress is my fall favorite. Why would I go back a pattern line that I doubted? Well, I picked the Farrow Dress to teach a sewing class at a new studio in town (Domesticity). It has set in sleeves, facings and an optional lining. There are some good techniques and skills to teach. But, of course I needed to make it first and I’m glad I did.

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I picked this turquoise and red wool from my stash. I love red, white and blue color combos. Especially this icy Scandinavian version. When I finished the dress though, I realized it was a little Supergirl and I am TOTALLY here for it.

Now, on to the garment!

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Reviews I initially read said the sleeves were very narrow. And, when compared to my arm measurement there was less than one inch of ease for me in the size 16. I added an additional inch and was ready to go.

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I also made a 3/4″ FBA to the size 16 pattern I measured into. I did not use the Grainline FBA alteration technique. Instead, I removed the skirt at the waistline, made my alterations, added a dart and took out the added width from the side seam. I never rotate my darts out btw. I have tatas and they need darts. I didn’t want anymore volume down the center front of the dress. But, I do think that modification would be great if you carried more weight in the middle. The dress does hang from my bust. But, I don’t have awkward drag lines. And, I don’t think it’s too tent-like from the front because it appears smooth without draglines. It is for sure not a formfitting dress.

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I decided to add a lining that is on the bodice only as per the Grainline suggested draft for a lining.

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I also lowered the neckline by around three inches because my neck is too short for a  jewel neckline which meant an small redraft of the facing.

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If I were to make this again I would go down do a 14. The 16 just had way more ease than I wanted for my figure. I took this in at the side seams about 1.5″ from the bust down and even more tapering from the hip to hem.

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I made no adjustments to length and made my hem with a blind hem stitch. I think the color blocking is great for showing off the interesting seam lines. And, it’s a great Thanksgiving and Christmas dress. It’s also nice to have something sleeved for work this winter.

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There are really nicely integrated pockets on the Farrow. But, those pockets are also a fabric hog. I stabilized both my pockets and all the diagonal (and bias) seams by alternating between silk organza and seam binding. I was experimenting a bit since this was a class garment.

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I’m going to be really blunt here. Originally, I was sure this dress wasn’t for me. Usually,  anything without a defined waist is gonna be a waste of my time. But, with my easy modifications for fit, it’s a really fun, interesting and comfortable work dress. I’m planning on making a short sleeve version in the summer from some yellow linen in my stash. And, I think I would really love a cream one too.

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That said, it works really well on some figures. One of my students has a really straight figure and out of the envelope it was BRILLIANT on her. I suspect this is the ideal body type for this style pattern.

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After teaching one class with this dress I actually nixed it from my lineup. It’s got such great details. But, the pockets alone take up a ton of table space and most of the first night of a two-night class. So, we’ll be making the Hadley Top from Grainline going forward. Review of that one coming soon.

Posted in sewing

70s Style Knit Shirtdress: Burdastyle 4/2011 #108

I recently told Jordan with great pride that I hadn’t purchased any fabric in 2017. His reply, “That’s only five months.” Bubble burst.  I haven’t bought for a few reasons. The main one being I have more fabric than I can sew in my current lifetime. And, I was losing track of the fabrics I loved and the projects I’ve always wanted to make. In addition, we are going to sell and buy a new home in the next two years and before we do so I’d like to get my stash down to…. visible.

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Anywho, one such project that’s floated in the back of my mind for years is a graphic jersey shirtdress. Two years ago I saw wonderful 70s style knit shirt dresses at the Halston exhibit at FIT and promised myself I’d make a knit shirtdress ‘soon’. This pattern from the April 2011 Burdastyle (and still available for download) is JUST the look I was going for.

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My  poly jersey fabric came from Jomar in Philadelphia some time ago. I originally thought a 70s style wrap dress. But, I knew it would be GREAT as a shirt dress. I contemplated snaps  rather than buttons to keep the print uninterrupted. But, found these buttons in my stash. To make the buttonholes, I used a light tricot jersey in the facing and front band. Then, I also used tear away stabilizer. I’ve seen knit buttons wonky in RTW and wanted to make mine as neat as possible.

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I legit think I haven’t sewn a stand collar in years. I’d rate this one a 7/10 and am glad I won’t ever button this at the neck. I used instructions from the Better Homes and Garden Sewing Book and my Bunka Garment Design Textbook: Blouses and Dresses. Because Burda sure wasn’t giving me detailed instruction on sewing a stand collar! Next time I’ll be using my David Paige Coffin Shirtmaking book.

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I’ve avoided using this print for a while because I don’t trust my print matching skills. For this dress, I focused on a straight horizontal line at the front and back and decided to let the rest do what it do.

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The pattern itself is drafted for a woven. So, I sized down one to a 42 at the top and 44 through the thighs. If I make this up in a woven, I’ll just add to the seam allowances. I think the fit is spot on and will make for a great fitted shirt too. I have a second version I’m working on in a silk jersey that has less stretch and is gonna be a snug one!

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I made a 1 inch FBA. I usually make a larger FBA in BWOF. But, I’ve been sewing a 40 up top for a while. This time, I finally used my upper bust measurement rather than my underbust and I’m really happy with the fit (if not the increase in size!).

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Overall I lurv it. And, it reinforces my goal to sew somewhat from a plan this summer and focus on what I have. As for that plan… it involves more red,white and blue and shirtdresses 😀

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Posted in sewing

Beyonce Magic For New Years: Hot Patterns Cosmopolitan in Silk Jersey

Last year we went to dinner for New Year’s Eve at the Prime Rib. It’s a jacket required steak place where Jordan proposed. We had 9 pm dinner reservations and I was dozing at the table by 11. We left early and I was asleep on the sofa before the ball dropped. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

This year we got together with friends to go to a restaurant on top of a museum with a view of the fireworks at the Inner Harbor. I needed something to wear and was about to buy a dress. Then, remembered I have a ROOM FULL OF FABRIC and sewed instead. I binged on The Crown and decided to go all out vintage with a mink hat and cashmere opera coat (and lashes. I’m now ‘Team Lashes’ for going out). Barbara pointed out on IG I needed pearls and she’s right! I don’t know why I didn’t think to put some on.

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This  silk jersey version of the Hot Patterns Cosmopolitan is a bit of a dream project for me. But, sadly a semi fail. I first got this idea from Erica B’s blog like ten years ago. She showcased the Michael Kors dress the pattern is modeled after. And, in 2015 I found the right color jersey at Mood in New York.

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I made a few design changes to the original pattern (I’ve made it about eight times over the years). For the neckline, I did modify it a bit to be a U shape similar to the Michael Kor’s inspo dress. But, it’s too wide and D shape still (I keep altering it a little bit each time)  :-/ I also did an exposed neckline facing based on these directions from Gigi’s old blog, but it’s not done neatly and kind of wonky. Instead of the button cuffs as drafted, I made a simple in-the-round cuff to model the inspiration dress.

I also wish the facing was maybe 1.5 inches vs 1 inch wide. It was a really easy technique that I’d done before on a silk jersey blouse. I think I gave that top to Liz because I no longer have it :-/ I was a little too busty for it.

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I also meant to make a slip to wear with the dress. But, did some hand finishing on knitting and destroyed my wrist (a recurring theme) and couldn’t cut out a slip when it was time.

The seams are left raw inside and I used my blind hemmer to make the hem. And, i should mention… when I was deciding on the neckline dip, I held the patten up to me to make sure it was as low as possible without showing cleavage. So, yay me!

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You’ll see that it’s also tied at the back. I should have doubled the length of the waist ties so it  could wrap around and come to the front with some ‘hang’. I made note of this before and I might actually resew the straps.

So, overall it’s a totally fine dress. It’s a little bit of an expensive venture for me not to be 100% in love with it. But, I do like it a lot. And, can see myself trying again (I’ve already altered the neckline). And, I still had something fun to wear for New Year’s Eve!


 

My Bernina 830 was in the shop for a few weeks. I took it in because I could hear the belts slipping and it wouldn’t sew very sporadically. They tuned it up and replaced the foot pedal. I’ve always sewed on it on full speed. It never occurred to me it should sew slower if I didn’t push the pedal as hard. I’ve never really believed in machine servicing, only if it’s say ‘broken’. Otherwise, I figure you can oil and maintain yourself. But, I have to admit it’s sewing much better.

Posted in sewing

Feeling Myself: Leopard Print Wrap Dress

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When I found this leopard print poly knit on a shopping trip with friends in August 2015, I knew it HAD to become a DVF style wrap dress using my previously made Burdastyle from October 2011.

That time we bought all the fabric #latergram @rollingincloth @cubanitacose @karen.heenan

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It’s funny I was drawn to this, because I tend to avoid animal prints (I read a study in college about how black models were more likely to be photographed in animal prints and said ‘F that noise’). That said, I also LOVE this leopard print dress I made in 2012.

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Give me *all* the 70s

 

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I had this Burdastyle pattern cut out by the end of September 2015. But, life happens, I became obsessed with machine knitting and I lost my sewing mojo when a very expensive fabric order from Mood was stolen off my front porch (Yeah. Seriously.) We’ve had a string of package thefts and this one made off with $200 in dove gray wool coating from Mood. And, I’m sure he just threw it away.

Video Evidence:

Luckily, because it was purchased on my Visa, they sent me a check for the fabric (which I didn’t bother replacing). And, now everything gets delivered to my office :-/

After some time, I finally picked this dress back up to get it off my sewing table in March. And, I love it. I feel like a total fox.

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You can tell I am just FEELING myself.

Rather than sew facings this time (which I despised) I used a narrow knit binding treatment. The binding is cut 1 inch wide on the bias. It is then sewn on doubled, along the 1/4 inch seam allowance, and folded again creating a strong binding that is the width of the seam allowance.   **technique well explained and photographed in Singer’s ‘Sewing Activewear’.

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The fabric was a little thin so I underlined throughout (except for the sleeves) with black tricot. I underlined rather than lined as I wanted it to be treated as one piece. And, it was a terrible, terrible mistake. I tried to hem the dress. But, the underlining and fashion fabric hung differently making it a lumpy saggy mess. So, I had to hack off several inches, trim the bottom evenly and go with no hem. Overall it’s shorter than I would like, but again: FEEL. ING. MY. SELF.

After my last project’s failure, I ended up wearing this out for my birthday dinner in Santa Fe with Jordan. Rawwrr.

Posted in sewing

Burda 10/2011 #122 / #123: Maxi Knit Wrap Dress

This pattern is also OOP Burda envelope pattern #7187

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I wanted to make a non-winter dress for our nice (read: Valentine’s) dinner out in San Antonio over the holiday weekend. Back in November, I bought a stack of poly knits for $3.99 a yard from Jomar in Philadelphia on our way home from Long Island, NY. I loved this fabric because I figured I could play around with print placement.

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This pattern was made up four different ways in the magazine, a top, dresses with three lengths with two sleeve options. Plus, there’s a gorgeous flounce you can add if you have the right fabric to carry it off. For this dress, I chose #123 for the length, minus the flounce. And #121 for the bell sleeves.  The pattern(s) are available still on Burdastyle. The pattern calls for either a woven or a knit. And, because the print was on the border, I even cut the dress with the stretch going vertically at the front, and horizontally at the back. I would normally never do that (different pieces hanging / stretching differently), but I was stuck on making the print run vertically instead of horizontally  as it was printed.

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I’m normally not a ‘black’ clothing person. But, the print definitely helps keep me interested. Sadly, I didn’t go a great job on the print placement. I think it’s a little jarring the way it worked out. In an ideal world, the print would have had more of a northwest to southeast orientation and maybe a hit of color on the bottom right to balance out the left side. But, I’m glad I tried to do something different with it.

Below might be the view I like best since I was able to wrangle some print on to the bell sleeve hem too.

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I can tell you I really love this pattern for a wrap dress and think it might become my TNT wrap. Why?

1. There are bust darts already!! Easier (for me) to make a FBA (mine was 1.5 inches)

2. There are release darts at the waist. So, there’s is great shaping that doesn’t come from negative fabric ease. Plus, it’s so easy to shove the volume created from your FBA into the waist dart.

3. The pattern is in three lengths. Yes, yes, I know I could just cut or lengthen myself. But, I is lazy.

4. I didn’t have to adjust the ‘V’. So, no awkward cleavage.

5. It already has a centerback seam and darts in the back which only help with my swayback adjustment.

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The pattern calls for an interfaced facing. For this, I followed Ann’s Wrap-A-Palooza lead and added clear elastic to stabilize the front and shoulders. If not for her posts, I’m sure I would have just turned and topstitched instead of cutting a facing. The facing does flip out along the skirt. Could be because facings suck at life or because the skirt is cut off grain. I like to think it’s a combo of the two. Definitely next time I’m going to practice using the binder on my cover stitch and bind the edges.

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I sewed a 40, grading to a 46 at the lower thigh. This dress was exactly what I was looking for in a traveling Valentine’s Weekend. It packed well. It’s good for my body type and think it works for me. There are some issues I see that I hope to fix in my next versions (not mixing fabric direction, pattern twinning) And, I’m curious to sew this in a knit where the stretch goes around the body rather than up and down. Luckily, I have two or three more knits to try this out in.

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Ahhh, Jordan loves nothing better than to spend 20 minutes taking blog photos out in public on our mini break just before heading to a nice dinner. This is me, getting annoyed at him, getting annoyed at me. It’s obviously a vicious cycle.