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

A photo posted by Renee (@missceliespants) on

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.

Posted in sewing

Revisiting the La Mia Boutique Sweatshirt Dress

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One of my most worn and beloved garments is my LMB sweatshirt dress from the August 2008 Italian magazine. Such a simple design and concept in a sweatshirt dress. I got compliments every time I wore that dress!  After five years of wear, I thought it was time I made up a new one. Or, two.

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Yes, yes. In my last post I said I was getting back to color. And, yet, here I am again sewing grey and navy. What can I say? I’m currently a sucker for simplicity.

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Like last time, I made the largest size in LMB, a 46 and left off the pockets. Which, makes me think I was sewing clothes way big for me five years ago. Or, I like my clothes a little snugger now? But, this time I added some six centimeters of wearing ease around the thighs and attempted a FBA. Other alterations?

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Well, I tried to add some shaping at the waist. It remains unclear if this worked or not. I also took off my standard 1/4 inch off the shoulders.

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I also shortened the sleeves a good three inches. And, I took about four inches of length off the hem of the original pattern.

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One thing I’ve noticed is I have inconsistent dart placement when I add FBAs to garments.  Sometimes they are SO LOW. In this one, I had to take out my original dart and pin it into the right place. In retrospect, this probably could have been a dartless FBA to keep with the loose fitting silhouette.

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I sewed everything but the darts on my serger. And, if you’re wondering, my ribbing is all local and $1 a pack. That’s right. Stadham Corp here in Baltimore charged me $1 for a pair of cuffs and another $1 for the hem cuffs.

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And now I’m off to work on a Valentine’s Day dress. We’re spending the long weekend in San Antonio, Texas. We debated between there and Cleveland, Ohio. But, based on today’s weather report, it’s already 30 degrees warmer in San Antonio than both Baltimore and Cleveland. So, that was an easy choice.

Posted in Uncategorized

Burda 7-2014-113: Cycling / Sport Dress

We are back from our grand tour and I have so much to share about the kindness of international bloggers, lingerie fabric shopapalooza and our fantastic trip in general. But, I figured I’d start with the most sewing related, which is my cycle dress previewed before I left. I’m not sure how long cycling dresses have been around. But, it was Ann Marie from Montreal on Facebook who first suggested one to me. WHO KNEW? Plus, Claire has done all these terrific posts on making her own biking gear. I decided I wanted to wear bike dresses for this trip for a few reasons. 1. I do not look good in bike shorts. 2. I love dresses. 3. Packing is so easy!

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As soon as I saw this pattern in the July 2014 BurdaStyle I thought it was perfect. It has a short flared skirt, the zipper in the front is great for venting and I wanted to keep my shoulders covered. I’ll tell you this much, it was referred to as a tennis dress on our trip more than once! But, overall was a hit with the women in our group.  What I found amusing is that our group was dressed in serious biking gear. All bike shorts, jerseys and racing helmets.  I felt my outfits were right in the middle and I didn’t look too athletic for our 50km a day rides. And, um, I’m not wearing a stitch of makeup in 80 percent of these photos. Please, don’t judge me 🙂

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in Ghent, Belgium

Anywhoo, a few details.  Alterations included unpetiting the pattern and making a FBA. I made three versions for the trip. The first in blue and grey was really my muslin. It’s made from something or the other from some online store or the other. I seriously have minimal recollection.I think it’s four years old.

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This fabric was TERRIBLE for this. It’s too thin, not enough recovery and you can see my drawers. I made the back all dark grey since I thought light blue would make my rear look wide as a trailer. This fabric was a BEYOTCH to get through my Brother Coverstitch. I, um, don’t know that this version is staying in my collection.

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I also recommend adding several inches to the length if you make this one up. It’s short. Especially on a bike. The other change I made was just to use an invisible zipper at the center front instead of an exposed zip. I totally would have done one if I’d had a sport plastic style on hand. But, I didn’t.

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The other two versions were fabric from the DelMarVa blogger meet up 18 months ago. I got it from Beth who I think was planning golf clothes. I don’t remember why she gave up the ghost. But, it worked out well for me! The fabric was from FabricMart probably three years ago and some kind of wicking athletic fabric. I essentially let the amount of fabric I have dictate the print placement.

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On the reddish burgundy, the print is through the center front and center back only. Super narrow cut. I also added an inseam zipper pocket for my phone or snacks. I ran out of the print and used plain black jersey from my stash for the neck and sleeve bands.

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On the tan/ cafe au lait, the dahlia print is on the outside edges. The tan version proved to be my most popular one on Instagram.

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You’ll note I didn’t follow Burda’s suggested color blocking. Because, when you sew you don’t have to.

For all three versions, I used my coverstitch to finish. And, on the tan, I added an extra inch. I am so not well versed in my overstitch usage. This project was good for getting me to use it more. But, I notice on thin fabrics it was really stretching it out (note the neckline on the red version). But, it loved the beefier Fabric Mart knits I made the final two from (note the flat neckline on the tan version).

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I’m wearing padded shorts underneath all of them.

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I wore these dresses for the one week we were biking (washing one each night in the sink) so they were worn twice each. In the mornings I would put on my Under Armour cropped studio jacket. It also helped make it look different.

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As for the weather…It was kind of terrible some days, lol! There was one day I didn’t bike at all because it was freezing and starting to sprinkle. Me and two Brazillians stayed on board. At the end of the day, Jordan came back and said it was awful. The temps dipped below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 15 mins into the ride, cold, horizontal rain. Some of the people came back having used the lunch sandwich bags as little gloves to keep the cold and rain from their fingers. I went from feeling lazy for staying on board the barge to super smart in 22 seconds. It also was a cold snap in general with temps about 20 degrees (F)  less than they were at home and ten degrees (F) less than is normal for that time of year. We had to go to H&M our first day in town and stock up on warmer clothing. Like, fall coats. Layers I had. But, not enough long pants to keep me warm when not biking.

Overall, I REALLY like this pattern. I’m totally making it up in the winter with 3/4 sleeves in wool jersey.  The pattern needs some tweaking in the upper bust for fit (wrinkles) before I make it up for regular wear. But, as is, these are great for running, tennis, golfing and biking 🙂 It’s a little Star Trekie. But, I happen to really like Star Trek. And, Star Wars. And, the X-Men franchise. And, the Avengers….