Sunday, March 31, 2013

Two Easter Dresses--New Look 6184 and 6204

First of all Happy Easter/Resurrection Day!!!!! I always enjoy celebrating this holiday which is the pinnacle of my faith. Those of you who know me well know that I always love to commemorate a special occasion with a special dress. And in this case---two of them, one for me and the other for my daughter. I've made Easter dresses for the last 2 years---HERE and HERE. I've been sewing non stop this week and I'm delighted that all of my diligence paid off. I'm really pleased with how these dresses turned out. I've wanted a floral dress since last year and I'm happy that this jacquard I had in my stash fit the bill. I also wanted to put my daughter in a dress color she's never really worn and yellow was perfect.  The Hubby coordinated with a gold tie, white shirt, and khakis. Below you'll find reviews for both dresses:) Btw, thanks to Jamber Photography for all of the wonderful pics below. If you're in the Savannah area look them up--they do great work!!!

Time to Sew:
About 10 hours. It took me a little longer than expected since I ended up interfacing all of the pieces and making a full lining for it. Otherwise it would've taken alot less.

Sewing Ease (scale 1 easy to 10 difficult):
Not hard at all. I'd give it a 3. It only has 4 main pattern pieces.

Pattern Description:
Fitted dress with pleated neckline.

Pattern Sizing:
I did my usual size 12 bodice and graded up to 14 for the skirt.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Couldn't have been any easier!!!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I LOVED the pleated neckline. I also loved the obi belt although I ended up not using it. I love simple sheath dress styles that showcase pretty fabrics.

Fabric Used:
A lovely floral jacquard I've had in my stash for a while. It has multiple colors---white, various shades of pink, brgundy, chartreuse, yellow, etc. Yup, lots of colors. I had to interface the jacquard since it was a looser weave and I didn't want it to stretch out.
(fabric upclose)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
1. I shortened the center back bodice by removing 1 1/4".
2. I added 2" to the length.
3. I made my own lining using the 4 main pattern pieces (2 bodice, 2 skirt). 
4. I ended up not using the white obi belt I made. My fabric was too busy for it and I opted for a dark pink belt.

What would you do differently next time?:
Nothing. I think it sewed up just fine.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Probably so! I really like this pattern and would love to make it in a solid color so the pleated neckline is more obvious.

Wardrobe Versatility:
This dress is great on it's own---dressed up or down. I think it would be great with a cardigan or with a cute tailored jacket.

 Gorgeous dress! I'm really happy with the results.

Time to Sew:
This was a quickie! Around 3 hours.

Sewing Ease (scale 1 easy to 10 difficult):
This is a 2.

Pattern Description:
Little girl's halter dress with full skirt.

(not camera shy in the least)

Pattern Sizing:
I cut the size 5 for my daughter. I like for her dresses to fit so there isn't alot of ease in this one.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Not exactly. The bodice on the envelope pic looked alot longer then it really was. And I made a change to the back of her dress which I'll detail below.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the style of this dress. 

Fabric Used:
Cotton with white, yellow, gold design. I added a lining since the fabric was a bit sheer. I basted the 2 fabrics together treating them as one when sewing up the dress.
(fabric upclose)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I didn't make a muslin (which I usually do) so I discovered the bodice was a little shorter than I wanted a little too late. But I made it work by doing the following:

1. reduce neck tie fold to add a bit of length.
2. The bodice wasn't wide enough and risked exposing my daughter's chest so I didn't gather it in that much. 
3. Omitted the pockets.
4. Added additional elastic to the base of the bodice back piece. Since I lined that piece I sewed 3/8" away from the seamline and created a channel for another piece of elastic. It definitely made the back fit much better!!!
5. Added 1" to the length. My lil' girl is a bit tall.
6. I sewed the neck tie my way and used the spaghetti tubing technique.
7. I had my daughter wear one of her "play" tutu's to help add fullness to the skirt.


What would you do differently next time?:
1. Add length to the bodice front. I think an inch would work.
2. Re-draft the front bodice piece to make it a bit wider in the upper chest to ensure full chest coverage and better gathering.
3. Add netting to the skirt to get it to stick out more.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes!!!! This dress is too cute to only sew once.

Wardrobe Versatility:
This dress is so cute and I hope she gets a few more chances to wear it before she grows out of it:)

Cute dress!!! This pattern doesn't disappoint!

(Back views of both dresses)

(Can't you tell we love our dresses)'s been a long week. Glad these 2 dresses are done! Now I can spend the rest of the week finishing up a mound of UFO's---a jacket is on that list---and some client work, clean my house and catch up on my blog reading (I miss "seeing" all you guys). Have a great week!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sewing Jots and Tittles 3.26.12

Ok, the pressure of my thoughts are mounting so it's time for a brain dump!!! I'm in the middle of sewing me and my daughter's dresses for Easter! They're going to be really cute!!!! BTW, thanks so much for all of the kind comments on my daughter's "Father/Daughter Banquet Dress" (last post). That dress was alot of fun to sew!!!!

Ok, here it asked for it....

Sewing, Fashions and Such.....
Guess who's been draping???? It's all I've been studying as of late when I haven't been working on me and my clients clothes.
Martha Stewart had a sewing pattern in her MS Living Magazine. I didn't know she  promoted clothing patterns.

Loved, loved, loved (a thousand times over) Nina's jacket on a recent episode of Project Runway.
Here it is up close.....

Enjoyed eyeing some fashions at my local outlet stores!!!

I want a camel coat with a cute hat and scarf. I loved Jenna Fisher's in the movie Giant Mechanical Man.

I really didn't realize how expensive home decor fabrics were until I recently had a convo about it with a friend. Then I ran across this gorgeous home dec fabric and almost dropped it when I saw the price. WOW!!!

Got some gold swatches from for a potential client. I was surprised how big the swatches were!!!! Very generous!!!

Found this gorgeous stretch sateen at Jo-Ann's. They're getting some great fabrics in for Spring.

Nice stretch denims at Jo-Ann's and in some fun colors!!!!

I didn't understand the bikes in the Spring patterns campaigns. But that's just me.....

I wonder how many marriages this saved! LOL!
Barnacles are some cool critters---especially up close.

Awwww....a pic of my girls (Daughter & Goddaughter) holding a drawing of themselves. LOL!!!!

A delicious gluten free pizza. Udi's usually doesn't disappoint!!!
Oh......motherhood provides the best stories!!!! This is a pic of a wooden splinter that I had to remove from my child's......(clears throat)........... little tooshie. She went on a school field trip to a local farm and must have gotten impaled when she did the hay ride. She's a trooper! This thing was almost an inch long!!!!!

Saw this under my microwave cart and nearly panicked.....
Forgot it was my daughter's toy tarantula! LOL I could NEVER live anywhere where actual spiders this size roam around outside!!!

Took a pic with the hubby on our date night and had no idea he posed like this. He was being so silly! This pic looks like an advertisement for Metamucil. Hey regularity does make one happy LOL!!!

One of my current reads! It's an EXCELLENT book!!! Getting my insecurities in check!!!

Can't wait til this movie comes out!!! I'm no Trekkie but I did grow up watching Captain Kirk so I appreciate the franchise. Plus Chris Kline really impressed me in the first one.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

NewLook 6205--- 3rd Father/Daughter Banquet Dress

One dress down and 2 more to go for Easter on next weekend!!! Last night was the Father/Daughter Banquet sponsored by our church at the Savannah Station---a  lovely iconic landmark in downtown Savannah. It was a MAGICAL night for all the dad's and daughter's who attended. This was the 3rd banquet my Hubby and Daughter attended and for the first time I got to get in on the actions since I was asked to be a server for the night. They ate great food, played games, and danced the night away all in their finest fancy formal wear. I was honored to sew my daughter's dress---NewLook 6205--- for the event. I absolutely loved this dress and since I was working on a tight time schedule this was easy enough to pull off. Originally I'd planned to make Butterick 5845 for both my daughter and goddaughter but just didn't have the time to get it done. So here's the details on NewLook 6205.....
(Pic taken on smart phone during overcast skies doesn't do color justice! The fabric is BRIGHT Fuschia!!!! You can see it better in pics below. Color aside, my child is quite the little character. So much fun and full of life. Every bit like her Dad:))

NewLook 6205

Time to Sew:
This was actually an easy one. A little less than 5 hours. It only has 4 pieces and went together quickly.

Sewing Ease (scale 1 easy to 10 difficult):
About a 3. Super easy!

Pattern Description:
Girl's dress with fitted bodice and pleated skirt. I made view D.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut a size 5 for my daughter.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very much so!

(It was pretty chilly so I paired the dress with a black bolero, tights and cute strappy sandals.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love  the shoulder straps and the pleated skirt. I just knew the dress would be stunning in a crisp fabric such as a taffeta. I didn't like how the pleats were positioned in the back of the dress. My daughter's "tooshie" made the protrude and created a bit of a bubble effect. It wasn't bad I just didn't like the fullness.

Fabric Used:
Bright fuchsia taffeta with black embossed velvet design.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
*I didn't use seam binding on the neckline. Instead I serged it, turned it under and sewed the edge.
*I added a lining to the skirt. The taffeta needed the support.
*I added a velvet belt, bow, and used a store bought flower as embellishments.

What would you do differently next time?:
I made all the changes I wanted so I don't think anymore would be needed.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I love this dress so I plan to sew it again. I'm not always happy with little girl dress patterns so when I find one I want I hold onto it and reuse it!

Wardrobe Versatility:
Not much! I made this dress for a Father/Daughter Banquet at our church so it's really a one time wear dress. May even get another opportunity to wear it if she doesn't grow out of it first.

Lovely dress!!!

Here's a few extra pics from the night's event....
(Some serious posing LOL! I honestly don't know what my daughter's trying to do!!! LOL)

(Hanging out at the table with her Godsis and Goddad)

(Cuddling with Dad)

(My fave pic of the night---Hubby, Daughter, our Goddaughter, and her Dad (also our daughter's Goddad). Those are some good looking folks!!!!)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pants Fitting: What I've Learned About Fitting Pants Thus Far.....

Whoa, can someone tell me where last week went? I sure would like to find it! Sigh. Things have been busy, busy, busy and the next 2 weeks aren't much better. I have to churn out 3 dresses---one for my daughter that's needed by Friday and I although I've done a muslin haven't worked on her dress yet. But more on that later. For now, as promised, I'll sum up what I've learned from fitting pants.

This may be a bit repetitious from what you've read in my previous pants posts from the last 2 months but here's the overall summary of what I've learned from studying pants fitting......

1. Study, study, study. Fit, Fit, Fit. And repeat. I can't tell you how crazy it is that in the middle of all my failed attempts and my re-strategizing that eventually the light bulb came on and I understood how to fit for my figure. You feel like you're getting no where but in actuality you're getting closer to getting it. Every bit of information you gather isn't wasted and if you're persistent you'll begin to make the necessary connections.

2. Start with a GOOD pattern! Make sure it's well drafted. Check other folks reviews. This is ALWAYS a good place to start. This could be the difference between getting stuck doing a bunch of needless alterations (like getting rid of crazy back leg wrinkles), etc and making a nice pair of pants that needs some adjustments and a few tweaks.

3. Pattern alterations should go from big to small.  Trust me a thousand tiny tweaks at first won't make a difference. Save yourself the time. Try to locate the major fit issues with the pattern. Adjust the length and then deal with circumference. Then after I've finished that I analyze the crotch fit. I'm to the point now where I make my major crotch/length changes at the flat pattern stage and then just do minor tweaks in muslin. But that's only because I'm familiar with the alterations needed for my body type.

4. Learn the tricks of the trade. Oftentimes if the back crotch length isn't long enough for me then I can alter the crotch (scoop it out a little bit) and give myself a little more length.

5. Invest in GREAT resources. Pick books/ DVD's etc that are helpful. There are TONS of resources out there. I've blogged about my favorites in several posts. There are even helpful You-Tube videos out there. Keep searching through information until you find something that really sticks with you.
(I have lots of resources. These are my 3 favorite books but I've also relied heavily on videos on the subject as well)

6. The crotch is the trickiest part to fit.  I use my measurements in addition to the aids of a flexible ruler to get my crotch shape and deconstructed pants of the same style to make alterations. Remember when working on tricky areas you've got to work smarter not necessarily harder!!!!

7. Be open to changing the crotch curve shape. There is NO STANDARD shape. Based on our figures and posture the crotch cure shape may need some tweaking. For this I look to deconstructed RTW pants of the same style.

8. Changes in crotch length and crotch depth can potentially affect each other. When making changes keep that in mind.

9. Remember the crotch shape, lengths isn't the same for every style of pants. So know you may have to make slightly different adjustments for every style just like you would if you were using different fabrics.

10. Practice pants fitting with a pair of less complicated pants. Believe it or not, I learned alot from fitting a pair of leggings. For others doing crotch alterations on a pair of  elastic waist pants may be simplest. Trust me there's always time to learn to sew a fly front and add a waistband.

11. Get in tune with your body. Know what kind of pants fit your figure well. I'd NEVER sew a pair of high-waisted pants since I'm short-waisted. If you're not comfortable in fitted paints then maybe a trouser style is better for you. "To thy own body be true" LOL!

12. Once you get great pants that fit you can re-use them and even change them up to create different styles. If you'd like to preserve a great pants pattern just iron on interfacing to the tissue.

13. Keep at it and try to have fun! I know it can be a bit distressing and upsetting when you can't perfect the fit right away. But that's in part to just not knowing what to do. The more you work at it the more you will begin to understand and gain the info you need that will help you get the fit you want.

To read about all of my past pants fitting experiences and adventures feel free to type "pants" in the search box on the right side, midway down my blog!

For those of you still working hard to get a good fitting pant I wish you well. I know you can do it! Just hang in there!!!! If I can do it I know you can as well!!!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Pants Fitting: Working Smarter NOT Harder---Pants Fitting Series Part 2 of 3

A few people were curious to how I go about doing my pants fittings so I thought I'd oblige them. There's really nothing magical to what I do just a series of steps

Here's how I do my pants fitting.......

1. Make all the necessary pattern alterations. I compare flat pattern measurements with those of the pattern. As I mentioned before I also compare RTW pants measurement with those of the pattern. I outlined my pattern adjustments here. I also look at the pants leg widths and lengths to make sure they're ok. When I'm satisfied with the results I proceed to cut out the pattern. I have to admit that most of my pattern adjustments are done at the flat pattern stage.
(Pattern adjustments)

(Pattern being compared with RTW pants that fit well)

2. If I'm working with a new pants pattern I ALWAYS make a muslin. My muslin is either made out of the usual bleached muslin fabric or something or a similar fabric to what I plan to sew. If there are any side pockets then they're taped to the pants piece and they're cut out as a unit with the pants piece. So basically I'm just cutting out 2 front and back pieces. I don't tend to fiddle with other details (back pockets, etc) during the fitting.  I will cut out back yoke piece of course because it's important for fitting purpose. I don't even bother cutting out the waistband.

3. Here's how I assemble my pants for a fitting (and actually when I sew them if no fancy top stitching is involved)
-Sew front pant to back pattern at sides. Do the same with the other leg.
-Insert one set of pants legs into the other with right sides facing.
-I sew up the crotch below the fly to leave an opening so I can try on the pants (if there's no fly then I leave front upper pants open about 5" or so). Stop sewing about 1" away from the inseam on both pants front and pick back up sewing 1" after crossing over back pants inseam. I basically leave a gaping hole in where the inseams connect. By leaving this open it just makes it easier for me to do any inseam adjustments. Sometimes I may have to adjust the front or back inseam and with them left unsewn it's easier to do that.

4. I try on the pants with seams out. I pin the front crotch up at the appropriate seam allowance. With the pants inside-out and the seams visible it's easier for me to do the necessary tweaks.  This is especially helpful when making crotch adjustments.
(Fitting with seam allowance out for easier tweaking)

5. I place 1" elastic at the waist. At this point I make observations of the pants and begin to do my normal suite of adjustments. I move the pants up or down until I get the crotch depth right. I look to see if any length needs to be added in the back (which is where I sometimes come up short). If the length issue are resolved then I look at the circumference and take in or let out as necessary. I suggest you consult your preferred pants fitting book(s) for helpful advice on the adjustments you need to make for your body type.

6. Once I've noted the changes I go back and correct them on my tissue. I never usually make any drastic changes which is why I just transfer the changes to the tissue. If I made drastic changes I would probably just use my muslin as a pattern instead.

Ok, so there you have it! I told you my methods weren't complex. See, you didn't believe me (wink)! As I mentioned before I do most o of my pants corrections at the flat pattern stage. In my opinion it can be really difficult to tweak pants. For me to start with a pattern that's similar to my measurements and a RTW pants that I have and know fits helps me avoid most of the crazy, unnecessary fitting woes. It's been my experience that when I've got the crotch curve/length/depth in the right ball park all I have to do are minor tweaks--such as deepening back darts, fixing gaposis in the waistband or yoke, etc. Which is why I go to great lengths to make sure my pattern adjustments are done ahead of time & I've compared the pattern with RTW as a backup strategy.

Ok, I don't know if this was that helpful but I hope it helped put some of you people who have been working tirelessly. Trust me I understand the struggle. Everyone does things different so I'm sure you will find what works for you. If anyone has any other pointers they want to share feel free. Never underestimate how your experiences can be helpful to others!!!!  In the next post I'll summarize what I've learned about fitting pants (strategies/tips).....

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sewing Jots and Tittles 3.8.13

We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming for a much needed brain dump. Buckle up, it's gonna be a wild ride (wink).......

Sewing, Fashions and Such.....
(Thinking about doing a book trade. I'll likely sale back the book on the left to and use the credit to go toward the newer version of the book on the right.  I LOVE the F&PA book!)

(Yeah this is what happens when my daughter spends too much time in my sewing room. Who does this to a pin cushion??? LOL)

(I finally picked out my daughter and I's Easter outfits. I'm so excited. Now I've got to pick out the perfect fabric!)

 (Yes, I will be making denim capris in as many colors as I can this Spring/Summer)

(Finding some really cute fabrics for the upcoming Daddy/Daughter Banquet dresses)

(Almost deconstructed these pants and realized they were NYDJ. Didn't realize I bought fancy pants from a thrift store.)

(If I wore boots I probably wear these. Those are some F-A-N-C-Y boots! Hey if you're gonna do it---go ALL out! LOL!!!)

(Love this quote!!!)

(A friend of mine sent me this video for my bday. I LOVED this movie when I was just a kid!!! This particular scene has a special meaning now that I'm a sewer. Never underestimate the power of sewing!!!)

(Sushi themed stapler and erasers from World Market. Just the cutest things)

(She resented the fact that I found her sunglasses to be hilarious. They're like the big, Johnny-Depp-as-Willy Wonka kind LOL!!!!)

 (Got another great rice deal at Publix--and right as I just ran out of the other 20lb bag. Man this thing will also last forever LOL!)

(Some of the best gluten free cake I picked up at Whole Foods. It was gone in less than 2 days)

(I caught her sneaking food to her cousin. It was like she was feeding a small animal or something LOL. BTW, this is also the cousin she tried to adopt as her little brother. I've gotta get this child a companion!!!! LOL!)

 (What my daughter looked like after spending a weekend hanging with her Grandparents/Aunts/Cousins, etc. She couldn't stay awake in the store LOL!)

 (Love to come to work and see flowers in bloom. Spring is near!!!!)

(Oops, they forgot to cut down one!)

(This is what my child looked like when I picked her up one day from school. SMH! LOL!)

(Hilarious ad)

(I never knew that Africa's largest mammal migration were fruit bats in Zambia. What an interesting read.....)

(Really good movie!!!)

Ok, back to the regularly scheduled program!!!! Pants Fitting Series post #2 next.....


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