Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sewing review - McCalls 5039

The back story - at the start of spring, I fell in love with the whole ethnic trend. Cidell made this green dress and this maxi dress. Then, Christina made this amazing Patrones dress.

So, when I saw this fabric at Value Village, for ~$2, I pounced. And then it sat in the stash as spring, then summer passed by.

Ok, so now its the start of fall, which we'll assume is the perfect time to be making summer dresses. Sigh.

The pattern - it actually doesn't get much easier. I read somewhere that this pattern runs large - I agree. I made a size 10, and I left out the zipper - didn't need it. For context, I generally make a size 10 top, with a size 12 skirt.

There are around 4? pattern pieces on this one. Easy! The bodice is gathered, for the top, the fabric is folded on itself to make a tube, and then elastic is inserted into it. Again, easy!

The fabric - apart from the incredible African vibe of this dress, what drew me to it were the two borders on either side of the fabric. The borders ran across the width, so I had to cut them out, and then stitch on where I needed them. (One border at the waist, and the other at the hem.)

This is some kind of synthetic, I think. For all I know, it might even be silk? (I didn't do a burn test.) It ironed well though, and had a relatively high heat tolerance for a synthetic.

It also frayed like the devil, and so I made French seams throughout. What a pain! Still, without them, the dress would have lasted 4 wears. (As it is, I doubt if I'll get many wears - the fabric looks like it might fall apart... it feels very fragile.)

And the verdict? I love this dress. Its fun and funky and interesting.

Miscellaneous ramblings

Most of my family hated the border at the hem - they would have preferred I left it out. I, on the other hand, really thought the border lent the dress extra interest, and sewed it on.

Other things - my brother thought it made me look thinner - always good.

This dress sat on my cutting mat, half cut out, for more than two weeks. I sewed it up in 2 evenings. Again, sigh.

Finally, all of my family expressed surprise that it was fairly well sewn. Sigh. With friends like these...

I still hate the timer option to take photos, by the way. I'm just saying...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sewing review - McCalls 4826

Would you believe, I finished this more than a month back? I've been waiting for someone to come take a picture - I'm tired of the ones I take myself.

(I need to comb my hair.)

In my stash, I had the perfect fabric for this pattern. This pink & white striped seersucker just screamed Swiss Milkmaid! Summer! And so, I started making this dress.

I couldn't find a review that said this, but I must have a faulty pattern or something. The back skirt pattern piece was twice as wide as the front. When gathering the skirt to attach onto the bodice, it looked like I was wearing a bustle. And I have hips. Not a good look for me.

So, I ripped. (Of course.) Adjusted both the midriff piece to be shorter, and the skirt to be way less full. (If I make it again, I think I'll just use the front skirt pattern piece for both front and back.) Finished the dress, still wasn't loving it. Put it away. Tried it on a few weeks later, and loved it. Which is actually quite reassuring - since it means some of my UFOs might actually be worth finishing.

I didn't really look too much at the instructions, but I wish I had. The bodice is lined, and I should have made it so my zipper was enclosed between lining and bodice, versus right now, where its stitched on on top. Also different for me, this project - I didn't have an invisible zipper handy, so I used a regular zipper. It lies more or less flat, but it isn't perfect. Ah well.

But the dress is pretty. Toronto's rapidly transitioning to fall, so I won't get much (or any) use out of it this year. But I certainly have a jump on next summer!

Let me see - boring details - I made a size 10. To adjust for the petite thing, I just took off 2 inches at the midriff piece, didn't touch the bodice. (Except for putting the buttons in the halter where it fit me, not at the marked point.) And I shortened the skirt to just around knee-length, which is about the length I like.

Would I make this again? Probably not - my sewing list is large, and I need to go find a bra that will work with a halter top. However, I would recommend it, with the above caveat about the back skirt piece.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Running way behind schedule - BWOF 07-2008-108

This is my July BWOF project of the month. Given its September, its safe to say I'm running way behind schedule. (I did buy the August issue, but haven't bought September yet. And, I have no plans for the weekend, so maybe some sewing?)

Back to the blouse. This blouse really caught my eye, and the added bonus? 4 pattern pieces - incredibly minimal tracing.

I made a size 38. I removed an inch off the length between my bust and my waist, and took at-least 2 inches off the length at the bottom, since I wanted it to hit precisely at my hip.

Fabric: Ah, the pleasures of sewing from the stash. This was a remnant off some other project from at-least a year ago. I didn't have very much of it, so my inside back yoke is actually a different fabric. But hidden, so it doesn't matter. Also, some kind of synthetic, with a tiny bit of stretch to it.

Can't tell you, since I didn't really look at them. There isn't really that much to this. (Join front yoke to front, back yoke to back, sides to sides, and use the inside yokes as facings to finish the neck edge.) A plus - the curved yoke sewed with minimal fuss and wrinkling, perhaps partly because my fabric has a bit of stretch in it, but also because I was determined that I'd do it over if need be to get it to lie flat. (I only had to rip out an inch or so, so I'm considering that incredibly easy.)

I left off the pockets, since I was looking for instant gratification. I should have made French seams, since this fabric frays really badly, but again, the instant gratification desire ruled. Finally, I left off the back zipper - since my blouse slid over my head without requiring it.

The end result: You tell me - hospital scrubs or beachy, breezy top? I love the pattern though, I'm already plotting to make the dress version, as well as a couple of other tops.