Monday, May 23, 2011

Simplicity 2188: Top in Liberty Tana Lawn

I made a top using Simplicity 2188.  I used the same Liberty print that I used for the lining in my daughter's denim bolero jacket.  I cut a size S which is 10/12.  It has been a while since I made a top for myself without any pattern alterations or muslin.  I decided just to go with it for this one and it worked out thank goodness !  It was fast, fast - no pattern tracing, no muslin fittings.  Just cut, sew, wear!

At some point I may release the center pleat an inch or so to see if that helps with the pulling I'm getting in the bust but for now I'm good with it as is.  Okay, now for a note about the pattern.  The back piece for this top is drafted improperly - it is too long.  See this?!  Here is a picture of the front and back pieces. 

See how the back piece is about 2 inches longer than the front?  The side notches, marking for the bottom of the arm hole and the waist marking are all off as a result.  If you cut your fabric as per the pattern as I did your hem will end up like this. 

Simplicity - bad, bad!  It was an easy fix, I sewed my side seams along the curve of the bodice front and used the pattern marking for the sleeve hole as marked on the pattern front.  Then it was just a matter of lopping off the extra length and hemming it up.  I'm happy I was able to put this wonderful fabric to good use - I was able to make my blouse and the lining for my daughter's jacket out of a 1 1/2 yard cut! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pop Over Dresses in Amy Butler Prints

For the last couple of weeks I have been wanting to make a couple of dresses for my friend's daughters.  My friend currently lives far away from most of her friends and family (including me!).  And she has had a couple of rough weeks (sick kids + loss of a pet = no fun).  So I thought it would be nice to send her girls something hand made that they can wear.  I think when you make clothing for someone it is such a personal thing so it feels a little like I'm sending a tiny piece of me to them in the mail.  Is that wierd, super mushy?  Probably but what-ev!

And what better pattern for a quick gift than the O+S Pop Over dress? I said it once and I'll say it again - that pattern is so easy and fun.  And it sews up so fast!  I used french seams at the sides.  As I did with my last popover dress I took a little extra time to slip stitch the bodice facings down instead of top stitching by machine.  This time I took the additional step of blind hemming the dresses by hand also.  I wanted the hem to be invisible and the blind stitch that my machine achieves is well, not really blind. 

I used brightly colored prints in 2 color ways from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern line.  These dresses are bound for sunny Claifornia and I hope they bring a smile to my friend and her little ones!

This is the 3rd time I've used this particular dress pattern.  Recently, I've been seeing blog posts about the dumbing down of quilting and how it is very lame of "crafters" to make the same thing over and over and never grow their skills.  I hope that my repetitive dresden plate making and pop-over dress sewing doesn't get me in trouble with the sewing police! Oh wait, there are no sewing police.  I guess I'll just sew whatever makes me happy then.  ;)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Simplicity 2178: Revealed!

Here it is - my first garment from a Cynthia Rowley pattern...

I sewed up a size 12 muslin for Simplicty 2178 and it came together pretty quickly (got it done in one sitting while my kids were taking their nap!).   The top half of this dress consists of the straps, bodice front and back and the midrift front and back.  The actual waist line for this pattern falls on the skirt pieces.  That was a little counter intuitive to me because I expected it to be on the midrift pieces. 
Anyway, the skirt for my muslin fit well but I found that the size 14 bodice pieces where a better fit.  Also, I needed to take the straps up a full 2 1/4 inches.  Whenever possible I like to use my muslin as a pattern to cut my fashion fabric but for these straps I had to redraft the actual strap pattern piece and used a french curve to smooth out the lines.  Hopefully the finished straps on my dress are true to the designer's beautifully curved version although without the length I think that this particular design detail looses some of its umph.  But I had no choice - I can't walk around with the straps hanging down my arms all day.

Since I took out a significant amount of length above the bust in my strap adjustment, I felt I would probably need some length adjustment below the bust in order to get the waist of the dress to meet my actual waist -  however that was not the case.  I usually have to make a petite adjustment to the bodice pieces of any dress I make but here the alteration of the straps did the trick and the rest of the bodice fit perfectly in the size 14.  Hurray!  Isn't it nice when things fall into place like that when you are sewing? 

I'm happy with this dress.  It is cute, comfortable and versatile.  I think it will get alot of wear once the weather is a bit warmer.  I have ideas about maybe sewing this again in a silk print, minus the pockets, with solid silk in a coordinating color for the straps and the midrift pieces. 

It feels good to have this new dress hanging in my closet.  Don't you love that feeling when you get to move a garment from your sewing space into your actual wardrobe? 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bean Bags for My Boy

Simplicity 2178 is almost done!  I did create a muslin and I am now putting the finishing touches on the final dress which I expect to be showing you within the next couple of days.  In the interim I thought I'd post about a very simple and quick sewing project that my little boys have helped me with.  Bean bags! 

Here is the long story as to why I ended up sewing bean bags.  My son Constantine is 4 years old.  He takes guitar lessons.  Here is totally adorable photographic proof:

Sometimes it is hard to get him to stay still during his lessons so his teacher plays a game using bean bags.  He puts one on Constantine's head, one on top of each of his feet, one on his knee.  And if Constantine can play a song or a portion of a song without making any of the bean bags fall then he gets some sort of reward (like a gold star or smiley face on his lesson notebook).  It works like a charm.  So I decided to make a set of bean bags for us to use when he is practicing at home. 

To make our bean bags I used 4 fabrics in primary colors.  From each fabric I cut 2 strips measuring 4"x"20.  I paired up the fabric strips matching contrasting colors with right sides together and sewed both of the long sides with a 1/4" seam.  Then I sliced each strip into 4" squares.  I sewed the third side of each square, using chain sewing like you would if you were making multiple units for a quilt.  I sewed half of the 4th side of each square and then turned them out and pressed them. 

My boys helped me to fill them up with crushed walnut shells (that is what I had on hand left over from my pin cushion making frenzy).  They used a funnel and a measuring cup and each bean bag needed about 3/4 cup of filling.  They had fun but there was a mess when they were done!  I slip stitched the openings shut (that was the most tedious part - everything else when very fast). 

The result is 16 bean bags each measuring about 3 1/2" square.  Know any good games for kids to play with bean bags?  I'm all ears if you do!