Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ivy+Blu Sundress Butterick 6021

Does your fabric ever talk to you?  I ordered this beautiful watercolor floral cotton gauze from FabricMart at the beginning of this month, and it has just been screaming "Make Me!  Make Me!"  ever since it arrived at my house.  I really didn't have time to sew, but yesterday, I just couldn't stand it any longer and gave in to the calls.  Most of my fabrics can sit for months, even years, before they get sewn up, so this was highly unusual.

I also had a pattern that has been more lightly whispering, "make me".  That would be Butterick 6021, an Ivy+Blu design from a couple of years ago.  You know how a book just opens to a certain page every time?  That was happening with this pattern.  It had a hem that was longer at the front than the sides, a lined bodice, and tie belt.

So, I thought- well, let's just get this over with- the pattern is pretty simple, I should be able to sew it up in a couple of hours, and get on with my life. Right?  Wrong.  I fiddled and fiddled with the fitting pretty much all day.

Luckily, the only other pressing engagement that I had was weeding the garden, and the weeds are enjoying the sunshine and are quite content to be left alone.

So, the first challenge was that my fabric wasn't wide enough for the pattern.  It called for 60" wide fabric, and mine was 54".  Usually when the yardage chart says 60"on the fabric width, it is just a code for anything 54" or wider,  but not this one.  It really needed the entire width.   The gauze did have an obvious directional crinkle to it, or else I would have switched the layout to a crosswise grain.  So, my first adjustment to the pattern was to shave off enough of the pattern for it to fit my fabric's width.

Here is the first change:

This left the side seam too short for my tall self.  So, I decided to angle the side seam enough so that it would be at least 23" long.  See the folded edge- that is the side seam?  This change removed some of the fullness of the skirt, but you can see that there is plenty of skirt fullness left in the finished dress.  It does reduce the difference between the highest and lowest point, so the hem is not as dramatic. 

I had checked out PatternReview to see other versions of this dress, and there was only one!  It was a a gorgeous version made by Adrienne of Adrienne's Essentials, and she didn't mention any issues with the bodice sizing, so I forged ahead blindly without making a muslin.  I cut my normal size, but the shoulder straps were way too wide for me, and ended up falling off my shoulders.  I didn't have enough fabric to recut, so I had to fix what I had.  For the front, I made two 1/2" pleats- one on each side of the center front. These are barely visible due to the busy-ness of my print, but you can see them here:

For the back, I decided to make a center back seam to remove about 1-1/4" from the width.   If you look closely, you can see it here.  I still needed to remove quite a bit of length from the straps as well.  Since my shoulders are uneven, I took about 1" from one side, and 1-1/2" from the other side.  It now sits on my shoulders quite nicely.

When I make this again, I will fold the patterns for the center front and back in about 1/2", and also cut two sizes shorter on the straps, like this:

Finally, I narrow hemmed the whole skirt hem, and then tried it on.  I should have reversed these steps: try on, then hem, because part of the skirt was on the bias and it had grown significantly longer in a certain section. It had to be trimmed up and re-hemmed there.  So, if you make this, let it hang for some time, and then take a look at your hem before actually hemming! 

Other changes that I made:

-  I added inseam pockets.  I used a pocket pattern from another pattern, and just placed them 3 inches below the waist on each side seam.

-I left out the elastic at the waist.  I did put it in originally, but it felt a little uncomfortable, and if it gets really hot, I plan on wearing this as more of a loose dress with no tie belt.

-I left out the skirt lining.  My fabric was opaque enough to get away with it.

I'm pretty happy with the end product, and now I can get on with my garden weeding!  If you have this pattern, I strongly recommend making a bodice muslin to figure out any tweaking that you might need for your body shape.

 I'll leave you with June in central Illinois- sunshine, corn, wind and wide-open blue skies.  I don't live on a farm, but this field is directly behind our house, and we really enjoy living so close to it.  I grew up on a farm and love this time of year when we get to see the bounty of our part of the world.

Happy Sewing!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summer Pillow and Table Cloth Refresh

Do you lust after the pretty pillows at places like Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn, but scoff at the $50 price tag?  Me too!  I'm always on the lookout for interesting fabrics to make them myself.  I picked up this leaf pillow panel print remnant this Spring, thinking that the colors would be lovely in summer.  The piece was about 3-1/2 yards and just under $10, and I decided to take the whole cut.  This print was clearly meant for pillows, as it was divided into panels with square shapes. 

But I thought it looked fine as a whole piece as well, so I decided to turn part of it into a new tablecloth.  For the tablecloth, I used about 2 -1/2 yards of the piece, and just hemmed it.  That left me with two rows of the panels, which was enough for 3 pillow covers. 

 I had a couple of old throw pillows that were getting holes in them, so I just covered them up with the new fabric, not worrying about a zipper.  For my third pillow, I wanted to use a down feather pillow insert, so I thought it best to make the cover removable with an invisible zipper.  These pillow panels measured 18", so I chose a 14" zipper to make sure that I had a big enough opening to insert the pillow form.

If you'd like to try this, you can use any fabric -just cut two squares the size of the pillow form that you want to use, plus 1" to allow for 1/2" seams.  To add an invisible zipper, place the right side of the zipper down onto the right side of the fabric, centering it on one side.  If you can't find a perfect match for the zipper, don't worry.  With an invisible zipper, all you end up seeing is the zipper pull. 

Then sew the other side of the zipper right side down on the right side of the other piece of fabric, so it looks like this:

Open the zipper at least halfway.  Then sew together the remaining open sides.  Why open the zipper before you sew?  Because if you don't, you won't be able to turn the pillow right side out! 

I used pinking shears on the edges because I was a feeling too lazy to change my serger thread color.  You will want to finish the raw edges of the seams in some way.  Notice how I clipped the corners at an angle- this will help you to get a better point on the corners when you turn the cover right side out.

Now, just give the cover a nice pressing, insert your pillow form, and zip it up!

You can change the cover when the season is over, and store it away until next year. 

So, for under $10, I got three new pillows and one new tablecloth to spruce up the house for summer!  I don't always save money when I sew, but I think that if I had purchased these at a Pottery Barn, I would have probably over $200 for the whole set. And this didn't even take that long!  Maybe two hours tops.

The store that I got this at was Hancock fabrics, so if you have one near you, check out their table of home dec flat folds and be sure to take your 50% off a cut of fabric coupon.  They have so many cute remnants right now. 

Happy Sewing!!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Convertible Skirt from New Look 6379

Have you ever heard of a convertible skirt?  No, it's not a skirt to wear while you are riding in your convertible.  Or maybe it is!  It essentially is a skirt with a wide fold over waistband that doubles as a strapless dress when you don't fold the waistband over.  I have a slight obsession with travel wardrobes, and whenever I hear of anything that could potentially serve two purposes on a vacation, I'm all over it. 

There are several patterns for this type of skirt available, but I liked the handkerchief hem on New Look 6379.  I found this gorgeous abstract art rayon knit at Fabric Mart, and I thought it would be really cool in this design.  The pattern is basically just two pattern pieces- a waistband and a front/back skirt that are the same. You do insert a thin piece of elastic in a casing at the bottom of the waistband, where it joins to the skirt.

Here it is as the strapless dress.  I probably won't be wearing it this way, except as a beach cover-up if we go on vacation.

To be honest, it doesn't feel secure enough to me to wear as a dress.  It just felt like a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen to me.  Perhaps if you are using a fabric with a higher lycra content, it would be more secure when wearing as a dress.  But the rayon knit just has too much give.  I thought about adding another elastic casing at the top of the waistband, but then it wouldn't sit right as a skirt, so I nixed that idea. 

As a skirt, it really could not be easier!  I did find that I needed to size down a couple of sizes because the rayon knit was very stretchy.  My fabric has a stripe like print, but when it hangs, the stripe gently curves down.  You can kind of see more of the stripe when I'm sitting here:

The tank top is also from a rayon knit.  I knew that I wanted a black tank to go with the skirt, but I just didn't want to make a boring black tank- I could buy one of those anywhere  So, I looked for something that had a little twist.  I found what I wanted in one of my old Burda magazines.  The issue is July 2007, and the pattern number is 130 if you have that issue.  Unfortunately, it's not available for download on the Burda site, because it is really a neat tank top. 

Here are the line drawings from the magazine- you can see that it has really long straps on the front, that you knot, and then gather to attach to the back.  The front neckline, straps, and armhole are finished by cutting a second front that ends just below the bust, and then sewing that as a facing.  Very ingenious!  Because my knit was so stretchy, I ended up cutting the straps about 4" shorter than the pattern.  It takes a little more fabric than your average tank top, but I think it is definitely worth it.

I originally made a loose fitting white tank to go with this skirt, but didn't really care for it. It felt a little too pajama-like.   Do you agree?  Here it is on the dress form:

There are so many colors in this fabric that it will go with just about any top, but I really do like how the black lets the skirt have the spotlight.  My husband's getting pretty good with the camera!  I will end with his "art shot" at the bicycle racks.

I'm ready to go riding in your convertible in my convertible skirt anytime!  Have you made anything that is "convertible"?

Happy Sewing!


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