Sewing Classes and Lessons

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sewing a Winter Vacation Wardrobe



Happy New Year!  I haven't blogged for almost 3 months, but I have definitely still been sewing!  Almost all of my sewing has been geared towards some exciting vacation plans and a wardrobe that I can wear on vacation.   This is part 1 of a 2 part post, and I'm keeping our destination a surprise until the 2nd post when I plan to show you the wardrobe on location!  I will give you a few hints, and maybe you can guess.

It's a big city, and the temperature is in the high 50's during the day and the low 40's at night.  I read where the people in this city dress mostly in black, grey and brown during the winter months.  So, to fit in with the locals, I decided to go with a black/grey/brick red color palette.  All fabrics are from FabricMartFabrics.  I figured that I would be outside and wearing a coat on most days, so the coat had to coordinate with everything.  To do this, I chose a printed double knit that had a black background with red and gray accents.  This fabric was heavy enough to be a midweight coat, and I chose Butterick 6384 for my pattern.  I trimmed it with real leather, and found this great toggle on Ebay to use as a closure instead of a belt.  I realize that using a print for a coat is a bit crazy, but this city is used to avant garde artists and architects (hint #1).




I then set my mind to making everything else.  First up, (since I still had black thread in the serger), was a very basic black turtleneck.  This was a fleece lined knit and I used Butterick 6389 for the base, but then lengthened it and made it more swingy.  I think it looks super dressy with these pearls that I picked up at a local resale store.  But really, it feels like a sweatshirt, so it is crazy comfy. I'm showing everything with a black skirt, but I will likely be wearing leggings with everything.




 For my second tunic, I chose a grey french terry type knit and used McCall's 7435.  This is a great tunic, because the cowl is actually also a hood!  It also has a really nice shaped hem.  I figure that I will wear this on the plane so that I can pull it up over my head and sleep during the long plane ride over the Atlantic ocean (hint #2).


 For my 3rd tunic, I used a brick heathered knit  For this one, I used Simplicity 8265.  Just a very basic tunic with side slits.  I like how it gives a nice canvas for necklaces.  Also, this city serves a very popular alcoholic beverage with fruit that will blend in with this color, should I spill any on myself.  (Hint #3)


And for my last tunic, I decided to go with a striped charcoal grey and white pique knit. I used McCalls 7020 for this one.  I thought something sporty would be appropriate, as this city is crazy about football (hint #4)! This is lightweight, but it has both silk and wool in the fabric content, so I think it should still be warm.  I decided to place the stripes vertically and added patch pockets at the front and a fold over neckband.


Here's a closer look at the fabric:


I'm a little worried that the coat will be too hot during the day if the sun is shining, so I decided I should take some fleece vests as an alternative.  I had purchased a quilted red fleece and a black corded fleece during one of Fabric Mart's fleece sales.  For the red one, I used Butterick 6388.  I like how the color on the wrong side shows with this design.


 For the black fleece vest, I added patch pockets to Simplicity 8217.
 The bands are made with a faux suede knit, that I also used to make leggings.


And lastly, I had enough of the brick heather knit to make a dress, so I decided to make one that I have been wanting to try for a while Butterick 6241.  Some would say that this shape is "gawdy", but that would be a very high compliment in this particular city (hint #5).



Here's how it looks with the opened coat:

And lastly, here are the charcoal grey faux suede leggings, and jewelry to "tapas" off the looks (hint #6!).  My other pair of leggings will be a basic black.


To sum it all up, my destination city is known for it's unique architecture, modern art, sports, delicious (but small) foods, and stylish citizens.  Can you guess where I'm going?  I'll be back next week with photos to see if you guessed right. I'll also let you know if my wardrobe plan worked well or not!

Happy Sewing!
Ann

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sueded Scuba Skirt and Bell Sleeve Tunic


I've been really feeling the 70's vibe lately, and decided to continue with a suede skirt.  Not real suede though, but sueded scuba knit!  This is a huge improvement on real suede- very light weight, easy to sew and stretchy!


For the sueded scuba skirt, I used view C of Vogue 9154. This pattern is normally designed for woven fabrics, with a zipper and faced yoke.  However, all I did to adapt it to the scuba knit was add 1-1/2" at the top, and make an elastic casing, eliminating the zipper and facing.  The pattern said it needed 2-5/8 yds, but I was able to fit it on more like 1-1/4 yds, so I have a good size piece left over.


The suede finish is really luxurious.  Everyone that has felt it has gone "OOOHHHHhhhh!"   I got it from FabricMart, but they are sold out right now.  One really great thing about scuba knits is that they don't roll, and thus, you can leave them unhemmed.  Hems on knits are almost always a pain, and on a shaped hem like this skirt has, even more so.  Here's a close-up of the non-hem.  I think it looks nice, and I just dabbed a bit of fray-check on the threads at the bottom of the seams to make sure that they didn't come undone.




My top is a rayon challis that was in a Fabric Mart mystery bundle.  I used McCalls 7431 for it, cutting at top length instead of dress length, and omitting the ruffle on the sleeves for View C.


 I used a gold braided trim to highlight the seaming on the front.  I'm glad that I left off the ruffle.  I like the sleeves, but I have to tell you, now that I've worn it a couple of times- those wide sleeves tend to get caught on things- like doorknobs!  I've caught myself more than once, so I've decided that if you wear these kind of sleeves, you kind of need to reset your impression of how much space you need- kind of like cat whiskers.





Speaking of cats, I'll leave you with a photo of a black cat for Halloween.  I think he sees a mouse in the field and is very excited.



So, I still have 1-1/4 yds of the sueded scuba knit left.  Any suggestions on what I could make from it?  It's too nice to let be a scrap!

Happy Sewing!
Ann

Sunday, September 4, 2016

McCalls 7242 Laura Ashley Peasant Dress


I came of age in the 70's, and the Peasant Dress style made popular by Laura Ashley and Gunne Sax are near and dear to my heart!  I knew that it would just be a matter of time until they came back, and recently McCalls patterns introduced a Laura Ashley design with 7242.  They say that you shouldn't wear a trend if you wore it the first time round, but I thought I'd give it a try, and see how I felt in one before abiding by that rule!

The pattern has several different views, and I originally thought that I would make the short dress, but when I actually tried it on, it was screaming for the ruffle, so I added it at the last minute.  I didn't have quite enough fabric to make the full width of the ruffle, so mine is about 8", instead of 12" wide as the pattern is designed.  I also serge finished the ruffle hem instead of narrow hemming to save time and keep the ruffle as long as possible.




I wanted to make it with a true 70's vibe which meant soft flowy fabric in earthy or muted colors.
Fabric Mart had a challis that was just perfect for it with a Muted Teal and Fiery Orange Rayon Challis.


I haven't worked with challis for a while, because it is one of those fabrics that has a mind of it's own.  You know the kind- you can cut it absolutely on the pattern lines, and then you turn around, and it's completely shape shifted into a different piece!  It is however, incredibly soft and has the most beautiful drape, so if you can be patient with it, you will be rewarded.





I actually had quite a time with this one because it ended up being way too big.  Then when I went to check the pattern pieces to see where I went wrong, I found out that the pieces had really grown quite a bit- for example the yoke piece was a full 1" wider than the pattern piece on each shoulder.  I had to take up the collar, shoulders, sleeves and the sides- I almost felt like I was resewing a second dress.   Lesson learned- when working with challis, make sure to check pieces against the pattern before you sew, as they might have relaxed and grown larger since you cut them.


I could tell that the dress was going to slip easily over my head, so I skipped the buttonholes, and just sewed the buttons through all layers.


I'm accenting it with cognac leather boots, belt and purse that I was quite lucky and found all of them at a consignment shop in town.  If I sew something myself, I don't feel guilty about finding the perfect accessories for it, especially when I can find them second hand!

Do you remember Peasant Dresses from their first incarnation?  And if yes, would you wear one today?

Happy Sewing!

Ann
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