Summer Dresses Vogue 8645 and 8647

I've been in a dress sewing mood lately, although I haven't had much time, so I've been trying to pick patterns that are simple and quick.  I've found that Vogue usually does this really, really well with their Very Easy Vogue pattern line.  This first dress is from Vogue 8645.  Their description: loose-fitting, pullover, lined dresses A, B have front and back v-neck, removable shoulder ties, side seam pockets and sash.
The fabric I chose is a sheer silk cotton blend from Vera Wang, and I lined it with a very lightweight dark grey lining.  It feels scrumptiously lightweight- like wearing a butterfly.  And yes, it was Very Easy!  I will definitely be making this one again if the right sheer fabric comes along.  It does take quite a bit of fabric.  I had 3-1/2 yards of this fabric which was just enough, as it is a very full skirt.  I cut the hem right in between the two versions as my fabric wasn't quite wide enough to get the full length of the long version.

My next one was Vogue 8647- Pullover dresses A, B are straight, fitted with front pleats, back slit and stitched hems. B: short sleeves with stitched hem. A, B: 2" above mid-knee length.

I chose this one because my fabric had this gorgeous large paisley design that I didn't want to break up.  The back does have a center seam so that it can have a walking slit in the back, so I did have to carefully layout the pattern to make sure that the paisley matched up at the center back seam.
This one uses single fold bias tape to finish the neckband, which I love.  A more traditional pattern would have used a facing, which would require a bunch of extra steps and time.  From these pictures, I wouldn't say it's the most flattering design on me, so I will probably add a belt to it, to give it a little more shape.  But I would definitely recommend this pattern too, if you have a large print to work with.

I did do a cheater's full bust adjustment on both.  I call it a cheater's adjustment, because it technically falls short of a traditional full bust adjustment in that I don't make a dart or add length to the front.  I got this method from a Burda Plus magazine article, and it just works great for me because it also adds width to the waist which I need.  You basically slash a couple inches below the armhole towards the bustpoint, and then slash up to the center of the shoulder seam.  Then separate this as much as you need- I usually do an inch for a DD cup size.  Fill in the open area with extra tissue.  Then I add extra width to the side seam below so that it blends.  You'll notice that there is an additional inch of length now at the side seam.  What Burda recommends is to take half of that measurement and raise the back underarm and lower the front underarm each by that amount.  What I usually do is to just add the extra inch to the back length.  This might not work for everyone, but it works for me, and is really a breeze to do. 

More dresses to come!


Prom Dresses!

For sewists, I think that sewing prom dresses is either the most fun that you can have, or the most intimidating.  You want everything to be just perfect for the big night which can be intimidating, but the fabrics and styles that you get to sew with are amazing.  This year, I made two dresses and had fun with both.  One for my daughter, and one for one of her good friends.  Luckily, both girls chose simple designs and I didn't have to do any significant alterations, so this was a fun year for sewing prom dresses.

Choosing the pattern is half the battle.  My daughter likes simple and classic, and she ended up choosing one from the December 2008 Burda magazine- style 104 .  This is such a gorgeous yet simple style, that I think it would work for just about anyone.  The key to it is to find a beautiful fabric.  I had bought some Vera Wang Silk Satin from when they had it on sale for $2/yard.  Unbelievable!  This should be $40/yard fabric.  It was heaven to work with.  Here is a close-up of the bodice:
The pattern had a pattern for fabric straps, but I saw these pearl straps at Joann's and thought they would add a nice touch.  They are strangely elasticized though, so don't help at all in holding the dress up.  She used the sticky tape that night just to be on the safe side. Here is a view from the back:

Her friend wanted Butterick 5542 which is one of my favorites.  I've made this one before, and it obviously is a popular pattern as it has been in the Butterick book since 2001.  Right after I made this, I went out and bought two more copies of it, so that I will have spares just in case they discontinue it.  This is absolutely the only pattern that I've ever bought 3 copies intentionally for, so you know I must be crazy about it! The back is the stunning part of this dress. 
My daughter's friend chose a very pretty blue polyester stretch satin.  It wasn't as easy to work with as the purple silk satin, but the trade-off here was the stretch factor.  The stretch satin is very easy to fit and comfortable to wear. We only had one fitting session, so I really was relieved when she tried it on, and everything fit so well.  She is 5 feet 10 inches, and I didn't add enough length for her to wear high heels, but that didn't seem to bother her one bit.  As you can see from this next photo, both dresses were just fine for dancing. 

My daughter and her date went to a formal store are were able to get a perfectly matched vest for his tux.  Here they are before heading out to the big dance:

That's all the prom dresses this year!


Paint Splash Shirtdress- Simplicity 2996

My daughter, Serena, loves dresses, and she loves bright prints, so when I got this Paint Splash fabric in a Fabric Mart Mystery Bundle, I knew just who it was going to.  She wanted a shirtdress, and we searched through my pattern collection and found Simplicity 2996.  We liked the princess lines, 3/4 sleeves with the petal cuff, and the inseam pockets.  It had the added bonus of being one of the multi-cup size pattern so that I didn't have to do a full bust adjustment.  Yay!  Overall the pattern is great, and I would highly recommend it.

Here is a close-up of the petal cuff sleeves:

And the in-seam pockets:

And the back view:

She only wore this a few times in the semester, because she said that it was so recognizable, she didn't feel like she could wear it more than once every couple of weeks.  I think she had a lot of fun with it, and so did her friends teasing her about it.  One said that he would like to take a painting class with her.  Then she also got the old, "what did you say?  I can't hear you- your dress is too loud!".

Garden in full glory

I have been sewing for some very special occasions, and will eventually get pictures of prom dresses and graduation attire to post, but for now, I just had to share the garden again- just blooming it's heart out!  We're having a party this Saturday, so I hope that it will stay this picture perfect until the weekend!  Click on the
Slide Show to see all 14 photos (it's quick, I promise).  If you click on the little symbol in the bottom right hand corner, it will enlarge to full screen.

 Here are a few of my favorite shots:

We started this garden from scratch 9 years ago, and I used to know every variety by name, but can't pull it out of my brain like I used to!  It's fun to watch things spread and grow. 


For our Australian sewing friends

We are happy to announce that you can now buy SewBaby patterns in Australia!  For those of you who live down under,  and are now carrying a large selection of our patterns on their website. Please give them a visit and check out their huge selection! 


And the Winners are....

Choosing a winner for our Sweet 16 SewBaby anniversary contest was fun, but not easy!   After much deliberation, here are the winners:

First Prize:  Charla McCaw for the McKenna Pattern by Bonnie Blue Designs for this fun birthday top and made the ruffle pants from the SewBaby Twirl Top and Pants pattern.

Second Prize:  Julie Lundquist for Faith double-layered dress top from SewSensible (with appliqued pants with ruffled hem).

Third Prize:   Kathy Hood for Izzy and Ivy Beverly Belle Top:

Aren't these great?  We had over 50 fantastic entries. You can view all of the entries on our Facebook Sweet 16 Album.  Thank you so much to everyone that particpated!