Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

Circle Skirt

  Remember how one of my goals last year was to sew a circle skirt with horsehair braid in the hem? I finished it in December of last year, and here it is!

  One of the reasons I kept putting off sewing this skirt was the fabric issue... a long circle skirt for an adult can easily take 5 yards of fabric! 

  The other reason was the horsehair braid... it isn't cheap, and I didn't want to waste it. However, I eventually decided that since I'd already bought it, letting it languish in my closet was wasting it just as much as sewing it into something I didn't love. Besides, if I hated the results, I could pick it out. 

  Once I'd decided to just go for it, I just had to find fabric. And then I bought this tablecloth to use as an actual tablecloth, and couldn't stop thinking how cute it would be as a skirt. So yes, I'm literally wearing a tablecloth. =) It was really inexpensive, probably because it's polyester, but there was just enough fabric and it has a nice weight to it.

  I added a waistband of plain black fabric... but I'm not entirely happy with the waistband. I should have either made it narrower or contoured it, because it sticks out a bit at the top. I also should have interfaced it, and the placket.

  I tested out this method of making a placket, with some changes to the measurements. I didn't press anything (well, I finger-pressed, but I didn't use an iron at all), but I still think it came out pretty well. Imagine how pretty it would have been with a proper pressing and interfacing!
  
  I used KAM snaps in silver as the closure... I was planning on black snaps but apparently I don't have any! 

  The horsehair braid definitely made quick work of that curved hem, but I accidentally stretched it while applying it in a few places, so in some places my top-stitching barely catches it and in others it's too far from the edge, like this.

  Covering the ends turned out to be almost impossible, and in the end I left them uncovered. The binding I was using kept pulling out of the horsehair braid. Perhaps if I'd used a wider one it wouldn't have been so difficult. It looks decent on the outside, but between the uncovered ends and general scratchiness of the braid itself, plus the tendency to catch on things, I won't be applying it like this again. I'll either hide the braid between the outer skirt and a lining, or I'll add a hem facing that's just wide enough to cover the braid. 

  As for the skirt itself... I like it, but I don't love it.

  When my shirt is tucked in, the proportions look odd to me, and I feel like the skirt emphasizes my hips too much. My husband says it looks best that way, but I like it a bit better with the shirt un-tucked.

  I really like the look when I'm twirling though, so maybe it just needs a crinoline to look right to me!

  The other bummer? I spent quite a lot of time leveling the hem... letting the skirt hang, rigging a system for marking it by myself, marking it, trimming it, and hemming it, and it's just not even. I'm not sure what I could have done differently other than having a friend help.

  Overall though, I've worn it more than I expected to... especially since it's a style that a lot of people would deem too costumey and unwearable. My favorite piece to wear with it is the denim shirt I sewed a while back, which I think nicely complements the vintage style. My least favorite is probably the shirt in these photos, as it doesn't fit well at all, and is very uncomfortable. I bought it back when I only knew how to sew a little bit, and at the time I thought it fit very well. ;-)

  Will I ever make another circle skirt for myself? I'm not sure... but I had fun making this one!

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Navy Snowflake Georgia Vintage Dress

I'm finally writing about the last Christmas 2014 gift I made! Finally! =)
This one was for Beckers.

  I used the same gorgeous snowflake fabric as I used in Booper's shirt and Gaiw's dress, and sewed up the Georgia Vintage Dress Pattern, with a few modifications.

  First, I added elbow-length puff sleeves, which Beckers immediately pushed up to short length once the dress was put on. ;-) As usual, I used this method to sew them in so all raw edges were enclosed. The lower portion is gathered with elastic thread.

  I also enclosed the bodice/skirt seam in the lining... the pattern has all of the layers sewn together and pressed toward the bodice. Due to the opening in the back of the bodice, and none in the skirt, this entailed another change.

  I added a small and simple slit opening to the back of the skirt by placing the interior skirt right side up on top of the exterior skirt, which was also right side up. I drew line perpendicular to the waist, stitched 1/8" from the line on 3 sides, and cut down the line and into the corners of the rectangle. I flipped the interior skirt to the interior, pressed it, and top-stitched 1/4" from the opening on all sides. This left me with a neatly finished opening. (Although apparently I could have clipped and pressed the bottom edge a bit better.)

  This is what it looks like between the skirt layers- no raw edges:

  Another change I made was to hem the upper layer of the skirt with bias tape rather than a double fold, but that was for aesthetic purposes only.

  I really loved the way this pattern turned out, but there were a few moments that had me scratching my head. The bib is only top-stitched to the bodice, and so is the front of the sash, after which the bodice under the sash is trimmed away. I opted to fold the front of the sash up and stitch in the fold instead of top-stitching, because to me it looks more like a separate piece that way.

  The pattern has notches, but they appear to have been added later, as they are not referenced in the pattern instructions. Also, the notches on the collar do not match the notches on the neckline. Had I matched the notches, there would have been a 1" gap at the front neckline. As it is, there is a 1" gap at the back bodice, but to me that works better with the buttons than the collar meeting there. The notches on the sash don't match the notches on the sides of the bodice. Instead, they match the top of the front sash.

  Other than the useless notches, everything fit together the way it should.

  Beckers is a size 12 months in the chest, but a size 18 months in the waist and height, so I made a straight 18 months. It's a bit looser than I expected in the waist... I could have gone with 12 months width and 18 months length.

  I wouldn't recommend the pattern if you are new to sewing, but I liked the results enough that I'm working on another one right now.

  I mean, who could resist that cuteness? =) The back is closed with silver heart KAM snaps.

  And now, some pictures of all three girls together in their coordinating outfits. =)










  And we are done with Christmas posts for at least 9 months! =)

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, February 16, 2015

Free Flutter Skirt Pattern

  I've been working on something fun for about a month now... a free little girls' skirt pattern!
Ashley and Emily from FrancesSuzanne asked me if I'd like to contribute to this month's Flip This Pattern. This month, instead of one pattern that everyone alters, each participant sews up something using any free pattern... if you've done so this year, you can link yours here for an opportunity to win a prize. =)

  Anyway, I've had this skirt idea in my head for about 6 months now, and though I've decided I'm not skilled enough at drafting to make patterns to sell just yet, this one was just simple enough to make and offer as a freebie.

   I've made it in sizes 3-12, though I've only sewn size 6.

  This is a long, reversible, half-circle skirt, with a scalloped hem and elastic waist.

  I've put each size into a separate layer so you can print only the sizes you want. The instructions are in a separate file, but they are also printable.

  The waistband is a separate piece, which adds a bit of fun contrast if you decide to make it in a different fabric than the main skirt.

  Because of the length and elastic waistband, if you are in doubt as to which size to make, I recommend sizing down.

  Wouldn't this be pretty in formal fabrics?

  My version is made from a pretty floral sheet I picked up somewhere (I think at a yard-sale) and plain grey quilting cotton.

  Needless to say, Booper loves it. Gaiw has been asking me to make her one too, so I guess I'll be testing out the size 3 soon. =)

  The pattern is available for download HERE. No hoops to jump through, just download and enjoy. =) If you want to link to the pattern, please link to this post, and not the actual file. Please do not copy or distribute the pattern.

  And! Don't forget to check out the rest of today's contributors at FrancesSuzanne! There have been quite a lot of lovely free patterns linked up so far. =)

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy the free pattern! =)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Navy Snowflake Secret Garden Dress

This is the dress I made Gaiw for Christmas in 2014. =)

  I used the Secret Garden Dress pattern, because that bow flounce in the back is just gorgeous. Actually, I was originally considering using this pattern for all 3 girls, but in the end decided to make them all different.

  I started out with a size 3, but as I was looking at the pattern pieces, I realized how short everything looked, so I lengthened just the underskirt to a size 4. I'm glad I did... it's still shorter than I expected.

  I added elbow-length puff sleeves to make it a bit more wintry... they are scrunched up a bit in these photos. I didn't realize just how low the V in the back was until the dress was almost finished though... if I were to make another winter version I would either fill that in or raise it up.

  I was a bit disappointed in how plain the front of the dress was, since I used solids only there. I ended up adding a little fluffy thing with a bit of tulle and ric-rac to add a bit of interest, but I think an embroidered silver snowflake would have been better. I just didn't have time for that!

  I made a mistake while I was sewing things together and sewed the wrong sides of the skirt together... meaning the opening for the side zip was on one side of the bodice and the other side of the skirt. I un-picked it halfway, but I'd already graded the seam allowances, and it definitely made it harder to sew that zipper in! I've got an unpleasant pucker going on, and things don't quite line up... and having sleeves in the dress made zipper insertion even more difficult.

  The pattern has the bodice fully lined, except the area around the zipper. I chose to further complicate things by hand-stitching the bodice lining to the zipper after sewing it in. It's a bit messy, but I still prefer it to serged edges there. The outer skirt is tucked inside the flounce and sewn, but the underskirt sides are just serged.

  The pattern suggested slip-stitching the bodice lining down, but I stitched in the ditch instead... due in part to time constraints, but also because I need the practice. =)

  The sleeves were inserted using my usual method, but I left the zipper side of the bodice open beneath the sleeve almost to the top. That zipper insertion... ergh. The sleeves are gathered with elastic thread near the hems.

    As for the pattern itself? I'll probably use it again, but I can't fully recommend it. The instructions are good, but the front skirt was wider than the bodice and had to be eased in. There are no notches, and although the pivot points for sewing the flounces were marked, the position to tack them to the bodice was not. It's a decent pattern, and if you are an experienced seamstress it will probably turn out great for you, but it could use a bit more work.

  That said, the results are beautiful, and the flounce is nicely drafted. Gaiw loves how it twirls! She says 'I want to wear my beautiful dress, mama!' just about every other day. =)

  And I have to admit, the dress fits her personality beautifully... quiet at first, with a lot of depth as you look closer.

  One dress left, then I'm finally done with Christmas 2014! =)

Thanks for stopping by,